|North Carolina Office of Archives & History||Department of Cultural Resources|
The Colonial Records Project
Historical Publications Section
4622 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4622
Phone: (919) 733-7442
Fax: (919) 733-1439
Last Updated 05/24/00
The Natural History of North-Carolina.
OF THE FISH OFNORTH CAROLINA.
The Whales differ from the Fin-Fish in their Fins. The Fin-Fish having a large Fin on the Back, where the Whale has none, but he has two behind his Eyes, covered with a thick black Skin, finely Marbled, with white Stroaks, and the representation of Houses, Trees, &c. With these two Fins and his Tail he swims and steers himself like a Boat with Oars. The Head of this Monster is somewhat flat, and slopes downwards like the Ridge of a House to the under Lip, which is broader than any part of his Body, and broadest in the middle behind the Bump, for between that and the Fins are his Eyes, which are not much bigger than those of a Bullock, with Eye-lids and Hair like Menís. The Chrystal of the Eye is not much bigger than a Pea, which in some is clear and transparent, and in others of a white or yellowish Colour. The Eyes lie low, almost at the end of the upper Lip. The Head is the third part of the Fish, and in some more. Their Lips are plain, somewhat bending like an S. and underneath the Eyes, before the two Fins, they are smooth, jet black, and round like the quarter of a Circle, but when they draw them together, they lock in one another. Within the uppermost Lip is contained the Whalebone, (and not in the Fins, as some have imagined) which is of a brownish black and yellow Colour, with streaks of several other Colours, but the Whalebone of the young ones, is generally Blue. The Whalebone hangs down on both sides within the Mouth, all hairy like a Horses Tail, and in some it is bended like a Scymeter, and in others like a half Moon. In one side, in a Row, there are generally Two hundred and fifty Pieces of Whalebone, and as many on the other, besides the small Bone, which is not regarded, because they cannot well come at it to cut it out. The middlemost is the greatest, and is sometimes eighteen or ninteen Foot long. It lies in a flat row, one Piece by another, and is broadest at the top, where it sticks to the upper Lip, towards the Root it is covered with white Sinews, which when boiled, smell pleasantly. There grows small Whalebone at the Root of the greater, whereof they make Boxes, Handles for Knives, walking Sticks, and the like.
The Tongue lies amongst the Whalebone, and is close fixed to the upper Chop, which is very large and white, with black Spots at the edges. It has a soft spungy Fat, and cannot be easily cut, so that it is generally flung away, though it would yield seven or eight Barrels of train Oil. Upon his Head there is a Bump, and before his Eyes and Fins at the top of this Bump on each side, there is a spout hole, bended like an S. out of which he blows the Water so fiercely, that it roars like a great Wind. Just before in the under Lip, there is a Cavity or Hole, which fits the upper as exactly as a sheath does a Knife, and through this hole he draws the Water he spouts out; when he is wounded, his blowing resembles the roaring of the Sea in a great Storm. Neither does he hear when he spouts the Water, and is easiest struck at that time. The Belly and Back are quite Red in some, but under the Belly they are sometimes White, and some of them Coal Black. They look very beautiful when the Sun shines on them, and the small clear Waves over them, glitter like Silver. The outward Skin is thin like Parchment, and easily pulled off when the Fish grows hot, which they frequently do by swimming, and then they stink.
The Yard is a strong Sinew, and from six to eight Feet long, and where the Yard is fixed, the Skin is doubled, so that it lies like a Knife in a Sheath. The Pudenda of the Female is shaped like that of a large four footed Beast. They have Breasts, with Nipples at the sides of it, like those of a Cow. When they couple together, they stand upright, with their Heads out of the Water, but how long they carry their Young, is uncertain. Neither are they ever observed to have more than two young ones at a time. When they are brought forth, they are as big as an Hogshead; they suck their Dams, whose Milk is very white and sweet, but tastes Fishy. The Sperm, when fresh smells like wheaten Flower boild in Water, and may be drawn out in Threads like hot Sealing Wax or Glew; when cold, it turns to a Musk colour, smells strong, and is to be kept sweet by no means. At certain Seasons there may be whole Pails full of it taken out of the Water, for it swims upon the Sea like Fat, as does that of the Sea-Horses and Seals, the Sailors frequently make twisted Whips of Sinews of the Yard. The Bones are hard like those of a great four-footed Beast, but porous like a Spunge, and filled with Marrow, but when that is consumed, the Holes are as large as those of a Honey-Comb. They have two large strong Bones which hold up the under Lip, and they lie opposite to each other in form of an half Moon, some of which are twenty Feet long of a side. The Flesh is course and hard, like that of a Bull, mixed with many Sinews, and is very dry and lean when boiled, because their Fat lies wholy betwixt the Flesh and the Skin. When the Sailors have a mind to eat of it, they cut great pieces off before the Tail, which is tenderest, and boil it. Others report the Tongue to be good Food, and whenever they kill any of them eat part of it; some of the Flesh looks green and blue like powdered Beef. The Fat is mixed with Sinews, which hold the Oil, as a Spunge does Water: The other strong Sinews are chiefly about the Tail, with which he turns and winds himself, as a Rudder does a Ship. He swims as swift as a Bird flies, and makes a track in the Sea like a large Ship under sail. Their Tails do not stand up as the Tails of most other Fishes do, but lie horizontally as those of the Dolphin, and are from three to four Fathom broad.
The middling Whales are about fifty or sixty Feet long, and commonly yield seventy, eighty, or ninty Barrels of Fat or Oil. Besides the uppermost thin Skin, there is likewise another about an Inch thick, and of the same colour with the other, but both are so brittle, when dry that they are of no value; and the softness of the Skin is reckoned to be the cause why the Whale, though the strongest and biggest of Fishes in the Water, cannot make much use of his strength. The Guts are of a flesh Colour, and the Dung within them yellow: Their food is chiefly Sea-Snails, Herrings, and other small Fish, when they see a Man or a Long Boat, they dive and run away; but if they are wounded, or in danger, they value a Man no more than a Straw, and frequently beat the Long-Boat in pieces, but great Ships are too many for them, for when they strike against them with their Tails, they generally receive more Damage than they give. They sometimes run away with some thousand fathom of Rope-line (after they are struck with the Harpoon or Sharp-Iron, that is fixed to a Stick, and resembles a Dart) a great deal swifter than a Ship can sail, or a Bird flie, by which means the Lines are sometimes set on fire, when there is not proper Care taken to prevent them, by constantly throwing Water on them as they run out. They shift their Quarters, as is supposed, according to the Seasons. They have Ailments as well as other Beasts, and are strangely afflicted with Lice; they will sometimes leap out of the Water, as if they were in an Agony. Before a Tempest they beat the Water about with their Tails like Dust. They are observed to have the greatest Strength when they strike side-ways. If they escape, their Wounds are quickly healed up, because of their Fat; but the Wound always leaves a white Scar behind it.
