A DESCRIPTION

of

BRUNSWICK, (M A I N E)


IN LETTERS
BY A GENTLEMAN FROM SOUTH CAROLINA,
to A FRIEND IN THAT STATE
About the author,
Henry Putnam
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BRUNSWICK:
JOSEPH GRIFFIN……PRINTER
1820

 
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LETTER I.
***
TO F. W. ESQ. OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

Brunswick, February 16, 1820.

      DEAR FRIEND,
YOU inquire in your last why I have spent so much time in this place, I hope my answer will be satisfactory. My object has been, not merely to gratify curiosity, but to gain information. Though you believe me in a wilderness, amid bears and wolves, I can assure you, I rumble fearless through delightful scenery, daily acquire information, and cull the flowers of taste.

You know I came into New England, especially into Maine, with deep prejudices against the northern character. The term Yankee we were taught to consider odious: but I now confess it a title, I should bo proud to bear. Before I began my travels, how oft have I remarked, when surrounded by my slaves, that the whites of the North were only distinguished from them by the

 
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complexion of the skin. And while I am learning to eradicate youthful error, shall I not stay till ! can bring a complete vindication of this intelligent, enterprising, and industrious people? In my last I informed you of the polite attentions, I received from the gentlemen of Portland, Bath, Wiscassett, Hallowell, and other places. Though my stay has been longer here, I have uniformly enjoyed "the feast of reason, and the flow of soul."

Wherever I have travelled in this interesting section of the great American republic, our native Charleston has been complimented for urbanity of manners: here I can respond the sentiment with all my heart, --but I must hasten to portray as well, as my feeble powers will allow, the enchanting scenery of this delightful place, that exhibits so singular a combination of the beautiful and sublime.

Brunswick lies in Lat. 43. 54. N. Lon. about 69, 59. W. from Greenwich, It is bounded on the N. by (he Androscoggin river and Merrymcctmg bay, where it unites with the Kennebec at right angles; E. by Bath and New Meadow river, which separates it from Bath; S. by Harpswell, Middle bay, and Maquoit bay; SW. by Freeport: W. by Durham. Its greatest length may be about thirteen miles. Its breadth on its western line is four miles and a half; from the Androscoggin to Maquoit bay three and a half; in other places more, on account of the arms of land, that project into the sea.

The entrance into Brunswick in every direction is peculiarly striking and novel. As you approach it from the north, when within about half a mile of the river, the villages of Topsham and Brunswick burst like magic upon your view. I know of no place. I have seen, that

 
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exhibits itself to so much advantage in an instant. The falls of water which are fifty feet, barred by three grades of dams, the whole width of the river, in wild majesty, open on your right. Here the river is contracted from a quarter of a mile, in some places, to thirty rods in width, and pours its stream through two arches of a winding bridge, that carries you to Brunswick. This bridge rests in its centre on a solid, rock, which seems to have been wisely provided for the purpose. Immediately above you is the lower grade of falls, barred by a dam, nearly semicircular; in the centre of which is an island, where there is a saw mill, situated between the streams, so completely in an eddy, as to resist, all the violence of this turbulent river. Below the bridge, as below the falls of Niagara, the water seems to rest from its labor, the river again expands to the width of an hundred rods. The tide flows above the bridge.  I have described, to the semicircular grade of falls, four feet.

As an excuse for my long tarry here, permit me to describe scenes, as I have viewed them).

The Androscoggin, which rises near the Canada line, and within a few miles of the famed Connecticut, the Nile of New England, has a meandering course of more than 150 miles from the NW. to this place, and will afford logs to be manufactured here longer than any river in New England, as the heavy growth on its banks has not yet been disturbed more than half its distance from the ocean, and by means of locks and canals of little expense, the best of large masts, spars, and mill logs may be obtained on this river, where the axe has not. as yet wounded the forest. Do not say that I am altogether naturalized in this place, but believe me, the

 
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situations on this river rival our favorite scites on the Edisto and Santee.

