The most general, or popular division of these creatures, is into fresh and salt water fish. It has, however, been conjectured that they all naturally inhabit the ocean, and have only migrated into rivers.
According to Linneus, there are about 400 species of this animal, with which naturalists are acquainted ; but those yet unknown are supposed to be still more numerous, and as they are believed to live at great depths in the ocean, remote from the shores, many species will probably for ever remain undiscovered.
Blowing of fish is a practice similar to that of blowing flesh, poultry, pigs, etc. and is adopted for the tome fraudulent purposes. This operation is performed, especially on cod and whitings, by introducing the end of a quill or tobacco-pipe at the vent, and blowing through a hole made with a pin under the fin which is next the gill ; thus making the fish appear to the eye large and full, though, when dressed, it will be flabby, and little more than skin and bones. Such imposition, however, may soon be discovered, by placing the finger and thumb on each side of the vent, and squeezing it considerably ; the expulsion of the wind will be perceptible, the skin will collapse, and the fish appear lank and of little value.
In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1/52, we meet with the following curious account of a method of carrying fish alive to a great dis-tance: Take an ounce of white sugar-candy; saltpetre about the size of a walnut; and a similar quantity of wheaten flour; incorporate these ingredients till they become of the consistence of powder. This quantity is suffcient for a pail of water : having provided a convenient vessel to carry the fish crumble into it some white bread ; and when the water begins to grow warm, and the fish put up their heads to the top, add a small quantity of this powder, which cools the reservoir, and preserves the fish. The water, if possible, should be changed every four or five miles, and the powder added, as occasion may require. By these means, trout may be carried above forty miles alive, and in good health.
Feeding of fish. - When they are kept in large pools or ponds, either boiled malt, or fresh grains, is a very proper food ; thus, carp may be reared and fed like capons, and tench will also prosper. If reared in a stew, any sort of corn, or leguminous fruit boiled, especially peas and malt coarsely ground, are equally fattening.
Fish, in general, are less nourishing than other animal food, though they are not difficult of digestion, while in a fresh state; but, when salted, they partake of the stimulating and pernicious properties of beef, or pork, accordingly as they are lean or fat. Although the rancid and putrescent tendency of fish may, in a great measure, be counteracted by acid sauces and pickles, yet they should never be eaten by febrile patients and convalescents, in whose stomachs their fat is insoluble, and almost indigestible. On the whole, we are convinced from experience, that sail-water fish are lighter and more wholesome, and that among these, what are commonly called white fish, are the most easy of digestion. Such as are fed in muddy ponds, or other stagnant waters, are, of all aquatic animals, the least conducive to health. - With respe6t to the most proper method of curing and dressing fish, there can be no doub that such as are dried in the open air, and afterwards quickly boiled, afford the most salubrious nutriment. But we cannot approve of either fried or broiled fish, especially when hitter is used for these culinary processes: hence, we think it our duty to reprobate those luxurious customs, as being highly pernicious to health ; and to contra-dict, in the most solemn manner, the suggestions of a recent compiler, who has not hesitated, indirectly to countenance the use of that hurtful animal oil. For, though liberally availing himself of the industry and talents of others, he has not even acknowledged the sources which supplied him with the principal part of a volume.