These Monsters are very numerous on the Coasts of North-Carolina, and the Bone and Oil would be a great Advantage to the Inhabitants that live on the Sand-Banks along the Ocean, if they were as dexterous and industrious in Fishing for them as they are Northwards; but as I observed before, the People in these parts are not very much given to Industry, but wait upon Providence to throw those dead Monsters on Shoar, which frequently happens to their great advantage and Profit. For which Reason abundance of Inhabitants dwell upon the Banks near the Sea for that Intent, and the benefit of Wrecks of Vessels which are sometimes driven in upon these Coasts. Not many Years ago there were two Boats that came from the Northward to Ocacock Island, to fish, and carried away that Season Three Hundred and Forty Barrels of Oil, beside the Bone, but these Fishermen going away without paying the Tenths to the Governor, they never appeared to fish on these Coasts afterwards, or any other that I ever could hear of. I only mention this to shew with what Advantage the Fishing for Whales might be carried on here, when only one Tryal carried off so rich and valuable a Cargoe.
There are four sorts of Whales in these parts: The first is the Sperma-Ceti Whale, from whence the Sperma-Ceti is taken, and is the most choice for its rich and valuable Commodities. These sort are sometimes found on this Coast, and are a rich Prize to those that are so fortunate as to find them. The other sorts are of a prodigious large size, and it is of these the Bone and Oil are made, the Oil being only the Blubber or Oily Flesh or Fat of this Fish boiled. These differ not only in Colour, some being all White, others pied, and others not, but likewise very much in Shape, one being called the Bottle-Nose, and the other the Shovel-Nose, which is as different as a Salmon from a Sturgeon.
These Fish are never found dead or floating to the Shoar with their Tongues in their Heads, for it is the opinion of many in these parts, that the Thrashers and Sword-Fish, (which are mortal Enemies to the Whales where ever they meet them) eat the Tongue out of their Head, as soon as they have killed him; but whether this is done by the Fish above mentioned, or by others of the same voracious Nature, I will not take upon me to determine, but leave it to the determination of every judicious Reader.
There is another sort of these Whales, or great Fishes, though not commonly found on these Coasts, and are contrary to all the others in shape, that were ever found in these Parts, being about Sixty Feet in length, and not above four Feet and a half Diameter; I never saw but one of them. It is reported that some Indians in America will go out to Sea and get on the Whaleís Back, and peg, and plug up his Spouts, and so kill him, which I can scarce believe, except they have some secret Spell to make them stupid, to treat them after that manner. It is very strange to see how they will throw up the Water with their Spouts, by which means they are seen or discovered at great distances. They cannot abide long under Water for want of Air, which is common to most large Fishes, so that they are frequently seen to rise with their Heads and Backs above the surface of the Water, and spouting it in the Air, after which it is said, they draw in a sufficient quantity of Air necessary for their supporting of Life.
The Crampois, is another large Fish, about twenty five or thirty Feet long, and is accounted by many to be a young Whale, by reason it has Spouts as the Whale has and produces as good Oil as the former.
The Bottle-Noses, are another Species of large Fishes, between the Crampois and the Porpoise. They are to be met with for the most part near the Soundings, and are never observed to Swim leisurely, as sometimes other Fishes do, but are continually in pursuit of their Prey, in great Shoals, like wild Horses, leaping now and then above the Water. Some make use of them, and especially the French, who esteem them good Food, and eat them both fresh and salt. These as well as the Porpoise, are often heard to puff and blow very strong, as they are Swimming.
I hope it will not be unpleasing to the Reader, to give an Account what I saw done by these Fishes, viz. In our Passage through Pamticoe Sound, we had very good Diversion with them, which were in great Numbers about the Ship; one of our Company shot amongst them, with a Brace of Balls, and happened to wound one of them, which we could plainly discover from some of itís Blood in the Water, the Weather being very calm; which was no sooner done, but all the rest left us in pursuit of the one that was wounded, we could often see it leaping above the Water, for near half an Hour, still striving to avoid the rest, Ďtill at last it was quite spent, (as we supposed) for we could not perceive it any longer leaping out of the Water. The Master of the Vessel assured me, that the rest devoured it, which they always do with those wounded, still pursuing the Blood, like a Pack of Dogs after a Deer. They are very fat and produce good Oil.
The Porpoise, or Sea-hog, is large, being above four Feet long and two and a half thick, the Figure is somewhat long and round, continually tapering towards the Tail. It is covered with a slender thin Skin, of a blackish colour, and has only three Fins like the Dolphin. It has a large Head, small Eyes, and a forked Tail. They are frequently to be met with all over the Ocean and Rivers that are salt. We have a fresh-water Lake in the great Sound of North Carolina, that has Porpoises in it, with several other sorts of unknown Fish(as the Indians report) that we are intire Strangers to. As to the Porpoises, they are generally very fat, and make good Oil. They prey on other Fish, such as Drums and Mullets, yet are seldom or never known to take the Bait, so as to be catched with a Hook. Some call these Herring Hogs, from their feeding on those Fish, and their Flesh being so very fat, little Pork. They are much fatter than a Dolphin, but not so good; the Gentry bake it as Venison, but it is not pleasant Food. They are always approaching the Shoars in great Numbers before Storms.
The Thrashers are likewise large, as I have been informed, and one of the mortal Enemies that pursue and kill the Whale, as I said before. They make good Oil, but are seldom found in these Parts.
The Sword-Fish, or Saw-Fish, has a long broad Bone fixed to his Nose, with sharp Teeth like a Saw, on each side of it. It has two Fins on the Back, that next the Tail is hollow like a Sickle. He has four underneath his Belly, viz. two on each side. The Tail is like a piece of Board, painted behind and underneath, but not divided, his Shape from Top to Tail, is like a Manís Arm. His Eyes stand high out of his Head; his Nostrils are oblong, and his Mouth is directly under his Eyes. They are from twelve to twenty Feet long, and are generally very fat on the Back, almost like a Hog. They are mortal Enemies to the Whale, about which they gather in great Numbers, and when they kill him, only eat out his Tongue, as is supposed, and then the Whale floats to Shoar, which is an extraordinary Prize to those that find him. They likewise joyn with the Thrashers, to kill them, and it is reported that they will singly attack a Whale. In calm Weather, the Fishers lye by till they kill the Whale, and upon the approach of the Boats, the Sword-Fish being frighted, retires. The Flesh is dry and solid, but it is said to nourish much, and as good as a Sturgeon.