I have made an excursion into some of the towns on this wild romantic river; such as Durham, Lewistown, Greene, Wales, Turner, Livermore, and Jay, under a good and fast improving state of cultivation, whose readiest market is this place. Excuse me if I deal in episodes, as I write, in saying that the pork, beef, and butter from these and other towns, with which this market is well supplied, far exceed our own; and the lamb and mutton from Harpswell and the islands in Casco bay is superior to any I ever tasted in Edinburg, or London.

One moment longer I must linger on the banks of this enchanting stream. About three miles below the falls the river expands into Merrymeeting bay. This bay is a curiosity. It is about sixteen miles in circumference; the middle part of which, at low water, is a sand bed, dressed in spots with a certain kind of reed; on the roots of which the wild geese live from the first of September till they are frozen out. You know my fondness for the gun and the hook; but I was cruelly disappointed last autumn, when expecting a shot in one of their flat bottomed boats, called a float, that drew only two inches of water, to find it grounded two hundred yards from them, but was in a degree compensated in taking two of them with a single ball, the first I ever killed in this place.

The sands in this bay are continually changing, by which vessels arc prevented from coming to the bridge. If this could be remedied, Brunswick would be one of the first ports in Maine. However, they carry on ship building extensively on this river: as well as on the salt

 
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water side. A number, I am told, have been launched here of more than 400 tons burden. Ship building is carried on extensively in various sections of the town, I have made a number of excursions to the south of the town, where fowl of almost every description have been my victims. Though on the Edisto and Santee, I had game, yet I have found this place as to variety, to exceed them. The tide in the Androscoggin river is three hours later, than on the salt water side, three miles and a half distant: and when the geese and ducks are flooded off on the salt, water side, at half flood, they take wing for fresh water to the Androscoggin, and return to their feeding ground, when it is half ebb there. This as their naturalists say, serves for an almanack of the tides. They feed on the salt water side, on the seed, of a grass, that looks like our rice. I have written in haste.

Ever yours.

P. N.

 



 

LETTER II.

March 28, 1820.

       DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE received yours of the 21st of March in answer to my hasty line of February 18th, and rejoice to learn, that the rose bud appears and that the peach is in full blossom. You may wonder how I can bear so cold a climate as this; but I have enjoyed a fine, serene winter, and, though you would hardly believe that it did not thaw in the street for forty three davs, it is true: yet

 
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pardon me for saying, I have been more comfortable and healthy, than I ever was in our beloved Charleston in winter rains. I have seen the thermometer twenty degrees below Zero,-and I have seen gentlemen walking the streets without surtouts, or mittings, with as much indifference about the weather, as you show in April, when pruning your Apricots. I have enjoyed the serenity of this northern winter, as I did that of the last summer and autumn. The seasons are shorter than ours, but spring presents a rapid vegetation, soon as the snow disappears. The birds, that winter with us, return at this season with songs, never known in their departure south in autumn; as much as to say, This is our natal home.

Topsham village exhibits about one hundred houses, stores, mills, and manufactories in a compact order, on the southern declivity of a hill, near the river. After crossing the bridge, which is fifty rods in length., you ascend a hill of about thirty feet, and enter on a beautiful plain, the centre of population and business. A road of twelve rods in width was laid out by the original proprietors from the bank of the river on the lower falls, and from the centre of the remains of an old fort, where, within the remembrance of many now living, the inhabitants of this town, (one of the oldest in Maine,) were often obliged to resort for protection. This street was laid out that width to run a south course three miles and a half on a strait line to Maquoit bay. It is adorned by handsome houses and stores about three quarters of a mile south from the river. Most of the houses arc neatly built, two stories high, and painted white. Were it not for the neglect of the police, in allowing individuals to project some buildings beyond the direct line, this

 
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street, should the increase of inhabitants be according to its present ratio, while it is one of the most capacious, would be one of the most elegant m America. At its southern extremity, at the Maquoit shore, is something of a settlement, that, most rapidly increases. Here a canal is in contemplation across a narrow neck of land, which must essentially improve their navigation.

