^ < -5
AS IT WAS, AND ^S IT IS.
REV. HENRY A. MILES.
"Art is the handmaid of human good."
POWERS AND BAGLEY
N. L. DAYTON.
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-
Moral Police of the Corporation, 128
Boarding-house Statistics, 146
MHl Statistics, 162
Moral and Intellectual Advantages, 194
Churches.- . . 197
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
Francis Cabot Lowell, -217
Paul Moody, 225
Kirk Boott, 228
Warren Colburn, 231
Luther Lawrence, 233
Robert Means, 234
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
AS IT WAS, AND AS IT IS.
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
10 INDIAN HISTOKT
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
INDIAN HISTORY. 11
Boott Canal now passes; and tradition says,
that the log church, where Eliot used to
preach, stood on the height of land on Apple-
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
12 INDIAN HISTORY.
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
FIRST CANAL. lo
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
14 FIRST CANAL.
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
FIRST CANAL. 15
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
16 FIRST CANAL.
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-
EAST CHELMSFORD. 17
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
18 EAST CHELMSFORD.
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
EAST CHELMSFORD. 19
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
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
20 EAST CHELMSFORD.
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,
WALTHAM, PARKNT <F LOWELL. 21
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.
WALTHAM, THE PARENT 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
22 WALTHAM, PARENT OF LOWELL.
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
WAI.THA.M, TAKI-.M- OF LOWELL, 23
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
24 PURCHASE OF THE CANAL, ETC.
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.
PURCHASE OF THE CANAL AND FARMS.
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-
PURCHASE OF TIIE CANAL, ETC. 25
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
26 PURCHASE OF THE CANAL, ETC.
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
PURCHASE OF Till: (ANAL, ETC. 27
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.
28 COMMENCEMENT OF OPERATIONS.
COMMENCEMENT OF OPERATIONS.
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
COMMENCEMENT OF OPERATIONS. I'D
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
30 RE ORGANIZATION.
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
32 NEW MANUFACTURING VILLAGE.
machinery to make it available, has the sphere
of the Locks and Canals Company been ever
THE NEW MANUFACTURING VILLAGE.
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-
NEW MANUFACTURING VILLAGE. > J
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.
34 NEW MANUFACTURING VILLAGE.
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
TOWN OF LOW! l.L.
THE TOWN OF LOWELL.
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
36 TOWN OF LOWELL.
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-
TOWN OF LOWELL. 37
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
TOWN OF LOWELL.
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
TOWN OF LOWELL. 39
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-
40 TOWN OF LOWELL.
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
LOCKS AND CANALS COMPANY. 45
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.
LOCKS AND CANALS COMPANY.
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
46 LOCKS AND CANALS COMPANY.
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
LOCKS AND CANALS COMl'ANK 1,
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-
48 MERRIMACK COMPANY.
road-cars, and engines, is for the present here
carried on in the same manner and to the same
extent as heretofore.
MEREIMACK MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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
HAMILTON COMPANY. 49
of this company is at great advance above
par, and dividends have recently been made
of ten per cent, for six months.
HAMILTON MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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.
50 APPLETON COMPANY.
APPLET ON MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
' 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.
l.oWKLL COMPANY. 51
LOWELL MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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
52 MIDDLESEX COMPANY.
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.
MIDDLESEX MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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
SUFFOLK COMPANY. 53
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.
SUFFOLK MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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.
54 LAWRENCE COMPANY.
TREMONT MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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.
LAWRENCE MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
Incorporated in 1830. Capital stock one
million five hundred thousand dollars. It has
BOOTT COMPANY. 55
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.
BOOTT MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
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
56 MASSACHUSETTS COMPANY.
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.
MASSACHUSETTS MANUFACTURING CO.
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-
SMALLER ESTABLISHMENTS. 57
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.
SMALLER MANUFACTURING AND MECHANICAL
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
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.
A LOWELL CORPORATION.
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
62 A LOWELL CORPORATION.
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
A LOWELL CORPORATION. 63
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-
64 A LOWELL CORPORATION.
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
A LOWELL CORPORATION. 65
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
66 A LOWELL CORPORATION.
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-
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE. 67
, conscientiousness, and magnanimity,
is Lowell chiefly indebted, both for the profit-
ableness of her operations, and the character
which she has sustained.
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE.
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
68 A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE.
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
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE. G9
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
70 A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE.
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
No one will be allowed to keep swine."
The hours of taking meals in these houses
are uniform throughout all the Corporations
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE. 71
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
72 A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE.
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-
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE. 73
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
74 A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE.
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
A LOWELL BOARDING-HOUSE. 75
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
76 A LOWELL COTTON MILL.
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-
A LOWELL COTTON MILL.
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,
A LOWELL COTTON MILL. 77
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-
78 A LOWELL COTTON MILL.
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
A LOWELL COTTON MILL. 79
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
From the carding room we pass up to the
spinning room. The spinning frames in Low-
80 A LOWELL COTTON MILL.
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
A LOWELL COTTON MILL. 81
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
82 A LOWELL COTTON MILL.
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
A LOWELL COTTON MIUL. 83
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,
84 LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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.
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING. 85
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
86 LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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
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
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING. 87
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
00 LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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
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,
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING. 89
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
90 LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING. 91
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,
92 LOWELL CALICO PRINTING.
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
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
LOWELL CALICO PRINTING. 98
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
94 A LOWELL WOOLLEN MILL.
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.
A LOWELL WOOLLEN MILL.
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,
A LOWELL WOOLLEN MILL. 95
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
96 A LOWELL WOOLLEN MILL.
"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
A LOWELL CARPET MILL. 97
seven, thousand pieces; while this company
alone manufactured, in that year, more than
twenty thousand pieces.
