« ZurückWeiter »
The whole quantity of wood sold was 5,088,891 cords. Of this, New York sold about one fifth ; Virginia, nearly one twelfth; New Jersey, one fifteenth ; the States of Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, about one eighteenth each ; and Maine, one twenty-fourth. *
Of lumber-yards, there were 1,793 ; of which, nearly one fourth were in New York, over one sixth in Pennsylvania; one thirteenth in Massachusetts ; and almost one fifteenth in Louisiana, or more than half in these four States. There were sixty-one in the city of New York, sixty in Philadelphia, thirty-four in Boston, and thirty-two in New Orleans.
Of productions of the forest other than those already named, there were manufactured 619,106 barrels of the different resinous substances known as naval stores, and 15,935 tons of pot and pearl ashes. Of skins and furs, the value was $ 1,065,869 ; and of ginseng and “non-enumer
; ated ” articles, $ 526,580. Of the sugar made from the maple tree, the exact number of pounds cannot, perhaps, be ascertained. The quantity of maple sugar manufactured in 1810, according to the official tables for that year, was 9,665,108 pounds. From the errors apparent in these tables, it is very probable, that the number of pounds re. turned fell short of what was really manufactured at that period ; and that the quantity was considerably more than doubled in thirty years is beyond doubt. That the whole demand in the country for sugar for its own consumption can be supplied from the maple is, we suppose, susceptible of the clearest proof. The season for making forest sugar
is in February and March, when farmers are not specially busy ; when, indeed, the preparation of fencing stuff and fuel is usually their only employment; and the amount earned in this way is almost to be called a clear gain to them. There need be no fear, that the article cannot be produced dry and white enough for the most fastidious eye and taste ; since it is known, that Washington made use of the refined maple sugar, during his presidency, even when he entertained. foreign visitors; and that large quantities of the common brown
* Our present terms of intercourse with the British Colonies operate in. juriously upon Maine. We have seen it stated, for instance, that while only two cargoes of wood went from that State to Gloucester, Massachusetts, one hundred and fifteen cargoes went thither in British Colonial vessels. Such vessels, we know, supply other Northern ports to a considerable extent. * One or two facts will sustain this opinion. The value of the lumber prodaced in Penobscot county, in 1840, according to the returns, was short of $ 700,000. The writer saw, at Bangor, at one time, in 1843, 188 vessels, which, as it was estimated by good judges, would carry off 14,000,000 feet of lumber, worth $ 200,000, or more than two sevenths of the value re. turned for the whole year 1840. Again : lumber and other articles from the forest, of the value of $ 1,439,592, were left at West Troy, from the Erie and Lake Champlain Canals, in 1842, while the amount for 1843 was $ 2,964,061, or more than double. Like increase elsewhere would produce an aggregate far greater than we have estimated.
sort have been exhibited, within a few years, equal in grain, flavor, and other desirable qualities, to the imported sugars made from the cane.
The aggregate value of the different articles produced from the forest in 1840, if the market prices be affixed to those articles of which the quantities only are given, was thirty millions of dollars. That year, it will be admitted, was one of unusual depression, and cannot be taken as the basis for an average of years. And we are satisfied, moreover, that the official papers of that year do not make the value as great as it really was ; and that one sixth may be safely added. If, now, we add another sixth, to bring up the depression of 1840 to a standard year, we shall have, as the aggregate, forty millions of dollars, instead of thirty ; and this, we cannot but think, will still be somewhat too low.* The value of the exports from the forests, from 1830 to 1842, both years included, a period of thirteen years, was upwards of sixty-five and three quarters millions of dollars; being an average of more than five millions annually. The smallest amount was in 1830, when it was short of four and a quarter millions ; and the greatest in 1841, when it reached six and a quarter millions.
Among the several ports for receiving and shipping lum-. ber, Bangor is to be regarded, we think, as the most considerable in the Union. Well informed persons of that city estimate the amount which passed through the hands of its merchants, in 1843, at $ 2,000,000. With all deference to their opinions, we must still doubt, whether it was so much by a quarter of a million ; or, if it were, whether a million and a half of dollars be not the maximum, on an average of years.
We should estimate the value of lumber manufactured in other parts of Maine as follows : Washington county, three quarters of a million ; Kennebec, half a million ;
Somerset, Waldo, and York, one fifth of a million each; Hancock, Lincoln, and Cumberland, one tenth of a million each ; and the remaining counties at one tenth of a million more ;- making the entire sum for the State, two and three quarters millions of dollars. Although these estimates make up an amount nearly a million above the value according to the returns in 1840, we consider them not too high. But whatever the exact yearly havoc in her woods may be, Maine should take heed, lest the pine tree of her escutcheon do not become, like the same device on the first money coined by her parent State, an emblem of her departed, rather than of her present, glory and pride.
