The Newfoundland Fishermen

I AM going, dear children, to tell you something

that I witnessed with my own eyes. Several

years ago, I made a very long voyage in a

large ship. It is not necessary to tell you what

places I visited, but one of them, which I shall

not easily forget, was the town of St. John's, in


There are two things, which I dare say you

have often seen, which generally come from this

place: the great Newfoundland dogs, and dried

codfish, which is usually called "salt fish." I am

not now going to write about the dogs, though

I could tell you many things respecting them

such proofs of their faithful attachment to their

masters, their patience, industry, and obedience,

as would make many children ashamed to hear

how much a poor dog might teach them in the

way of example; and would also, I hope, 

convince them how very wicked it is to treat

 with cruelty an animal so valuable as the dog, 

or indeed any animal that God has seen good to


What a shocking character is a cruel child!

I am not going either to write about the codfish

now, except to tell you that they are caught

in immense numbers at the place which I have

mentioned, on what are called the banks of


Those banks are great heaps of sand,

deep under the sea; some of them a good way

off from the shore, others quite close to it,

During the fishing season, numbers of boats

go out from the harbor of St. John's, on every

fine day to take the cod. Each of these boats has

a little mast, a sail of reddish brown canvass, 

and usually two fishermen in it. They are very 

bold, hardy men, who get their living entirely by

 this employment; for Newfoundland is such an

 extremely barren place that there is not pasture

even for a flock of sheep, in any part that I saw.

A short, coarse moss covers the hard rocks; and

if & person manages to raise a few herbs, after

being at great trouble and expense in making a

small garden, it is quite a wonder.

Of course, the inhabitants must get all their

fresh meat, butter, and chief supply of 

vegetables, from other places. There is an island

 very near, called Prince Edward's Island, which

 is beautifully fertile, producing these things in

 plenty; so the people of Newfoundland get what 

they want from it, and give themselves 

principally to the business of catching, salting,

 and drying the fine codfish, which they send to

 Europe, and to all parts of the world almost, in


It was a very interesting and beautiful sight,

as the ship approached St. John's. The harbor

of St. John's, in Newfoundland, is a very noble

one, but the opening is so extremely narrow, 

that the greatest caution is necessary in 

entering it; for there are steep rocks on both

 sides, and if a ship missed the middle of the

 passage, it would strike upon the rocks, which

 would break the wooden bottom or keel of the 

ship, and let the water in to destroy the vessel, 

and drown the passengers. You may be sure 

there is good care taken to have a steady man to

 steer the ship; and when it is a large one, there

 is very great anxiety indeed in getting into the

 harbor of St. John's.

I must remind you too, that a ship at sea is

not like a carriage on land, which may be 

stopped at pleasure. When the sails are spread,

 and the wind is blowing fresh, the ship will go 

on in spite of all that man can do. I have told you

 all this that you may the better understand what

 follows. Our ship was going into that

harbor, for which we had been looking a good

while, and when we saw it, like a narrow slit in

the high, dark rocks at a distance, the man who

steered us began to direct the vessel that way 

by means of the rudder. I looked about me with

a great deal of pleasure, for I could see hundreds

of the boats that I have before described, upon

the broad sea, rolling on the tops of the waves,

while the fishermen were busily casting their

nets out, and drawing them in with great fishes

enclosed. They picked out the good ones,

and threw the bad back into the water.

I observed then, that an immense number of

large, white sea-birds were flying about among

the boats, perched on the little masts, and diving

into the water every moment. These birds lived

on fish; they were watching when the men

threw a worthless fish out of their boats, and by

suddenly darting after it, they would catch and

devour it before it could sink into the depths of

the sea.

Oh, my dear children, here was something to

remind me very powerfully of our Lord's parable,

where he likens the kingdom of heaven to

this very thing, the gathering of fishes, good

and bad, in a net, and throwing the bad away.

It was very striking to see how the birds of prey

instantly seized every fish that was thrown out

of the boats. And will you be like those fishes;

will you, when the great Judge comes, be found

evil and unbelieving, so that he will say to you,

"Depart from me?" Alas, if it be so, if Christ

rejects you, there will be no hiding-place for your

guilty heads; the wicked spirits will be watching

like those birds, and as soon as the Lord

casts you from him, with the Devil you will be

burnt up in a fire prepared for him and his


Be wise and give yourselves now to the

Lord Jesus; for now is the accepted time: now

is the day of salvation.

Charlotte Elizabeth.