Abbildungen der Seite

be allowed to use its pines for the purpose; and that persons who violated the vote should forfeit both the tar and the raw material in their possession. In New Hampshire, where, as it seems, a company attempted to confine the manufacture to themselves, and provided a large number of trees which were destroyed by unknown hands, pines suitable for tar were protected by law, and tar itself was received, at a stipulated price, in payment of taxes. The admixture of sand and other impurities caused an act of parliament, and a call upon the Colonial authorities to coöperate in putting an end to frauds. But the subject became so much involved with the controversies that already existed between the officers of the crown and the representatives of the people, that the dishonest makers were left to pursue their evil practices. The business gradually declined, and at length was entirely suspended. It is now almost wholly confined to North Carolina. Of the 619,000 barrels of tar, pitch, turpentine, and rosin, manufactured in the United States in 1840, upwards of 593,000 barrels were made in that State.

Some account of saw-mills may now claim our attention. The English gentleman who introduced the use of mahogany, by causing a candle-box to be made of it, gave the world a great luxury; but he who invented the saw-mill performed an act far more serviceable. A mahogany tree, when in logs, has been sold for nearly fifteen thousand dollars; * a pine, which will produce a hundredth part of that sum, in the most distant market, is of rare size and quality; but to the mass of mankind, it is more valuable than the other, because it is, what that is not, a necessary of life. The sawing of trees by machinery is not, probably, of remote origin. The first saw-mill of which we have any knowledge was erected at Madeira, in the year 1420; and we hear of another at Breslau, seven years later; but their multiplication in

*The highest price that we have known to be paid in this country, was at about the rate of five thousand dollars for a tree in log; the one referred to in the text was purchased for £3000, in England, by a celebrated pianoforte manufacturer. Of the pine, a plank nearly six feet in width, made from a tree which grew on the estate of the Duke of Gordon, is preserved in that nobleman's castle as a curiosity. In Maine, pines six feet in diameter near the ground have sometimes been found, while those of four feet diameter are not uncommon.

different parts of Europe appears to have proceeded slowly. A mill of this description was built near London, in 1633; but it was demolished soon afterwards, that it might not be a means of depriving the poor of employment. About a century later, à branch of the York Building Company made large purchases of pine timber, erected mills, and introduced various improvements in the manufacture and transportation of lumber. But the popular feeling against machine-saws was still strong. A saw-mill set up at Limehouse, near the year 1768, was destroyed by a mob. The first built in New England — and very likely in America — was at "Agamentico,"* in Maine, in 1623, or the year following, under the direction of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. "I sent over my son," says the Lord Palatine, " and my nephew, Capt. William Gorges, who had been my lieutenant in the fort of Plymouth, with some other craftsmen, for the building of houses and erecting of saw-mills." The next, probably, were on the Piscataqua, as the settlers there had one or more in motion as early as 1630; at which time, there were no grist-mills, and the lumberers procured their bread-stuffs prepared for baking, either from England or Virginia. The first mill in Massachusetts seems to have been that on the Neponset, in Dorchester, in 1633; but whether it was built for grinding or sawing cannot be ascertained. The earliest for sawing, in the colony of Plymouth, we suppose to have been on the Herring brook, Scituate, erected in 1656, and destroyed twenty years afterwards by the Indians. There was one on the Saco, as soon as the year 1653, and one on Mill river, Taunton, six years afterwards. By the year 1681, there was a second in Plymouth Colony, at Swansea; and in 1685, as many as four were in operation at Cape Porpoise, Maine. Of those in Maine at more recent dates, we may mention mills on the Androscoggin, at Brunswick, in 1716; at Damariscotta, under grants from the hated Dunbar, in 1730; a mill at Bucksport, on the Penobscot, in 1764; and several on the different branches of the Machias, before the capture of the Margranetto, in 1775.†

* The ancient name of York.

The first on the Machias was undoubtedly as early as 1763, and within a year after the first grant of land and mill-sites east of the Penobscot.

[ocr errors]

The curious terms annexed to "libertie " to make boards and planks by water power, in the olden time, are well worth a moment's attention. In the grant of the "townsmen of Saco" to Roger Spencer, it was stipulated, that he should build his mill within a year, that all the townsmen should have bordes twelve pence in a hundred cheaper than any stranger," and that the townsmen who would "worke" in erecting the mill “ as cheap as a stranger," should have the preference. In a subsequent grant to another person, much the same conditions are imposed, and the further one, that the grantee should buy his provisions of townsmen at "price current," rather than of others. The conditions required by the people of Scituate, in good "old Plymouth," we will give as they stand upon the record.