A LOWELL CARPET MILL.
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
98 A LOWELL CARPET MILL.
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
A LOWELL CARPET MILL. 99
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
100 A LOWELL CARPET MILL.
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
HOURS OF LABOR. 101
HOURS OF LABOR.
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-
102 HOURS OF LABOR.
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
HOURS OF LABOR. 103
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
104 HOURS OF LABOR.
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
HOURS OF LABOR. 105
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-
106 HOURS OF LABOR.
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
The result of the whole is, as we before
HOURS OF LABOR. 107
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-
108 HOURS OF LABOR.
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
HOURS OF LABOR. 109
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
110 HOURS OF LABOR.
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.
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-
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
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.
116 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
Suffolk Co. week after last Saturday in each month.
Tremont Co. week after last Saturday in each month.
PROVISIONS FOR THE COMFORT AND HEALTH
OF THE OPERATIVES.
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-
COMFORT AND HEALTH. Ill
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.
118 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
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-
COMFORT AND HEALTH. 119
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 ;
120 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
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
COMFORT AND HEALTH. 121
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
122 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
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."
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
COMFOKT AND HEALTH. ill
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."
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
124 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
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
COMFORT AND HEALTH. 125
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
126 COMFORT AND HEALTH.
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-
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
COMFORT AND HEALTH. 127
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.
128 MORAL POLICE.
MORAL POLICE OF THE CORPORATIONS.
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.
MORAL POLICE. 129
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
130 MORAL POLICE.
which will establish the fact of the average
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.
MORAL POLICE. 131
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-
132 MORAL POLICE.
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-
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-
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
134 MORAL POLICE.
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,
136 MORAL POLICE.
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,
MORAL POLICE. i:)7
lower weaving room ; worked three years ; to
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,
138 MORAL POLICE.
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
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. .
MORAL POLICE. 139
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-
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
140 MORAL POLICE.
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
142 MORAL POLICE.
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
Lowell, May 10, 1841."
144 MOEAL POLICE.
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-
MORAL POLICE. 145
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.
146 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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
The above regulations are considered part of the
contract with all persons entering the employment of
the MANUFACTURING COMPANY. All persons
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
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 147
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-
148 BOADING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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-
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 149
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
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-
150 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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-
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;
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 151
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 ;
152 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 153
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
154 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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
156 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
have heard of any other of my girls who
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
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.
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 157
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
158 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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-
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 159
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
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
160 BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS.
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
BOARDING-HOUSE STATISTICS. 161
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.
162 MILL STATISTICS.
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,
MILL STATISTICS. 163
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
How many have worked between three and
164 MILL STATISTICS.
How many have worked between four and
How many have worked between five and
How many have worked between six and
How many have worked between seven and
How many have worked between eight and
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 ?
MILL STATISTICS. 165
To the overseer above named :
How many girls are there usually in your
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-
166 MILL STATISTICS.
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
MILL STATISTICS. 167
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-
168 MILL STATISTICS.
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-
MILL STATISTICS. 169
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
170 MILL STATISTICS.
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-
MILL STATISTICS. 171
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
172 MILL STATISTICS.
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
MILL STATISTICS. 173
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-
174 MILL STATISTICS.
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-
MILL STATISTICS. 175
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.
REV. HENRY A. MILES.
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 ?
176 MILL STATISTICS.
Answer. One hundred and thirteen, near-
ly all of whom board with their parents.
Q. 2. How many boarding-houses have
you for females ?
Q. 3. How many overseers ?
A. Twenty-eight first overseers, and twen-
ty second overseers.
Q. 4. What is the average pay of an
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
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-
MILL STATISTICS. 177
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-
178 MILL STATISTICS.
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.
MILL STATISTICS. 179
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.
180 MILL STATISTICS.
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-
MILL STATISTICS. 181
servo, and hold subject to the inspection of
any one who may have an interest in seeing
them. I am, very respectfully,
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.
REV. H. A. MILES.
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
182 MILL STATISTICS.
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
4. The usual pay of an overseer is two
dollars per day ; but overseers occasionally
MILL STATISTICS. 183
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.
184 MILL STATISTICS.
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
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.
MILL STATISTICS. 185
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
" Maine, 58
" Canada, 8
u Ireland, 4
186 MILL STATISTICS.
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
One hundred and twenty-eight of the two
hundred and forty, are connected with Sab-
bath schools, some few as teachers.
MILL STATISTICS. 187
One hundred and three are members of
some Christian church.
Thirty-one have been heretofore engaged in
In answer to your inquiries respecting the
prevalence of licentiousness, I give you their
Mr. Phelps, who commenced at Waltham,
and 1ms been with us nearly twenty years, and
is, I believe, the oldest overseer in Lowell,
" 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
188 MILL STATISTICS.
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
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
MILL STATISTICS. 189
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-
190 MILL STATISTICS.
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
These are all the answers I have obtained
MILL STATIS1 i 191
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.
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-
192 MILL STATISTICS.
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
MILL STATISTICS. . 193
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
MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL ADVANTAGES.
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.
MILL STATISTICS. 201
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-
202 LOWELL OFFERING.
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
SAVINGS BANK. 203
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
204 SAVINGS BANK.
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-
LOWELL INSTITUTE. 205
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.
206 MINISTRY AT LARGE.
MINISTRY AT LARGE.
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.
LOWELL HOSPITAL. 207
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-
208 LOWELL DISPENSARY.
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.
HOWARD BENEVOLENT SOCIETY. 209
HOWARD BENEVOLENT SOCIETY.
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
210 LOWELL CEMETERY.
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
. 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
FRANCIS CABOT LOWELL,
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
New-Jersey, 1 7,500
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
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.
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