The Devil-Fish, so called, from the large pair of Horns it has upon its Head, and as near as I could be informed; it is shaped like a Scate or Stingray. It is of a monstrous large Size and Strength, for it hath been known to weigh a Sloopís Anchor, and run away with the Vessel for a League or two, and to bring her back again almost to the same Place, against the Tide. This I have been informed of by several of the most credible and substantial Planters in these parts; and that this strange and wonderful Adventure has happened more than once. They are in most of our Inlets, but I never heard of any of them being killed or taken, therefore cannot inform the Reader what Uses they are of, but doubtless they would make good Oil as well as other large Fishes, if they could be taken to make the Experiment.
The Shark, whereof there are two sorts. The first is called the Paracoda-Noses, the other the Shovel-Noses: Both these are very large, bold, voracious and dangerous Fishes, especially to those that have the misfortune to fall over board. It is reported, that they will follow Ships for Hours together, and if either Man or Dog, or any other living Animal happen to fall into the Water, they immediately seize and snap in two, having exceeding sharp, and several Rows of Teeth in their Heads: Some of them are so large, that they are said to weigh about four thousand Weight. They are easily caught with a Bait, but can never take their Prey Ďtill they turn themselves on their Backs, wherefore some Negroes and others that can swim and dive well, go naked into the Waters with a Knife in their Hands, and fight them, and commonly kill, or wound him, so that he turns Tail and runs away. Their Flesh is eaten in time of scarcity, but is not very palatable, having a strong fishy taste. Their Liver makes good Oil to dress Leather with, and the Bones found in their Head, are said to hasten the Birth, and ease the Stone, by bringing it away. Their Back-bone is of one entire thickness, having many Joints in it, whereof I have known Buttons made by the Sailors and others that live in those remote Places. Gillius says, that the People of Marseilles told him, that they had caught one of them, in which they found a Man armed with a Coat of Mail.
The following Relation, will in some measure corroborate the former Account of the Negroes killing them: August 1730, a Sloop sailed from North Carolina, bound to the Island in the West Indies, and after four Days sailing from the Bar, was most unfortunately overset, and all the Crew, except the Master, two Sailors, and one Negroe, were drowned, these being upon Deck at the time when this misfortune happened, and had the good providence to get upon the Keel of the Vessel, where they remained twenty one Days, and then were taken up by a Vessel trading to Europe; having neither Water or any other Necessaries to support Nature, but by Gods Providence, the Negroe killed a Shark, whereon they lived, and was the only support they had during the said time, which was confirmed by the Master in his Letter from London, to his Friends in North Carolina.
The Pilot-Fish is of a deep Blue, and the Belly of a lighter Colour than the Back or Sides. The Scales are smooth like a Tench. Itís Back is speckled like a Seal-skin. When it is swimming, it appears much like a Mackarel, and looks as if it were painted Blue and White, like a Barbers Pole. It is reported, that the Shark is always attended by one or two of these Fishes, which he will not devour, though never so hungry, because they find out the Prey for him. They are reckoned exceeding good to eat.
The Dolphin, is a large Fish, not much unlike a Porpoise. It has two strong Fins, which like the Arms of a Man, are joined to the Shoulder-blades, and is said to be of that swiftness, that it will easily overtake a Ship in full sail before the Wind. They generate like rational Animals, bringing forth their Young alive, not from Spawn but Seed, and have but one or two at a time. They go with young ten Months, breed only in the Summer, and are said to live two or three hundred Years. They sometimes swim in Shoals, and at other times only the Male and Female together. It is reported that when they are taken, they are observed to deplore their Condition by Groans, Lamentations, and a flood of Tears. It is also said to be a certain sign of a Storm shortly to follow, when they are seen sporting, and frequently moving their Bodies in the Water. They have a groaning Voice, sharp Sight, and said to be lovers of Musick and Men. There are great numbers of them to be met with in these Seas, and are said to live out of the Water for two or three Days. They are much deceived who imagine Dolphins to be of the Figure they are usually represented on Signs; that Error being more owing to Painters, than any such thing in Fact, for they are straight and not crooked. Their Flesh is eaten by the Dutch, and is of good Account amongst the French; though according to the Accounts of some, it yields no very grateful Taste. The Liver is of a tender Substance, and very nourishing, so is the Tongue. The Bowels smell and taste like Violets, and help the Spleen. The Ashes of the whole Fish applied with Water, is good against the Tettars, Ring-worms, Scruff and Leprosie.
The Flying-fish is slender and long, the Eyes large, and the Tail forked. The Body is in shape like a Sealís, and in colour like one of our Mullets. It has two large Fins near the Head, which resembles a pair of Wings, one on the Back, and two underneath the Belly, with these Fins, it flies near a Gun-shot before it touches the Water, and when it hath wet itís Wings it will mount up again. They are constantly chased by the Dolphins, which swim so fast, that they are often catched by them as they drop into the Water. There are vast Shoals of them in these Seas, and when they rise out of the Water, at a distance, appear like a large flock of small Birds.
The Dog-fish, is a small sort of the Shark kind, but seldom exceeds twenty Pounds. They are frequently caught with the Hook and Line when they fish for Drum. They have a long tapering Body without Scales, but covered with a sharp hard Skin, that is made use of to polish fine Wood. Their Snout is a little long and round at the point, the Flesh is white, of easy concoction, but of no pleasant Taste, and is therefore best eaten with Mustard or some sharp Sauce. They are very numerous in these Parts, but little regarded or made use of, where there are so many delicate sorts to be had in such plenty. The Fat of these Fish, and the Shark, have much the same Virtues with the Alligator.
The Spanish Mackarel, they are in shape and colour like the common Mackarel, only these are much thicker, and generally about two Feet long; there are vast numbers of them in these Seas. They are caught with Hook and Line in the Inlets, and sometimes a small distance out at Sea, being a voracious Fish, greedily swallowing either Beat or Fish that comes in their way. They are a very fine hard Fish, and of good Taste. The Liver eaten, helps Obstruction of the Liver and Jaundice.
The Cavallies are about the bigness of a Mackarel, the Fins and Tail are partly like a Dolphins. They have large Eyes, and are of a brownish colour on their Backs, and their Bellies white; they have exceeding small Scales, and a very thick Skin. They are taken in the same places with the Spanish-Mackarel, and are one of the firmest Fishes known in these parts, and will therefore keep sweet (in the extremity of the hot Weather) two or three Days without Salt, when others will Stink in half a Day, if not Salted. Those that catch them, immediately take off their Scales, otherwise you must pull off the Skin and Scales when boiled; the Skin being the choicest part of the Fish. Their Meat is exceeding White, and very relishing when it is well Drest.