"At a full town meeting of the town of Scituate, November 10th, 1656, free liberty was this day granted to any man or men of the town to set up a saw-mill upon the third herring brook, as near the North River as conveniently it may be, on these conditions, namely. That in case any of the townsmen do bring any timber into the mill to be sawed, the owners of the mill shall saw it, whether it be for boards or plank, before they saw any of their own timber, and they are to have the one half for sawing of the other half. And in case any man of the town, that doth not bring any timber to the mill to be sawed, shall want any boards for his own particular use, the owner of the mill shall sell him boards for his own use, so many as he shall need, for the country pay, at three shillings and six pence an hundred inch sawn; but in case the men of the town do not supply the mill with timber to keep it at work, the owners of the mill shall have liberty to make use of any timber upon the common to saw for their benefit. The said saw-mill to be built within three months from this date; otherwise, this order to be void."

At Taunton, on the proposal to erect a mill there, liberty was given on the condition that it "be not found hurtful to the grist-mill." At Cape Porpoise, a town meeting gave the right to set up a saw, provided it was done "within sixteen months, unless prevented by war"; and the applicant furnished his townsmen with lumber for their own use, at "" twelve pence

the hundred under price current." Another person, at the same place, was required to pay "forty shillings rent as a

tax to support Fort Loyal, at Falmouth "; and a third had his request granted, by paying "a yearly rent of fifty shillings," and allowing "the inhabitants to saw their own boards at the halves."

A word or two of some of the prominent mill owners of Maine, and we conclude our ante-revolutionary memoranda. Major William Phillips, of Boston, removed to the Saco about the year 1660, and became a speculator in timber lands, lumberer, and mill proprietor. John Alden-son of the Mayflower pilgrim of the same name, and of the arch Priscilla Mullen, whom Miles Standish desired for a wife - married his daughter, passed some time at Saco, and was interested in similar adventures. Another large land and mill owner on the same river was Sir William Pepperell, who commanded the expedition against Louisbourg, and was the only Baronet of New England birth during the whole of our Colonial history. His usual dress, we are told, was of scarlet cloth trimmed with gold lace; those who are acquainted with the peculiarities of the rough men with whom his business required him to mingle, can easily fancy their queer sayings, at seeing one of as humble origin as themselves thus richly appareled.*

At the Damariscotta, was William Vaughan, a son of a lieutenant-governor of New Hampshire, and, as lieutenantcolonel, associated with Sir William in the enterprise just referred to, and one of the claimants of the honor of designing it. Vaughan's title to lands and mill-sites was derived from the surveyor-general, Dunbar. Vaughan was a bold projector, and brave, perhaps to rashness. He died in England, while urging his claims for services in the war of 1745.

We come now to a brief consideration of the productions of the forests of the United States at the present time. First, however, we will look for a moment at the official statistics of the year 1810. From these, it appears that there were in the States and Territories of the Union, at that time, 2,526 common saw-mills, which manufactured 93,974,640 feet of lumber, of the value of $1,068,205. But these returns, like many public documents since published, are not worth the cost of folding and stitching them. From these official "Tabular Statements of the several branches of

* Sir William's father was a fisherman.

American Manufactures," it would seem, that there were neither saw-mills nor a manufacture of lumber in what was then the District of Maine, and none in the States of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut ; whereas, all of them were engaged in the business, and some of them extensively. Of these 2,526 mills, 1,995 are returned as being in Pennsylvania; that is, that State had nearly four fifths of all that were in the United States. The number set down as being in Massachusetts is just 150; but the whole are returned as from Berkshire and Hampshire counties. Maine, at the separation, in 1820, we know, contained 746 mills for the cutting of lumber, and must have had full half that number in 1810; and, if Pennsylvania and two counties in Massachusetts really had the number stated, there must have been, we venture to estimate, at least 6,000 in the United States; and the value of the lumber was $3,000,000, instead of $1,000,000.

The number of saw-mills in the Union, in 1840, as appears from official sources, was 31,650, of which more than one sixth were in New England; and upwards of half in the States of New York, (6,356) Pennsylvania, (5,389) Ohio, (2,883) and Virginia, (1,987.) There were 1,381 in Maine, 1,252 in Massachusetts, 1081 in Vermont, 959 in New Hampshire, 673 in Connecticut, and 123 in Rhode Island. If we take counties, we shall find that, while the value of lumber manufactured in Penobscot was much the greatest, that county, in the number of mills, ranked considerably lower than several others. *

The value of lumber produced in all the States was $12,943,507, of three States afforded upwards of half; namely, New York, $3,891,302; Maine, $1,808,683 ; and Pennsylvania, $1,150,220. From this, it appears, that though Maine ranks fifth in the number of mills, she stands next to New York, and second in the Union, in point of manufacturing trees into the several marketable shapes. In the value of lumber produced, Delaware was lowest, the value having been but $5,562.

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »