Skip to main content

Full text of "Lowell, as it was, and as it is"

See other formats



^ < -5 




= w 






"Art is the handmaid of human good." 





A Lowell Cotton Mill, 76 

Lowell Calico Printing, 84 

A Lowell Woollen Mill, 94 

A Lowell Carpet Mill, 97 

Hours of Labor, 101 

Wages, - Ill 

Provisions for the Comfort and Health of the Ope- 
ratives, 116 

Moral Police of the Corporation, 128 

Boarding-house Statistics, 146 

MHl Statistics, 162 

Moral and Intellectual Advantages, 194 

Churches.- . . 197 

Schools, 200 

City Library, - 201 

Lowell Offering, 202 

Savings' Bank, 204 

Lowell Institute. 205 

Ministry at Large, 206 

Lowell Hospital, 207 

Lowell Dispensary, 208 

Howard Benevolent Society, 209 

Lowell Cemetery, 209 

Conclusion, 211 


Francis Cabot Lowell, -217 

Paul Moody, 225 

Kirk Boott, 228 

Warren Colburn, 231 

Luther Lawrence, 233 

Robert Means, 234 

o 6 


THE unexampled growth of the city of Lowell 
gives interest to some notice of the successive 
steps by which it has attained to its present impor- 
tance, of the extent of its manufacturing opera- 
tions, and of the actual condition of its industrious 
population. An unsettled territory of pasture 
and meadow has, within the memory of the mid- 
dle-aged, been covered with substantial edifices, 
mills, stores, churches, blocks of houses, the pros- 
perous homes of nearly thirty thousand people; 
thus almost realizing the creations of some orien- 
tal fable, at least emulating in a few years what, in 
other places, has been the slow growth of centu- 


From the size of this book the reader will not 
expect any thing more than what the brief time 
allowed the author permitted him to prepare a 
work which, without the minuteness of a history, 
will yet supply the information which all visitors 
to this city wish to obtain. To the citizens and 
operatives of Lowell, likewise, it is hoped that this 
book will not be without value. Following a rapid 
sketch of the growth of this place, there will be 
found a variety of statistical facts, collected from 
the Agents, the Overseers, the Operatives, and 
the Matrons of the boarding-houses. On this por- 
tion of the book much the most care has been 
bestowed. The great questions relating to Lowell 
are those which concern the health and character 
of its laboring classes. It is believed that more 
full and precise information on these points is 
given in the following pages, than has ever before 
been published. The object constantly kept in 


view has been, not the statement of opinions and 
impressions, but that careful presentation of facts 
which will enable a stranger to judge for himself. 

It is singular that a place, not yet twenty-five 
years old, should already have fabulous stories 
mingled with its history. Yet such is the case. 
The accounts which have been published of the 
chance discovery of the water-power at Pawtucket 
Falls by a sportsman, and of the report of an en- 
gineer, subsequently made, that there was no 
water-power here, are wholly without foundation. 
Great pains have been taken to arrive at an exact 
knowledge of the facts respecting the origin of 
Lowell, and it is known that they are correctly 
stated in this book. 

In the preparation of the following pages, im- 
portant assistance has been received from Patrick 
T. Jackson, Esq., from Dr. E. Hobbs, of Waltham, 
from the Agents of the Corporations in this city, 


and from other sources indicated in the course of 
the work. Independent of the gratification of a 
natural curiosity respecting the rise and progress 
of one of the greatest enterprises of the age, the 
present publication will answer a more palpably 
useful purpose, if it shall recommend, to other 
manufacturing towns and cities, that well devised 
system, and careful moral regime^ which have here 
been established. 

LOWELL, 1845. 




THE place where the waters of the Merri- 
mack and Concord rivers meet, had a greater 
relative importance two hundred years ago, 
than at any subsequent time, prior to the in- 
troduction of cotton manufactures. It was the 
head quarters of one of the five great tribes 
of Indians which were found in New England. 
The Sachemship of the Pawtuckets extended 
to the north and northeast of Massachusetts 
Bay, including all of the territory which is 
now the State of New Hampshire. This was 



inhabited by a tribe numbering twelve thou- 
sand souls; and Wamesit, their "capital," was 
at the confluence of the above named rivers. 

This spot was dear to the natives on ac- 
count of its supply of fish. Salmon, shad, 
alewives, and sturgeon, were easily taken in 
vast quantities ; and the abundance of the 
latter fish gave the name "Merrimack" to 
the river so called ; the meaning of that word 
being "sturgeon," in the Indian tongue. 

Here, as early as 1653, John Eliot, the 
celebrated "Apostle to the Indians," came, 
spending many days, and preaching to the 
natives. Here courts were held annually, in 
the month of May, by an English magistrate, 
assisted by some Indian chiefs. They arbitra- 
ted upon all questions in dispute between the 
Indians and the white settlers, who, in the 
year above named, laid out the plantation of 
Chelmsford. The first court in Middlesex 
County was held on land through which the 



Boott Canal now passes; and tradition says, 
that the log church, where Eliot used to 
preach, stood on the height of land on Apple- 
ton Street. 

But here, as in other places, the native 
sons of the forest passed away rapidly before 
the advancing civilization of the English colo- 
nists. From a population of three thousand 
souls, which it numbered when first discovered 
by the white settlers, Wamesit was reduced 
by 1674 to only two hundred and fifty men, 
besides women and children. These held, as 
their exclusive possession, the identical soil 
which is now the territory of Lowell. The 
bounds of the old Indian "capital," and of 
the present city, singularly coincide. A ditch, 
running in a semicircular line, striking the 
Merrimack River a little above the Paw- 
tucket Falls, and again about a mile below 
the mouth of the Concord River, and em- 
bracing twenty-five hundred acres, was, with 



the Merrimack River itself, the ancient bound- 
ary of Wamesit. This varies but inconsid- 
erably from the line and extent of Lowell. 
This Indian ditch, probably thrown up in 
1665, is distinctly traceable to this day. 

Ere long the natives wholly disappeared. 
Their lands west of the Concord River were 
given up in 1686, and in 1726 their right to 
the land east of that river became extinct. 
The only memorials they have left here, are 
the names of our river and waterfalls, the 
ditch above noticed, and some excavated im- 
plements of their rude workmanship. East 
Chelmsford, or Chelmsford Neck, as this place 
was called, lost all its former consequence. 
Situated at the corners of other towns, it con- 
tained nothing but a few farm-houses, a tavern, 
and store. Its fishing privileges still possessed 
great value. At certain seasons of the year 
the mouth of the Concord River appeared to 
be almost literally full of fish. There are 


those now living, who have seen one thousand 
shad taken at one haul, from a basin of water 
since filled up, and now the site of the large 
Mill of the Middlesex Company. Down as 
late as 1820, there were caught, mostly at 
this spot and at the foot of Pawtucket Falls, 
twenty-five hundred barrels of salmon, shad 
and alewives, besides many other fish of less 


Ever since the settlement of the country, 
much rafting business has been done on the 
Merrimack River. Its shores were covered 
with a forest, which furnished timber, lumber 
and fuel, and it soon became an important 
object to float this down to Newburyport, 
either for shipbuilding there, or for transpor- 
tation to other places. The chief difficulty 


attending this, was the passage of the Paw- 
tucket Falls. Here was a descent of thirty- 
two feet not perpendicular, but over several 
rapids, in circuitous channels, with a violent 
current, and amidst sharp-pointed rocks. To 
accomplish this descent with rafts was danger- 
ous when the river was swollen, and was labo- 
orious when the river was low ; and this fact 
suggested the plan of a canal round the falls, 
by which the descent might be easily made. 
Accordingly an act was passed, June 27, 
1792, incorporating Dudley Atkins Tyng, 
William Coombs, Joseph Tyler, Nicholas 
Johnson, and Joshua Carter, and such others 
as might join them, into " a body politic and 
corporate forever, by. the name of the Pro- 
prietors of Locks and Canals on Merrimack 
River," with the usual powers granted to canal 

They soon commenced operations.. They 
laid out the course of a canal from a point 


on the southern shore of Merrimack River, 
just above the falls, and passing round them 
at a sweep of about a mile in distance, en- 
tered the Concord River, a few rods above 

its junction with the Merrimack. The canal 

was one mile and a half in length, and four 

locks accomplished the descent of thirty-two 
feet. The whole expenditure was fifty thou- 
sand dollars. The first boat passed through 
the canal in 1797. An incident which then, 
occurred is well remembered by many now 
living. This being the first canal that was 
built in this country, hundreds of both sexes 
and of all ages had assembled to witness the 
passage of the first boat. They stood around 
and upon the first lock ; and as soon as the 
boat, containing the directors and invited gen- 
j tlemen, had entered the lock, its sides sud- 
denly gave way. Spectators and voyagers 
both were submerged, and were carried with 
great violence down the stream. Fortunately 


no life was lost. This inauspicious beginning 
was attended with consequences no more seri- 
ous than an unexpected bath, and a great 

The stock of this canal was divided into 
five hundred shares, the owners of which 
were scattered throughout Middlesex and 
Essex counties. It proved to be poor prop- 
erty. Its value was greatly diminished by 
the bolder enterprise of the Middlesex Canal, 
connecting the Merrimack River, above the 
falls, with Boston Harbor. This was under- 
taken in 1793, and completed in 1804. 
Much of the lumber, which would otherwise 
have gone to Newburyport, was taken directly 
to Boston. Hence the shares of the Locks 
and Canals Company were easily obtained, at 
less than their par value, when it was pro- 
posed to use the waters of the canal for man- 
ufacturing purposes. 



Here, then, was a water privilege created 
without any great expense for dams, without 
any danger from freshets, at a place already 
connected with Boston by a canal, on a tract 
of land which favored the extensive use of 
the water, and as the whole current of the 
Merrimack River could be diverted into the 
canal, the available power was immense. Still 
it does not appear that for twenty-three years 
the idea of this use of the water occurred to 
any one. Some humble attempts at manufac- 
tures were here made, under the auspices of 
individual enterprise, and chiefly by the use 
of the waters of the Concord River ; and 
these we must briefly notice, before we speak 
of the extensive operations of capitalists, act- 
ing with corporate powers. 

The interrupted commerce and high prices 



which attended the last war with England, 
turned the attention of monied men, in vari- 
ous parts of this country, to manufactures. In 
1813, Captain Phineas Whiting, and Colonel 
Josiah Fletcher, erected a wooden building for 
the manufacture of cotton. It stood just 
above the spot where the canal entered Con- 
cord River, and this river supplied the power 
to operate its machinery. It was but a hum- 
ble parent of the substantial and spacious 
edifices that have succeeded it, being sixty 
feet long and fifty feet wide, and costing but 
twenty-five hundred dollars. 

In 1818, the above named gentlemen sold 
their factory to Mr. Thomas Hurd, an enter- 
prising gentleman, of Charlestown, who fitted 
it up for the manufacture of wool. Pie em- 
ployed in all about twenty persons, introduced 
into his mill sixteen looms, and turned out 
one hundred and twenty yards of satinet per 


In the same year, Mr. Moses Hale intro- 
duced the manufacture of gunpowder. His 
works, also, were on the Concord River, 
about a mile above its mouth. The next 
year his operations were extended, and Mr. 
William Tileston, of Boston, and Mr. Oliver 
M. Whipple, were received into partnership. 
About eighty thousand pounds of powder were 
manufactured per year. 

Three years before this a saw and grist 
mill was erected at Pawtucket Falls, and 
another still on the canal of the Locks and 
Canals Company. 

Such was East Chelmsford in 1820. A 
few scattered farm-houses, standing, however, 
on good soil, and occupied by intelligent and 
substantial families, the store, the tavern, the 
humble wooden factory, the few small build- 
ings for the powder-works, the two grist-mills 
this was nearly all that the place possessed. 
The head of the canal had some promise of 


becoming a flourishing village. There was 
the house of Captain Phineas Whiting ; that 
long occupied by the Hon. Asahel Stearns, 
before his appointment to the professorship of 
Law in Harvard University, and subsequently 
by Nathaniel Wright, Esq., who succeeded 
him in professional practice; the dwelling, 
also, of Mr. James Bowers ; and the houses of 
Messrs. John and Elisha Ford. But business 
soon centred below, and that part of the town 
has changed but little. On the east shore of 
the Concord River, in the town of Tewksbury, 
but within the limits of what is now Lowell, 
there was a small flannel-mill, owned and run 
; by Mr. Winthrop Howe; and there also was 

! the mansion house of Judge Edward S. L. 


Livermore, the pleasant views from which, and 
its agreeable hospitalities, are among the remin- 
iscences of what this neighborhood was twen- 
ty-five years ago. But the time had now 
come for a series of changes to begin, which, 


in the rmnpuss of a few years, liavr wrought 
out astonishing results. Assoeiated power 
took up the work which individual enterprise 
had feebly attempted, and in this was the 
origin of Lowell. 


The war of 1812, as before remarked, gave 
encouragement to the cotton manufacture in 
this country. A company of gentlemen, re- 
siding principally in Boston, commenced, in 
1814, the erection of factories in Waltham. 
With a capital stock of six hundred thousand 
dollars, they made purchases of land and mill 
privileges on Charles River, erected three 
brick manufactories, and supplied them with 
machinery, comprising eight thousand and 
sixty-four spindles, and two hundred and 
thirty-one looms. Here they employed about 


four hundred persons, mostly females, working 
up seven hundred thousand pounds of cotton, 
and making two million yards of cloth per year. 

This undertaking proved highly successful. 
Here was a demonstration that this kind of 
business was practicable arid gainful ; . and it 
attracted the attention of men of enterprise ! 
and wealth. Here also was originated and j 
matured that plan of carrying on the manu- , 
facturing business, which should properly be | 
called the " Waltham System." This system j 
will hereafter be minutely described. It was 
transferred to Lowell, which thus had the 
benefit of the experiments and results of the ! 
elder place. Nor is this the extent of the 
obligations which Lowell owes to Waltham. 
Her first machinery was made there, and 
from there also came some of her ablest and 
most scientific manufacturers, with many skil- 
ful and faithful overseers and laborers. 

In 1820, Mr. Paul Moody had charge of 


the "NYalthnm Mills, and a friend of liis, Mr. 
K/ra Worthen. a former partner in busi. 

eonneded with the manufacturing estab- 
lishment at Amesbury. From his childhood 
Mr. Worthen liad been acquainted with the 
neighborhood of the Pawtucke! Falls; and 
whc.n the profitableness of the manufacturing 
business led to inquiries for water power, the 
immense advantages which this place held out 
soon struck his eye. While on a visit to 
Waltham, he expressed a wish to Mr. Patrick 
T. Jackson, one of the principal Directors of 
the company there, that they would set -up 
works in some new place, and give him em- 
ployment in conducting them. Mr. Jackson 
replied, that they would willingly do this, if 
he would find a good water power. Imme- 
diately JVIr. Worthen named the Pawtucket 
Falls ; and with a piece of chalk drew a map 
of the river and canal on the floor. The rude 
sketch was sufficient to give Mr. Jackson 


a favorable impression, who requested Mr. 
Moody to visit, with Mr. Worthen, the place 
which the latter gentleman had described. 
It was not long before they explored this 
whole neighborhood, tracing the course of the 
canal, surveying the adjoining land and shores, 
and satisfying themselves that the place af- 
forded great facilities for building up a large 
manufacturing town. Soon after the recep- 
tion of their highly favorable report, the Di- 
rectors of the Waltham Company resolved to 
procure this eligible site. 


Thomas M. Clark, a merchant of Newbury- 
port, and one of the Directors of the canal 
round Pawtucket Falls, was taken into the 
confidence of the gentlemen connected with 
the Waltham Company, and was by them em- 


ployed to purchase the shares of the Locks 
and Canals Corporation. These shares, five 
hundred in number, were bought at prices 
varying from eighty to one hundred dollars 
per share. In the autumn of 1821, Mr. 
Clark came to East Chelmsford to purchase 
the farms on which the city of Lowell is. now 
built. The first purchase that was made was 
the farm of Nathan Tyler a tract of land 
lying between Merrimack Street on the north, 
the Pawtucket Canal on the south, the Merri- 
mack Canal on the west, and coming down to 
the junction of the rivers, where the Massa- 
chusetts Mills now stand. Here was a terri- 
tory of forty acres, for which, including sixty 
acres of outlands in Tewksbury, the .sum of 
eight thousand dollars was given. The farm 
of Josiah Fletcher, lying between Merrimack 
Street and Merrimack River, and next above 
the farm of Nathan Tyler, was then purchas- 
ed, containing sixty acres, for which about the 


same sum was paid. Next above this, and 
bordering on Merrimack River, was the Chee- 
ver farm, the old homestead of which is still 
standing a short distance above the Lawrence 
Corporation. This farm contained one hun- 
dred and ten acres, nine undivided tenths of 
which were bought for one thousand eight 
hundred dollars. The owner of the other 
one tenth had agreed to convey it for two 
hundred dollars ; but dying suddenly insolvent, 
it was sold by order of the court, the Locks 
and Canals Company giving, for seven and a 
half tenths thereof, upwards of three thousand 
dollars. The remaining two and a half tenths 
were bought a year afterwards for nearly five 
thousand dollars so rapidly did the value of 
land rise. In 1822 the farm of the widow of 
Joseph Warren was purchased, a tract of land 
of about thirty acres, lying beween Central 
Street and Concord River, with the Pawtucket 
Canal on the north, and extending up nearly 


as tar as Richmond's Mills on the south. For 
this the sum of five th<>u>and dollars was paid. 
Within these boundaries Mr. Thomas Kurd 
owned two or three acres of land in the near 
neighborhood of his Woollen Mill, which was 
situated where the Mechanics' Mills now stand. 
The farm of Mr. Joseph Fletcher, the home- 
stead of which still stands on the high land in 
the rear of the upper part of Appleton Street, 
came down to the Pawtuofcet Canal on the 
north, and Central Street on the east, and 
contained about one hundred acres. This 
was not purchased until 1824, for which the 
sum of ten thousand dollars was paid. 

Here then was nearly four hundred acres 
bought at prices averaging not far from one 
hundred dollars per acre. Thus was posses- 
sion obtained both of the Pawtucket Canal, and 
of the territory on which the densely settled 
part of Lowell now stands, and the cost of the 
whole was about one hundred thousand dollars. 



On the sixth day of February, 1822, the 
purchasers of the above named property were 
incorporated as the 6 Merrhnack Manufactur- 
ing Company.' Vigorous measures were 
adopted in the following spring to enlarge 
the Pawtucket Canal, a step of primary 
importance, in ofder to admit a larger body 
of water. Five hundred men were constantly 
employed. The canal was made sixty feet 
wide, and capable of bearing a current of 
water eight feet deep. This was not com- 
pleted until the latter part of the summer of 
1823, and the expenditure was nearly one 
hundred and twenty thousand dollars. 

Meanwhile a lateral canal the Merrimack 
was dug from the Pawtucket Canal to the 
Merrimack River. It was on the banks of 
this river that the Merrimack Manufacturing 


Company commenced the erection of mills. 
Mr. Ezra Worthen was appointed Superin- 
tendent of this company's works. He came 
here in the spring of 1822. The foundation 
of the first mill was laid in that year, and the 
first return of cloth was in November, 1823. 
It was from Mr. Worthen, as before remark- 
ed, that the first suggestion came to establish 
manufactures in this place. He was invited 
to carry his suggestion into execution. He 
barely lived long enough to see a great prom- 
ise in his fruitful idea. He died June 18, 
1824. A man of much manufacturing exper- 
ience, and of great mechanical talent, his loss 
in the infancy of the enterprize was deeply 



It soon became apparent that here were 
mill privileges enough for several independent 
manufacturing companies. It was then deem- 
ed expedient that one company should have 
charge of the disposal and sale of the land 
and water-power, and of the furnishing of 
machinery, without entering itself into the 
manufacture of cotton. The old charter of 
1792 was sufficient for this arrangement, with 
an amendment enacted by the legislature in 
January 1825. By this amendment the 
Proprietors of the Locks and Canals Com- 
pany were authorized to purchase and hold 
all, or any part, of the real estate held by 
the Merrimack Manufacturing Company ; to 
purchase and hold any other real estate in the 
towns of Chelmsford, Dracut, and Tewksbury, 
not exceeding in value one hundred thousand 


dollars, exclusive of improvements ; and were 
also authorized to sell or lease land and water 

Under this act the Locks and Canals Com- 
pany proceeded to effect a reorganization, in- 
creasing the number of their shares to twelve 
hundred, at five hundred dollars per share, 
and taking into their hands the whole proper- 
ty of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company. 
It then sold to this company the land and 
water-power which it now possesses. This 
latter company, therefore, though at one time 
the owners of the whole water power, hold 
the property they now possess under the same 
title with the other corporations in this city. 
By this arrangement the operations of this 
place were conducted on a better system, and 
i scope was given for the action of as many 
I distinct companies as the Locks and Canals 
I could supply with water-power and land. To 
I the furnishing of this power, and "of mills and 


machinery to make it available, has the sphere 
of the Locks and Canals Company been ever 
since confined. 


Thus a beginning was made in the growth 
of this place, and the plan finally settled by 
which its operations were to be conducted. It 
may be interesting to look back and name 
some of the steps of its progress. The call 
for labor in digging the canals, and in erecting 
mills, brought a sudden increase of popula- 
tion, and soon houses began to be erected for 
the accommodation of the hundreds that flock- 
ed here. The first stage coach that came 
regularly to this place was set up in 1822 
a branch from the mail line which passed 
through old Chelmsford. In 1823 the large 
machine shop was commenced. It was com- 


pleted in 1825, at a cost of one hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. Mr. Paul Moody, 
before named, was invited to take charge of 
it, and for this purpose removed his family to 
this place. The first public worship, since 
the days of Eliot, that was held in what is 
now Lowell, was in 1824, the Rev. Mr. Edson 
preaching his first sermon the first Sunday in 
March of that year. The Hamilton Compa- 
ny was incorporated January 2G, 1825, and 
soon commenced laying the foundations of 
their mills. The Stone House, near Pawtuck- 
et Falls, was erected the same year, and when 
opened afforded agreeable accommodations to 
the numerous visitors whom the beautiful 
scenery around it, and the growing interest 
in this place, brought hither. The Middlesex 
Mechanics' Association, formed for the assist- 
ance and improvement of the intelligent 
Mechanics who were here increasing in num- 
bers, was incorporated January 18, 1825. 


On the 1 6th of March, in that year, the large 
stone church which the Merrimack Company 
had built, was solemnly consecrated to God 
by Bishop Griswold, and at the same time the 
Rev. Theodore Edson was invested with the 
order of priest. This was the first church 
which was here erected, and the same in 
which the latter gentleman still continues to 
officiate. The rapid growth of this place up 
to this time w r ill be seen by the following 
statement of the population. East Chelms- 
ford, in 1820, had two hundred inhabitants. 
At the beginning of 1826 it contained twenty- 
five hundred. On the first of March of the 
last named year this place was incorporated 
into a town by the name of Lowell, in honor 
of Francis Cabot Lowell, a sketch of whose 
services, in connexion with the rise of Cotton 
Manufactures in this country, will be found in 
the Appendix. 



The ten years that succeeded the incorpor- 
ation of Lowell as a town, were marked by as 
great revolutions in the business concerns of 
the country, as could be found in any ten 
years that might be named. Then- was the 
great depression of 1827 and 1828, when so 
many manufacturing companies in New Eng- 
land became bankrupt, and universal gloom 
prevailed. This was followed by the great 
rage for speculation which reigned in 1831 
and the few following years. The fortunes 
of the young town were affected like those of 
all other places. A cloud rested upon her 
prospects in the former period, and when the 
bubble of the latter period burst, many were 
ruined who had here purchased lands at enor- 
mously extravagant prices. Yet through all 
this the growth of Lowell was in the main 



steadily onward. She was extending the 
plan, and laying broad and deep the founda- 
tions of a great community. New streets 
were opened, houses and stores were put up, 
churches were erected, canals were dug, 
manufacturing operations were extended, and 
within the ten years named above, the popula- 
tion of the town was multiplied six fold. The 
increase was without a parallel in any place, 
in any country. This prosperity was the 
result of the sagacity, enterprize, and energy 
of the capitalists and manufacturers, by whom 
the fortunes of the place were guided. 

A few of the leading events of these years 
will be here briefly noticed. The Lowell 
Bank the first in the town was incorpo- 
rated March 11, 1828, with a capital of one 
hundred thousand dollars. That same year 
two new manufacturing companies were incor- 
porated the Appleton and Lowell both 
of which immediately proceeded to the erec- 


tion of mills. An Institution for Savings was 
incorporated, and went into operation in 1829. 
A vast increase of the business of Lowell 
was planned in 1830, by the construction of 
the Western, or Suffolk, Canal. This was 
dug in 1831 and 1832, at an expense of 
seventy thousand dollars. Instead of using 
the whole fall of thirty-two feet at once, it was 
proposed to divide it into two falls of sixteen 
feet each; and thus power was obtained for 
three new corporations. The Suffolk, Tre- 
mont, and Lawrence Companies were all in- 
corporated in the winter and spring of 1831, 
and forthwith commenced the erection of mills 
and boarding houses. That same year the 
Railroad Bank was incorporated and went 
into operation with a capital of eight hun- 
dred thousand dollars. Simultaneously with 
these movements a new company, incorpo- 
rated June 5, 1830, by the name of the Mid- 
dlesex Manufacturing Company, purchased 


the water privilege before owned by Thomas 
Hurd, and proceeded to put up a large brick 
mill for the manufacture of wool. A bleach- 
ing company, with a capital of fifty thousand 
dollars, was incorporated in 1832. Still an- 
other canal was dug in 1835, at an expense 
of thirty-five thousand dollars, to carry water 
to the mills of the Boott Company, incorpo- 
rated March 27th of that year, and which 
proceeded to put up five large factories, and 
eight blocks of boarding houses. 

Nor was it merely in this extension of her 
manufacturing operations that Lowell began 
at once to assume the importance of a great 
town. Other buildings were erected, such as 
usually belong to such a town. A spacious hall 
for town purposes, with committee rooms and 
stores underneath, was completed in 1830, at an 
expense of thirty thousand dollars. Churches 
for the Baptist, Orthodox, Universalist, and 
Unitarian denominations were erected; the 


latter, a substantial lrii-k building, with a 
rliask' and beautiful interior, dedicated Dec. 
25, 1832, and costing twenty-eight thousand 
dollars. A large hotel the Merrimack 
House was built the same year. This 
House belongs to the first class of similar 
establishments, and cost thirty thousand dol- 
lars. Another public hall, with reading and 
library rooms, was built in 1835, for the use 
of the Middlesex Mechanics' Association, on 
land given by the Locks and Canals Com- 
pany, and at a cost of twenty thousand 
dollars ; nearly the whole of which was paid 
by contributions from the different manufac- 
turing companies. About this time also two 
large Grammar School Houses were erected, 
at an expense to the town of twenty-one 
thousand dollars. A large Alms-house and 
Poor Farm were provided for the town, a 
little over a mile distant from its centre, the 
cost of which was eighteen thousand five hun- 


dred dollars. By the annexation to Lowell, 
in 1834, of that part of the town of Tewks- 
bury called Belvidere, the territory of the 
town was enlarged by the addition of land, 
which, from its elevated and pleasant situa- 
tion, was peculiarly valuable for building lots, 
for which purpose it has since been extensively 
used. The opening of the Railroad, July 4, 
1835, which connects Boston with Lowell, 
brought the thriving town within an hour's 
ride of the metropolis. 

These are some of the progressive steps of 
the rapid and unexampled advancement of 
this place. A simple statement of the popu- 
lation of the town, at different periods within 
the ten years here alluded to, will still further 
illustrate its growth. Population of Lowell 
in 1826, two thousand five hundred inhab- 
itants. In 1828, three thousand five hundred 
thirty-two. In 1830, six thousand four hun- 
dred seventy-seven. In 1832, ten thousand 


disposition referred to is attested by the kind 
of improvements above indicated, and by the 
fact that a large number of private residences, 
and some of them commodious and costly 
dwellings, have recently been erected. 


This sketch of the successive steps in the 
history of this young city, may be appropri- 
ately followed by a statement of the extent of 
the operations of the chief establishments 
here, together with a summary of these op- 
erations as they exist at the present time. 

We begin with the Locks and Canals 
Company, whose works are carried on, as we 
have before seen, under the charter of 1792. 
Their capital stock is six hundred thousand 
dollars. They supply water-power to the 



other corporations, manufacture machinery, 
railroad-cars and engines, and contract for 
the erection of mills. They have two shops 
one of which is the largest in the United 
States a smithy and a foundry. They 
keep, usually, five hundred male laborers 
employed; but, when building mills, they 
give work, directly or indirectly, to seven 
hundred more. They manufacture one thou- 
sand two hundred and twenty-five tons of 
wrought and cast iron per year, and consume 
annually fifteen thousand bushels of charcoal, 
two hundred chaldrons of smiths' coal, four 
hundred tons of hard coal, two hundred cords 
of wood, and two thousand three hundred gal- 
lons of oil. They can furnish machinery 
complete for a mill of five thousand spindles 
in four months ; and lumber and materials are 
always at command, with which to build or 
rebuild a mill within that time, if required. 
Beside selling a large amount of land, on 


which the city now stands, at prices varying 
from one eighth to six eighths of a dollar per 
square foot, it has had the profits of all the 
mills and boarding-houses it has built on good 
contracts for other corporations, the profits 
ise of the manufactures of its shops ; and, 
in addition to this, it reserves and receives an 
annual rent for the water power disposed of 
for each mill. Within the last few months, 
this company has disposed of a large portion 
of its lands and buildings in Lowell, making 
sales to 'the amount of four hundred and 
seventy-five thousand dollars. The stock of 
this company has been sold at more than 
three hundred and fifty per cent, advance 
above par. In the recent sale of their prop- 
erty, the shops and smithy, and the boarding- 
houses connected with them, were purchased 
by individuals who were incorporated this year 
into a company by the name of the Machine 
Shop/ The manufacture of machinery, rail- 


road-cars, and engines, is for the present here 
carried on in the same manner and to the same 
extent as heretofore. 


The act incorporating this company was 
passed in 1822. Its capital stock is two mil- 
lions of dollars. It has five cotton mills, exten- 
sive print works, and one hundred and fifty-five 
boarding-houses. It runs forty-one thousand 
six hundred spindles, and one thousand three 
hundred looms. It gives employment to one 
thousand two hundred- and fifty females, and 
to five hundred and fifty males. It manufac- 
tures two hundred and fifty thousand yards 
of cloth per week, working up in that time 
fifty-six thousand pounds of cotton. It con- 
sumes, annually, five thousand tons of anthra- 
cite coal, two hundred cords of wood, and 
thirteen thousand gallons of oil. The stock 



of this company is at great advance above 
par, and dividends have recently been made 
of ten per cent, for six months. 


Incorporated in 1825. Capital stock one 
million two hundred thousand dollars. It has 
three mills, extensive print works, and fifty 
boarding houses. It runs twenty-two thou- 
sand one hundred and forty-four spindles, and 
six hundred and eight power looms. It em- 
ploys six hundred and fifty females, and two 
hundred and fifty males. It makes one hun- 
dred and ten thousand yards of cloth per 
week, manufacturing in that time forty-two 
thousand pounds of cotton. It consumes, 
annually, three thousand tons of anthracite 
coal, five hundred cords of wood, and six 
thousand five hundred gallons of oil. 




' This Company was incorporated in 1828, 
and in the same year commenced the erection 
of their mills. Their capital stock is six 
hundred thousand dollars. In their two mills 
they run eleven thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-six spindles, and four hundred looms. 
They have thirty boarding houses, and employ 
three hundred and forty females, and sixty- 
five males. They make one hundred thou- 
sand yards of cloth per week. They work 
up thirty-six thousand pounds of cotton per 
week. Of coal they use three hundred tons 
per year, and of oil three thousand four hun- 
dred and forty gallons. 



The Lowell Company was incorporated in 
1828. Their capital stock is six hundred 
thousand dollars. They have two mills, one 
for the manufacture of cotton, and one for the 
manufacture of carpets, and twenty-seven 
boarding houses. They run six thousand 
spindles for cotton, and one hundred and 
fifty- two looms. Beside these they have 
fifty power looms for carpet weaving, and 
forty hand looms, for the same purpose. 
They manufacture two thousand five hun- 
dred yards of cotton cloth per week, and 
over seven thousand yards of carpeting. 
They consume yearly five hundred tons of 
coal, five hundred cords of wood, four thou- 
sand gallons of olive oil, and four thousand 
gallons of sperm oil. The power looms for 
carpet weaving are the first and only ones 


that have ever been successfully employed. 
They are the invention of a young but highly 
distinguished machinist, formerly of Lowell, 
and have been the objects of much admiration. 


Incorporated in 1830. Capital stock seven 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This 
Company has two mills, one of which is 
very large, and two dye-houses. It manu- 
factures broadcloths and cassimeres. It runs 
seven thousand two hundred spindles, forty- 
five looms for broadcloth, one hundred and 
thirty-two for cassimeres. It employs five 
hundred and fifty females, and two hundred 
and fifty males. It makes twelve thousand 
yards of cassimere per week, and two thou- 
sand two hundred yards of broadcloth. It 
works up one million pounds of wool per 


year, and three million teasles. It consumes 
annually six hundred tons of coal, one thou- 
sand five hundred cords of wood, fifteen 
thousand gallons of oil for oiling wool, and six 
thousand gallons of sperm oil. 


Incorporated in 1830. Capital stock six 
hundred thousand dollars. It has two mills 
running eleven thousand eight hundred and 
seventy-two spindles, and four hundred and 
four looms. It has thirty boarding houses, 
and employs three hundred and forty females, 
and seventy males. It makes one hundred 
thousand yards of cloth per week, chiefly 
drillings, using for this thirty-six thousand 
pounds of cotton. It consumes annually three 
hundred tons of coal, fifty cords of wood, and 
three thousand five hundred gallons of oil. 




Incorporated in 1830. Capital stock six 
hundred thousand dollars. Its two mills run 
eleven thousand five hundred and twenty 
spindles, and four hundred and nine looms. 
It has thirty boarding houses, and employs 
three hundred and sixty females, and seventy 
males. It makes one hundred and fifteen 
thousand yards of cloth per week, working 
up in that time thirty thousand pounds of cot- 
ton. It consumes two hundred and fifty tons of 
coal, sixty cords of wood, three thousand six 
hundred and ninety-two gallons of oil, yearly. 


Incorporated in 1830. Capital stock one 
million five hundred thousand dollars. It has 


sixty-four boarding houses, and five mills. 
It runs thirty-two thousand six hundred and 
forty spindles, and nine hundred and fifty 
looms. It employs nine hundred females, 
and one hundred and seventy males. It 
makes two hundred and ten thousand yards 
of cloth per week, working up in that time 
sixty-five thousand pounds of cotton. It con- 
sumes, annually, six hundred and fifty tons of 
coal, one hundred and twenty cords of wood, 
and eight thousand two hundred and seven- 
teen gallons of oil. 


Incorporated in 1835. Capital stock one 
million two hundred thousand dollars. It has 
sixty-four boarding houses, and four mills, 
running thirty-two thousand and thirty-six 
spindles, and nine hundred and ten looms. It 


employs seven hundred and eighty females, and 

one hundred and thirty males. It makes one 

hundred and eighty-five thousand yards of 
cloth per week, working up sixty-three thou- 
sand pounds of cotton in that time. Its 
annual consumption is, of coal, seven hun- 
dred and fifty tons ; of wood, seventy cords ; 
of oil, seven thousand one hundred gallons. 


Incorporated in 1839. Capital stock one- 
million two hundred thousand dollars. It has 
sixty-four boarding houses, and four mills. It 
runs twenty-eight thousand two hundred and 
eighty-eight spindles, and nine hundred and 
four looms. It employs seven hundred and 
fifty females, and one hundred and sixty 
males. It makes two hundred and ninety- 
two thousand yards of cloth per week, work- 


ing up in that time ninety-six thousand pounds 
of cotton. It consumes, annually, seven hun- 
dred and fifty tons of coal, seventy cords of 
wood, and seven thousand one hundred gal- 
lons of oil. 


A great amount and variety of other busi- 
ness is done in Lowell, beside that of the 
incorporated companies above named. Me- 
chanical skill and ingenuity here naturally 
concentrate, and the best of artizans and 
of workmanship in almost all branches of 
mechanical industry may be here found. 
The extensive powder works of Oliver M. 
Whipple, Esq., before referred to, are still 
in successful operation, making eight hun- 
dred and eighty-five thousand pounds of 

58 LOWELL IN 1845. 

powder per year. The Lowell Bleachery, 
with a capital of fifty thousand dollars, car- 
ries on a large business for an establishment 
of that kind. Beside these, Lowell has a 
Flannel Mill; Blanket Mill; Paper Mill; 
Planing Machines ; a Card and Whip Fac- 
tory ; Reed Machines ; (the three last among 
the most curious specimens of human con- 
trivance;) Foundry; Grist and Saw Mills; 
Sash and Door Manufactory; Lock Manu- 
factories ; Carriage Manufactory ; Loom Har- 
ness Shops ; together employing about five 
hundred hands, and a capital of six hundred 
thousand dollars. 

LOWELL IN 1845. 

We may here sum up and put together 
some of the facts which have been referred 
to in the preceding statements. Lowell has 

LOWBLL IN 1845. 59 

.in a population of nearly thirty thou- 
sand souls. About one third of this whole, 
number are operatives, either in the mills, 
or connected with the mechanical employ- 
i Dients before described, viz. six thousand 
three hundred and twenty females, and two 
thousand nine hundred and fifteen males. 
There are thirty-three mills beside the print 
works, and about five hundred and fifty houses 
belonging to the corporations. The capital 
stock here invested in manufacturing and me- 
chanical enterprises is twelve millions of dol- 
lars. There are made in Lowell, every week, 
one million four hundred and fifty -nine thou- 
sand one hundred yards of cloth, amounting 
to seventy-five million eight hundred and 
sixty-eight thousand yards per year. This 
is nearly enough to belt the globe twice 
round. Sixty-one thousand one hundred 
bales of cotton are worked up every year. 
Of printed calico there are here made annu- 

60 LOWELL IN 1845. 

ally fourteen millions of yards. The annual 
consumption in the Lowell manufactories is, 
of coal, twelve thousand five hundred tons ; 
of wood, three thousand two hundred and 
seventy cords ; of oil, sixty-seven thousand 
eight hundred and forty-two gallons ; of char- 
coal, six hundred thousand bushels ; of starch, 
eight hundred thousand pounds. Over one 
million and a half of dollars are paid out 
every year for labor, and that sum has been 
received as the profits for one year of this 
immense business. At no time have the 
business prospects of the city been more 
encouraging than they are now. A large 
mill has this season been completed by the 
Lawrence Corporation, equal in size to two 
of their old ones. The Suffolk and Tremont 
Companies have filled up the spaces between 
their mills, making one vast mill of the two 
which belong to each. The Hamilton and 
Appleton Companies are engaged in a simi- 

A LOWELL CoiiroKATION.. (',1 

lar extension of thoir works. A inaimnoth 
mill is to be erected forthwith by the Mer- 
rimack Cumpany, in.the rear of their present 
factories. New mills are to be built likewise 
by the. Middlesex, Hamilton and Prescott 
Companies. By arrangements which will 
probably be soon completed, the business of 
this city will be extended to the amount of 
twenty per cent. 


From this sketch of the growth and extent 
of the operations of this city, we come now 
to some branches of our subject, which are of 
the highest interest and importance ; we mean 
the method upon which business is here con- 
ducted, the provisions made for the health, 
comfort, and moral protection of the opera- 
tives, and the actual character which the mass 


of these operatives sustain. On this last 
point, all know that conflicting statements 
have been put forth. Lowell has been highly 
commended by some, as a model community, 
for its good order, industry, spirit of intelli- 
gence, and general freedom from vice. It has 
been strongly condemned, by others, as a hot- 
bed of corruption, tainting and polluting the 
whole land. We all, in New England, have 
an interest in knowing what are the exact facts 
of the case. We are destined to be a great 
manufacturing people. The influences that 
go forth from Lowell, will go forth from many 
other manufacturing villages and cities. If 
these influences are pernicious, we have a 
great calamity impending over us. Bather 
than endure it, we should prefer to have 
every factory destroyed ; the character of our 
sons and daughters being of infinitely more 
importance than any considerations "where- 
withal they shall be clothed." If, on the 


other hand, a system lias been introduced, 
can -fully provided with checks and safeguards, 
and strong moral and conservative influences, 
it is our duty to see that this system be faith- 
fully carried out, so as to prevent the disas- 
trous results which have developed themselves 
in the manufacturing towns of other countries. 
Hence the topics above named assume the 
importance of the highest moral questions. 
They will justify and demand the most careful 
consideration. The author writes after a nine 
years' residence in this city, during which he 
has closely observed the working of the fac- 
tory system, and has gathered a great amount 
of statistical facts which have a bearing upon 
this subject. He believes himself to be un- 
affected by any partisan views, as he stands 
wholly aside from the sphere of any interested 
motives. He enters upon this part of his 
work, feeling, in the outset, that he has no case, 
one way or the other, to make out, and intend- 


ing principally to confine himself to the pre- 
sentation of the facts which he has collected. 

As preparing the way to a more intelligent 
view of the case, a brief description may be 
here given of a Lowell Corporation. 

On the banks of the river, or of a canal, 
stands a row of mills, numbering, on different 
corporations, from two to five. A few rods 
from these, are long blocks of brick boarding- 
houses, containing a sufficient number of 
tenements to accommodate the most of the 
operatives employed by the Corporation. 
Between the boarding-houses and the mills is 
a line of .a one story brick building, contain- 
ing the counting room, superintendent's room, 
clerk's and store rooms. The mill yard is so 
surrounded by enclosures, that the only access 
is through the counting room, in full view of 
those whose business it is to see that no im- 
proper persons intrude themselves upon the 


Thus the superintendent, from his room, 
has the whole of the Corporation under his 
eye. On the one side are the boarding-houses, 
all of which are under his care, and are rented 
only to known and approved tenants ; on the 
other side are the mills, in each room of which 
lie lias stationed some carefully selected over- 
seer, who is held responsible for the work, 
good order, and proper management of his 
room. Within the yard, also, are repair shops, 
each department of which, whether of iron, 
leather, or wood, has its head overseer. 
There is a superintendent of the yard, who, 
with a number of men under his care, has 
charge of all the out-door work of the estab- 
lishment. There is a head watchman, having 
oversight of the night watch, who are required 
to pass through every room in the mills a pre- 
scribed number of times every night. 

This, then, is the little world over which 
the superintendent presides. Assisted by his 


clerk, who keeps the necessary records, by 
the paymaster, who, receiving his funds from 
the treasurer of the Corporation, disburses 
their wages to the operatives, and not forget- 
ing even the "runner," as he is called, who 
does the errands of the office, the superin- 
tendent's mind regulates all ; his character in-, 
spires all ; his plans, matured and decided by 
the directors of the company, who visit him 
every week, control all. He presides over 
one of the most perfect systems of subdivided 
and yet well-defined responsibility. Of course 
every thing depends upon the kind of man 
who fills such a post as this. No pecuniary 
considerations have ever stood in the way of 
the appointment, by the Corporations, of the 
best men who could be found. To their 
remarkable and universally acknowledged 
success in this respect, to their selection of 
individuals highly distinguished both for their 
general force -of character, and for their in- 


, conscientiousness, and magnanimity, 
is Lowell chiefly indebted, both for the profit- 
ableness of her operations, and the character 
which she has sustained. 


Each of the long blocks of boarding-houses 
is divided into six or eight tenements, and are 
generally three stories high. These tene- 
ments are finished, off in a style much above 
the common farm-houses of the country, and 
more nearly resemble the abodes, of respect- 
able mechanics in rural villages. They are 
all furnished with an abundant supply of 
water, and with suitable yards and out-build- 
ings. These are constantly kept clean, the 
buildings well painted^ and the premises 
thoroughly whitewashed every spring, at the 
Corporation's expense. The front room is 


usually the common eating-room of the house, 
and the kitchen is in the rear. The keeper 
of the house, (commonly a widow, with her 
family of children,) has her parlor in some 
part of the establishment ; and in some houses 
there is a sitting-room for the use of the 
boarders. The remainder of the apartments 
are sleeping-rooms. In each of these are 
lodged two, four, and in some cases six board- 
ers ; and the room has an air of neatness and 
comfort, exceeding what most of the occupants 
have been accustomed to in their paternal 
homes. In many cases, these rooms are not 
sufficiently large for the number who occupy 
them; and oftentimes that attention is not 
paid to their ventilation which a due regard 
to health demands. These are points upon 
which a reform is called for ; and, in the con- 
struction of new boarding-houses, this reform 
should be attempted. At the same time, it 
should in justice be added, that the evil alluded 


to is not peculiar to Lowell, and will not prob- 
ably appear to be a crying one, if the case 
should be brought into comparison with many 
of the apartments of milliners and sempstresses 
in the boarding-houses of our cities. 

As one important feature in the manage- 
ment of these houses, it deserves to be named 
that male operatives and female operatives 
do not board in the same tenement; and 
the following Regulations, printed by one of 
the companies, and given to each keeper of 
their houses, are here subjoined, as a simple 
statement of the rules generally observed by 
all the Corporations. 

" REGULATIONS to be observed by persons 
occupying the Boarding-houses belonging, to 
the Merrimack Manufacturing Company. 

They must not board any persons not em- 
ployed by the company, unless by special 


No disorderly or improper conduct must be 
allowed in the houses. 

The doors must be closed at 10 o'clock in 
the evening ; and no person admitted after 
that time, unless a sufficient excuse can be 

Those who keep the houses, when required, 
must give an account of the number, names, 
and employment of their boarders ; also with 
regard to their general conduct, and whether 
they are in the habit of attending public 

The buildings, both inside and out, and the 
yards about them, must be kept clean, and in 
good order. If the buildings or fences are 
injured, they will be repaired and charged to 
the occupant. 

No one will be allowed to keep swine." 

The hours of taking meals in these houses 
are uniform throughout all the Corporations 


in the city, and are as follows : Dinner 
always at halt' past twelve o'clock. Break- 
last from November 1 to February 28, 
before going to work, and so early as to 
begin work as soon as it is light ; through 
March at half past seven o'clock ; from April 
1 to September 19, at seven o'clock ; and 
from September 20 to October 31, at half 
seven o'clock. Supper always after 
work at night, that is, after seven o'clock, 
from March 20 to September 19 ; after half- 
past seven o'clock, from September 20 to ! 
March 19. The time allowed for each meal 
is thirty minutes for breakfast, when that 
meal is taken after beginning work; for 
dinner, thirty minutes, from September 1 
to April 30 ; and forty-five minutes from 
May 1 to August 31. 

That this time is too short for a due regard 
to health, must be obvious to all. And yet 
it is probably as long as most business men 


allow to themselves ; it is probably as long 
as is spent at the tables of more than half 
of our public hotels. For the sake of the 
operatives we wish that the time for meals 
was lengthened ; but we do not see the pro- 
priety of calling in this quarter for a reform 
in those habits of hasty eating which pervade 
the whole country, and characterize our na- 
tion. The food that is furnished in these 
houses is of a substantial and wholesome 
kind, is neatly served, and 'in sufficient abun- 
dance. Operatives are under no compulsion to 
board in one tenement rather than another ; 
it is for the interest of the boarding-house 
keeper, therefore, to have her bill of -fare 
attractive. And then, as to the character of 
these boarding-house keepers themselves, on 
no point is the superintendent more . par- 
ticular than on this. He has generally a 
great liberty of choice of tenants. Appli- 
cations for these situations are very numer- 


ous. The rents of the company's houses 
are purposely low, averaging only from one 
third to one half of what similar houses rent 
for in the city. In times of pressure a part 
of this low rent, and in some instances- the 
whole of it, has been remitted. There is 
no intention on the part of the Corporation 
to make any revenue from these houses. 
They are a great source of annual expense. 
But the advantages of supervision are more 
i than an equivalent for this. No tenant is 
i admitted who has not hitherto borne a good 
character, and who does not continue to sus- 
tain it. In many cases the tenant has long 
been keeper of the house, for six, eight, or 
twelve years, and is well known to hundreds 
of her girls as their adviser and friend and 
second mother. Though the price of board 
is low, at present but one dollar and twenty- 
five cents for female, and one dollar and 
seventy-five cents for male boarders, yet 



many of them, aided by the cheap rents 
just alluded to, and by prudent and judicious 
management, have paid off old debts, have 
educated sons and daughters, and have made 
a comfortable provision for old age. Many 
cases of this kind have come to the personal 
knowledge of the author. He knows a man, 
who, broken down by unfortunate speculations 
at the South, removed his wife and family of 
daughters to Lowell ; and there, forgetting 
their former affluence, and relying hopefully 
upon their own exertions, honestly paid off, 
in a few years, by the fruits of their labor, 
an old incumbrance of over two thousand 
dollars, and realized enough beside to give 
an enviable education to his children. He 
knows, also, of a poor widow, who, running 
in debt for every cent of the furniture of 
her boarding-house, paid for it all, in a short 
time ; and, by eleven years of industry and 
economy, saved the snug sum of fourteen 


hundred dollars, with which she purchased a 
quiet retreat for her old age in the country. 
These are undoubtedly uncommon cases, and 
they should be taken as such. They were 
the reward of more good management and 
thrift than fall to the ordinary lot. 

The influence which this system of board- 
ing-houses has exerted upon the good order 
and good morals of the place, has been vast 
and beneficent. It is this system to which 
we especially referred in our previous chap- 
ter on Waltham. By it the care and influ- 
ence of the superintendent are extended 
over his operatives, while they are out of 
the mill, as well as while they are in it. 
Employing chiefly those who have no per- 
manent residence in Lowell, but are only 
temporary boarders, upon any embarrass- 
ment of affairs they return to their country 
homes, and do not sink down here a helpless 
caste, clamouring for work, starving unless 


employed, and hence ready for a riot, for 
the destruction of property, und repeating 
here the scenes enacted in the manufacturing 
villages of England. To a very great degree 
the future condition of Lowell is dependent 
upon a faithful adhesion to this system ; and 
it will deserve the serious consideration of 
those old towns which are now introducing 
steam mills, whether, if they do not provide 
boarding-houses, and employ chiefly other 
operatives than resident ones, they be not 
bringing in the seeds of future and alarm- 
ing evil. 


The cotton purchased by agents at the 
South, and shipped to Boston, is brought 
to Lowell by the railroad, and deposited in 
storehouses ready for use. When wanted, 


it is wheeled by the yard hands to the card- 
ing-room, which is on the first floor of the 
mill. Here the bales are opened, and the 
cotton from different bales is well mixed 
together, in order to give the whole a more 
uniform appearance. It is then made to 
pass through a machine called the " whip- 
per," by which it is beaten and thrown into 
a light state. Passing through another ma- 
chine called the "conical willow," it comes 
out still more opened and cleansed, and is 
ready for the " picker." The picker rooms 
are two small buildings standing a few feet 
removed from the mill, and are made fire 
proof, in order to guard against ignition, 
which is liable to ensue from the great 
rapidity of the machinery. The cotton, laid 
on to a strip of cloth or leather called an 
"apron," is drawn into the picker when it 
is thoroughly opened and freed from lumps 
and dust, and then, passing through the " lap- 


per," it comes out in sheets, nicely wound 
round a wooden cylinder. These laps are 
then taken to the card room, and are applied 
to the backs of cards. They go through two 
processes of carding, the first by the " break- 
er," after which the cotton passes through the 
"lap- winder" or "doubler," by which it is 
wound again on the lap, and then through the 
" finisher," by which the carding process is 

Thus far only male hands have been em- 
ployed, as the work is both laborious and 
disagreeable. The cotton is now taken by 
female operatives who carry it first through 
the "drawing frame," by which the fibres 
are laid in one direction, and are brought 
together in a rope-like form, then through 
the " double speeder," which twists this into 
a coarse " roving," and then through the 
" stretcher," which still further draws the 
roving out. In this stage it is packed in 


boxes, and by means of the "elevator" it 
is taken up into the spinning room above. 

In the carding room there are two over- 
seers, three hands employed with the pickers, 
two grinders to keep the cards in order, five 
persons employed in stripping the cards all 
of the above being males. There are like- 
wise in this room eight females attending 
the drawing frames, about a dozen more 
employed upon the speeders, together with 
three or four spare hands, who are employed 
by the day, the others being paid by the 
quantity of work got off. Wages of the 
drawers will average one dollar sixty-two 
and a half cents per week ; speeder hands 
about two dollars per week. In this case, 
and throughout this chapter, when wages are 
given, the net earnings are meant exclusive 
of board. 

From the carding room we pass up to the 
spinning room. The spinning frames in Low- 


ell are all " throstles," both warp and filling. 
A large mill will soon be completed, where 
mule spinning will be adopted, and this will be 
the first and only one of the kind in the city. 
In a Lowell spinning room about sixty girls 
are employed, including both warp and filling 
spinners, and four or five spare hands. In 
the room there are three male overseers, and 
one man to distribute roving. Spinning is 
light and easy work compared either with 
weaving or attending the speeders, but re- 
quires more skill than drawing. The pay for 
this work is graduated accordingly, averaging 
about one dollar and seventy-five cents per 

On the speeders, throstles, warpers, and 
dressers, there are clocks, which mark the 
quantity of work that is done. The clocks 
are made to run one week, at the end of which 
the overseer transfers the account to a board 
which hangs in the room in the sight of all the 


operatives. From this board the monthly 
watros of each operative are ascertained. 

The filling is now ready for the weaver ; 
but the warp undergoes yet further preparation 
in what is called the " dressing room." Here 
the yarn is warped off from the spools upon 
section beams. These beams are then trans- 
ferred to the dresser, who sizes, and brushes, 
and dries the yarn. The yarn on eight of 
these beams is then tranferred to a loom beam, 
the ends of the yarn being drawn in through 
the harness and reed. This is done by hand, 
and it is the first and only hand process in the 
manufacture of the fabric. 

Warping is regarded as hard work, as it 
requires constant standing, and reconnecting 
the threads, which are perpetually running off, 
or are breaking between the spool and the 
beam. The pay is made out for so many 
thousand yards wound on a section beam, and 
will average two dollars and twenty-five cents 



per week. These wages are made high solely 
on account of the hardness of the work, which 
in other respects is not difficult, and requires 
no rare skill. For the same reason the va- 
rious processes are so arranged, that the 
warpers will not be required to work as many 
hours as the other operatives, they being fre- 
quently permitted to leave the mill some hours 
before the rest. Dressing is paid higher than 
any other process, because it demands peculiar 
skill and judgment. This also is female work, 
and the average pay for it is from two dollars 
and fifty cents, to three dollars and fifty cents 
per week, while from five to six are occasion- 
ally earned by the most skilful hands. In the 
dressing room are usually three overseers, 
from six to eight dressers, from six to eight 
warpers, and from six to eight drawers-in. 
Drawing-in is light and easy work, the opera- 
tive sitting all the tune by her window. The 
pay, being piece work, will vary according to 


dexterity, but will average from two to three 


dollars per week. 

We now come to the weaving room, where 
the materials before prepared are put together 
in cloth. There are two weaving rooms to 
each mill. In each room are two or three 
overseers, and a boy to distribute the filling. 
In both rooms there are from one hundred and 
thirty, to one hundred and forty weavers em- 
ployed. Paid by the piece, their wages will 
vary according to diligence and skill, bat will 
average from two dollars, to two dollars and a 
quarter per week. In the mills which make 
the finer kinds of cloth, superior skill is re- 
quired, and wages will average somewhat 

When woven, the fabric is carried to the 
cloth room. Here are employed one male over- 
seer, and a number of girls, varying from ten 
to twenty-five, according to the kind of goods 
made. The cloth is trimmed, measured, 


folded, and recorded. It is then either baled, 
or delivered to the print works. 

Beside the hands above enumerated, each 
mill has two watchmen on duty day and night, 
who relieve each other at intervals of six 
hours each. Each room, likewise, has one 
woman, generally Irish, who does nothing but 
keep the room clean, by constant washing, 
scrubbing, and sweeping. 


The following description of the process of 
calico printing was kindly furnished for this 
work by Dr. SAMUEL L. DANA, Chemist to 
the Merrimack Print Works, and author of a 
well known book on Agricultural Chemistry. 

The cloth received from the manufactory is 
covered with a fine nap, which, if printed, 
would rise up and give the colored parts a 


pepper-and-salt look. To get rid of this, the 
cloth is singed, not as the cook singes a fowl, 
by a blaze, but by running the cloth over a 
half cylinder of copper, heated red hot. The 
cloth is passed over dry, and repassed ; after 
which it is moistened by wet rollers, to extin- 
guish any shreds which might happen to be on 
fire. This singeing process always excites the 
wonder of the beholder, who is not a little 
astonished that the cloth is not injured. 

The next process is to bleach the cloth. On 
the success of this depends all the after work. 
A good white is not only the soul of a print, 
but without it no good and brilliant color can 
be dyed. The greatest difficulty is to remove 
every trace of grease and oil, imparted by the 
spinner and weaver. The cloth is therefore 
put into big tubs, holding five hundred pieces, 
and steeped in warm water some hours. It is 
then washed in the dash-wheel) and subjected 
to the following operations, which convert the 


oil to soap, and remove it with the coloring 

1. Boiled by steam in creamy lime. 

2. Washed in the dash-wheel. 

3. Boiled in alkali by steam. 

4. Washed in the dash-wheel. 

5. Steeped in bleaching powder solution 
some hours. 

6. Steeped in oil vitriol and water, about 
the strength of lemon juice. 

7. Washed in the dash-wheel. 

8. Squeezed between rollers. 

9. Mangled and dried in air, or in warm 
rooms, built for this purpose. 

The cloth is now perfectly white, and loses 
not so much in weight and strength as by the 
old process of grass bleaching. 

The bleached cloth is now printed with one 
or more colors, four to six colors may be 
applied by the printing machine. If more are 
wanted, they are introduced by hand, with 


blocks, after the other colors are finished. 
The figure or design is engraved on a copper 
roller, each color having a separate roller. 
The color which the beholder sees imprinted, 
as he watches the process, is not the color that 
is to be, when the print is finished. The color 
which he sees, is, with the exception of brown, 
or blue, or black occasionally, fugitive. It is 
merely what is called " sightening" that is, a 
color imparted to the paste, or " thickening" 
which is imprinted b,y the rollor to enable the 
machine printer to judge of the perfectness of 
the work. The paste, or thickening, contains 
the mordant, that is, the peculiar substance, 
which, combining chemically with the cloth, 
enables it to dye a peculiar color, according to 
the nature of the mordant and dye-wood. The 
cloth dyes only where the mordant is applied, 
that is, on the printed figure only. The mor- 
dants generally used are alum and copperas, 
each of which is first changed to acetate of 


alumina, or iron; that is, the color-maker 
takes away the oil of vitriol from the alum 
and copperas, and substitutes vinegar in its 
place. Sometimes the iron liquor, as it is 
called, is made by dissolving iron turnings in 
pyroligneous, or wood acid. 

The preparation of color, and the thickening 
it with flour, starch, gum, &c., is a distinct 
branch, carried on in the color-shop of the 
print works. 

It may be added, that with madder, iron 
dyes black and purple, according to its 
strength; alum, dyes red of various shades, 
and a mixture of the two dyes chocolate. So 
that out of the same dye kettle come various 
colors, according to the mordant, and these 
colors are all fast. 

The cloth having been printed and dried, is 
" aged" during which a chemical combination 
takes place between the mordant and cloth. 
Ordinarily this occurs in two or three weeks, 


by the natural affinity of the cotton fibre and 
mordant ; but by certain agents this chemical 
change is hastened and perfectly effected in 
two or three days ; but as this process goes on 
in conjunction with the others, the visiter sees 
only the folding up and winding into rolls of 
the pieces of cloth, though all the time this 
change is going on. The cloth is then passed, 
by means of rollers, through a boiling-hot so- 
lution of phosphate of soda, to render insolu- 
ble any uncombined mordant, and to wet the 
cloth evenly. It is then washed in the dash- 
wheel, and after this, to remove the thickening, 
passed, for twenty or thirty minutes, through 
bran, or meal and water, quite hot, washed, 
and it is now ready for dyeing. 

The dye-woods used are, madder, bark, or 
logwood, the last only for mourning prints, or 
black and white. The dye-wood is put into 
large wooden vats, with a portion of water, 
and then the pieces of cloth, sixteen in each 


vat, are introduced over a winch, moved by 
water-power. Steam is then admitted, the 
goods turned through and through, round and 
round, gradually heating the water, till, at the 
end of two hours, it rises near to boiling, and 
the mordanted cloth is perfectly dyed. It is 
taken out, rinsed, and washed in the dash- 

The cloth after this is passed, by means of a 
winch, either through hot water and bran, or 
through hot soap, for half an hour, washed, 
and then again put through these operations, 
again washed, and then rinsed through a hot 
solution of -chloride of soda, washed again, 
squeezed, and dried either in air or in warm 
rooms. Sometimes they are mangled with 
some stiffening, and so are finished. 

The visiter of print works will see a great 
number of men, busily employed, dipping 
wooden frames, on which are stretched pieces 
of cloth, printed with a brown figure, into deep 


vats, filled with a green-blue liquor. The 
cloth comes out with a greenish hue, and im- 
mediately grows blue in the air, on all parts, 
except where the brown figure was. That 
resists or throws off the blue vat. Now the 
blue vat contains a solution of indigo in lime 
water. Indigo is one of the most insoluble 
substances in water ; but by means of copperas 
and lime, the oxygen of the indigo is abstracted 
by the iron ; it then becomes greenish, and is 
dissolved by the lime water. Exposed to air, 
it again absorbs oxygen, and becomes blue. It 
is during this change from green to blue that 
it becomes chemically united to the cloth. 
The brown figure resists, because it is a prepa- 
ration of copper, which yields its oxygen to 
the indigo, on the figure, while in the vat. 
The figure becomes covered with blue indigo 
in the vat ; it forms then no affinity with the 
cloth, and consequently, after the copper has 
been removed by a weak acid, the brown spot, 


or figure, remains white, and so is produced 
the blue ground with white figures. The 
whole is a most exquisite chemical process 
from beginning to end, equalled only by the 
process for China blue, where blue figures are 
raised on a white ground. This is done by 
printing on the figure, with fine ground in- 
digo, thickened with paste, and thus by al- 
ternate immersions in lime water and cop- 
peras liquor, the indigo is dissolved, and fixed 
on the spots where printed, by a play of 
chemical affinities similar to those described in 
blue dipping. 

Black and white, and red, or chocolate 
and white, are made by passing the cloth 
through red or iron liquor, or their mixture, 
and after squeezing, while the cloth is 
open and flat, that is dried in hot flues. Ev- 
ery part of the cloth is thus imbued with 
mordant. The process is termed "pading? 
It is then printed, with citric acid, (lemon 


juice,) thickened with roasted starch. This 
add discharge^ the mordant, and consequently, 
when dyed as usual, the discharged figures are 
left white. Logwood is the dye for black, and 
madder is the dye for reds and chocolates. 

The designing of patterns is a distinct 
branch of art. Usually one or more designers 
are employed by each establishment. The 
pattern, when approved, is handed to the en- 
graver, who first makes a sketch of it to fit his 
roller, and so arranged that the small pattern 
may cover that without any marked appear- 
ance of joining. The engraving is made from 
the sketch, usually on a small steel die, the 
pattern or figure being cut into the steel. 
This die is first hardened, and is then trans- 
ferred to a similar steel cylinder, called a 
mill The figures now stand up, or are in re- 
lief; the soft steel mill is then hardened, and 
being applied by powerful pressure, the relief 
is sank into a copper roller, from which it is 


printed upon the cloth. Such is a brief outline 
of calico printing. It is a combination of 
taste, art, mechanical and chemical science, 
and in all its parts affords a beautiful example 
of the mutual dependence of art and science 
on each other ; producing results effective only 
from their exquisite adaptations." 

There are two calico printing establishments 
in Lowell the Merrimack, and Hamilton; 
and both print over fourteen million yards of 
calico per year. 


But one establishment in this city is appro- 
priated to the manufacture of woollen cloth. 
This is the Middlesex Company. Their wool 
comes from the States of Vermont, New 
Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, 


Illinois, Missouri, and some, recently, from 
the Territory of Wisconsin. The quantity 
which is here annually manufactured equals 
the produce of four hundred thousand sheep. 
Received into the company's store-room, it is 
first assorted into eleven different kinds, ac- 
cording to degrees of fineness. The wool is 
then dyed ; after which it passes through the 
picker. From the picker it is taken succes- 
sively to the carding, spinning, dressing, and 
weaving rooms. The cloth is then "burled," 
as it is called, by which is meant a careful 
removal of all imperfect threads ; and the next 
processes are those of scouring and fulling. 
At this stage of the manufacture, the cloth is 
applied to the "gig," or napping machine, by 
which the nap is raised; after which it is 
shorn, passing through the shearing machine 
from ten to sixteen times. The fine gloss of 
the cloth is then put upon it by steam ; and 
after another careful examination by the 


"linters," it is marked, pressed, measured, 
done up in papers, boxed, and sent to 

The large mill of this company is seven sto- 
ries high, one hundred and fifty-eight feet long, 
and forty-six feet wide. Another, of nearly the 
same size, is soon to be erected. The quan- 
tity of broadcloth and cassimeres annually 
made, is about one hundred and fourteen 
thousand yards of the former, and six hundred 
and twenty thousand yards of the latter. 
Some of the yearly expenses attending this 
are as follows : logwood, six thousand dollars ; 
indigo, twenty-two thousand dollars ; glue, 
five thousand dollars; soap, eight thousand 
dollars ; packing boxes, one thousand six hun- 
dred dollars ; wrapping paper, one thousand 
dollars. Sales of cloth have amounted to 
eight hundred thousand dollars per year. 
The whole importation of cassimeres from 
England to the United States, in 1844, was 



seven, thousand pieces; while this company 
alone manufactured, in that year, more than 
twenty thousand pieces. 


The Carpet Mill -of the Lowell Manufac- 
turing Company is the only one in the city. 
The wool that is here used is all imported 
from South America or the Mediterranean. 
Our domestic wools are not coarse enough for 
this manufacture. Hope is cherished, that 
by the extensive introduction of the Leicester 
breed of sheep into the Western States, the 
necessity of importation may gradually cease. 
The Lowell Company work up, annually, two 
thousand bales, averaging one thousand pounds 
of unwashed wool to the bale. The cost of 
this is less than seven cents per pound abroad. 
It contains fifty per cent, of dirt ; in addition 


to which the South American wool has* from 
fifteen to twenty-five per cent, of " burrs," and 
the Mediterranean from five to ten per cent. 

In the manufacture, the first process is the 
washing and burring of the wool. The burring 
is thoroughly and expeditiously done by a 
machine, whicK was invented by a Lowell 
mechanic, and which has been patented both 
in this country and in England. The wool 
is then taken to the combing machine, in order 
to separate the long fibres of the wool from 
the short. From the former the worsted yarn 
is made for the warp. The separation of the 
long fibres of the wool for manufacturing was 
first undertaken in Worstead, a market town 
in the County of Norfolk, England, and hence 
the name applied to yarn thus made. The 
short fibres of the wool, technically called the 
" Noyls," are spun into filling, by the common 
carding and spinning process. No machine 
can more effectually and perfectly answer its 

o - 


end than this combing machine. Superin- 
tended by a female operative, who is assisted 
by a boy and girl, it does the work of many 
men, and does it better than it could be 
done by hand. This also is the ingenious in- 
vention of Lowell artizans. 

As soon as the yarn is cleansed and dyed 
it is ready for the power loom. No descrip- 
tion of this remarkable machine can here be 
offered, nor are its operations often understood 
even by those who see them. Placed in a 
lofty room, built expressly for its use, and 
supplied with warp and filling yarn, it turns 
out twenty-five yards per day of ingrain car- 
peting, of any design, and any colors which 
may be preferred. It requires the superintend- 
ence only of a young woman, who is notified by 
a bell, which the machine itself rings, of any 
imperfection of its work. This loom is the 
invention of E. B. Bigelow, Esq., a native 
of Massachusetts, and at one tune a resident 


of Lowell. Fifty of these looms are in con- 
stant operation, in the only mill in the world 
for power-loom carpet weaving. Carpets so 
woven are firmer, match better, and have a 
truer selvedge than those woven by hand. 
By the power loom, a young woman easily 
does the work, which, by the hand process, re- 
quired the hard labor of three men* 

The Lowell Company are making, at the 
present time, three hundred thouand yards of 
carpeting per year, they also make rugs, the 
tufted, Chenille, and Brussels, employing for 
this purpose, twenty-five hands, who average 
twenty-five rugs per day. A power loom for 
Brussels carpet weaving, is nearly completed, 
which is the only one in the country, and is 
the invention, likewise, of Mr. Bigelow. It 
has been purchased by the Lowell Company, 
who are forming plans with reference to the 
erection of a mill, for the extensive use of 
these looms. 



The following table shows the average hours 
per day of running the mills, throughout the 
year, on all the Corporations in Lowell : 

h. m. Ii. m. 

January, 11 24 July, 12 45 

February, 12 00 August, 12 45 

March, 11 52 September,- 12 23 

April, 13 31 October, 12 10 

May, 12 45 November, ... 11 56 

June, 12 45 December, . 11 24 

In addition to the above, it should be stated, 
that lamps are never lighted on Saturday 
evening, and that four holidays are allowed in 
the year, viz. Fast Day, Fourth of July, 
Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. 

No fact connected with the manufacturing 
business, has been so often, or so strongly ob- 


jected to as this, which appears from the above 
table, that the average daily time of run- 
ning the mills is twelve hours and ten minutes. 
It is no part of the object of this book to de- 
fend any thing which may be shown to be 
wrong, its sole purpose being a careful presen- 
tation of facts. Arguments are not needed to 
prove that toil, if it be continued for this 
length of time, each day, month after month, 
and year after year, is excessive, and too much 
for the tender frames of young women to bear. 
No one can more sincerely desire, than the 
writer of this book, that they had more leisure 
time for mental improvement and social en- 
joyment. It must be remembered, however, 
that their work is comparatively light. All 
the hard processes, not conducted by men, 
are performed by machines, the movements 
of which female operatives are required 
merely to oversee and adjust. And then as 
to their long confinement and care, there is a 


mitigation which, in discussions on this subject, 
has been almost altogether overlooked, but 
which is of such vital importance that it merits 
the most careful attention. 

We have given above the hours per day of 
operating the mills. It must be well under- 
stood what this means. These are the hours 
for running the wheels. It does not follow 
that all operatives work this number of hours, 
or are in attendance this number of hours. 
This is not the case. By a system adjusted to 
secure this end, by keeping engaged a number 
of spare hands, by occasional permissions of 
absence, and by an allowed exchange of work 
among the girls, the average number of hours 
in which they are actually employed is not 
more than ten and a half. They are out to go 
shopping, to repair their clothes, to take care 
of themselves in any occasional illness, to see 
friends visiting the city, to call on sick friends 
here ; nor are reasonable requests of this kind 


refused. Many of these girls, moreover, in 
the course of each year, take a vacation of a 
few weeks, to return to their homes. In these 
absences the work of the mill is not suspended. 
The wheels continue their revolutions for the 
prescribed number of hours. The processes 
are temporarily superintended by other hands. 
To suppose that every operative is on duty 
just as long as the machinery is in motion, is 
an error of the most deceptive kind. Yet this 
fallacy has been assumed in almost all the dis- 
cussions on this subject. The fact has been 
overlooked of the great number of absences 
from the mills. These absences reduce the 
average of work-hours for the girls to the num- 
ber just stated ten and a half. This is not a 
mere assertion. It is a carefully ascertained, 
and well established fact, in verification of 
which proof will now be submitted. 

Each overseer keeps a record of all the 
time his hands are employed, in days and 


quarter of days. These records, in one mill 
in the city, have been subjected to a thorough 
analysis. The space of time over which this 
analysis has been carried is one year. In 
Boott Mill, No. 1, there are one hundred and 
six girls who have been employed one year, 
working by the job. This is the whole num- 
ber in that mill who are thus employed and 
have worked that time ; and their time record 
gives the following results : 

In the Weaving room 56 girls worked 14,097 days 
Do. Dressing do. 17 do. 4,403j do. 

Do. Spinning do. 21 do. 5,615 do. 

Do. Card do. 12 do. 3,536| do. 

Total, . . 106 girls working 27,652 do. 

Average number of days per year to each 
girl, two hundred and sixty and eighty-six one 
hundredths. Average number of hours per 
day, to each girl, ten hours and eight minutes. 
Beside the one hundred and six girls who 
work by the job, there are in that mill thirty- 


one girls who work by the day. The time 
record of these girls has been examined for 
the space of the last two months ; and it is 
found that the average number of hours which 
they have worked per day, in that time, is ten 
hours and forty-two minutes. 

In that same mill are employed twenty- 
nine other girls, at work by the job ; but as 
they have been employed less than one year, 
no examination has been made of their num- 
ber of hours. Fourteen other females are 
connected with that mill, in readiness to be 
employed in starting new machinery, put in a 
room recently finished in the basement ; and 
these, together with two female overseers and 
four sweepers, whose time has not been aver- 
aged, but who, it is well known, work no 
longer than the others, are all the females that 
are employed in that mill, viz. one hundred 
and eighty-six. 

The result of the whole is, as we before 


stated, that the average number of per diem 
hours is less than ten and a half. In the 
above estimate, the absences of the girls from 
the mills, when they put their work in the 
care of those who may be disposed mutually 
to relieve one another, are not taken into the 
account. No computation of the extent of 
such absences can be made. It is well known, 
however, to be considerable, and would still 
further reduce the average above named. 

In connection with this general topic, one 
or two other points remain to be considered. 
It happens occasionally, in the various pro- 
cesses of the manufacture, that one portion of 
the work runs ahead of another ; requiring, 
for an equalization, the running of some extra 
hours. This takes place only in the winter 
season, when the lamps, never in the whole 
mill, but only in one or two of its rooms, are 
kept burning till nine or ten o'clock. On no 
Corporation is this done, but as a rare excep- 


tion to the general rules of the mill, while in 
most mills it is not done at all. Thus, during 
the past winter, when the temptations to extra 
work, through great profits, were as strong as 
ever, in the majority of the mills, the wheels 
were . not run, in any instance, after half-past 
seven o'clock. It occasionally happens, again, 
j that some ambitious girls, finding their health 
and strength sufficient, and stimulated by the 
hope of greater gain, undertake extra work. 
In . relation, however,' to both of these cases, 
of extra hours and extra work, the labor per- 
formed is always voluntary. No girl is re- 
quired to undertake it. The young woman, 
who is able, is generally willing to engage in 
it, as she draws the pay, to the extent of the 
extra work, of two girls, while she incurs the 
expense of the board of but one. 

Having noticed the occasions of voluntary 
extra work, it is but just to allude to an exi- 
gency, which occurs every season, when work 


is suspended. Eighteen of the twenty-seven 
cotton mills in the city are situated on the 
river side, and once or twice in each year are 
obliged to suspend parts of their works, some- 
times for days together, in consequence of 
back water. In such cases, the pay of the 
board of the girls is continued, though they 
render no work. 

Thus we have taken one mill in the city, 
and presented the average number of hours in 
which its operatives are actually employed, 
and have noticed the slight variations, one 
way and the other, which are liable from time 
to time to occur. It only remains to be added, 
that there is no reason to think that an exami- 
nation of the time books of any other mill, 
would be attended with any different results. 
Under the operation of this system there are, 
undoubtedly, cases where the health of opera- 
tives, either from natural feebleness of consti- 
tution, or from an over-excited ambition for 


gain, is insufficient for the work and is broken 
down. Such instances will occur in almost all 
employments that can be named. Every one 
knows of females who cannot stand the hard 
work of domestic service, of the tailors' shops, 
of the milliners' rooms. As long as our young 
country women are obliged to toil, all hearts 
must desire that their toil be as light as possi- 
ble, and gladly welcome any reform by which 
hours of labor may be abridged. How far 
there is a system here pursued of oppression 
and excessive labor, the reader can judge for 
himself. He will guard against the fallacy 
and injustice of supposing that the same hours 
of service are demanded alike of human hands 
and iron wheels. He knows of many a store 
where a prosperous business is done, which is 
opened at sunrise in the morning, and is not 
closed until ten o'clock at night. It does not 
follow that all hands there employed are kept 
on the stretch of business, month after month, 

. , , 6 


WAGES. 1 1 1 

and year after year, for sixteen hours a day. 
True, the store is opened, and the goods are 
sold, and the process is continually going on ; 
but not all the hours by the same hands. The 
store has its complement of clerks and sales- 
men this performs one operation, that per- 
forms another ; they supply each other's places 
and assist one another, and the average of 
their work may be no more than falls to the 
ordinary lot of other toiling classes. An 
average like this we have endeavored to es- 
tablish in the case of female factory opera- 
tives. The actual effect of their work on their 
health will be seen by facts hereafter to be 


Precise statements will hereafter be given 
of tHe average pay of male and female hands. 

112 WAGES. 

Only some general views of this subject will 
now be offered. Operatives entering the mill 
at once receive pay. In other arts they are 
obliged to go through some expensive process 
of learning. The young woman from the 
country, employed at first as a spare hand, 
and a pupil to the business, receives fifty-five 
cents per week besides her board. Thus the 
companies educate nearly all their hands, and 
as these hands are entirely changed every few 
years, they have at all times thousands in 
their pay as mere learners. The female oper- 
ative will, in a few months, earn four and six 
pence, one dollar, one dollar and a half, per 
week, according to her dexterity and diligence. 
Hands are never paid by barter, store orders, 
or the company's goods. Every month they 
are paid by notes of the Eailroad Bank, con- 
vertible at any hour into gold and silver. 
From the time that the first mill was erected 
in Lowell to the present day, no operatives 



employed in the mills have lost a 
of their just earnings, through any inability or 
neglect of the Corporations. While the aver- 
age pay of all female operatives is, at the 
present time, about one dollar and ninety- 
three cents per week, beside board, instances 
are not uncommon of their earning three and 
four dollars per week. On the June pay roll 
of fifty girls, the author counted up the names 
of twenty-four who received four dollars and 
seventy-five cents per week, beside board; 
and this without either extra hours or extra 
work. This, however, is given as an unusual 
case. It will hereafter be seen how frequently 
the prospect of greater gain, draws young 
women, who have kept country schools, to 
working in the mills in Lowell. As another 
evidence of their great earnings, it may be 
stated, that it is estimated that the factory 
girls of this city have, in round numbers, one 
hundred thousand dollars in the Lowell Insti- 

114 WAGES. 

tution for Savings. Cases like the following, 
quoted from the discharge book, kept in one 
of the Corporation counting-rooms, might be 
presented in great numbers.. 

Sept. 14, 1844. Eunice .* * * worked 
twelve months, discharged to go home. She 
left home in * * * Me., just one year since, 
and promised to return in a year. She has 
clothed herself well, and carries with her 
seventy-five dollars, net savings of her year's 
work : has lost three days from all causes." 

" Oct. 14. Mary * * * worked nine years, 
discharged to go on Lowell Corporation. She 
and her sister, who left a short time since to 
be married, and who had worked for us over 
ten years, have never lost so much time as 
they have made up by extra work. They are 
Irish. Their father died about nine years 
ago. They have since entirely supported 
their mother, having built her a house, costing 
six hundred dollars, in which they have kept 

WAGES. 115 

house together. They own a pew, which cost 
them one hundred and twenty-five dollars, 
and they have from one hundred to two hun- 
dred dollars each at interest." 

" June 14, 1845. Harriet * * * one year, 
discharged to go home. This is her first visit 
to Lowell, has never worked in any factory 
before, was not well when she came, has lost 
considerable time, has clothed herself well, 
and carries home with her thirty dollars." 

It may not be out of place to give here the 
pay days on the Corporations. 

Appletpn Co. week after last Saturday in each month. 

Boott " ' ; first " 

Lowell Bleaching Co. Wed. after last Sat. each month. 

Hamilton Co. week after last Sat. but one each month'. 

Lowell Co. week after last Saturday in each month. 

Locks & Canals Co. Tues. after last Sat. each month. 

Lawrence Co. week after second Sat. in each month. 

Massachusetts Co. week after third Sat. in each month. 

Merrimack Co. the Saturday before 16th of each month. 

Middlesex Co. Friday and Saturday after the end of 
the month; but if the month ends on Tuesday, 
Wednesday or Thursday, then on the Friday and 
Saturday of the next week. 


Suffolk Co. week after last Saturday in each month. 
Tremont Co. week after last Saturday in each month. 


From the boarding-houses to the mills are 
laid side-walks of brick and stone, for the 
comfort of the operatives in wet and muddy 
walking. The mills themselves are kept of a 
uniform temperature, being heated in cold 
weather either by steam, or by hot-air fur- 
naces. The rooms are lofty, are well ventila- 
ted, and are kept as free from dust as is possi- 
ble, while the machinery is carefully boxed, or 
otherwise secured against accidents. The mu- 
nificent provision made by the Corporations 
for a hospital for sick operatives, will be par- 
ticularly described hereafter. 

On no point are such conflicting statements 
put forth as on that of the health of the opera- 


tives. It is extremely difficult to .arrive at 
the exact facts of the case. Any comparison 
between their health in Lowell, and their 
health in their country homes, or between the 
health of the operatives, and the health of fe- 
males confined to other occupations, milliners, 
and sempstresses, for example, can be only 
general, and destitute of conclusive precision. 
Replies from the operatives themselves, to 
questions submitted to them, bearing on this 
point, will be hereafter presented, and will 
furnish one important element for the solution 
of the problem. Another element is, a com- 
parison of bills of mortality in Lowell, with 
those of other places. Such a comparison will 
here be made between the yearly number of 
deaths in Providence, Salem, and Worcester, 
and the yearly number in this city. These 
places have been selected because they are 
near the size of Lowell, and present the va- 
riety of a city and rural population. 


The population of Providence was twenty- 
three thousand one hundred and seventy-two, 
in 1840, and it is supposed that it did not vary 
much from that in the two following years. 
The average for these three years may be 
stated at twenty-three thousand five hundred. 
The number of deaths was as follows: In 
1840, five hundred and fifty-two; in 1841, 
six hundred and seventy-seven; in 1842, 
seven hundred and two, averaging in three 
years five hundred and seventy-seven per 

The population of Salem was fifteen thou- 
sand and eighty-two, in 1840, and it is sup- 
posed to be sixteen thousand at the present 
time. The average for five years may be 
taken at fifteen thousand five hundred. Deaths 
in 1840, three hundred and fourteen ; in 1841, 
two hundred and eighty-two ; in 1842, three 
hundred and nineteen ; in 1843, two hundred 
and seventy ; in 1844, two hundred and sixty- 


one, averaging in five years two hundred 
and eighty-nine per year. 

The population of Worcester was seven 
thousand four hundred and ninety-seven, in 
1840, and it is supposed to be ten thousand at 
the present time. We will assume the aver- 
age for the five years to be eight thousand five 
hundred. Deaths in 1840, one hundred and 
sixty-one ; in 1841, one hundred and twenty- 
four; in 1842, one hundred and sixty; in 
1843, one hundred and sixty-eight; in 1844, 
two hundred and eight, averaging in five 
years one hundred and sixty -four per year. 

The population of Lowell was twenty thou- 
sand nine hundred and eighty-one in 1840, 
and was twenty-five thousand one hundred 
and sixty-three in 1844. The average for the 
five years may be stated at twenty-three thou- 
sand. Deaths in 1840, four hundred and 
twenty-six ; in 1841, four hundred and fifty- 
six ; in 1842, four hundred and seventy-three ; 


in 1843, three hundred sixty-three; in 1844, 
three hundred and sixty-two, averaging in 
five years four hundred and sixteeen per year. 

Dividing the average of population by the 
average of deaths, we have the following re- 
sults : Deaths to- the population in Provi- 
dence, one in forty-one ; in Salem, one in fifty- 
four ; in Worcester, one in fifty-two ; in Low- 
ell, one in fifty-seven, being an advantage in 
comparison with the other places, of fifteen, 
three, and five per cent, in favor of the latter 

Still another aid in forming an opinion as to 
the degree of health enjoyed by the operatives 
of Lowell, is the testimony of the physicians 
of this city. Full and decided testimony by 
them has been repeatedly given, and has 
been, from time to time, published. Some re- 
ferences to this will be now made. Dr. Elisha 
Bartlett, before named as the first Mayor of 
this city, for -more than twelve years a resident 


and practising Physician in Lowell, and widely 
known as an eminent lecturer and writer 
in his profession, in a pamphlet published by 
him in 1841, on the " Character and Condition 
of the Females employed in the Lowell Mills," 
has the following words, the italicised senten- 
ces being thus marked by the Dr. himself: 
" The general and comparative good health 
of the girls employed in the mills here, and 
their freedom from serious disease, have long 
been subjects of common remark among our 
most intelligent and experienced physicians. 
The manufacturing population of this city is 
the healthiest portion of the population, and 
there is no reason why this should not be the 
case. They are but Little exposed to many of 
the strongest and most prolific causes of dis- 
ease, and very many of the circumstances 
which surround and act upon them are of the 
most favorable hygienic character. They are 
regular in all their habits. They are early up 


m the morning, and early to bed at night. 
Their fare is plain, substantial, and good, and 
their labor is sufficiently active, and sufficiently 
light to avoid the evils arising from the two 
extremes of indolence and over-exertion. 
They are but little exposed to the sudden vi- 
cissitudes, and to the excessive heats and colds 
of the seasons, and they are very generally 
free from anxious and depressing cares." 
Page 13. 

Upon sundry petitions sent to the Massa- 
chusetts House of Representatives, at the last 
session of the Legislature, praying for a re- 
duction of the hours of labor, a report was made 
by the special committee, to whom these peti- 
tions were referred, and was published by or- 
der of the House, March 12, 1845. From 
this report we quote the following : 

" It is the opinion of Dr. Kimball, an emi- 
nent Physician of Lowell, with whom the 
committee had an interview, that there is less 


sickness among the persons at work in the 
mills than there is among those who do not 
work in the mills ; and that there is less sick- 
ness now than there was several years ago, 
when the number was much less than at pre- 
sent. This we understood to be, also, the 
opinion of the City Physician, Dr. Wells." 
Page 11. 

In relation to the general subject here under 
consideration, the experience of the matrons 
of the boarding-houses is of much value. Fre- 
quent cases of failure of health, if they exist, 
must of course be known by them; and mea- 
sures have accordingly been taken to arrive 
at the results of their observation. Answers 
to questions proposed to them will be present- 
ed hereafter, and to these results, uniform, de- 
cided, and entirely consentaneous with the 
other points of evidence, bearing on this sub- 
ject, the reader is requested to turn. 

Notwithstanding all this, an impression is 


sometimes entertained, among those who are 
strangers to the facts of the case, that the 
health of many girls is broken down by long 
confinement and excessive toil, who, finding 
their strength failing in Lowell, return to their 
homes, and leave no memorials here of their 
sickness and death. Assertions of this kind 
have been publicly made, not always, we may 
fear, in a spirit, or with motives most favora- 
ble to the exact truth. That there is sickness 
among the seven thousand factory girls of 
Lowell, cases of prostration of strength, and 
incapacity to bear the fatigues of confinement 
and toil, it would, of course, be absurd to de- 
ny. Some come with the seeds of disease al- 
ready growing within*them, and they find that 
their constitutions would soon break down by 
continued labor. Others, freed from the 
guardianship of parental care, are greatly im- 
prudent in their diet, or dress, or exposure to 
cold and damp air. It will not be expected 


but that others still, will feel that devotion to 
fashion which is characteristic of the sex, and 
will contract a serious, perhaps fatal cold, 
through a neglect to provide themselves with 
a warm shawl, or a pair of stout shoes. More- 
over, there is something in the monotony of a 
mill-life which seems to beget a morbid hank- 
ering for little artificial stimulants of the 
appetite, and the tone of the stomach is fre- 
quently deranged by a foolish and expensive 
patronage of the confectioner. Painful in- 
stances, likewise, have occurred, where the 
hope of relieving an embarrassed parent, or 
of helping a struggling brother through college, 
excited too strongly by the ability of earning 
fifteen or twenty dollars per month, has over- 
tasked the energies of an ambitious young 
woman, and she has sunk beneath her self-im- 
posed burden. To all these cases should be 
added a too frequent attendance, in times of 
religious excitement especially, upon evening 


meetings, at the churches or vestries, to which 
many are drawn, partly through a social in- 
fluence, and partly through a devout one of 
the most commendable kind. After the work 
of the day, the close air of the conference and 
lecture room, for three or four evenings a 
week, must be highly prejudicial to health; 
and it is well that there is an increasing con- 
viction of the importance of attention to this 
subject, on the part of clergymen and others, 
who have the direction of the meetings refer- 
red to. 

These causes of ill health among the fac- 
tory operatives in Lowell are certainly at 
work ; and it is notorious that they produce 
much the larger amount of sickness which 
here exists. But in the case of a healthy, 
judicious, and prudent young woman, it would 
be difficult to prove that there is any thing in 
the work which she here does, or in the gen- 
eral life which she here leads, which is more 


unfavorable to health than the employment 
which is given to thousands of females in our 
large cities, in the establishments of milliners, 
tailors, bookbinders, and others, where females 
are at work. A walk through our mills must 
convince one, by the generally healthy and 
robust appearance of the girls, that their con- 
dition is not inferior, in this respect, to other 
working classes of their sex. Certainly, if 
multitudes of them went home to sicken and 
die, equal multitudes of their sisters and neigh- 
bors would not be very eager to take the fatal 
stations which were deserted. The united 
testimony of these girls themselves, of the 
matrons of their boarding-houses, and of the 
physicians of the city, can be reconciled with 
only one conclusion, and that only the preju- 
diced and designing will resist. 



It has been seen what a large amount of 
capital is here invested, and what manifold 
and extensive operations this capital sets in 
motion. The productiveness of these works 
depends upon one primary and indispensable 
condition the existence of an industrious, 
sober, orderly, and moral class of operatives. 
"Without this, the mills in Lowell would be 
worthless. Profits would be absorbed by cases 
of irregularity, carelessness, and neglect ; while 
the existence of any great moral exposure in 
Lowell would cut off the supply of help from 
the virtuous homesteads of the country. Pub- 
lic morals and private interests, identical in 
all places, are here seen to be linked together 
in an indissoluble connection. Accordingly, 
the sagacity of self-interest, as well as more 
disinterested considerations, has led to the 
adoption of a strict system of moral police. 


Before we proceed to notice the details of 
tliis system, there is one consideration bearing 
upon lliu character of our operatives, which 
must all the while be borne in mind. We 
,<> permanent factory population. This 
is the wide gulf which separates the English 
manufacturing towns from Lowell. Only a 
very few of our operatives have their homes 
in this city. The most of them come from 
the distant interior of the country, as will be 
proved by statistical facts which will be pre- 
sented in a subsequent chapter. 

To the general fact, here noticed, should be 
added another, of scarcely less importance to 
a just comprehension of this subject, the 
female operatives in Lowell do not work, on 
an average, more than four and a half years 
in the factories. They then return to their 
homes, and their places are taken by their 
sisters, or by other female friends from their 
neighborhood. Returns will hereafter be given 


which will establish the fact of the average 
above named. 

Here, then, we have two important ele- 
ments of difference between English and 
American operatives. The former are resi- 
dent operatives, and are operatives for life, 
and constitute a permanent, dependent factory 
caste. The latter come from distant homes, 
to which in a few years they return, to be the 
wives of the farmers and mechanics of the 
country towns and villages. The English 
visiter to Lowell, when he finds it so hard to 
understand why American operatives are so 
superior to those of Leeds and Manchester, 
will do well to remember what a different 
class of females we have here to begin with 
girls well educated in virtuous rural homes ; 
nor must the Lowell manufacturer forget, that 
we forfeit the distinction, from that moment, 
when we cease to obtain such girls as the 
operatives of the city. 


To obtain this constant importation of fe- 
male hands from the country, it is necessary 
to secure tin' moral protection of their charac- 
ters while tliey are resident in Lowell. This, 
therefore, is the chief object of that moral 
police referred to, some details of which will 
now be given. 

It should be stated, in the outset, that no 
persons are employed on the Corporations who 
are addicted to intemperance, or who are 
known to be guilty of any immoralities of 
conduct. As the parent of all other vices, 
intemperance is most carefully excluded. Ab- 
solute freedom from intoxicating liquors is 
understood, throughout the city, to be a pre- 
requisite to obtaining employment in the mills, 
and any person known to be addicted to their 
use is at once dismissed. This point has not 
received the attention, from writers upon the 
moral condition of Lowell, which it deserves ; 
and we are surprised that the English travel- 


ler and divine, Dr. Scoresby, in his recent 
book upon Lowell, has given no more notice 
to this subject. A more strictly and univer- 
sally temperate class of persons cannot be 
found, than the nine thousand operatives of 
this city ; and the fact is as well known to all 
others living here, as it is of some honest 
pride among themselves. In relation to other 
immoralities, it may be stated, that the suspi- 
cion of criminal conduct, association with sus- 
pected persons, and general and habitual light 
behavior arid conversation, are regarded as 
sufficient reasons for dismissions, and for which 
delinquent operatives are discharged. 

In respect to discharged operatives, there is 
a system observed, of such an effectual and 
salutary operation, that it deserves to be mi- 
nutely described. 

Any person wishing to leave a mill, is at 
liberty to do so, at any time, after giving a 
fortnight's notice. The operative so leaving, 

MORAL roi.K i.. 

if of good character, and having worked a 
year, is entitled, as a matter of right, to an 
honorable discharge, made out after a printed 
form, with which every counting-room is sup- 
plied. That form is as follows : 

Mr. or Miss , has been employed 

by the Manufacturing Company, in a 

Room, years months, and is hon- 
orably discharged. 

, Superintendent. 


This discharge is a letter of recommenda- 
tion to any other mill in the city, and not 
without its influence in procuring employment 
in any other mill in New England. A record 
of all such discharges is made in each count- 
ing-room, in a book kept for that purpose. 

So much for honorable discharges. Those 
dishonorable have another treatment. The 


names of all persons dismissed for bad con- 
duct, or who leave the mill irregularly, are 
also entered in a book kept for that purpose, 
and these names are sent to all the counting- 
rooms of the city, and are .there entered on 
their books. Such persons obtain no more 
employment throughout the city. The question 
tion is put to each applicant, " Have you 
worked before in the city, and if so, where is 
your discharge ? " If no discharge be pre- 
sented, an inquiry of the applicant's name 
will enable the superintendent to know whether 
that name stands on his book of dishonorable 
discharges, and he is thus saved from taking 
in a corrupt or unworthy hand. This system, 
which has been in operation in Lowell from 
the beginning, is of great and important effect 
in driving unworthy persons from our city, 
and in preserving the high character of our 

A record book, of honorable and dishonora- 

MMKU. POLICE. 1 ."..") 

ble discharges, kept on one of the Corporations, 
and running through the years 1836, 1837, 
1888, and a part of 1839, is now lying before 
the author; a few quotations from which will 
enable the reader to understand still better 
the operation of the above system. Opening 
it at random, a few quotations will be given, 
first of honorable discharges, transcribing, for 
obvious reasons, only the Christian name of 
the operative ; and as these quotations record 
the length of time in which the operative has 
worked, the reader will be here furnished 
with some incidental and exact evidence bear- 
ing upon that point. 

"18SS, March 10. Julia . From No. 5 

weaving room ; worked three years ; dis- 
charged to go home. 

March 1 2. Hannah . From No. 3, 

spinning room; worked five years ; discharged 
to go on the Boott. 

March 13. Elizabeth . From No. 3, 


carding room ; worked twelve months ; to go 
home ; will return probably. 

March 13. Acsah . From No. 5, 

weaving room ; worked three years ; to go 

March 15. Nancy . From No. 2, 

weaving room ; worked twenty-seven months ; 
to go home. 

March 16. Eliza . From No. 5, 

lower weaving room ; worked fourteen months ; 
to go home. 

March 19. Lucy . From No. 1, 

weaving room ; worked one week ; not wanted ; 
to go on the Boott. 

March 19. Lucy . From No. 1, 

dressing room ; worked nine months ; not 

March 20. Otis . From repair shop, 

blacksmith ; worked twelve months. 

March 21. Almira . From No. 5, 


lower weaving room ; worked three years ; to 
go home. 

March 21. Nathaniel . From No. 3, 

spinning room ; worked three months ; dis- 
contented with wages. 

March 21. William . Worked ten 

months ; cannot stand it. 

March 21. Lucy . From No. 1, 

spinning room ; worked ten months ; not 

March 24. Luretta . From No. 4, 

spinning room ; worked one month. 

March 24. Catharine . No. 4, cloth 

room ; worked twenty- five months ; to go 

March 26. Elizabeth . From No. 1, 

spinning room ; worked twelve months ; to go 
on the Tremont." 

The above is the unselected and connected 
record of one page. 

From the record of dishonorable discharges, 


a connected page, opened at random, will be 
quoted, only with the same omission as before. 
The reader will notice the kind of offences 
recorded, and, from the dates, will be able to 
judge how frequently such cases occur. 

" 1838, Dec. 31. Ann . No. 4, weav- 
ing room ; discharged for altering her looms 
and thinning her cloth. 

1839, Jan. 2. Lydia . No. 1, spin- 
ning room; obtained an honorable discharge 
by false pretences. Her name has been sent 
round to the other Corporations as a thief and 
a liar. 

Jan. 3. Harriet and Judith . 

From No. 4, spinning room, and No. 5, weav- 
ing room ; discharged as worthless characters. 

Jan. 9. Lydia . From No. 2, spin- 
ning room ; left irregularly ; name sent round. 

Feb. 15. Hadassah . From No. 3, 

lower weaving room ; discharged for improper 
conduct stealing from Mrs. . 



Mtirch 8. Abby . No. 2, spinning 

room ; discharged for improper conduct. 

March 14. Ann , No. 2, spinning 

room ; discharged for reading in the mill ; 
gave her a line stating the facts. 

March 26. Harriet , No. 4, carding 

room ; Laura , No. 4, spinning room ; 

Ellen , No. 1, carding room ; George 

, repair shop all discharged for im- 
proper conduct. 

March 29. Martha , No. 2, spinning 

room ; Apphia , No. 2, spinning room ; 

left irregularly, and names sent round. 

April 3. Emily . No. 5, carding room ; 

discharged for profanity, and sundry other 
misdemeanors. Name sent round." 

It must be unnecessary to accompany the 
above quotations with any comment. The 
facts, selected with as much impartiality as is 
possible, speak for themselves. We have here 
sixteen honorable discharges given in sixteen 


days; and fourteen dishonorable discharges 
given in three months and four days, and of 
the offences specified, five of them indicate 
no deep moral delinquency. The care with 
which these records are kept is creditable to 
the officers of the Corporation, as the results 
of the records are honorable to the characters 
of their operatives. 

Any description of the moral care, studied 
by the Corporations, would be defective if it 
omitted a reference to the overseers. Every 
room in every mill has its first and second 
overseer. The former, or, in his absence, the 
latter, has the entire care of the room, taking 
in such operatives as he wants for the work of 
the room, assigning to them their employment, 
superintending each process, directing the re- 
pairs of disordered machinery, giving answers 
to questions of advice, and granting permis- 
sions of absence. At his small desk, near the 
door, where he can see all who go out or 

MOKAL n.l.ICE. 141 

come in, the overseer may generally be found ; 
and he is held responsible for the good order, 
propriety of conduct, and attention to business, 
of the operatives of that room. Hence, this 
is a post of much importance, and the good 
management of the mill is almost wholly de- 
pendent upon the character of its overseers. 
It is for this reason that peculiar care is exer- 
cised in their appointment. Raw hands, and 
of unknown characters, are never placed in 
this office. It is attained only by those who 
have either served a regular apprenticeship as 
machinists in the Repair Shop, or have be- 
come well known and well tried, as third 
hands, and assistant overseers. It is a post for 
which there are always many applicants, the 
pay being two dollars a day, with a good 
house, owned by the company, and rented at 
the reduced charge before noticed. The over- 
seers are almost universally married men, 
with families ; and as a body, numbering 


about one hundred and eighty, in all, are 
among the most permanent residents, and 
most trustworthy and valuable citizens of the 
place. A large number of them are mem- 
bers of our churches, and are often chosen as 
council men in the city government, and rep- 
resentatives in the State legislature. The 
guiding and salutary influence which they exert 
over the operatives, is one of the most essen- 
tial parts of the moral machinery of the mills. 
As closely connected with the foregoing 
statements, the following note from a superin- 
tendent may be here republished, which was 
sent in reply to questions proposed to him in 
the Spring of 1841: 


I employ in our mills, and in the various 
departments connected with them, thirty over- 
seers, and as many second overseers. My 
overseers are married men, with families, with 

MORAL POLK ! . 143 

a single exception, and even he has engaged 
a tenement, and is to be married soon. Our 
second overseers are younger men, but up- 
wards of twenty of them are married, and 
several others are soon to be married. Six- 
teen of our overseers are members of some 
regular church, and four of them are deacons. 
Ten of our second overseers are also members 
of the church, and one of them is the super- 
intendent of a Sunday School. I have no 
hesitation in saying that in all the sterling 
requisites of character, in native intelligence, 
and practical good sense, in sound morality, 
and as active, useful, and exemplary citizens, 
they may, as a class, safely challenge compar- 
ison with any class in our community. I 
know not, among them all, an intemperate 
man, nor, at this time, even what is called a 
moderate drinker. 

Yours truly, 
Lowell, May 10, 1841." 


Still another source of trust which a Corpo- 
ration has, for the good character of its opera- 
tives, is the moral control which they have 
over one another. Of course this control 
would be nothing among a generally corrupt 
and degraded class. But among virtuous and 
high-minded young women, who feel that they 
have the keeping of their characters, and that 
any stain upon their associates brings reproach 
upon themselves, the power of opinion be- 
comes an ever-present, and ever-active re- 
straint. A girl, suspected of immoralities, or 
serious improprieties of conduct, at once loses 
caste. Her fellow-boarders will at once leave 
the house, if the keeper does not dismiss the 
offender. In self-protection, therefore, the 
matron is obliged to put the offender away. 
Nor will her former companions walk with, 
or work with her ; till at length, finding herself 
everywhere talked about, and pointed at, and 
shunned, she is obliged to relieve her fellow- 


operatives of a presence which they feel 
brings disgrace. From this power of opinion, 
there is no appeal ; and as long as it is exerted 
in favor of propriety of behavior and purity 
of life, it is one of the most active and effect- 
ual safeguards of character. 

It may not be out of place to present here 
the regulations, which are observed alike on 
all the Corporations, which are given to the 
operatives when they are first employed, and 
are posted up conspicuously in all the mills. 
They are as follows : 

" Regulations to be observed by all persons employed by the 

Manufacturing Company, in the Factories. 

Every overseer is required to be punctual himself, 
and to see that those employed under him are so. 

The overseers may, at their discretion, grant leave 
of absence to those employed under them, when there 
are sufficient spare hands in the room to supply their 
place ; but when there are not sufficient spare hands, 
they are not allowed to grant leave of absence unless 
- of absolute necessity. 

All persons are required to observe the regulations 
of the room in which they are employed. They are 
not allowed to be absent from their work without the 
consent of their overseer, except in case of sickness, 
and then they are required to send him word of the 
cause of their absence. 


All persons are required to board in one of the 
boarding houses belonging to the company, and con- 
form to the regulations of the house in which they 

All persons are required to be constant in attendance 
on public worship, at one of the regular places of 
worship in this place. 

Persons who do not comply with the above regula- 
tions will not be employed by the company. 

Persons entering the employment of the company, 
are considered as engaging to work one year. 

All persons intending to leave the employment of 
the company, are required to give notice of the same 
to their overseer, at least two weeks previous to the 
time of leaving. 

Any one who shall- take from the mills, or the yard, 
any yarn, cloth, or other article belonging to the com- 
pany, will be considered guilty of STEALING and 
prosecuted accordingly. 

The above regulations are considered part of the 
contract with all persons entering the employment of 


who shall have complied with them, on leaving the em- 
ployment of the company, shall be entitled to an hon- 
orable discharge, which will serve as a recommendation 
to any of the factories in Lowell. No one who shall 
not have complied with them will be entitled to such 
a discharge, , Agent." 


It has been before stated that in many cases 
the keepers of the boarding-houses retain their 


places for eight, ten, or twelve years. Stand- 
ing in the place of parents to their girls, their 
future welfare is a matter of deep interest to 
these matrons, and frequently they have some 
knowledge of the after-fortunes of their board- 
er-, through sisters and neighbors, who have 
succeeded them in the mills. It, hence, ap- 
peared probable, that by extensive and careful 
inquiries of the matrons, important facts might 
be collected in respect to the health and char- 
acter of their girls, while boarders, and of 
their honorable standing in life, after they had 
retired from Lowell. For this purpose a 
series of questions was prepared, copies of 
which were handed to three or four matrons 
on each Corporation, and twenty-one of their 
written replies have been returned to the au- 
thor, and will here be subjoined. There was 
no selection of houses from which to seek re- 
turns, and there is no selection of returns so 
as to present only favorable cases. The in- 


quiries were made under the direction of the 
author, and partly by himself personally ; and 
with the single exception of a preference for 
those matrons who had kept a boarding-house 
for several years, as returns from inexperi- 
enced persons would here be of no value, the 
results below presented are as fair and impar- 
tial as can be procured. 

The questions were as follows : 

1. How long have you kept a boarding- 
house on this Corporation ? 

2. How many boarders have you now ? 

3. How many boarders have you had in all 
since you kept the house ? 

4. How many of your girls have, to your 
knowledge, been married ? 

5. How many have died ? 

6. How many have gone home sick ? 

7. How many of your boarders have been 
dismissed from the Corporation for bad con- 


8. Have you ever had much sickness in 
your house ? 

9. How many cases do you think, which 
have lasted a week, and have had the care of 
a physician ? 

The replies will be copied exactly as they 
were returned. 

CASE 1. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Appleton four and a half years; have 
now nineteen boarders ; have had probably, in 
all, a hundred and fifty ; knows of ten of these 
that have been married ; not one of her girls, 
while a boarder, has died ; three have gone 
home sick ; none of her boarders have been 
dismissed for bad conduct ; have had but little 
sickness ; perhaps eight cases that have lasted 
a week, and had the care of a physician. 

CASE 2. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Hamilton nineteen years ; have now six- 


teen boarders ; have had twenty-five, upon an 
average, all the time ; know of over two hun- 
dred of my girls that have been married, 
having kept an account of them till within 
two years past ; only one of my boarders has 
died in my house ; fifteen have gone home 
sick ; one of my boarders has been dismissed 
from the Corporation for bad conduct ; never 
have had much sickness; perhaps ten cases 
corresponding to the description in Ques- 
tion 9. 

CASE 3. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Lowell Corporation eleven years ; have 
now twenty-five boarders ; have had, perhaps, 
two hundred in all ; know of as many as fifty 
of them that have been married ; not one has 
died in my house ; none have ever been sent 
home sick ; one of my boarders was turned 
off from the Corporation for bad conduct; 
have had very little sickness in my house; 


can remember but eleven cases that have 
lasted a week and been attended by a physi- 

CASE 4. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Merrimack for twelve years; have now 
sixteen boarders; presume I have had four 
hundred in all ; can remember eighty of these 
that have been married ; none have died at 
my house ; have heard of the death of eleven ; 
three have gone home sick; none dismissed 
from my house for bad conduct ; have had but 
little sickness in my house, perhaps ten or 
twelve cases that have lasted a week. 

CASE 5. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Appleton, eight years and seven months ; 
have now sixteen boarders; cannot tell how 
many I have had in all, perhaps two hundred 
and seventy-five; know of forty-five of my 
girls that have been married ; eight have died ; 


twelve have gone home sick ; none have been 
dismissed from my house for bad conduct ; 
have had much sickness in my house, should 
think as many as twenty cases lasting a week. 

CASE 6. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Hamilton for nineteen years ; have now 
nineteen boarders; probably have had three 
hundred in all ; can recollect only nineteen of 
my girls that have been married ; two have 
died from my -house ; twelve have gone home 
sick ; three have been dismissed for bad con- 
duct ; never have had much sickness ; can 
remember fourteen cases lasting a week. 

CASE 7. Have been matron on the Merri- 
mack nine years ; have now sixteen boarders ; 
have had two hundred and fifteen since I kept 
the house ; know of sixty of my girls who 
have been married ; three have died in my 
house, and have heard of the death of six 


others ; seven have gone home sick ; none 
have been dismissed from my house for bad 
conduct ; never have had much sickness, not 
more than seven or eight cases lasting a 

CASE 8. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Appleton, four years and six months ; 
have now seventeen boarders ; have had a 
hundred and forty-five in all ; know of four- 
teen who have been married ; none have died 
from my house ; two have gone home sick ; 
three have been dismissed from the Corpora- 
tion ; have had no sickness in my house ; not 
a case lasting a week. 

CASE 9. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Lawrence nine and a half years; have 
twenty-eight boarders now; have had four 
hundred and fifty or five hundred in all; 
should judge that as many as a hundred and 


twenty-five of these had been married; there 
has been no death in this tenement, but have 
heard of the death of twenty-five who left 
this tenement in good health ; three have gone 
home sick ; nine have been dismissed from my 
house for bad conduct ; never have had much 
sickness, no one considered as dangerously ill ; 
only three that have had the care of a physi- 
cian; most sickness has been occasioned by 

CASE 10. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Boott for nine years ; have thirty-four 
boarders now ; have had as many as five hun- 
dred in all; probably a fifth of these have 
been married ; there has been no death in my 
house ; three have gone home sick, and one of 
these died in a few months after ; two have 
been dismissed for bad conduct : never have 
had much sickness, and it is three years since 
a physician has been in the house ; perhaps 

BOAKi)iN<;-norsi: STATISTICS. 155 

have had, in the nine years, twelve cases last- 
ing a week. 

CASE 11. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Lawrence seven years ; have now twenty- 
seven boarders ; have had in all a hundred 
and twenty-five ; twenty-seven of my girls 
have been married ; two have died ; eight 
gone home sick; three dismissed from the 
house; have never had much sickness; a 
dozen cases lasting a week. 

CASE 12. Have kept a boarding-house on 
the Suffolk and Lawrence ten years ; have 
had an average of sixteen girls ; two hundred 
in all ; fifty married, including every one of 
my first set of girls ; three turned out of my 
house ; four only that laid on a bed of sick- 
ness in my house ; no death in my house, and 
but one who went home sick, to die, and she 
was consumptive before she came here ; never 


have heard of any other of my girls who 
have died. 

CASE 13. Kept house on Suffolk fourteen 
years ; have now nineteen boarders ; have 
had a hundred and fifty-seven in all ; know of 
eight who are married ; three have died, but 
not one in my house ; three gone home sick ; 
three dismissed for bad conduct ; never have 
had much sickness ; perhaps five cases, lasting 
a week. 

CASE 14. Kept house on Tremont three 
years and seven months ; twenty-seven girls 
now ; one hundred and thirty-five in all ; 
know of none of them who have been mar- 
ried ; none of them have died ; ten have gone 
home sick ; three have been dismissed from 
my house ; have had considerable sickness, 
nine or ten cases, lasting a week. 


CASE 15. Kept a boarding-house on Tre- 
mont eight years and eight months ; eighteen 
boarders now ; cannot precisely say how many 
I have had in all; know of forty-three who 
have been married ; none have died ; none 
have gone home sick ; three dismissed from 
the house ; not much sickness ; seven cases, 
lasting a week. 

CASE 16. Kept house on Lawrence ten 
years ; twenty-seven boarders now ; five hun- 
dred in all ; one married at the house, about 
fifty married in all ; none have died ; ten 
gone home sick ; two dismissed for bad con- 
duct ; very little sickness ; think of only five 
who have had the care of a physician. 

CASE 17. Kept house on Merrimack six 
years ; twenty -eight boarders now ; two hun- 
dred in all ; seventy-five have been married, 
having kept account ; two have died ; four 



gone home sick; three dismissed for bad con- 
duct ; very little sickness ; four or five cases, 
lasting a week. 

CASE 18. Kept house on Lowell Cor- 
poration nine years ; twenty-five boarders 
now ; perhaps five hundred in all ; know of 
but twelve who have been married ; three 
have died ; one gone home sick ; none dis- 
missed for bad conduct ; very little sickness ; 
seven cases needing a physician. 

CASE 19. Kept house on Appleton five 
years ; twenty boarders now ; one hundred 
and thirty in all ; fifteen have been married ; 
none have died ; three gone home sick ; not 
one dismissed for bad conduct; not a great 
deal of sickness ; ten cases lasting a week. 

CASE 20. Kept house on Suffolk six 
years ; twenty-nine boarders now ; two hun- 


dred and twenty-nine in all ; thirty-nine have 
been married ; five died, all went home before 
they died ; six have gone home sick ; three 
dismissed for bad conduct ; have had consid- 
erable sickness ; twelve cases, lasting a week. 

CASE 21. Kept house on Lowell Corpor- 
ation sixteen years ; twenty-six boarders now ; 
five or six hundred in all ; can count up a 
hundred and seven who have been married ; 
two have died in my house ; three have gone 
home sick ; one turned out of my house for 
bad conduct ; have had considerable sickness ; 
twenty cases corresponding to description in 
question nine. 

In respect to the foregoing statistics, it must 
doubtless be remembered, that some of the 
numbers mentioned are mere guesses; some 
are the result of imperfect recollection ; while 
some may have been unintentionally, but yet 
naturally, affected by a desire, on the part of 


the matron, to speak well of her house. And 
yet it is confidently believed that these are as 
deliberate and carefully formed estimates as 
could be made. Whatever uncertainty at- 
taches to them belongs almost entirely to the 
larger numbers given, which, in the above re- 
turns, are of the least importance. In respect 
to the smaller numbers, those of cases of sick- 
ness, and bad conduct especially, the chances 
of error were fewer, and the information was 
more precise and certain. It should be added, 
moreover, that several of these matrons are 
personally known to the author as women of 
bright minds, generally exact information, and 
who are remarkable for the interest they feel 
in the girls who have boarded in their houses. 
Their returns may be confidently received as 

But, after making all reasonable abate- 
ments, it is not easy to resist the conclusion, 
that female factory operatives generally enjoy 


at lra-t a (air average of health, and possess, 
for the most part, reputable characters, and 
encounter no very great difficulties in the way 
of a marriage settlement in life. The above 
twenty-one cases report six thousand seven 
hundred and eighty-six factory girls. Their 
:iv<Tiiro stay in Lowell has been about four 
and a half years. One hundred and sixteen 
of them have been reported as sick over a 
week and had the care of a physician. Forty- 
six of them have been guilty of bad conduct, 
for which they have been dismissed from the 
boarding houses. It is known that forty-nine 
have died, either in their boarding houses or 
probably soon after leaving them. It is known 
here, that one thousand one hundred and 
thirty-six of them have been married. We 
must leave these results to make such an im- 
pression on the reader as he shall deem to be 
reasonable and probably true. 



The overseers of the mills constitute the 
most permanent part of the population of the 
city. Some of them have retained their 
office for twenty years, that is, ever since fac- 
tories were first established in this place ; a 
large number of them have filled their present 
stations for ten and twelve years. Botlj from 
their general intelligence, and from their pecu- 
liar opportunities of investigation, the expe- 
rience and observation of these men must 
possess great value; accordingly, measures 
have been taken to obtain the results of their 
knowledge. A series of questions has been 
sent to each superintendent of the Corpora- 
tions, accompanied by the following request : 
" Will you select some faithful and long em- 
ployed overseer on your Corporation, who 
may go through some one of your mills, and, 


after personal inquiries of every girl, make 
me a return to the enclosed questions ? " 

The questions were as follows : 

Name of the Corporation ? 

Name of the overseer ? 

How long has he been employed ? 

Name of the mill selected ? 

Number of girls in that mill ? 

How many natives of Massachusetts ? 

How many natives of Maine ? 

How many natives of New Hampshire ? 

How many natives of Vermont ? 

How many natives of Canada ? 

How many natives of Ireland ? 

How many have worked less than a year ? 

How many have worked between one and 
two years ? 

How many have worked between two and 
three ? 

How many have worked between three and 


How many have worked between four and 

How many have worked between five and 

How many have worked between six and 
seven ? 

How many have worked between seven and 
eight ? 

How many have worked between eight and 
nine ? 

How many have worked between nine and 

How many are connected with a Sunday 
school, either as pupil or teacher ? 

How many are church members ? 

How many have kept school ? 

How many say that they enjoy better health 
than before working in the mill ? 

How many as good health ? 

How many not so good ? 


To the overseer above named : 

How many girls are there usually in your 
employ ? 

Since you have been employed on your 
Corporation, have all persons in your room, 
known to be guilty of licentious conduct, either 
been dismissed, or at once left the Corporation? 

How many have been discharged from your 
room for this cause ? 

This proposition met with the ready co-ope- 
ration of the superintendents, and eight replies, 
presenting the statistics of as many different 
mills, have been received. The results are 
here copied, and will be given in a form simi- 
lar to that adopted in the preceding chapter. 

CASE 1. Appleton Corporation. Mill, 
No. 2. John Tripp, overseer. Has been em- 
ployed fourteen years ; one hundred and ninety- 
one girls in that mill ; thirty-six natives of 
Massachusetts ; fifty-nine of Maine ; fifty- 


seven of New Hampshire; eighteen of Ver- 
mont ; two of New York ; four of Canada ; 
fifteen of Ireland; eighty-six have worked 
less than one year ; sixteen between one and 
two years ; eighteen between two and three 
years ; thirteen between three and four years ; 
fourteen between four and five years ; thir- 
teen between five and six years ; five between 
six and seven years ; four between seven and 
eight years ; eight between eight and nine 
years ; five between nine and ten years ; five 
between ten and eleven years; one between 
thirteen and fourteen years; three between 
fourteen and fifteen years ; seventy-four are 
connected with a Sunday school ; fifty-one are 
church members ; six have kept school ; ten 
say they have enjoyed better health since 
they worked in a mill; ninety-four as good 
health ; eighty-one not so good. From thirty 
to forty girls have usually been employed in 
Mr. Tripp's room. All persons known to be 


guilty of licentious conduct have been dis- 
missed or have left the Corporation, and two 
have been dismissed from his room for that 

CASE 2. Boott Corporation. Daniel 
Balch, overseer. Has been employed three 
and a half years in that room, but fifteen years 
in all. Inquiries made in No. 1 mill. One 
hundred and eighty-six girls employed in that 
mill. Twenty-nine natives of Massachusutts ; 
thirty-seven of Maine ; fifty-four of New- 
Hampshire ; twenty -five of Vermont ; nine 
of Canada ; twenty-two of Ireland ; ten of 
other states. Forty-two have worked less than 
one year ; fifteen between one and two ; twen- 
ty between two and three ; twenty-three be- 
tween three and four; sixteen between four 
and five ; twelve between five and six ; eleven 
between six and seven; ten between seven 
and eight ; four between eight and nine ; four- 


teen between nine and ten ; nineteen between 
ten and twenty. Sixty-four are connected with 
a Sunday school; sixty-seven are church 
members ; seventeen have kept school. 
Twenty-four say that they enjoy better health 
than before ; one hundred and eighteen as 
good health ; thirty-two not so good. Sixty- 
six girls are usually employed in Mr. Balch's 
room. All persons known to be guilty of 
licentious conduct have been dismissed, or 
have at once left the Corporation ; and, in look- 
ing back five years, Mr. Balch finds two in- 
stances of such persons dismissed from his 

CASE 3. Hamilton Corporation. Inquiries 
made in No. 1 Mill. Overseer, Elbridge G. 
Eichardson. Has been employed fifteen years. 
One hundred and ninety-five girls in that 
mill. Thirty-two natives of Massachusetts ; 
fifty-seven of Maine; seventy-one of New- 


Hampshire; seventeen of Vermont; three of 
Canada; eleven of Ireland. Twenty-three 
have worked less than one year ; twenty-nine 
between one and two years ; twenty between 
two and three ; twenty-one between three and 
four; twenty-seven between four and five; 
twenty-four between five and six; five be- 
tween six and seven ; eleven between seven 
and eight; eleven between eight and nine; 
twenty between nine and ten. Seventy-seven 
are connected with Sunday schools ; sixty- 
nine are church members ; thirteen have kept 
school. Nineteen say that they enjoy better 
health than before working in the mill ; 
eighty-two as good health ; ninety-five not so 
good. Twenty-eight girls are usually employ- 
ed in Mr. Richardson's room. All persons 
known to have been guilty of licentious con- 
duct have at once been dismissed, and none 
have been turned away from his room for that 


CASE 4. Suffolk Corporation. Inquiries 
made by Oliver W. Flint. He has been em- 
ployed thirteen years as overseer of a weaving- 
room. One hundred and fifty-six girls were 
interrogated. Sixteen natives of Massachu- 
setts ; thirty-five of Maine ; fifty-three of 
New-Hampshire; twenty-nine of Vermont; 
six of Canada; fourteen of Ireland; one 
of New- York; two of England. Ffty-two 
have worked less than one year ; twenty-nine 
between one and two years ; sixteen between 
two and three ; thirteen between three and 
four ; ten between four and five ; thirteen be- 
tween five and six; seven between six and 
seven ; four between seven and eight ; two 
between eight and nine ; ten between nine and 
ten. Seventy-two are connected with Sunday 
schools ; fifty-one are church members ; thir- 
teen have kept school ; and one of these has 
kept school for twelve years. Seventeen say 
that they have enjoyed better health than be- 


fore working in the mill ; ninety -two as good 
health ; forty-seven not so good. There are 
usually employed in Mr. Flint's room eighty 
girls. All persons known to have been guilty 
of licentious conduct have at once been dis- 
missed, and three have been turned away from 
his room for that cause. 

CASE 5. Massachusetts Corporation. In- 
quiries made in Mill No. 2, by Hannibal 
Powers, overseer of card-room, who has been 
employed one year and a half; by George H. 
Jones, overseer of spinning-room, who has 
been employed five years ; by C. Goodspeed, 
overseer of the dressing-room; by J. W. 
Gale, overseer of the lower weaving-room, 
who has been employed three and a half years ; 
and by D. D. Crombie, overseer of the upper 
weaving-room, who has been employed four 
years. One hundred and ninety-nine girls 
were interrogated. Eighteen were natives of 


Massachusetts ; thirty-nine of Maine ; seven- 
ty-one of New-Hampshire; thirty-eight of 
Vermont ; five of Canada ; twenty of Ireland. 
Fifty-one have worked less than one year; 
thirty-six between one and two years ; seven- 
teen between two and three ; nineteen between 
three and four ; sixteen between four and five ; 
seventeen between five and six ; sixteen 
between six and seven; twelve between 
seven and eight ; two between eight and nine ; 
seven between nine and ten ; one has worked 
thirteen years. Ninety-three are connected 
with a Sunday school ; forty-nine are church 
members ; nineteen have kept school. Nine- 
teen say that they enjoy better health than 
before working in the mill ; ninety-eight as 
good health ; seventy-eight not so good. There 
are usually employed by the above overseers 
one hundred and seventy eight girls. All 
persons known to have been guilty of licen- 
tious conduct have been dismissed, and six are 


reported as having been turned away for this 
cause. One of the overseers appends to his 
return the following note : " About ten per- 
sons have been dismissed from my room, whose 
general reputation was bad, but of whom I 
could not satisfy myself that they were actu- 
ally licentious, but they were indiscreet, and 
disregarded the advice of their overseer." 

CASE 6. Tremont Corporation. Inqui- 
ries made by I. Deming, who has been over- 
seer on the Tremont for six years, and in dif- 
ferent mills for thirteen years. He interroga- 
ted one hundred and seventy-seven girls. 
Eighteen were natives of Massachusetts; 
thirty-seven of Maine ; fifty-eight of New 
Hampshire; twenty-seven of Vermont; ten 
of Canada ; twenty-four of Ireland ; two of 
Khode Island; one of New York. Thirty- 
eight have been employed less than one year ; 
twenty-nine between one and two years ; fif- 



teen between two and three ; twenty-four be- 
tween three and four ; twelve between four and 
five ; nineteen between five and six ; seven be- 
tween six and seven ; eight between seven and 
eight ; eight between eight and nine; eight be- 
tween nine and ten; three eleven years ; two 
twelve years ; two thirteen years ; one fourteen 
years ; one eighteen years. Eighty-three are 
connected with a Sunday school; eighty-six 
are church members ; thirteen have kept school. 
Seventeen say that they enjoy better health 
than before working in the mill ; eighty-seven 
as good health ; thirty-three not so good. It 
has been the rule that all persons known to be 
guilty of licentious conduct shall be dismissed 
from the Corporation. Have had no positive 
evidence of any such conduct. Four persons 
have been sent away for being out late at night. 

CASE 7. The replies to the above queries 
in relation to one mill on the Lawrence Cor- 


poration, have been brought together in the 
following letter from the Agent of that Cor- 
poration, which is here given entire : 

LOWELL, May 13, 1845. 

DEAR SIR: I rejoice to learn that you are 

preparing a " little book/' to show " Lowell as 
it was, and as it is," and with great pleasure 
take upon myself the labor of collecting 
the facts you want in relation to the mills un- 
der my charge. 

It is proper here to remark, that the Law- 
rence Manufacturing Company have four 
mills now in operation, and contemplate, in a 
few weeks, to start a new one, equal in size to 
two of the old. In each one of these four 
mills about one hundred and eighty female 
operatives are now employed. 

I proceed to answer your inquiries : 
Question 1. How many of your female 
operatives board off from the Corporation ? 


Answer. One hundred and thirteen, near- 
ly all of whom board with their parents. 

Q. 2. How many boarding-houses have 
you for females ? 

A. Twenty-nine. 

Q. 3. How many overseers ? 

A. Twenty-eight first overseers, and twen- 
ty second overseers. 

Q. 4. What is the average pay of an 
overseer ? 

A. First overseers receive two dollars, 
and second overseers one dollar and twenty- 
five cents per day. 

Q. 5. What is the average pay of male 
operatives ? 

A. Our machinists receive, as an average, 
one dollar and thirty-five cents per day; 
watchmen, yard hands, and cloth-room hands, 
about ninety-two cents ; and the young men 
in the mills about eighty cents as an aver- 


Q. 6. What the average pay of female 
operatives ? t 

A. The females employed in our No. 1 
Mill received, for the month ending on the 
second Saturday of May instant, an average 
of fifty-three and one-tenth cents per day, 
which is equal to one dollar ninety-three and 
six-tenth cents per week, after paying board ; 
and I presume this was very nearly the aver- 
age in all our mills. 

Q. 7. How many operatives have you 
under fifteen years of age ? 

A. Ten in all the mills. 

Q. 8. How many applications for work 
do you think that you reject per year ? 

A. It is impossible for me to answer, as 
no register of applications is kept. From 
October till May very many young men apply 
for employment. Some almost every day. 
During the residue of the year, calls are less 
frequent, though numerous. In the cool sea- 


son, female help is also most abundant. For 
several years pa^ the supply has exceeded 
the demand from October till May ; the de- 
mand has exceeded the supply during the 
months of July, August, and September, and for 
the rest of the year they have been about equal. 

During the past week, the overseers of our 
No. 1 Mill, to wit : Mr. Daniel Knapp, who 
has been twelve years overseer ; Mr. William 
Roby, who has been sixteen years overseer ; 
Mr. James French, who has been two years 
overseer, but who has worked in a mill twelve 
years ; Mr. Isaac Cooper, who has been over- 
seer ten years ; and Mr. Franklin W. Burn- 
ham, who has been overseer five years^ but 
has worked in a cotton mill twelve years ; col- 
lected by a personal inquiry of the girls, in 
their respective rooms, the facts appearing in 
the following tables, to wit : 

Whole number of girls then employed in 
said mill, one hundred and eighty-three. 


Of these 21 are natives of Massachusetts, 

45 " " " Maine, 

55 " " " New Hampshire, 

52 " " " Vermont, 

3 " " " Canada, 

6 " " " Ireland, 

1 is a " " Scotland. 


Of the same persons 44 have worked less than 1 year. 
26 from 1 to 2 years, 
26 " 2 " 3 
18 " 3 " 4 " 
25 " 4 " 5 " 
6 " 5 " 6 " 
13 " 6 " 7 " 

4 " 7 " 8 " 
8 " 8 " 9 " 
8 " 9 " 10 " 

5 more than 10 " 


Of the same persons, are connected with S. Schools, 98 

Church members, 74 

Have kept school, 16 

26 of them report their health as better than before 

they worked in the mills, 
113 report then- health as equally good, 
42 " " " " not so good, 
2 were absent at the time, and not interrogated. 

O C 


The number of females usually employed 
in said mill is one hundred and ninety- 

To the question, " Since you have been em- 
ployed by said Corporation, have all persons 
known to be guilty of licentious conduct, either 
been discharged, or at once left the Corpora- 
tion?" every one of said overseers returns 
" an affirmative answer? 

And six are reported as the whole num- 
ber known to said overseers, as ever hav- 
ing been discharged from their mill for this 

As to those discharged from other mills, 
they say they cannot answer, not knowing the 
facts. I think it not improbable that an equal 
number may have, for like reasons, been dis- 
charged from each of the other mills in the 
course of the ten past years, though I cannot 
call to remembrance half that number. 

The original reports of the overseers I pre- 


servo, and hold subject to the inspection of 
any one who may have an interest in seeing 
them. I am, very respectfully, 

Yours, &c. 


Agent Lawrence Manufacturing Co. 

CASE 8. The following letter covers the 
replies from one mill, on the Merrimack Cor- 
poration, and is here given entire : 

LOWELL, JUNE 13, 1845. 

DEAR SIR: Your inquiries respecting 
the operatives on the Merrimack Corporation 
should have received an earlier answer, but 
for other pressing engagements. I now pro- 
ceed to reply to your questions in their order. 

1. We employ in our five mills, when full, 
about twelve hundred and fifty females ; but, 
as we are generally short of help in the sum- 
mer, we do not average perhaps over twelve 



hundred. Of these, as near as I can ascer- 
tain, seventy-five to eighty board off the Cor- 
poration, mostly with their parents. This 
number includes the Irish, who almost inva- 
riably board in their own families. 

2. We have a hundred and fifty-five tene- 
ments belonging to the company, which, at 
present, are appropriated as follows, viz : forty- 
seven boarding-houses for females exclusively; 
these include all our large tenements : eight 
boarding-houses for men exclusively ; and one 
hundred are occupied, as private, by our over- 
seers, mechanics, and others, employed by the 

3. We have twenty-five first, and as many 
second, overseers in the mills, beside the over- 
seers of our machine-shop, of the yard, and 
of the cloth-room twenty-eight in all, of 
each class. 

4. The usual pay of an overseer is two 
dollars per day ; but overseers occasionally 


receive a somewhat higher sum, either from 
their long experience, or from unusual labor 
and responsibility being devolved upon them. 
Occasionally, though not uniformly, additional 
pay is given in the form of premiums, or 
presents, to the more meritorious, according to 
their presumed degrees of merit. These pre- 
miums have varied in different years from two 
hundred to five hundred dollars in each mill ; 
and sometimes have been omitted altogether. 

5. The average pay of our male operatives, 
at the present time, would not probably vary 
much from eighty-five cents per day, clear of 

6. The average pay of females, on regular 
work, would probably fall a little below two 
dollars per week, clear of board ; but if we 
include their earnings on extra work, it would 
considerably exceed that sum. 

7. It would be difficult to answer this ques- 
tion with even an approximation to accuracy. 



With regard to men, probably not one in forty 
applicants is engaged. I speak of common 
laborers, not of mechanics. In regard to 
females, the case is different, and varies with | 
the season of the year. From November 1st 
to May 1st, perhaps twenty-five to thirty- three 
and a third per cent, of those applying are 
rejected. From May 1st to November 1st, 
very few are rejected, if of suitable age and 
good appearance. During these months ex- 
perienced hands are always in demand. 

8. See results obtained by our overseers on 
next page. 

9. Our rule is, to employ no child under 
fifteen years of age. I require all such appli- 
tions to be referred to me, and I reject all, 
except the circumstances seem to demand a 
departure from the rule : for instance, where 
the mother works in the mill, or the sisters, 
the parents being dead. I may have, on an 
average, three or four such cases in all. 


I submitted your other inquiries to the five 
overseers in one of my mills, and I now con- 
dense the answers obtained from them, into 
one view. The originals, over their own sig- 
natures, are at your service. 

The mill selected is our No. 3 mill. The 
names of the overseers are as follows, viz. 

Jesse Phelps, who has been Overseer over 19 years. 
John W. Holland, " " 17 " 

George Wellman, " " 11 " 

James Townsend; " " 11 " 

James C. Crombie, " " 1 " 

Number of girls employed usually in the 
mill, two hundred and forty. 

Natives of New Hampshire, 90 

Vermont, 61 

" Maine, 58 

Massachusetts, 19 

" Canada, 8 

u Ireland, 4 



Have worked under one year 40 

Over one but under two years, 23 

" two " three " 37 

" three " four " 32 

" four Ci five " 22 

"five " six ' 22 

" six " seven " 20 

" seven " eight " 6 

" eight " nine " 8 

" nine " ten " 4 

From ten to twenty-one years 26 


In answer to the inquiry respecting their 
health, twenty-two answer that their health 
has been better, since working in the mills, 
than before ; one hundred and forty-three, that 
it has been as good, or about the same ; and 
seventy-five, that their health has not been as 
good as formerly ; though many attribute their 
loss of health to other causes than working in 
the mills. 

One hundred and twenty-eight of the two 
hundred and forty, are connected with Sab- 
bath schools, some few as teachers. 


One hundred and three are members of 
some Christian church. 

Thirty-one have been heretofore engaged in 
teaching school. 

In answer to your inquiries respecting the 
prevalence of licentiousness, I give you their 
answers separately. 

Mr. Phelps, who commenced at Waltham, 
and 1ms been with us nearly twenty years, and 
is, I believe, the oldest overseer in Lowell, 
says : 

" It has been the uniform rule of the com- 
pany to discharge every person, male or fe- 
male, known to be guilty of licentious con- 
duct. The facts are usually discovered and 
made known by the other girls working in the 
same room, or boarding in the same house ; 
and, if the guilty 'parties were not at once dis- 
charged, their companions would in most, if 
not all cases, themselves leave. I should 
judge that the whole number discharged from 


the Merrimack Company, during my connec- 
tion with it as an overseer, which has been 
betwixt nineteen and twenty years, has not 
exceeded two or three each year, and that 
such cases have been more rare of late years 
than formerly. I do not recollect ever having 
discharged but three for licentious conduct 
during the whole time I have been in the 
manufacturing business. 

Mr. Holland, who has been an overseer far 
our company seventeen years, says : 

" Since I have been employed by the Mer- 
rimack Company, all persons known to be 
guilty of licentious conduct, have either been 
dismissed or have at once left the Corporation. 
But three persons have been discharged from 
my room, out of eighty-four usually em- 
ployed, during the whole time, and I have no 
knowledge of but six cases upon the Corpora- 
. Mr. Wellman, who has been overseer of a 


card room eleven years, and has usually had 
about t \venty girls under his care, says : 

u Xo licentious or immoral person would be 
allow* . to work in the room; but I do not 
recollect a single instance in which a girl has 
been dismissed from my room from this cause. 
I luivv sometime suspected girls, and in such 
have contrived to get rid of them as 
quietly as possible. The whole number dis- 
charged from the Corporation for this cause I 
cannot state very precisely perhaps twelve 
or fifteen during the last eleven years. I 
should think such cases less frequent now than 
when I first came to Lowell, eleven years 

Mr. Townsend, who has also been with us 
about eleven years, says : 

" All persons known to be guilty of licen- 
tious conduct, so far as my knowledge extends, 
have been immediately dismissed from the 
Com] i.ny's employ, or have left the Corpora- 


tion. None have been discharged from my 
room from, this cause." 

Mr. Crombie says : 

" I have never known any person retained 
in the employ of the company, when known 
to be guilty of licentious conduct. I have 
been employed as overseer only one year, but 
was assistant overseer nearly six years. Since 
I have been overseer no one in my room has 
been discharged, or suspected of licentious 
conduct. While I was second overseer, there 
were three girls discharged from the room 
where I worked for this cause ; no one . of 
them, however, had worked in the room over 
a week before her character became known or 
suspected, and she was at once discharged. 
Such cases are very uncommon, however ; 
and since I have worked in the yard, I do not 
think I have heard of one case a year, uoon 
an average." 

These are all the answers I have obtained 


in relation to your inquiries ; and I believe 
they embrace substantially the information 
you wished. I shall be most happy to furnish 
you any other facts in my possession, which 
you may think would be useful to you. 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 


Sup. Merrimack Mamtf. Com. 

In the two foregoing letters the reader will 
perceive that there are replies to other ques- 
tions beside those given at the beginning of 
this chapter. They relate, principally, to the 
average pay of operatives, to the number that 
do not board on the Corporation, and to the 
number under fifteen years of age. On all 
the Corporations the wages are nearly uni- 
form, so that it is unnecessary to present more 
than one or two statements bearing upon that 
point. Tiio other two topics are of considera- 


ble importance, and answers relating to these, 
from other superintendents, will here be sub- 
joined. Referring above to what Mr. Aiken, 
and Mr. Clark write in reply to question No. 
1, we will add that the superintendent of the 
Appleton Corporation reports sixty-two ope- 
ratives as not boarding in that company's 
houses ; the superintendent of the Boott re- 
ports one hundred and seventy-seven ; from 
the Suffolk the answer is one hundred and 
three ; from the Tremont, thirty-eight. These 
officers have added the remark, that operatives 
who do not board on the Corporation, in al- 
most every., case, live with their parents, or 
brothers, or sisters, or other near connexion. 
Of operatives under fifteen years of age, there 
are reported ten from the Lawrence, five from 
the Merrimack, one from the Appleton, none 
from the Boott, eight from the Suffolk, and 
three from the Tremont. These are all cotton 
mills. In the Print Works and Carpet Mill 



a somewhat larger proportion of children are 
employed. In respect to all operatives under 
fifteen years of age, the law of Massachusetts, 
requiring that such shall attend school for the 
space of three months every year, is rigidly 

One other remark will conclude this chap- 
ter. We have now given returns from eight 
mills in the city. There is no reason for be- 
lieving that returns from all the mills would 
lead to essentially different results. Assuming 
that the proportions established by these eight 
may be safely applied to all the rest, we ar- 
rive at the following conclusions, which the 
reader will be able to verify for himself. 

Of the six thousand three hundred and 
twenty female operatives in Lowell, Massa- 
chusetts furnishes one-eighth ; Maine, one- 
fourth ; New Hampshire, one-third ; Vermont, 
one-fifth ; Ireland, one-fourteenth ; all other 
places, principally Canada, one-seventeenth. 


Of all these operatives, more than three- 
sevenths are connected with some Sunday 
school, either as teachers or pupils, this being 
two thousand seven hundred and fourteen in 
all. About three-eighths of them are church 
members, this being two thousand two hundred 
and seventy-six in all. Five hundred and 
twenty-seven have been teachers in common 
schools. The average time during which these 
female operatives work in the mills is between 
four and five years. A large majority of 
them report their health as being either better 
than, or as good as, it was before entering the 


A brief reference to some of the privileges 
which the operatives and citizens of Lowell 
enjoy, will complete the circle of topics con- 


templated in this work. We will first allude 
to those which are within the reach of the 
former. Opportunities of reading are afforded 
them, during the evenings, and Sundays, and 
occasional absence from the mills. Parish, 
city, and circulating libraries are resorted to 
for books ; and great numbers of the factory 
girls are subscribers to newspapers, magazines, 
and reviews. Among a class containing, as 
we have seen, five hundred school teachers, it 
will not be thought strange that many should 
employ their leisure hours in attempts to ad- 
vance their education. Quite a large number 
attend evening schools in the winter ; and it 
has been ascertained that on one Corporation 
alone, there were two hundred and ninety girls 
who employed a part of the evenings of one 
winter in this manner. Instances are not un- 
common of female operatives forming them- 
selves into classes, to take lessons in the study 
of some foreign language. Others will club 


together to hire a piano, and employ the ser- 
vices of a teacher of music; and the notes of 
that instrument are often heard proceeding 
from the boarding-houses. Beside these, there 
are formed what are called " Improvement Cir- 
cles," which meet once a fortnight, or once a 
month, to hear and criticise anonymous com- 
positions furnished by the members. It was 
in a circle of this description that the Lowell 
Offering had its origin. Of courses of public 
lectures, and attendance at churches, we shall 
speak in another place. All these things ex- 
ert a beneficent influence in educating young 
women who resort to this city for employment ; 
and it is known that many come here, less 
through any necessity of their circumstances, 
than from a desire to avail themselves of the 
advantages which are here enjoyed. 



There are in Lowell twenty-three regularly 
constituted religious societies, viz : one Epis- 
copal, four Congregational Orthodox, one 
Congregational Unitarian, three Baptist, three 
Universalist, two Episcopal Methodists, two 
Wesleyan Methodists, two Roman Catholics, 
two. Freewill Baptists, two Christians, one 
Free Chapel, connected with the Ministry at 
large. These societies have erected nineteen 
churches at a cost of three hundred and eight 
thousand dollars ; and two new churches have 
been commenced this season. They are serv- 
ed at the present time by twenty-two ministers, 
whose support, with other expenses of public 
worship, amounts to twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars per year. Connected with these societies, 
there are six thousand one hundred and twenty- 
three Sunday school pupils and teachers, con- 



stituting more than a fifth part of the entire 
population of the citj. Though all these 
societies are composed altogether of working 
people, and many of them almost exclusively 
of factory operatives, yet their charities are 
many in number, and are considerable in their 
aggregate amount. Contributions of four hun- 
dred dollars have repeatedly been taken up, 
in a single church, -for missionary purposes. 
One of these societies raised, the last year, 
one thousand dollars for the purchase of a 
pastor's library. Another has established, 
within a few years, a parish library of two 
thousand three hundred volumes, of perma- 
nently valuable books, and has recently under- 
taken the support of a Ministry at large, 
pledging itself for this purpose to the amount 
of eight hundred dollars a year. It has been 
ascertained that the charities of the religious 
societies of this city, during the past year, be- 
side what was raised for their ordinary ex- 


penses, amounted to ten thousand three hun- 
dred and twenty-six dollars. 

A better feature still of the Lowell churches 
is that higher kind of charity, which the 
Apostle has placed above the bestowing even 
of all one's goods to feed the poor. Few are 
the places which, on the whole, are more exempt 
from bigotry, intolerance, and the little arts of 
persecution and censoriousness, so often sug- 
gested by sectarian zeal. The clergymen of the 
city often meet together, to consult and act in 
concert, to promote some moral end ; and such 
meetings have encouraged generous feelings be- 
tween the professors of different forms of faith. 
The factory girl, who comes to Lowell, finds a 
church professing the creed in which she has 
been educated ; and many become interested in 
their Sunday school, and attached to their pas- 
tor, and have occasion to remember this city 
with gratitude, as the birthplace of that higher 
life to which they have here been awakened. 



The public schools of Lowell are divided in- 
to three grades, consisting of one High School, 
eight Grammar Schools, and thirty Primary 
Schools. In the building of school-houses, 
the city has already expended rising of one 
hundred thousand dollars. Houses for the ac- 
commodation of the Primary and Grammar 
Schools are placed in various parts of the 
city, the edifices for the latter being spacious, 
two story, brick buildings. The High School 
is centrally situated on Anne, and Kirk streets, 
and is one of -the best buildings of the kind in 
the country. It was erected in 1840, at a cost 
of about nineteen thousand dollars. Six instruc- 
tors are employed in this school ; the average 
number of pupils is two hundred. There are 
about fifteen hundred scholars in the Grammar 
Schools, and two thousand in the Primary. 


The present appropriation for the support of 
these schools is twenty-four thousand dollars. 
This city stands among the first in the cities 
and towns oi' this commonwealth in the amount 
appropriated for public instruction, and the 
well established, and universally acknow- 
ledged excellence of our schools, is an advan- 
tage which often brings families to Lowell. 


Last year a public library was established 
in Lowell, at an expenditure of three thousand 
five hundred dollars, the larger part of which 
was an appropriation from the City Council 
for this purpose. A large room has been 
fitted up in the City Hall, a librarian has been 
appointed, and a catalogue of about five 
thousand volumes has been printed. The 
library is under the care of a board of direc- 


tors, chosen by the City Council, and is open 
to all residents in Lowell, by the payment 
merely of fifty cents a year. 


The origin of this periodical has already 
been named. The variety and merit of arti- 
cles, written by females employed in the mills, 
and read in an " Improvement Circle," formed 
in the early part of 1840, suggested the pub- 
lication above named. The first number ap- 
peared in October of that year, and succeeding 
numbers followed at irregular intervals. In 
April, 1841, a new^ series was commenced ; 
and, not long after, two female factory opera- 
tives became the publishers and editors of the 
work, which now appeared every month. The 
offering was received with much favor, and no 
little surprise. The leading newspapers and 


reviews gave it complimentary notices ; and 
many copies of it have been sent to England, 
where, during the past year, a volume has 
been published of selections from this periodi- 
cal, under the significant title of " Mind among 
the Spindles." The extensive reputation 
which the Offering has gained, has been almost 
inexplicable to the people of Lowell, who so 
well know that there is mind among the spin- 
dles. The fact has only revealed the great 
extent of the misapprehensions abroad, of the 
true character of the Lowell female opera- 
tives. These misapprehensions the Offering 
has served to correct, and, in this respect, its 
short life, as the publication is soon to be dis- 
continued, has not been in vain. 


This institution was incorporated in 1829, 
since which it has received two millions one 


hundred and three thousand five hundred dol- 
lars, and has paid out one million four hundred 
twenty-three thousand five hundred dollars. Of 
the two thousand depositors in this bank, about 
one half are factory girls ; the amount of whose 
funds, now on interest, is estimated at one 
hundred thousand dollars. It is not an unusual 
thing for one of these girls to have five hundred 
dollars on deposit. Two per cent, in interest 
is paid for every six months, which, if not 
withdrawn in three months, is added to the 
principal, thus compounding interest twice a 
year. At the end of every five years all ex- 
tra income is divided, and the interest on long 
deposits has generally amounted to seven per 
cent. Probably no institution of this kind in 
the country has been more faithfully and suc- 
cessfully managed. 



This is an association of gentlemen of this 
city, which has for its object the management 
of a course of lectures, delivered every win- 
ter. About twelve hundred tickets are sold, 
at the low price of seventy-five cents each. 
With the proceeds a band of music is hired 
to play every lecture evening, and the most 
distinguished lecturers are engaged, at the rate 
of fifteen dollars per lecture. The City Hall 
is commonly crowded full. Many of the fe- 
male operatives attend, and the opportunity is 
justly prized by them of deriving more enter- 
tainment and instruction than most of them 
could receive at home. It is not unusual for 
other courses of lectures to be given in Lowell 
during the evenings of winter. 



In the summer of 1844, the South Congre- 
gational Society established a ministry at 
large, on the plan of that founded by Dr. 
Tuckerman in Boston. Its object is to minis- 
ter to the temporal and spiritual wants of all 
those not reached by any of the existing reli- 
gious societies. Regular services are held 
every Sunday in the Hamilton Chapel, on 
Middlesex Street, which are free to all " with- 
out money and without price," and here, like- 
wise, a Sunday school has been gathered, of 
about one hundred children. A faithful and 
judicious pastor has the charge of this charity, 
who devotes the whole of his time to search- 
ing out, relieving, and comforting those who 
have been overlooked by others. The best 
influences are hoped from this ministry upon 
the neglected young and the suffering poor. 



In 1839, the manufacturing Corporations 
purchased the >pacious and elegant mansion 
house erected by Kirk Boott, Esq., which, with 
the necessary alterations, cost twenty thousand 
dollars. This building was set apart as a hos- 
pital for sick operatives. Its commodious 
parlors and chambers were converted into 
wards, and one of the most eminent practi- 
tioners in Lowell was appointed its physician, 
and resides in the building. All persons in 
the employ of the Corporations, who are taken 
sick, can here have the best nursing and medi- 
cal attendance. The charges are four dollars 
a week for men, and three dollars for women. 
If the patients are able, they are to pay to 
the superintendent ; if not able, the Corpora- 
tions from which they go are responsible, and 
the patients are then responsible to the Cor- 


porations. The number of patients averages 
about a hundred and fifty a year. Of the en- 
tire expenses of the establishment, about three 
fourths are shared by the Corporations. 


This charitable institution was incorporated 
in 1836. Its object is the relief of the poor, 
by affording medicines and medical attendance 
gratuitously. It appoints two physicians, each 
of whom has a section of the city under his 
care ; and all subscribers to this. charity com- 
mand their services in behalf of the sick poor. 
I To this class the dispensary has afforded much 
timely and effectual aid. 



It was organized in 1840. Its object is to 
afford encouragement and aid to the moral and 
industrious poor. By its committee of two in 
each ward, all deserving objects of charity are 
reported to a board of trustees, who make 
gifts or loans of articles necessary for relief 
and comfort. This also has been a highly 
useful public charity. 


This is on the east bank of the Concord 
River, a little more than one mile above its 
junction with the Merrimack. The beautiful 
example of Mount Auburn has been imitated 
in many of our cities and large towns, but 
perhaps in none with more success than in 



this cemetery. Few spots can combine greater 
advantages, in its variety of surface, its rich 
growth of wood, in the graceful curve of the 
river, and in the perfect quiet which here 
reigns, so harmonious with the solemn pur- 
poses of the place. The visitor to Lowell 
should not omit a ride to this "garden of 
graves." The cemetery contains about forty- 
four acres, and was solemnly consecrated, 
June 20, 1841. 



We have now traced the successive steps of 
the growth of this city. We have described 
the extent of its business and the character of 
its operatives, and have alluded to the various 
institutions which its citizens have established 
for purposes of education, charity, and reli- 
gion. When it is considered that Lowell is 
not yet twenty .-five years old, its present con- 
dition cannot be contemplated without aston- 
ishment. No where but in New England, 
with the spirit of the Massachusetts people, 
and with Boston enterprise, could this great 
success have been wrought out. Other manu- 
facturing villages have met with reverses and 
failures, but in Lowell these things have been 
unknown. No Corporation has ever become 
embarrassed, or failed to meet its obligations, 


or been obliged to suspend its works. The 
population which this great success has col- 
lected, possesses rather more than an average 
share of New England intelligence, as it is 
only the more enterprising who remove from 
their paternal homes, and with this a full aver- 
age share of New England good morals. Nor 
does the visitor to this industrious and thriving 
city, see all of Lowell even in Lowell. When 
he thinks of the immense quantities of raw 
materials which are here demanded, of the 
cotton, wool, iron, coal, dye-stuffs, oils, here 
used up, and of the vast number of persons 
employed as producers, conveyers, agents, and 
clerks, he can hardly form a just conception 
of the amount of business which Lowell sets 
in motion, nor estimate the hundreds of thou- 
sands to whom Lowell gives employment. 
The effect of the growth of this city upon the 
surrounding country is another interesting sub- 
ject in political economy. It furnishes one of 



the best markets in the world to an agricultu- 
ral district within a circuit of thirty miles in 
diameter. The improvements in this district, 
within the last fifteen years, have been mani- 
festly great. Farms have been cleared of old 
mortgages, buildings and fences have been 
repaired, and real estate has risen in value to 
an extent often estimated at no less than a 
million dollars. 

. In regard to the future career of Lowell it 
would be unwise to predict. It is true that 
the water-power, as at present used, is ex- 
hausted. Ninety-one mill powers have been 
sold, of seventy horse power each. This is 
all the power of the river at the very lowest 
flow of water, equal to six thousand three hun- 
dred and seventy horse power. The estimate 
of a mill-power was made at a time when it 
was proposed to use much less machinery in a 
mill than is now run. Nearly two of the 
above mill-powers are now required for a 


mill; so that the actual capabilities of Low- 
ell, as the water is now used, amount to the 
power of forty -five mills. This, as has been 
said, is all appropriated. But, by the intro- 
duction of steam, to be used in the dry 
seasons of the year, and by improved ma- 
chinery, which will work with less friction 
and require less power, it is impossible to 
foresee to what extent Lowell may yet grow. 
It is estimated that full one half of all the 
power of a mill is required to perform the 
single process of spinning. If, as is supposed, 
the use of mule-spinning will save one half of 
this power, the entire operations of Lowell 
may be at once extended twenty-five per cent. 
This is only one illustration of the effect of 
those improvements which time perpetually 

It is certain, then, that the growth of this 
place will continue as long as the general 
prosperity of the country endures, and new 


improvements in science and art are brought 
to light. The great experiment of Lowell is 
an experiment of another kind : it is an ex- 
periment whether we can preserve here a 
pure and virtuous population ; whether there 
are no causes secretly at work, and to be de- 
veloped in the course of thirty or forty years, 
to lower our standard, and to sink our charac- 
ter ; whether we can run a career of half a 
century free from the corrupting and debas- 
ing influences which have almost universally 
marked manufacturing cities abroad. And a 
great experiment it is. We are deciding the 
question, not for ourselves alone, but for nu- 
merous other places around us indeed, for 
New England itself. The branch of industry 
here established is every year rooting itself 
more firmly throughout this section of our 
land, the whole of which will, in a degree, 
repeat the career which we ourselves run. 
There have been laid for us here the founda- 


tions of a great success a method of busi- 
ness well devised, and carefully adjusted -part ' 
to part, a system of public instruction planned 
on a broad and generous scale, churches, Sun- 
day schools, libraries, charities, numberless 
institutions to enlighten, guide, and bless this 
growing city. Have we wisdom, and firm- 
ness, and virtue enough, to meet our dangers 
successfully ? That is the true problem to be 
solved. May we look to that good Being who 
gives wisdom, and strengthens virtue, and to 
Him shall be ascribed the success. 


There are several men, now no longer among the 
living, to whose services Lowell is greatly indebted for 
her prosperity, and whom we may appropriately notice 
in this appendix. The Nestor of Massachusetts man- 
ufacturers, whose name we have already mentioned, 
and shall have occasion to repeat, is still alive ; and we 
trust that the fact will long preclude that notice of his 
valuable services which they would otherwise receive. 
We begin with 


Of whose name and memory our city is a monument. 
His connection with the manufacturing business will 
not be understood, without some brief sketch of the 
progress of that business in New-England. 

