Herm carrageen, c. 1865

George Geary's great scheme. From The Star, January 27, 1883. From Guernsey cuttings (Andros Tupper collection). 'The Island of Herm and its resources.'

It is now about twenty years ago, that after a rough and tedious voyage, I landed in the island of Guernsey. After recovering the effects of seasickness, and becoming familiarized with the many novel sights which meet the eyes of a stranger on first visiting the island, I began to look out for amusement of some kind, and decided upon making a collection of the various specimens of seaweed, so went down to the beach with that intention. I had not been so engaged long before I found a species with which I was very familiar, the Chondrus crispus, frequently seen in small quantities on the British coast, but generally supposed to be confined to the Irish sea; however, it grew here in profusion. I thought if I could ascertain by any means how to assemble it for the market, a good trade might be done. I collected a quantity, entirely neglecting other specimens, and took home with me for weeks; after trying a hundred different plans, I was still unsuccessful, at last, almost in despair, I thought of a plan which proved highly satisfactory. I then made a tour of inspection, and found the island surrounded with immense quantities. After sending samples to the various firms in England, I received orders, large and small, at the rate of £10 10s. per ton (at purchasers’ risk), i.e., all responsibility with me ended as soon as it was placed on board. I then took samples to the different country villages around the island, in order to induce the people to collect it. Although good remuneration was offered, the natives seemed to think I was insane to make such a request. They had little faith in finding a purchaser at the price I offered for the sea-weed, which was used by them for manure. I spent several weeks before I could prevail upon any of them to make a beginning, and when they did commence, they were the laughing stock of their neighbours; but when the cart appeared in their midst, and the almighty dollars forthcoming, the aspect of affairs changed.

See also Shell-collecting, 1833.