The central part of the street is yet but thinly settled. The plain as you enter it across the bridge from the north, is so situated as to justify a particular description. It contains about 100 acres, perfectly level. The street aforesaid runs nearly through its centre. On the west and south of this plain you ascend a second grade of plains, elevated about twenty feet above the plain, below. This appears like a flight of stairs to elevate you to the extensive plain above, and describes an arch of a circle similar to that of the lower falls. As you view it from the north, it appears like an extensive military rampart. On the west side are some elegant seats, that appear to great advantage, but would more so, were the ground, in their front, better ornamented with fruit trees, and cultivated. About forty rods to the eastward of the street I have described is Federal street, four rods in width, nearly parallel to the former. I understand the original proprietors of the land made it a condition in their grants, that all houses on this street should be at least two stories high, and on a line twenty feet from the road. With this requisition there seems to have been a punctilious compliance. About twenty houses arc already erected with great exactness and symmetry; and the remaining lots of land are correctly proportioned: cross streets, like those of Philadelphia

 
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and Washington, intersecting at convenient intervals. In the rear of the lots on Federal street, descending about twenty feet, lies a level swamp of spruce, fir, and pine. The tops of the trees, viewed from the plain above, look like the tapestry of a drawing room, or the evergreens of our church at christmas. This presents an arch of a circle, similar to that of the falls on the north, and the grades of land above. Hence issue fountains of pure water; and in fact throughout all these plains, the water which is attained with little labour, is of excellent quality. In this swamp, I have learned, has been discovered peat, or turf; and probably in process of time, they will seek this inexhaustible source of fuel.

The number of inhabitants of this town is estimated at about 4,000. The town, which was incorporated in 1738, is principally settled on its extremities. From this circumstance I have found a degree of collision in sentiment, as to their municipal concerns, local jealousies, as to the election of their officers, and a want of system as to the regulation of their schools, which I am told are twenty three in number; besides private schools, for which ample funds are provided. But while the schools of the North are much better regulated, than our own, I have to regret that in many of the schools I have had the honor to visit in this town, in selecting masters, the first question by ward committees generally is, who will keep cheapest, not who is best qualified. Rich and poor have an equal privilege of schools in Maine; every attention is paid to the education of children by all classes; and were they a little more strict in selecting instructors, and more liberal in compensating for services, they would soon realize the benefit of it.

 
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I have found masters in some schools, however, of excellent education, but their emoluments do not exceed those of a common day labourer.

I understand the first regularly settled minister in this place was the Rev. Robert Dunlap, who was born in Ireland in the county of Antrim, in August, 1715. He died in Brunswick, June 26, 1776, aged 61. He had six children, four of whom are still living, the youngest of which is 69 years of age. Their combined ages are 298 years. Mr. Dunlap received his education at the celebrated University in Edinburgh, and was graduated at the age of 19, and immediately took orders. He arrived in America, June 19, 1736. He was shipwrecked on the Isle of Sables, where, out of 200 souls on board, 96 perished. Through the assistance of Gov. Crosby he reached Cape Ann, thence Boston, where he joined the Presbytery of which Messrs. Morehcad and McGreggor were members. From this place he moved to Dracut, Nobleboro, Boothbay, Newcastle, and settled in Brunswick in 1747. He was ordained in Boston. He was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Miller, whose successors have been Messrs. Coffin and Bailey.

One hundred and fifty acres of land were given by the original proprietors to the first settled minister; one hundred for the benefit of schools; one thousand for the use of the town: and had the growth been preserved with proper care from depredation, it might soon be made the mean of accumulating a fund sufficicnt to pay all their taxes forever. How often are we so avaricious as to be blind to our own interest. This property is, however, of considerable advantage, especially to the poor, as it makes a pasture for more than one hundred cows.

P. N.

 
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LETTER III

March 29, 1820,

     DEAR FRIEND,
I HAVE this moment information that Capt. C. will sail tomorrow for Charleston with a freight of clear boards, and I hasten to give you a sketch of the resources in lumber here.

There are on the falls, before alluded to, twenty five saw mills, part of which are on the Topsham side. I have taken some pains to gain an estimate of the quantity of lumber they manufacture annually, --and can safely state, that there is not less than five hundred thousand feet of boards cut by each saw on an average. This amounts to twelve million and five hundred thousand feet in a year; which, at seven dollars per thousand, will amount to $175,000. Probably to the amount of $100,000 are shipped by the way of Bath, and the rivers and bays on the south of the town; where, by the way, they have but lately learned to erect wharves and to concentrate their business nearer home. The other 75,000 are directed coastwise.

You recollect, I purchased two cargoes of clear boards from this place just before I started on this tour; one of Capt. H. and one of Capt. T. two intelligent gentlemen, whose information excited my curiosity to visit this place. And if my means are equal to my wishes, I shall load one of them to our suffering brethren in Savannah.

The first merchants here have very civilly furnished me with an estimate of the probable duties arising on the

 
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ad valorum, outward bound cargoes of lumber, which, they state to be not less than 75 per cent, and often exceed the cargo. The government derives, therefore, from the lumber cut in this place, a revenue of not less than $75,000 per annum.

The number of men employed about the saw mills is considered to be three hundred.

This place and Harpswell are a complete nursery of seamen, and furnish many active captains and hardy mariners to the middle and southern states.

Brunswick has about 1,000 tons of shipping; and the bays arc alive with smaller craft, Harpswell has double that quantity and fishing vessels almost innumerable. This town I visit for amusement once a month, and receive every attention, from an active, intelligent people, who live in a plain, but independent manner. In fact it is almost impossible for a man to be poor here; at any rate no one can starve, except he is too lazy to gather the bounties, Providence has sent to his door.

From the south east side of Brunswick, Harpswcll projects about ten miles into the sea; its width is about a mile. The land i» high, and the prospect on every side interesting and commanding. The soil is of clay and yellow loom, rich and vigorous. Many of the farms are m a high state of cultivation: though the time of the farmer is divided between husbandry and fishing.  Immense quantities of the best fish arc taken within a stone's throw from the shores, and even from their wharves. Brunswick village receives from this quarter a constant supply. Shell fish arc abundant and very cheap. I can have a dish of my favorite lobster for a few cents. About one half of the inhabitants reside on this promontory,

 
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the rest on a cluster of islands, that surround it While they export great quantities of fish, they exchange their mackerel, herring, cod, &c. in Brunswick village for English and West India goods. Vast quantities through this medium are transported up the river into an extensive back country. This keeps up a lively interchange of commodities, sufficient to evince, that man was not made to live alone.

I fear I shall make my letter too long.

I must concisely give you a sketch of this place. Above the falls where the river is wide and gently moves, are sunk six piers at great expense, between which timbers are united by irons to stop the logs in the spring freshet. In these places they are secured before they reach the falls. There are five piers below, connected by similar timbers to save what pass the piers above. I arrived here at the time the river was at its greatest height; all was activity in securing lumber. I asked, what quantity of logs have been secured? and could not but laugh at the answer; instead of guessing at numbers, the guess was about 90 acres. When the middle dam is erected, there is a rock in the middle of the stream, like a wedge, which breaks the current in twain. The water is deep above and below; and when logs are falling over the dam, such is the rebounding current, that like puppets, they dance in every direction, leaping over each other, and of great length arc thrown many feet above the surface. I am told, in the great freshet of 1814, that deeply injured this place by sweeping off the mills, damns, and an expensive aqueduct for conveying boards by the falls, a mast seventy feet in length, by this rebounding current, was thrown against the cotton and

 
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woollen factory, which I will describe in my next, and the marks of it are still visible fifty feet above the surface of the water. In this tremendous freshet it is said twenty one saw mills were swept away, or rendered useless; many other buildings and manufactories were destroyed. Mills, barns, &c. came down to the falls erect, as though resting on their foundations, where they were dashed into ten thousand pieces. Four saw mills on the lower grade of falls started at once and carried off the greater portion of the bridge. The tollman, providentially, had just quitted his dwelling.

Here I must stop abruptly and bid you adieu.

P. N.





LETTER IV.

April 1, 1820.

      DEAR FRIEND,
THE great day of electing officers to organize this recently admitted state will be on Monday next. All is bustle now. All is good nature. Yet I cannot but lament, that with all their intelligence, such a stubbornness and independence of opinion prevails, that a variety of candidates will be supported for their legislators; their constitution, however, is so wisely framed, I must say with Pope,

"All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace."

They will submit to a majority without a murmur,-support the laws, and maintain a republican government, in its primeval purity. This remark is applicable to every part of Maine, I have visited.

 
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I am inadvertently wandering from the statistical view I was about giving, especially as to the extensive manufactory of wool and cotton, where, as I have observed, masts, spars, and logs sometimes so uncivilly knock for admittance. The principal building is large and commodious. Numerous appendages and shops for mechanics show that all is system here.

Through the politeness of the agent and overseers I have had frequent opportunities of visiting this little world of ingenuity, industry, and discipline. Here I find 1,248 cotton spindles in full operation; 240 of wool; 9 woollen looms; carding machines and fulling mills in suitable proportion. Twenty four looms, with the warping and sizing machines go by water. The machinery is of exquisite workmanship, most of it made in this place: so nice in construction, that a water loom stops if the shuttle flies out, and the warping machine, on the breaking of a thread. One hundred thousand yards of cotton cloth are turned off in a season; and the broad cloths, from full blooded marinos, do not follow haud passibus æquis those of Manchester. About one hundred persons are employed, and poor children are not only sure of their daily bread, but receive considerable wages. While factories are generally the seat of riot and vice; I have been pleased with the great regularity and decency of deportment of all in this institution, particularly in their regard for the Sabbath.

The grist mill on the upper falls exhibits a combination of machinery made with much ingenuity and system. The grain is cleaned when grinding, by a very simple process. With this is connected a new projection for hulling and pearling barley. While this would be one

 
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of the most valuable improvements in Maine. I am told it lingers for want of the patronage it deserves. How much I have enjoyed this article in Scotland and Flanders. But like the introduction of the kind pox, it will take time to convince the people of its real qualities. Many yet even prefer our rice. The other great mills in this town and neighborhood I am informed, have been much improved by the former; and I find wheat bread manufactured here, though not so white, sweeter in taste than our own. A newly invented machine for manufacturing clap-boards in this place, must not pass unnoticed. While creditors, or heirs generally reap the advantages of new projections, I cannot but hope the ingenious inventors of this machine will realize immediate and lasting profit. I am told that with the circular saws now in operation they can cut 600,000 in a season. The machinery, though simple, is so constructed that it will cut two clap-boards in a minute, regulate itself without any manual labor, and cut from a block, two feet in diamater, one hundred and twenty clapboards in an hour. These are found much superior to rifted clapboards. Such is the rage for machinery here, they have circular saws for cutting window frames, sash stuff, laths, &c. and on the Topsham side, even for cutting slabs for fuel, which they do with great rapidity.

In the village are more than twenty stores, well filled with assorted goods; and mechanic shops of every description. The number of houses in compact order is one hundred and twenty five. There arc sufficient capacious public houses for the traveller, and a hall in each of them affords a convenient place for business and

 
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amusement. A printing office has recently been established. Did time allow, I would give you the particulars of the mechanics in this place, which is the bee hive of the arts. There are 12,000 pounds of hard soap, and 1,500 hogsheads of lime manufactured here annually.