The Bonetoís are very fine and palatable Fishes, and generally about a Yard long. They most commonly frequent the Inlets and Waters near the Ocean, and are killíd with the Harpoon and Fish-gig, but seldom or never with the Hook and Line, though they are very plenty in several places on this Coast.
The Blue-Fish, so callíd, from their being of that colour, they are accounted one of the best sort of Fishes in these parts, being very fat. They have a forked Tail, and are partly shaped like a Dolphin. They are as large and as long as a Salmon, and as good. They come to these Coasts in the fall of the Year, and after there has been one black Frost, in great Shoals, so that the Indians and others who wade into the Waters strike and kill vast Numbers of them with their Fish-gigs. Sometimes many Cart loads of them are found dead and left dry on the Sea Shore; which is occasioned for the most part by their eager pursuit after the small Fish; which means they and several other Fishes run themselves on Shoar, and the Tides leaving them on the dry Sands they cannot recover the Water again and so dye; wherefore those that are disposed to get up early before the Fowl come to prey, may get what quantities they please of several sorts of Fishes all along these coasts. And notwithstanding these Blue-fish are accounted so extraordinary good, yet they sometimes occasion Sickness after eating them, viz. violent heats all over the Body with Shiverings, Head-ach, and the like, which is chiefly owing to the Gall being broke in some of them, which is very hurtful, as I found by giving it to a Dog.
The Drum-fish, whereof there are two sorts, viz. the Red and the Black. The Red is a large scaly Fish, much bigger than the Blue-fish, some of them being above four Feet long; the Body is excellent firm Meat, and extraordinary good nourishment; their Heads exceed in goodness all the Fish in these parts, being the most delicious Dish I ever met with. There are greater numbers of them to be met with in Carolina, than any other sort of Fish. Those that are disposed to fish for them, especially every new Flood, catch as many Barrels full as they please, with Hook and Line, for at that time they will catch them as fast as they can throw their Bait into the Water, which is generally a soft Crab, and so Salt them up and Transport them to other parts that are scarce of Provisions.
The Black-Drums are a thicker made Fish, and much fatter than the former; they are an excellent good Fish, but not so common here, as they are in the more Northerly parts of this Continent, they are taken after the same manner with the former, viz. with Hook and Line.
The Angel-fish, so called from itís beautiful Golden Colour, that shines all about itís Head and Belly; it is in shape exactly like the Bream, and is very good to eat. The same sort of Fish is plentifully to be met with all along the Coast of Bermudas, and is very much esteemed by the Inhabitants of that Island.
The Bass, or Rock-fish, are to be met with both in the salt and fresh Water; when they are young they very much resemble a Grey-Ling, but they grow to the size of the large Cod-fish. They are a good, firm, and well tasted Fish, and are in great plenty in these parts; they are good Food, especially the Heads of the large ones soused, make a choice Dish.
The Mullets are the same as with us in size and goodness, and are in greater plenty here, than in most parts of Europe, especially where the Waters are salt and brackish. They are killed by striking them with the Fish-gig, or caught in Nets, for they seldom or never take the Bait. I have frequently known them at Night-time, to leap into the Cannoes, and likewise vast numbers of them to be found dead on the dry Sands or Shoars. They are much of the Nature of the Pike. They strengthen the Stomach, and are good against the Cholick, &c.
The Sheeps-head, is a Fish, so called, from itís having Teeth in itís Head like a Sheep. It is much about the bigness of the Angel-fish, and partly shaped like him, being flat. It has the vogue of being one of the choicest Fishes in this Province: Most certainly it is a delicate Fish, and well relished, yet I think there are many others as good. It is taken with the Hook and Line as the Drum. They are plenty in all our Salt-water Rivers and Inlets, and generally weigh two to three Pounds, and sometimes more.
The Plaice are here very large and plenty, being the same as with us in Europe, they are of good nourishment, but more watry than Soals. The best Plaice have the blackest Spots, as the best Flounders have the reddest.
The Soals are found here, but not in such plenty as generally other Fish are, but are as good and as sweet here, as in any part of Europe. They are of the nature of the Plaice and Flounder, but a much better Fish, being more firm and solid, and afford more plenty of nourishment. The Indians and others kill vast quantities of these two sorts, and the Flounders, with their Fish-gigs, especially in the dark Nights, when the Weather is calm, with Lights.
The Shads are the same here as in Europe; they are pleasant, sweet, and nourishing, but are full of Bones, that it is dangerous to eat them without great care. They are to be met with in great plenty at some Seasons. They are said to be something Hypnotick in their Nature.
The Fat-backs, are so called, from being one of the fattest Fishes ever yet known, for when they are fryed in a Pan, they neither use Oil or Butter for that purpose. They are like the Mullet, but not so large, they are an excellent sweet Fish, eat well, and are very nourishing.
The Guar, or Guard-fish, whereof there are two sorts, viz. the White and the Green. The White is shaped almost like a Pike, but more slender. Itís Mouth has a long small Bill, set with very sharp Teeth with which it catches itís prey which are several sorts of fry and small Fishes. They have strong large Scales so firmly knit together, that it is a hard matter to pierce through them with the sharpest Knife. When they dress them, they slit the Belly, where the Scales are not so strong or Armor-like, and take off their Skin, which they throw away as useless. The Meat is white and firm, and looks rather like Flesh than Fish. It is but very indifferent and course Food, therefore not much coveted by the Planters, though the Indians are very fond of them. The Gall is very Green, and a most violent Cathartick if taken inwardly.
The Green-guard, is shaped in all respects like the other, only it is not so large, and itís Scales are Finer. The upper Jaw is the same as in the Alligator, moveable. Itís Bones when fryíd or broylíd, remain as green as Grass, though the Meat be of a white colour, and is but indifferent Food. The same sort of Fish is generally to be met with on the Coasts of Ireland, before the Season of the Mackarel, and seldom afterwards.
The Scate, or Stingre, is altogether of the nature of the Thornback, but stronger. They are the same here as are to be met with in several parts of Europe, and are very common; but the great plenty of other good Fish makes them little regarded, for few or none eat them in this Province (except the Negroes and Indians) though they are at every Planterís Door, as far as the salt Waters are. The Skin is used to polish Ivory, and fine Wood; it is said that they couple with the Thornback, and grow till they weigh One hundred and Sixty Pounds. The Oil of the Liver is good in hard Swellings, and the Ashes of the Skin help running Ulcers of the Head and Baldness.