The " Beverly Cotton Factory " was the first com- 
pany in this country to engage in the manufacture of 
cotton. It was organized in 1787, with a capital of 
ninety thousand pounds sterling. The Messrs. Cabots, 
Thorndike, and Fisher, of Beverly, and Henry Higgin- 
son, of Boston, were its chief proprietors. John Cabot 


and Joshua Fisher were appointed agents for the man- 
agement of its concerns. It continued in operation 
upwards of fifteen years, making corduroys, bed-tick- 
ings, cotton velvets durable and approved fabrics ; 
yet the business was not profitable, the loss having 
been as great as ninety cents on the dollar. 

Mr. Samuel Slater came from England in Novem- 
ber, of 1789. In December, 1790, he established a 
small factory at Pawtucket, near Providence, 11. 1. In 
1793, another factory was built by Messrs. Brown, 
Almy, and Slater, in Pawtucket, in which they set in 
motion, July 12th, of that year, seventy-two spindles. 
For many years the progress of the business was ex- 
tremely slow, and as late as January, 1807, there were 
but four thousand spindles in operation in Pawtucket 
and its neighborhood. These supplied yarns for hand- 
weaving, and the cloth that was made was almost en- 
tirely of family manufacture. At that time the country 
received nearly all its cotton doth from Great Britain, 
and the East Indies. In 1807 and 1808, there were 
imported from Calcutta fifty-three millions of yards, 
principally of coarse cotton goods, and worth, as prices 
then were, over twelve millions of dollars. In 1810, 
there were made in all the factories in the United 
States, as appears by returns made by order of Mr. 
Gallatin, then Secretary of the Treasury, only eight 
hundred and fifty-six thousand six hundred and forty- 
five yards of cotton cloth, viz. 


111 Rhode Island, 735,319 

Massachusetts, 36,000 

Vermont, 2,500 

New-Jersey, 1 7,500 

Pennsylvania, 65,326 

Total, 856,645 

This is not so many yards as four of the establishments 
in Lowell can now turn out in one Aveek. The whole 
number of yards made in the United States in that 
year. v/a> sixteen million five hundred eighty-one thou- 
sand two hundred and ninety-nine. Of this, fifteen 
million seven hundred and twenty-four thousand six 
hundred and fifty-four yards were of family manufac- 
ture, so imperfect was the machinery then in use. 
The weaving of the yarn alone cost double the whole 
process of making the fabric, after the introduction of 
the pmver-loom, in 1815. 

Francis Cabot Lowell, son of Hon. John Lowell, 
LL. P., and grandson of the Rev. John Lowell, of 
Newburyport, was born in that town, in 1774. He 
was graduated at Harvard College, in 1793. 

In a Memoir of Mr. Lowell's son. John Lowell, Jr. 
the founder of that course of lectures in Boston, 
known as the Lowell Institute. Mr. Edward Everett 
thus writes: "In 1810. Mr. Francis Cabot Lowell 
was induced to visit England with his family, on ac- 
count of the state of his health. The vast importance 
of manufacturing industry, as a source of national 


wealth, was no doubt impressed with new force upon 
his mind, in consequence of his observations in that 
country, and some branches of manufactures were ex- 
amined by him with care; but it is not known that he 
paid particular attention to that of cotton. On his re- 
turn home, and shortly after the commencement of the 
war of 1812, Mr. Lowell was so strongly convinced of 
the practicability of establishing that manufacture in 
the United States, that he proposed to a kinsman and 
friend (Mr. Patrick Tracy Jackson) to make the exper- 
iment on an ample scale. The original project only 
contemplated the weaving of cotton by machinery. 
The power-loom, although it had been for some time 
invented in England, was far less used in that country, 
in proportion to the quantity of cotton spun, than 
at the present day, and was wholly unknown in the 
United States. After deliberation, the enterprise was 
resolved upon. A model of a common loom was pro- 
cured by Mr. Lowell and his friend both equally 
ignorant of the practical details of the mode in which 
the power-loom was constructed and their joint 
attention was bestowed on the re-invention of that 
machine. The winter of 1812 13 was passed at 
Waltham, where a water-power had been purchased, in 
bringing the loom to perfection. On being completed, 
it was found to answer the purpose so entirely, as to 
warrant the immediate construction, on the same plan, 
of all the looms needed for the establishment." Page 
31 of Memoir, prefixed to the first volume of Lowell Lec- 
tures by John Gorham Palfrey. 


Those wore the first power-looms that were, brought 
into successful operation in this country. They were 
tho invention, as is stated above, of Messrs Lowell and 
.Jackson, aided by one important mechanical move- 
ment, which the genius of .Mr. Taul Moody supplied. 
Power-looms had been invented in this country prior 
to that of .Messrs. Lowell and Jackson's, and no less 
than twenty-live models had boon patented at Washing- 
ton, at the time they set theirs up. Hut theirs was the 
first that wove cloth to any considerable amount. A 
machine upon which he had spent so much thought 
and time, was naturally an object of great interest to 
Mr. Lowell. A friend of his, once finding him almost 
wholly lost in thought, while intently surveying the 
model, asked him what he could find in that machine 
which so absorbed his attention : Mr. Lowell replied, 
" that he had been reflecting upon the immense results 
which that piece of mechanism was destined to work 
out, and he would make the prediction that, within fifty 
year*, cotton cloth would be sold for fourpence a yard." 
At a time when ten cents was paid per yard, for weav- 
ing alone, and the cloth cost thirty-three cents per yard, 
this prediction was regarded as the effusion of an en- 
thusiast. It is needless to add that the prophecy has 
been literally fulfilled. 

In a speech, made in the Massachusetts House of 
Representatives, in January, 1828, Mr. Nathan Apple- 
ton, while referring to the successful efforts of Mr. 
Lowell, has the following brief but emphatic sentence : 
" Seldom had a mind of so much science been turned 



to this subject, and never was a triumph more com- 

In consequence, however, of the ill success which 
had attended previous attempts, the public feeling was 
strong against any further manufacturing efforts. It 
is stated by Henry Lee, Esq. of Waltham, in one of a 
series of interesting articles contributed by him to the 
Boston Daily Advertiser, in 1830, that when Mr. Lowell 
first made the proposal to engage in the business, 
"many of his nearest connections used all their influ- 
ence, to dissuade him from the pursuit of what they 
deemed a visionary and dangerous scheme. These, 
too, were among those who knew, or thought that they 
knew, the full strength of his mind, the accuracy of his 
calculations, his industry, patience, and perseverance, 
and, withal, his power and influence over others whose 
aid was essential to his success ; they still thought him 
mad, and did not recover from that error till they them- 
selves had lost their own senses, of which they evinced 
svinptoms at least, by shortly purchasing into the busi- 
ness of this visionary schemer at thirty, forty, fifty, and 
even sixty per cent, advance." 

From the Memoir by Mr. Everett, we again quote : 
" Mr. Francis Cabot Lowell repaired to Washington 
in the winter of 1816; and, in confidential intercourse 
with some of the leading members of Congress, he 
fixed their attention on the importance, the prospects, 
and the dangers of the cotton manufacture, and the 
policy of shielding it from foreign competition by leg- 
islative protection. Constitutional objections, at that 


time, were unheard of. The Middle States, under the 
lead of Pennsylvania, wore strong in the manufactur- 
ing interest. The West was about equally divided. 
The New England States, attached, from the settle- 
ment of the country, to commercial and navigating 
pursuits, were less disposed to embark in a new policy, 
which was thought adverse to some branches of foreign 
trade, and particularly to the trade with India, from 
which the supply of coarse cottons was principally de- 
rived. The planting States, and eminently South 
Carolina, then represented by several gentlemen of dis- 
tinguished ability, held the balance between the rival 
interests. To the planting interest it was demonstrated 
by Mr. Lowell, that, by the establishment of the cotton 
manufacture in the United States, the southern planter 
would greatly increase his market. He would furnish 
the raw material for all those American fabrics which 
should take the place of manufactures imported from 
India, or partly made in England from India cotton. 
He would thus, out of his own produce, be enabled to 
pay for all the supplies which he required from the 
north. This simple and conclusive view of the subject 
prevailed, and determined a portion of the south to 
throw its weight into the scale in favor of a protective 
tariff. The minimum duty on cotton fabrics, the cor- 
ner stone of the system, was proposed by Mr. Lowell, 
and is believed to have been an original conception on 
his part. It was recommended by Mr. Lowndes ; it 
was advocated by Mr. Calhoun, and was incorporated 
into the law of 1816. To this provision of law, the 


fruit of the intelligence and influence of Mr. Lowell, 
New England owes that branch of industry which has 
made her amends for the diminution of her foreign 
trade; which has kept her prosperous under the ex- 
hausting drain of her population to the West ; which 
has brought a market for his agricultural produce to 
the farmer's door ; and which, while it has conferred 
these blessings on this part of the country, has been 
productive of good, and nothing but good, to every 
other portion of it. For these public benefits than 
which none, not directly connected with the establish- 
ment of our liberties, are of a higher order, or of a 
more comprehensive scope the people of the United 
States are indebted to Mr. Francis Cabot Lowell ; and 
in conferring his name upon the NOBLE CITY of the 
arts in our neighborhood, a monument not less appro- 
priate than honorable has been reared to his memory. 
What memorial of a great public benefactor so becom- 
ing as the bestowal of his name on a prosperous com- 
munity, which has started, as it were, from the soil at 
the touch of his wand ? Pyramids and mausoleums 
may crumble to the earth, aud brass and marble mingle 
with the dust they cover, but the pure and well dtf- 
served renown, which is thus incorporated with the 
busy life of an intelligent people, will be remembered, 
till the long lapse of ages and the vicissitudes of for- 
tune shall reduce all of America to oblivion and de- 
cay." Pages 37 39. 

Mr. Lowell died in 1817, at the age of forty-three. 



When the history of the progress of mechanical in- 
vention in this country shall be written, the name of 
Paul Moody will be honored as one of the chief men 
in this lino of distinction. He was born in Newbury, 
in 1777. He was engaged in the manufacturing busi- 
ness in Amesbury, in partnership with Mr. Ezra Wor- 
then. In 1814 he removed to Waltham, and rendered 
the most valuable assistance in starting the first mill in 
that town. A few anecdotes, illustrative of his talents 
and success, will constitute the only notice of his life 
which ran here be taken. He supplied an important 
movement in the power-loom invented by Messrs. 
Lowell and Jackson, to which that machine owed its 
successful operation. He invented what is called the 
" dead spindle," which was introduced at Waltham, 
and is still used throughout the mills at Lowell. The 
Rhode Island machinery employed the "live spindle," 
copied from the English. The product of the former 
is greater, though it requires more power. About the 
time of starting their mill at Waltham, Mr. Lowell 
and Mr. Moody went to Taunton, Mass., to procure a 
machine for winding the filling upon the bobbin. Just 
as the former gentleman was concluding a contract for 
these machines, Mr. Moody suggested, that if they 
would return to Waltham without them, he thought he 
could invent a machine to spin the yarn upon the bob- 
bin in the same conical form in which the winder put it 


on, and thus supersede the necessity of the interven- 
tion of that machine. Upon their return he invented 
what is called the " filling frame," a machine which he 
at once perfected, and which is still used both at Wal- 
tham and at Lowell. Near the same time Mr. Lowell 
told Mr. Moody that they must have a " governor,-' to 
regulate the speed of their wheels. This was an ap- 
paratus of which Mr. Moody had never heard, and the 
only information concerning it which his friend could 
supply was that, having seen one in England, he re- 
membered there were two iron balls suspended on two 
rods, connected at one end like a pair of tongs. When 
the wheels were in too rapid motion these balls were 
driven apart, and produced a partial closing of the 
water gate ; when, on the other hand, their motion was 
slow, the balls approached each other and effected a 
greater opening of the gate by which an increased 
motion was obtained. This conversation was held in 
Boston, at Mr. Lowell's house. The gentlemen sep- 
arated with an understanding that a " governor '' should 
be forthwith ordered from England. Mr. Moody, on 
his ride to Waltham, could not get those balls out of 
his mind. They were flying round in his brain the 
whole of that day and night. The next morning he 
went to the shop, and chalked out the plan of some 
wheels, which he ordered to be made. Not long after 
this Mr. Lowell was at Waltham, and Mr. Moody in- 
quired if the " governor " had been ordered from 
England. On learning that it had not, Mi*. Moody 
produced the " governor " which he had made. It was 


set uj) in th<> mill, and that identical one 

ul use until K<:> Tlir " -ovcrnors'' now 
n>cd in this city are all copied from that. Mr. Moody. 
with the a>si>tance of Mr. Louell, was the inventor of 
tin 1 "double speeder.'' The machine was set in opera- 
tion at Waltham and was patented. Some time after 
this the patent right was infringed upon by some me- 
chanic's who had worked upon the machine at Wal- 
tham. and a prosecution ensued. The ca<c was tried 
before Judge Story, and was argued by Mr. Webster. 
The late Mr. Bowditch, then of Salem, was requested 
to examine the principles, both of the original and the 
imitated machines, in order to appear as a witne.-s at 
the trial. Mr. Bowditch was afterwards heard to say 
that seldom had his mind been more severely taxed, 
for the " double speeder " required for its construction 
the greatest mathematical power of any piece of me- 
chani>m with which he had become acquainted. The 
idea of this machine originated with Mr. Moody, but 
the mathematical calculations necessary for its con- 
struction were made by Mr. Lowell. 

Beside the ''' double speeder," the Waltham Com- 
pany patented a spinning fr.une. dressing frame, and 
. all the invention of Mr. Moody. It is an evi- 
dence of the great value attached to Mr. Moody's ser- 
lat when in 1823 he went to Lowell, taking 
with him models and mechanics from Waltham. the 
company in the latter plac was remunerated for the 
the payment to them of one hundred thousand 
dollars. Mr. Moody was at the head of the machine 


shop in Lowell until the time of his death, July 7, 
1831. No man could be more valuable in the place he 
filled, not only by his great talent in inventing, but by 
a rare tact in arranging and combining machinery, in 
convenient, economical, and effective forms. Modest 
and unpretending a " born gentleman " in his man- 
ners, as one called him, and of the strictest integrity of 
character, he was greatly esteemed while living, and 
was much mourned when dead. Had he lived in Eng- 
land, he would have won for himself some of the high- 
est honors which that country is prompt to bestow 
upon great inventive genius. It is hoped that the 
manufacturing companies in Lowell will yet do some- 
tiling to perpetuate the name of one to whom they are 
so greatly indebted. 


The early history of Lowell is a history of the ser- 
vices of this gentleman. It received the deep impress 
of his character, and is more indebted to his energy 
and great business talents, than to those of any other 
individual. He was here when the first mill was erected, 
superintending the interests of the Merrimack Manu- 
facturing Company, and was appointed to the agency 
of the Locks and Canals, upon the reorganization of that 
Corporation in 1825. From that time to his death 
he was the master spirit of the place, laying out plans 


for the extension of its works, devoting the powers of a 
strong and cultivated mind to its prosperity, and observ- 
ing with the holiest satisfaction every step it took 
toward- the ^reat city to which lie lived to see it attain. 
Sonic hrief notice of him here cannot he inappropriate 
to this hook. 

Mr. l.oott was horn in Boston in 1791. At an early 
lie was sent to Knirland, and for some time was a 
memher of the Rugby School, since made celebrated 
by the late, Dr. Arnold. On his return he entered 
Harvard College, but did not remain there long enough 
to receive a degree. Choosing a military profession, 
his father obtained for him a commission in the Eng- 
lish army, with which Mr. Boott was connected about 
live years. He served in the Peninsular war under the 
Duke of Wellington, and commanded a detachment at 
the siege of San Sebastian in July 1813. After this 
his regiment was ordered to New Orleans, to SCITC 
against the United States, in the war then existing be- 
tween the two countries. Mr. Boott obtained leave to 
withdraw, and entered a military academy, where he 
obtained a thorough knowledge of the arts which were 
afterwards of such eminent service to him, engineering 
and surveying. Upon the death of his father, in 1817, 
Mr. Boott returned to Boston, and entered into busi- 
ness with his brothers. He did not long remain in this 
employment; and the summer of 1821 found him at 
leisure. Then occurred one of those incidents which, 
though they appear trifling and chance at the time, 
often give direction and shape to a man's whole life. 


Passing a day at Nahant, in company with Mr. Patrick 
T. Jackson, 1he latter gentleman expressed great de- 
light in having even that brief respite from his numer- 
ous and pressing cares. Mr. Boott expressed a wish 
that he had cares too, and offered to accept of any post 
of service which Mr. Jackson might assign him. The,- 
conversation soon resulted in an offer to Mr. Boott of 
the superintendence of the new works at East Chelms- 
ford. In the autumn of that year Mr. Boott visited 
this place. In the succeeding spring he came here to 
reside, and from that time gave his whole zeal and 
strength to promote the prosperity of the new village 
and town. He watched its growth with a paternal 
interest, resolving here to live and die. 

It is impossible to present any extended account of 
his services. As a man of prompt business habits, of 
great power to manage men, and to grasp and master 
extensive and complicated details, rarely has he been 
excelled. Naturally of a strong and impetuous will, 
he made every thing yield to the perseverance and 
energy of his character. It is related that once, in his 
absence, his workmen finding it difficult to make a cur- 
rent of water flow in a desired channel, it was proposed 
that Mr. Boott's hat and walking stick should be 
brought and laid on the bank, they feeling sure that 
then even the water would obey. At the same time, 
by his high sense of honor, his lofty integrity, his 
quick perception and decided practice of what was just 
and right, he had always a hold upon the respect and 
affections of those he employed. Towards the close 


of his life, the mechanics of Lowell had a full length 
portrait of Mr. Boott taken by Harding, which now 
han-N in thrir Hall. In whatever situation Mr. Boott 
was placed, as representative of Lowell in the LegMa- 
ture. a* undertaking more. of the Company's cares than 
any other two men could meet, or as it< agent abroad 
to procure skilful arti/ans for whieli purpose he 
once or twice visited England he proved himself 
fully competent to his post. His constitution was much 
impaired by a long camp sickness, while in the army, 
and by a spinal complaint from which he suffered 
many years, and of which he finally died. On the 
morning of April 11, 1837, he dropped dead from his 


Kine years of Mr. Colburn's life were spent in Low- 
ell, as superintendent of the Merrimack Manufacturing 
Company. A few pages of an appendix afford no 
place to do any thing like justice to a man of the rare 
genius, and great beauty of character, which Mr. Col- 
burn possessed. He was born in Dedham, in 1793, 
and for several years was a practical mechanic in that 
town. Under the impulse of a strong thirst for know- 
ledge, he commenced, rather late in life, and in struggle 
with untoward circumstances, preparation for Harvard 
University, which he entered at the age of twenty-four. 


He graduated from that Institution in 1820. While 
there he developed that fondness for mathematical 
studies, which constituted a remarkable feature of his 
mind, and as an undergraduate, rea-d through a consid- 
erable part of the great work of Laplace. For a few 
years he taught a school for boys in Boston, and while 
thus engaged, wrote and published the well-known 
works on Arithmetic, which have revolutionized our 
system of elementary instruction in that science. In 
the April of 1823, Mr. Colburn went to Waltham 
to take charge of the upper mills in that town ; but 
in little more than a year he was invited to Lowell, 
to fill the office made vacant by the death of Mr. 

While in Lowell, Mr. Colburn prepared and publish- 
ed his work on Algebra. His deep interest in the sub- 
ject of education led him to take an active part in the 
care of the public schools of the town ; and by his la- 
bors, in connection with those of the first minister of 
Lowell, of whose services we are not now permitted to 
speak in the terms which they merit, was our present 
excellent system of public instruction matured and 
established. A man of great mechanical skill, Mr. 
Colburn introduced many new improvements and ap- 
plications of power, by which he rendered important 
service to the manufacturing interest. Rarely has it . 
happened to any one, by a spirit of the truest benevo- 
lence, by peculiar charms of social intercourse, and a 
manifestation of high moral worth, to leave a deeper 
impress, not only on the minds of near friends by 

Al'l'I.NDIX. 233 

whom he was beloved, but in those wider circles in 
which ho had his walk in life. Mi'. Colburn died 
September 13th, 1833. 


During the eight Inst years of his life Mr. Lawrence 
was a citizen of Lowell ; and although not directly 
connected with the manufacturing interest, he exerted 
an important influence in the growth and prosperity of 
this place, as a man of great public spirit, as President 
of the Railroad Bank, and the second Mayor of the 
city, in which office he died. He was born in Groton, 
September 28, 1778, graduated at Harvard College in 
1801, and entered into successful professional practice 
in his native town, where he held various offices of 
honor and trust. In 1831 he removed to Lowell. In 
1838 he was elected Mayor of the city, the duties of 
which office he discharged with great fidelity and suc- 
cess. Soon after his re-election in 1839, his life was 
suddenly terminated by a fall. By a slight trip of his 
foot he was precipitated into the wheel pit of a mill, 
which produced almost instantaneous death, April 1 7, 



To these names of men whom Lowell has occasion 
to remember with honor and gratitude, we may add 
the name of Robert Means, the late agent of the Suf- 
folk Manufacturing Company. Mr. Means was born in 
Amherst, N. H., was graduated at Bowdoin College in 
1807, studied law in the office of Hon. Jeremiah Mason, 
then of Portsmouth, N. H., and was for many years in 
the practice of his profession in his native town. He 
removed to Lowell in 1831 to take charge of the Suffolk 
mills, in which station he remained until the time of 
his death, September 27, 1 842. Mr. Means was a gen- 
tleman in the true English sense of that word ; and the 
remembrance of his fine personal appearance, of his 
courtly manners, and high moral influence, will not 
soon pass away. 



This book is due on the last date stamped below. 
1 -month loans may be renewed by calling 642-3405. 
6-month loans may be recharged by bringing books 

to Circulation Desk. 
Renewals and recharges may be made 4 days prior 

to due date. 






-^ ; ^-.. 

r BEC. CIR. m I 9 '75 



LD2i-A30m-7,'73 General Library 

(R2275siO)476 A-32 University of California