There are five places of public worship, one for Congregationalists, two for Baptists, one for Friends, and one for Freewill Baptists. The Congregational meeting house is finely situated at the northern extremity of the upper grade of plains, near the colleges in the right angle of the turnpike to Bath. It is a handsome edifice, well proportioned and neatly finished. The turnpike is eight miles in length, running east to Bath, and through Brunswick to New Meadows bridge is straight. The bridge is the head of navigation on this river. This section of the town is rapidly progressing in commerce and fisheries. There is very little tide, the shores of the river are bold and let the wind be in almost any quarter the entrance is accessible. A canal is in contemplation, across a small neck of land at the head of this river, or rather bay, to the Kennebec river, which from examination I find would, by steam boats, afford a speedy communication between Hallowcll and Portland, and be of great advantage to the latter.

When at Mare point, at the southern extremity of this town, you have a view of the observatory in Portland, eighteen miles distant; the course south west. There are a cluster of islands on your left about three miles from the main land; on your right the land is in a fine state of cultivation. The water in this bay is smooth, and the sail delightful. From the great eastern, western, and northern routes

 
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the stages arrive at twelve o'clock at noon; and so well are they regulated, they often arrive at the same moment. There is no other place in Maine, so well situated in this respect. From the east and west they arrive every day; from the north three times a week.

The Colleges are situated on the upper grade of plains at. a little distance, and in a south east direction from the Congregational meeting house. They are three in number, forming three sides of a square, at suitable intervals from each other. They are on the south side of the turnpike and the cast side of the twelve rod road; a neat fence encloses them with about six acres of land. A row of flourishing balm of gilead trees beautifully borders the square. To the south east, you enter a growth of pitch pine, which forms another semicircle, exhibiting a delightful appearance. This is preserved with scrupulous care, and may be truly called an academic grove, affording a charming walk for the students. It is divested of underbrush; but is carpeted with blueberry bushes, a few inches high, which yield in great abundance. I have seen an hundred gathering them at a time. It is said the Indians, from the head of the Kcnnebcc, and even from Canada, came here to gather them in former times. Many of them have visited this place since I have been here. The principle employment of the men, is shooting porpoise; the women make baskets. There is an acre of ground, near the Maquoit shore, entirely divested of verdure. There they pitched their tents, and the marine shells, which surround it, evince that they once must have been numerous.

Bowdoin College was incorporated in 1794.  It takes its name from the Hon. James Bowdoin of Boston. The

 
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liberal donations of the best works in ancient and modern literature, and the specimens of minerals, collected in various parts of Europe, will be a lasting memento of this distinguished citizen of Massachusetts. The southern building is of wood, two stories high. The lower apartment is the chapel. The upper contains the library, consisting of about 5,000 volumes. The building on the east is of brick, four stories high, containing thirty two rooms for the students. It is handsomely finished, and is similar to those at Cambridge. The rapid increase of students in this rising institution is a sure pledge, that another edifice will be speedily erected. On the north is a large square building of brick, three stories high, divided into a number of apartments for the philosophical apparatus, labratory, minerals, &c. The apparatus is extensive and valuable. There are a number of telescopes, one of which is of the first order. The mineral department displays itself to the greatest advantage. Most of the specimens are placed in neat paper boxes, numbered and arranged with much taste and regularity. In addition to the extensive collections of Bowdoin, the industry of the learned professor has enriched these brilliant apartments with many rare specimens he has gathered on the banks of the Androscoggin and the neighborhood. And by means of interchange, he is constantly accumulating the rarities of every portion of the globe. The philosophy chamber is capacious and handsome, it is dressed throughout with exquisite paintings, presented by Bowdoin. They are from the pencils of the first masters in Europe. The worthies, the patriarchs, and the martyrs of antiquity seem to have risen from the tomb. Here Homer, Anacreon, and Ovid seem to have stood to draw