As yet, our facts and calculations apply exclusively to values derived from commodities sent to market. If we add the countless number of trees that, in the several States and Territories, are annually cut down, but not sold; which are used on farms for fires and fences; which are felled by settlers and burnt on the spot ; which are torn up by tempests, and decay where they fall; and which are destroyed by accidental conflagrations, — we shall find, that an alarming demand is made upon our woods, and that the warning which closed the last paragraph is not without force, if extended to all the States of the Union. Indeed, we fear that, like the wronged men who were their original lords, native Amercan forests, at no very distant day, will be but rarely seen.
The experience of the Old World is full of admonition, and should not be lost
The mountains of Lebanon, to which Solomon sent his “fourscore thousand hewers, ,” have been long stripped of their beautiful “cedars.” The period is not very remote since pines were so abundant in Great Britain, that a woodman could procure the right to use a single axe in cutting them down, for less than one dollar a year ; and, not two centuries and a half ago, wood was the common fuel in most parts of England. In Queen Elizabeth's time, it is said that Spain sent' over a special ambassador, charged with the duty of procuring, by negotiation or treachery, the destruction of oak trees in the celebrated forest of Dean. However this may be, the oaks disappeared by improvidence during the civil wars. Within one hundred and fifty years, a considerable part of the elevated regions of the north of Ireland was covered with pines, of which hardly a vestige now remains. A forest set VOL. LVIII. - No. 123.
apart for the royal navy contained, at the end of a century, only one tenth part of the timber which the officers in the care of it reported at its commencement ; nor was alarm felt, nor means taken to replant it, until the quantity was still less. In Europe generally, at the present time, it is believed that wood-lands are diminishing with great rapidity. It is supposed, that in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Russia, one third of the surface is still covered with forests of more or less value ; but the proportion in the other principal countries is not so large. In France, we have certain knowledge, that immense inroads are made on the woods from year to year, because she cuts from her forests not only timber, but nearly all her fuel. Of the Northern nations, it is necessary only to remark, that they are the makers of tar and providers of timber for England, and such other powers as have become importers of the articles once abundant at home.
That in America, — a country of stumps and newly cleared lands, – apprehensions should be expressed, as to our capability of furnishing ourselves with timber in all coming time, will excite a smile on the faces of many. Be
John Jay, a man as wise as the wisest, and as good as the best, thus wrote to Washington, more than fifty years ago. “ There is some reason to apprehend that masts and ship-timber will, as cultivation advances, become scarce, unless some measures be taken to prevent their waste, or provide for the preservation of a sufficient fund of both.” And this passage has the more weight, since it occurs in a letter devoted to the suggestion of measures necessary to be brought forward for the good of the country. The usual reasons for forcing timber into market are, that fires run through it, and that trespassers plunder it. We answer, that the man who would destroy his house that it might not be burned, or waste his money that it might not be stolen, would hardly be deemed wise.
We return to the woods of Maine, which yet remain her property and that of Massachusetts. The “mast-trees, which within three generations caused such heated contentions, are gone ; not one ever seen by a surveyor-general of the king now remains. The lower waters of
considerable river are abandoned. But the sound of the logger's axe can still be heard from the memorable «
viding the waters.” A century in the history of a nation is but a brief space, for it scarcely marks the extreme duration of human life. But he who visits the lands lying along the tributaries of the St. John, a hundred years hence, will probably see them despoiled of their wealth. That event will doubtless occur, sooner or later ; legislation can hasten, or retard it. That Maine ought to endeavour to postpone it, we fully believe ; the interests of Massachusetts may require another policy ; she will judge. The treaty of Washington has given rights and guaranties, which obvionsly demand some action on the part of both. That instrument opens a way to and from the last great forest of New England; and whether the facilities it provides for transportation and finding a market should induce increased or diminished alienation of soil and timber, is a question which deserves the most profound consideration. Those who administer the affairs of Maine ought, as we venture to say, to rea
16 Our lands are at home, and we can guard them ; they are of immense worth, let us manage them wisely, that something of what was inherited from our fathers may descend to our children ; the treaty which has given us free access to them can never expire ; the waters which flow from them will bear their pines to the sea ages hence as well as now; the lapse of years will only add to their value ; the vast quantity of lumber now thrown into market does but overstock it, and rob our people of the rewards of their skill and labor. Let us then dispose of these our remaining wood-lands sparingly. As for our tillage lands, if need be, we will give free deeds of them to promote settlements, and to prevent our young men from becoming victims of agues and intermittents at the West.”
In the Report of Mr. Coffin, named at the head of this article, the whole matter of the treaty at Washington, which pertains to our subject, is ably and clearly stated. the passage entire. That convention provides, that
“In order to promote the interests, and encourage the industry, of all the inhabitants of the countries watered by the river St. John and its tributaries — whether living within the State of Maine or the Province of New Brunswick, -it is agreed that where, by the provisions of the present treaty, the river St. John is declared to be the line of boundary, the navigation of said river shall be free and open to both parties, and shall in no