The Thornbacks are the same here as in Europe, but not so plenty as the Scate and Whip-Rays. Their Flesh is moist, nourishes much, and restores in long and deep Consumptions, the Liver is sweet, and has the same virtues. The Gall cures Diseases of the Ears and Itch.
The Conger, or great Sea-Eel, always remains in the Salt Waters, it is white, fat, and sweet Flesh, which nourishes to excess, and is dangerous because of Surfeits: They are best when first boiled in Water, Salt, Sweet-herbs, and Spices, then Broiled, or Collared, and then they are exceeding good Meat. These kind of Fish are better known to the North-ward of America, than in this Province.
The Lamprey, or Lampron, is not common in these Parts but plenty to the Northward. They are best in March and April, being then fattest; in Summer they are harder and leaner. They are about a Yard long, live in the Sea in Rocky places, and in the Mouths of Rivers, and weigh about twelve pound Weight: They eat Flesh, and when taken, are said to fly at the Fishers, and to be an Enemy to the Conger. They are sometimes taken in the Fish Wairs, but the Indians cannot endure them, neither will they eat them, though they are fond of most other sorts of Fish found in these Parts. Pliny reporteth, that they Spawn at all times of the Year, whereas all other Fish have certain Seasons. The Flesh is sweet and of good Nourishment, yet it is apt to cause Surfeits like the former, with which it agrees in Nature and Virtues.
The Eels are plenty in all our Rivers, and eat as well as in any part of the World. Their Flesh is very sweet, and yields much Nourishment, but apt to surfeit if much eaten. The Fat is good against blows and discolouring of the Skin, dropt into the Ears, helps old Pains and Deafness. The Gall is excellent against Suffusions of the Eyes, and the Blood warm with Wine helps the Cholick.
The Sun-Fish is very fat and rounder than a Bream, itís hinder part is invironed with a Circular Fin, which serves instead of a Tail, so that it may seem to be but the Head of a Fish, or a Fish in part rather than a whole one. They are plenty in these parts of America, and sometimes weigh a hundred Weight; they are commonly two or three Feet in length, they have no Scales, but are covered with a hard thick and sharp Skin, the colour whereof on the Back is black, and on the Belly a light silver grey. They are extreamly well tasted, therefore in great Esteem amongst the Inhabitants.
The Toad-Fish, or rather the Sea Urchin, because they are nothing but a Skin full of Prickles, and very few Bones. They are as ugly as a Toad, and of no manner of Use only to be preserved and hung up in Grottos to look at. Their manner of swimming is to rowl and tumble round like a Ball.
The Sea Tench is of a blackish colour, but exactly in shape like a Tench, except in the back Fins, which are like those of a Perch. They are as good if not better than the fresh-water Tench; they are taken by Angling with Hook and Line as the Drum and Pearch, near the Inlets, or a small distance out at Sea, where they are in great Plenty.
The Salt-Water Trouts, commonly called the White Trouts, are exactly shaped like the Trouts with us, only these have blackish and not Red Spots. They are in great plenty in the Sounds, near the Inlets, and Salt Waters; but they are not red within like some Trouts. They are excellent good, but so tender, that if they are in or near the fresh Waters, and a sudden Frost come on, they are so benumbíd, that they float as dead on the surface of the Water, at which Season they take Cannoes full of them, yet notwithstanding they are thus benumbíd they will recover again by the heat of the Sun, or put them into warm Water they will become brisk and lively. They are taken with the Bait, in or near the Salt Waters.
The Crocus, so called, from the croaking Noise it makes in ones Hand when it is taken with the Hook and Bait. They are in shape like a Perch, and in taste like a Whiteing, and are very plenty.
The Smelts, are the same here as I have observed in several parts of Europe. They are about eight or nine Inches long, and one broad; they smell like Violets, and are of the finest, lightest, softest, and best Juice, of most other Fish, especially in the Winter, and when full of Spawn. They lye down a great way in the Sound towards the Ocean, where they are very plenty, and vast numbers of them are taken at certain Seasons of the Year.
The Sea-Bream is thin, broad, and flat, exactly resembling our Fresh-water Bream; though there hath not been any such Fish discovered yet in the fresh Waters of Carolina, that I could ever learn. Their Flesh is white and solid, of good Juice and Nourishment, and easy of Digestion. They are very plenty in the Sound and Salt-Water.
The Taylor is about the bigness of a middling Trout, but of a blueish and green Colour, with a forked Tail like a Mackarel. They are excellent fine and delicious, Fishes, very plenty in the salt and brackish Waters, where they are caught with the Bait.
The Herrings are not quite so large as those with us in Ireland, and other parts of Europe. They come in such great Shoals to Spawn in the Months of March and April, that I have seen the Christian Inhabitants catch as many Barrels full as they pleased, or as long as their Salt lasted to preserve them, with Sieves and Shovels, instead of Nets; for at that Season they run up the Creeks and small Rivulets of Water in such Numbers, that the Bears take them out of the Water, as I have observed elsewhere. When they are fresh their Flesh is very white and more delicious than the Herring with us in Europe, but when they are Salted they become red, and if drest with Oil and Vinegar resemble an Anchovy very much, being far beyond any I have ever met with in Europe, when well Pickled, but if those Fish are eaten too greedily whilst fresh, are apt to breed Feavers. The Planters export several Barrels from hence to the Islands in the West-Indies and other parts that are scarce of Provisions.
THUS I have given you the most exact and Impartial account of the Salt-water Fish that came to my knowledge during my stay in those parts, though I have eat of several other sorts of Fish which I have omitted by reason that they are not distinguished by any certain English Names, that I couíd learn, yet the Indians are well acquainted with them and have very uncouth Names for, which no doubt the Christians in time will discover, especially when this Colony is better inhabited and the Fishing Trade is well carryíd on. I shall therefore proceed to give an account of the FISH that are to be met with in the fresh Waters.
The Sturgeon is the first of these whereof we have great plenty, all the fresh parts of our Rivers being well stored with them. The upper parts of this fish are of a sordid Olive Colour, or betwixt a grey and a black: The Belly of a Silver Colour. They have a midling Head; very small Eyes, for the bulk of the Fish. The Snout is long, broad and sharp, and the Mouth without Teeth, they have no Chops, from whence it appears that they feed by sucking. They are a large Fish with a long Body, sixteen Fins and five rows of Scales; two on each side, and one on the back: The Scales of the upper row which are in the middle of the Back, being greater than the rest, rise higher; of these there are no certain Number; for it has been observed that some have Eleven some Twelve and others Thirteen; this row is extended from the Head to the fin of the Back near the Tail. The Rows on the sides extend from the Head to the very Tail; made up with about thirty sharp Thorns or Prickles. The lower row which begin at the first pair of the Fins and end at the second, are each made up of Eleven, Twelve or Thirteen; all the Scales of the rows in general, have on their Tops strong sharp Prickles bending backwards. Besides these five rows, they have only two Scales in the middle of the Belly, the rest of the Belly being smooth. They have a large forked Tail like that of the Sharkís, the upper part whereof shoots out beyond the lower a considerable way. These Fishes sometimes frequent the Salt Waters like the Salmon, but come to their greatest perfection in the Rivers, where they are found twelve or fourteen Feet long, but those in the Sea seldom exceed above a Foot and a half. They always are observed to swim fastest against the Stream, and grow till they weigh above two hundred pound Weight. In the Month of May (at which time they are best in Season especially the Females) they run up towards the Heads of the Rivers to Spawn, where you shall see vast quantities of them in a Day and especially before Rain, leaping at a great height out of the Water. The Indians kill great Numbers of them with their Fish-gigs and Nets, which they make and fix at the ends of long Poles; for they are seldom or never taken with Hooks. The Indians that live up towards the Heads of the Rivers are fond of them, and frequently eat them, but those near the salts and Christians will not make any use of them. Their Bones serve indifferently for Rasps or Graters to grate Nut-megs, Bread, and the like withall. The Sturgeon is an excellent Fish when in Season, being strengthning, and is esteemed as good as Veal, if not better; of their Eggs or Spawn is made the Caviary so much esteemed amongst the Quality. The Liver is so sweet, that without some of the Gall, it causeth loathing. The Flesh is good against hoars-ness and clears the Voice, the Fat cures the Kibes, and the Bones help the running Gout.
The Jack, Pike, or Pickerel, of these we have two sorts (one living in the fresh, and the other in the Salt Water) and are exactly of the same shape with those in Europe, but differ very much in size, for they are seldom found in these parts of America, above two Foot long, as far as I have yet seen. They are very plenty with us in this Province, all the fresh Water Rivers and Creeks abounding with them, and vast quantities are frequently taken in their Wairs at a time. The Flesh of this Fish is whiter and more excellent than that of the Carp, and is so harmless that it may be given to sick Persons. The Spawn or Row provoke both Vomit and Stool, and several other virtues are ascribed to them. Those of the Sea are more delicate and better Fish than those of the fresh Water. They are said to live above two hundred Years, and that from their greediness of eating, they will often disgorge their Stomach of those Fishes they had taken in, and that they will sometimes swallow a Fish near as large as themselves, taking the Head in formost, the Tail hanging out of the Mouth, and so draw it in by little and little, till they compass the whole.
The Trouts are the same in Carolina as with us; but are not to be met with till you come up to the Heads of the Rivers, and where the Streams are swift and have Stony and gravelly Bottoms. These Fishes are equal in goodness to any Fish that live in the fresh Waters. The fat is very good for the Hæmorrhoids and clefts in the Fundament.
The Gudgeons, there are the same sorts found here, as in several parts of Europe, they are of the nature of the Perch, and the whitest is the best, they are good pleasant food and of easy digestion, nourishing much, and increasing good Blood, and are good against the Cholick arising from cold or Tartarous humours, they help the Bloody flux, and other fluxes of the Belly, and being applied help the biting of Mad-dogs and Serpents.
The Perch whereof we have five sorts in Carolina. The first is the same as is to be met with in Europe, but is not quite so large. They are an excellent Fish and very wholsom, and good against Fevers, and the Stones in their Heads near the Back bone are accounted good against the Stone in the Reins.
The second sort of Perch is callíd the white Perch because it is of a Silver colour otherwise it is like the former or English Perch in shape and size. These are in very great plenty and preferable to the red ones in goodness.
The third sort which are commonly callíd Welch-men, are of a Brown colour and are the largest sort of Perches we have in these parts, some growing to be larger than any Carp, and are a very firm white and sweet Fish, and are very plenty in the Rivers and Creeks.
The fourth sort are vulgarly callíd Irish-men, these are a more flat Fish than any of the former, and much resembling a Bream, being all over freckled or mottled with Black and Blue spots, they are a very good Fish and are never taken any where but in the fresh Waters where they are very plenty.
The fifth sort are distinguished by the Name of round Robins and are the least sort of all, they are flat and very round shaped like a Roach, are beautifully mottled with red spots, and are as good Meat as any of the former, they are very easily taken with a Bait, as all the rest of the Perches are and are very numerous, each Creek and River of fresh Water abounding with them.
The Roach is here Likewise but is not as large as those in Europe. It is a good Fish but its being so full of small Bones makes it dangerous and Little regarded. It is reported to be a healthful Fish and not Subject to any diseases, whence comes the Proverb as sound as a Roach. The Flesh is said to excite Lust and cure Fevers.
The Carp is the same as in Europe but is not quite so large. It has a short Head without either Teeth or Tongue, but instead thereof a fleshy Palate that it may relish its food. The Fins are broad, the Tail forked and the Body covered with very large strong Scales. Its flesh is fat, soft, sweet, and nourishes very much, and is best in March, the Male being better than the Female, and the White than the Yellow. The fat cures diseases of the Nerves, the Stones about the Eyes are said to be good against the heat of Fevers, and likewise for the falling Sickness, and the Gall helps dimness of sight.
The Dace is the same here as in Europe, but is not so large or plentiful as with us. The flesh is soft, sweet in taste, and of good nourishment; and when pickled like Anchovies after the Italian manner, is Stomachical. They are best in February, March and April, and are excellent good food roasted and seasoned with Salt and Pepper. The fat helps pains in the Ears. The Gall mixt with the fat or Oil is good against Dimness of the Sight.
The Flounders are here in very great plenty and as large and good as any in Europe. Some of these Fish have Yellowish spots both on the Back and fins, and taste very much like a Plaise. The Indians and others kill vast quantities of them not only with the Bait but likewise with their Fish-gigs, especially with Lights at Night. They are an excellent Fish and of good Nourishment, strengthen the Stomach, cause Appetite and help the Spleen.
The Loche is the same here as in Europe. The Flesh is very light and excellent nourishment, delicate in taste, wholsome, and good for Women with Child.
The Sucking-Fish are nearest in taste to a Barble, only they have no Barbs, they are about a Foot and a half long, and are a very soft and flabby Fish, and therefore are seldom or never made use of except by the Negroes and Indians, they are generally taken with the Bait and are very plenty in our Rivers and Creeks.
The Cat-Fish, so callíd, from the Whiskers or small fins they have about their Mouths. They are nearest in taste to Eels of any Fish I have ever met with. They are generally boild and made into Soop or Broath, which is the best way of dressing them. They are an excellent good Fish and nourish very much. There is another kind of Cat-fish which frequents the Salt Waters exactly like the former, both these sorts are very plenty in these parts, and are taken by angling with a Bait. They are a round blackish Fish with a great flat Head and wide Mouth, and like the Eels have no Scales.
The Grindal, are a long scaled Fish with small Eyes, and frequent Ponds, Lakes, and slow running Creeks and Swamps, but a very indiffrent soft fish, therefore not much coveted or made use of except by the Negroes or Indians, though some eat them, and report they are good Fish.
The Old-wives, these are bright scaly Fish which frequent the Swamps and fresh runs of Water, they have very small Mouths and large Eyes, with a great Fin on their Back, they seem to be between an European Roach and a Bream, and eat much like the latter, they are in great plenty up the Freshes. The Indians take abundance of these Fish and Barbakue them till they are Crisp, and so Transport them on wooden Hurdles to their Towns and Quarters.
The Fountain-fish, so callíd, from its frequenting the Fountains and clear running Streams of Water, where they breed and are to be met with and no where else. They are of a whitish colour and as large as a midling Trout, and by the clearness of the Water are very difficult to be taken, therefore I canít inform you how good they are, having never tasted any of them, but the Indians say they are a fine fish.
The Barbouts, or Millerís-Thumb, are the very same here as those in England and other parts of Europe. They are about three or four Inches long, have no Scales, and the Back is Yellowish with a few little black Spots. The head is large, and the Mouth wide and round. Out of the Fins grow several sharp prickles or Thornes, especially in those near the Head. These fish are very plenty in Rivers and Creeks near the Sea Shoar where they feed on watry Insects.
This is the best Account I can give, or is yet known of the FISHES in the fresh Waters, few more being discovered, though I am satisfied, and may with Justice and safety say, that there is not one third part of them yet discovered, or made known to us, therefore shall omit many strange and uncouth shapes and sort of Fishes which we are told by the Indians, are to be found in the Rivers and Lakes, whereof I can give no certain Information to my Readers, having no farther account of them than only hearsay from those People, so shall proceed to treat of the Shell-fish which are found in the Salt Waters, as far as they are yet discovered.
The OYSTERS, whereof there are two Sorts, the great and the small, both these are in greater plenty here than in most parts of the known World, for great Numbers of them are to be found in almost every Creek and Gut of Salt Water, and frequently hanging upon Boughs of Trees, as they bend into the Water, so that when the Tide is out you shall see them suspended in the Air, which would be a very uncommon sight in Ireland, to see Fish growing upon Trees. In the sound in several places there are such quantities of large Oyster-banks, that they are very troublesome to Vessels trading to these parts which happen to come in amongst them. They are of a different shape, from those with us, for those in Carolina are very long and large, and not round as ours are. They are excellent good, and nourish as much as any Fish whatever, and that without any manner of danger of Surfeiting. They strengthen the Stomach, cause an Appetite, and breed good Juices, being light and easy of digestion, and are good in Consumptions and several other disorders.
These Oysters, pickled, are well relished, excellent good for a Cold raw and squasy Stomach. The Shells in Powder cure Heartburnings, are good in Feavers and the like, and are the only Lime we have for building in this Country.
The Spanish-Oysters, are so callíd, from their great plenty in the Spanish West-Indies; they have a very thin Shell, and rough on the outside. They are excellent good Shell-fish, and so large that half a Dozen are sufficient to satisfie a hungry Stomach. From these Oysters come the Pearls that are so useful in Physick and so Ornamental.
The Cockles, whereof there are two sorts, the larger and the smaller, and first, the large Cockles are so very big that one of them is as large as five or six of those in Ireland. They are so very plenty in several parts, that they are often thrown upon the Sands on the sound side, where the Gulls and other Birds are always ready to open and eat them. These as well as the former are great Strengtheners of the Stomach, and increase a good Appetite, provoke Urine, help the Cholick, restore in Consumptions, and in all decays of nature are very good.
The Small Cockles are about the bigness of our largest Cockle, and differ in nothing from them except in the Shells which are striped cross-ways, as well as long-ways, they are as good, and have the same virtues with the former.
The Clams are a kind of Cockles, only differing in the Shells, which are thicker, and not streaked or ribbed as the Cockles are. They are plenty in several places along the Sound-side, and Salt-water Ponds. They are very good Pickled, and their Meat tastes like other Cockles; they make excellent strong Broth, which strengthens the Stomach, is nourishing, breeds good Juices, is a Restorative in Consumptions, and other natural Decays.
The Conchs, some of these are very large, but the lesser sort are the best Meat; and that, in my Opinion, not extraordinary, notwithstanding several in these parts are fond of them, and extol them very much: The Fish within their Shells is shaped exactly like a Horseís Yard; of this Shell the Indians make their Peak, or Wampum, which is the richest, and most valuable Commodity they have amongst them. They breed in a kind of Substance shaped like a Snake, which contains a sort of Joints, in the hollowness whereof are thousands of small Conchs, no bigger than small Grains of Pepper. They are plenty along the sides of the Sounds and Salt-waters, but are not as large here as those found in the Islands in the West-Indies.
The Musles are much larger than those with us, their Shells being thicker, larger, and striped with Dents: they grow by the sides of Ponds, and Creeks of Salt-waters, where may be had what quantity they please. They are very apt to give Surfeits, yet there are those who are fond of them, and prefer them to Oysters. Some boyl them, whereof they make Broth (which is the best way of dressing them) which is nourishing and purgeth the Reins, therefore good for those that have the Dropsie, Jaundice, Stone or Gout. They also eat well when they are Pickled.
The Whale-Louse. Their Head is like that of a Louse, with four Horns; the two short ones that stand out before have Knobs like the Sticks of Kettle-Drums. They have six plates on their Backs, and their Scales as hard as Prauns. Their foremost Legs are in shape like a half Moon, with sharp points, by which they fasten in the Skin of the Whale, and then bite pieces out of them. The Whales are mostly annoyed with them in warm Weather, and frequently at that time leap to some height out of the Waters in a rage.
There is a little small Fish in the fresh Waters in Ireland, something like the former, but has no Scales, which is very troublesome to the Pike, but whether it molests any other Fish, I cannot inform the Reader; but I have known the Pike to leap out of the Water upon dry Land with one of these sticking fast to his Belly; I have also been assured by those that fish, and dwell near the Rivers, that one of these will kill the largest Pike, by cutting a hole in his Belly.
The Crabs whereof there are two sorts, viz, the large stone Crab and the small flat Crab. The large stone Crabs are the same in Carolina as with us in Ireland, having black tips on the ends of their Claws, these sorts are plentifully to be met with near Ceder-lsland, Core Sound and the south parts of this Province. The whole Crab is excellent against all sorts of Fevers, Consumptions, Hecticks, Asthmas, the Stone in the Reins and Bladder, pains and Stopage of Urine, and many other disorders.
The smaller or flat Crab, in North Carolina is one of the sweetest and best relished of any of that species I ever met with in any part of Europe, when they are boyled their flesh is very red and preferable in goodness to any Lobster, they are large as a Manís Hand, or rather larger. These are innumerable, lying in great quantities all over the Salts; I have known the little Boys take Bushels full of them in a few Hours. They are taken, not only to be eaten, but are one of the best Baits for all manner of Fish that take the Hook. They are very mischievous to those that set Night Hooks to catch Fish, for they generally take away all the Bait; both these sorts cast their Shells every Year, at which time they make Holes in the Sand, and cover themselves, or those with hard Shells lye on them Ďtill their Shells harden, otherwise they would be destroyed by other Fish. These sort have the same Virtues with the former.
The Fiddlers, are a sort of small Crab that lie in Holes in low, wet, and marshy Ground. The Racoons are very fond of them, hunt for them in those places, and eat them. I never knew any of them eat by the Christians, so cannot inform you whether they are good or no.
The Runners or Spirits, so called, because they are apt to pinch and bite Peoples Legs in the Night, as they walk near the Shoar, and likewise from their running so fast. They are a kind of a whitish Crab, and though they are so small, they will run as fast as a Man; and are good for nothing but to look at. They live chiefly on the Sand Breaches, where they have their Holes. But will frequently run into the Sea when pursued. I take this to be the Hippæe, or Hippeis, represented by Pliny.
The Soldier, is a kind of Shell-fish, so called, but for what reason I know not, except it be for their often changing their Houses, or Quarters, from one hollow Conch shell to another; for they are observed to be still changing their Habitations as they grow larger, having no Shell of their own. They have Claws like a Crab, and may be reckoned a Species of them, but of the smallest kind. They are good when well dressed, very nourishing, and create a good Appetite.
The Wilks, or Periwinkle, are not so large as they are in many parts of Europe, but as sweet and good, or rather better, being good Food and Nourishment; they are restorative in Consumptions and Hecticks, being sodden in their own Sea-water, or boiled in Milk.
The Skallops are pretty good, if well dressed, but if only roasted, without any other Addition, are too luscious to be made use of, and are apt to surfeit, but otherwise they are nourishing, and comfortable to the Stomach.
The Man of Noses are Shell-fish, commonly found in these parts, and are much valued and esteemed for increasing vigour in Men, and preventing barreness in Women, which is a thing seldom attends the Females here; for generally they are fruitful enough, without the benefit of these Fishes. But most certain it is, that they are very nourishing, and create good Juice in the Blood.
The Flatings so called from their flat shape. They are inclosed in a broad thin Shell, the whole fish being flat. They are a very good and delicious Fish and inferior to no Shell-fish this Country affords.
The Sea Snail Horn is exactly shaped like as other Snail Horns are. They are a large and very good Shell-Fish and their Meat very nourishing and communicates good Juices to the Blood.
The Finger-fish, so called, from their being about the length of a Manís Finger, they are very plenty in this Province, but generally lye at the bottom of the Waters about one or two feet deep, and are an extraordinary good Shell-Fish.
The Shrimps are very plentiful in North Carolina, and vast quantities of them are taken by the Boys and Girls with a small bow Net. They are very restorative and good in Consumptions, Hecticks and Asthmas, and are an excellent good Bait to catch Mullets, Pikes, and several other sorts of Fish that are caught by angling with the Bait.
The Sea-Nettles (by some called Carvels) whereof there are great plenty in the Western-Seas and Salt Waters on the coast of America. They seem to be nothing else but Slime, or a lump of Jelly, with a cast of red, blue and green colours in it, they Swim like a Bladder above the Water, but downwards there are long Fibrous Strings, some of which are near half a Yard long; some will have this Jelly to be a sort of Sea-plant, and the Strings its roots growing in the Sea as Duck-weed does in Ponds, but the Query is, if they be not a certain Species of Spawn for when they are taken out of the Water, or any thing touches them (though they scarce seem to have Life) yet they will very suddenly change their colours, which they quickly recover again. They may be reckoned amongst Potential Cauteries, because they are apt to blister the Hands or any other part of the Skin (like Nettles) where ever they touch. I am persuaded that they are of so venemous a Nature that few Fish prey upon them, otherwise they wouíd not be so numerous as they are, notwithstanding I have known some of them taken out of the Guts of the Hawks-billed Turtle. They are called Sea-Nettles, from the stinging and blistering quality they have like Nettles, occasioning burning Pains to whatever part of the Skin they happen to touch.
The fresh-water Shell-fish are the Mussels and Craw-fish. The Mussels are here plenty in several parts of the Freshes, and are much the same as in Europe; they are only made use of by the Indians, who eat them after five or six Hours boiling to make them tender; there are valuable Pearls found in some of them, the whitest are the best, being the wholsomest. The Broth is opening, and therefore good in the Dropsie, Jaundice, and Gout.
The Craw-fish are very plenty in the Brooks and small Rivers of Water amongst the Indians, and at the heads of the Rivers near the Mountains; they are as delicious and good here as in any part of the World. They are shaped like a Scorpion, and the Stones in the Head are accounted good against the Jaundice and Stone in the Reins. The Black are much better than the White; they nourish and strengthen the Body, and the Soop made of them is in very great Value and Esteem amongst the Quantity.
Having thus given a Description of several Species, or Kinds of Fishes that are to be met with, and already known in North Carolina; I shall in the next place proceed to what remains of the Present State, having already accounted for the Animals and Vegetables, as far as this Volume would allow of, and whatever remains may be easily guessed at by any ingenious Man who considers what Latitude Carolina lies in, which reaches from 29 to 36 Degrees 30 Minutes of North Latitude, as I have already observed: Most part of this spacious Country being waste and uninhabited, at present, except by wild Beasts and Savage Indians, from whom we can have but very imperfect Accounts, they being a People of little or no Speculation, nor any way Curious.
|| Out-of-Print Bookshelf | Maps | Newspapers | Picture Gallery | Other Useful Links |Monographs| NC Historical Review | First Editions|
|North Carolina Office of Archives & History||Department of Cultural Resources|
|Colonial Records Project Home Page|