 
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their heathen deities, that look down upon you in all the grandeur of fabled majesty. You can hardly realize, that you are not in a group of real life. Ulysses, in boyhood, clad in the dress of a female, selects a sword from the trinkets presented him, and develops his character. You at once recognise the siege and taking of Troy. The wild beasts are hounding the forest; the trees are animated with all the beauty of the feathered tribe. The timid are winging their flight from the vulture; the hawk is perched, plucking the feathers from his victim. In this elysian of variety and beauty the lover of the fine arts knows not when to cease to gaze. I thought all perfection; till I found one thing wanting to complete the scene: at your entrance, two of the Presidents of the United States catch your eye-but, alas! Washington, Adams, and Monroe are not here. The situation of this institution, combines many advantages; and as it is already one of the most respectable, it promises at no distant day to be one of the largest in our country. The place is remarkably healthy. The board is cheap, and fuel very low. In every direction the streets are neat and dry the greater portion of the year. Wherever you ramble there is something to delight the eye or exercise the mind. The poet and painter can never want for a subject. The number of students at present is eighty one, distinguished for their attention to study and equally so for the regularity of their deportment, in some branches they have the advantage of many other seminaries. Especially in mathematics, natural philosophy, and chemistry. For attainments in the latter, they are peculiarly distinguished. I have the pleasure of an acquaintance with many of the young gentlemen, and when chemistry is the topic

 
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of conversation, I feel my inferiority. You know we had but little chance for improvement in this pleasing science when at Cambridge. Their exhibitions generally evince classic acquirement, correct taste, and a scrupulous attention to composition. Many of them are graceful orators. But few of them however, are sufficiently attentive to elocution, At the west of the college, about two miles you rise on gentle swells of good land, well cultivated. The growth is birch, rock maple, and beech. At the western extremity of the town stands the Friends meeting house. Here is a large and very respectable society, composed partly from Brunswick, and partly from Durham. They are generally agriculturalists. Their farms are in excellent order and furnish the village with cider, apples, vegetables, provisions, and grain. Wheat, rye, barley and oats are a sure crop here. Indian corn of excellent quality is raised on every species of land. Some years, however, it feels the effects of early frost. Potatoes are a sure crop, of a quality altogether superior to those of the south. They are raised in great abundance, even on the lightest plains; so is the best of their corn. The village is adorned with many fine kitchen gardens. Though the soil is of sand, they have found out, though not till within a few years, that it will bear almost every species of vegetable. A gentleman observed, the other day, that he believed there was more than thirty times as much produced here, as ten years ago. In fact, there is a very pleasant rivalship among all classes, to exhibit the best garden. The peach will not bear the climate, and I miss our grapes and water mellons; but find my loss made up in the great abundance of their blackberries, bluebernes, raspberries and strawberries.

 
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It is to be lamented, that the first settlers believed the apple would not thrive. They lately hare found out, that it does well, and in this quarter is made the best cider in America. They are now making considerable efforts to incorporate the fruits of Massachusetts and New York with their own. The apple tree is more infested with the barnacle or woodnit, than farther south; but a remedy has been found, by scraping the tree and coating it. with a composition of lime, soap, and some other simple and cheap ingredients, that soon reanimates the consumptive tree.

You must know, as there are no slaves here, (and they say they would not take ours as a gift,) it is the fashion for all to labor; and as it will never do to be out of fashion, I spent some days last year in the orchards of my acquaintance for exercise and amusement. I have dressed fifty trees in a day, and have never failed of a present of apples for my pay.

Currants are raised on the lightest land; they yield bountifully. They are getting in the way of making wine from them, which is very pleasant. A fair experiment has been made on hops; these if cultivated with care, will be found a very profitable crop, as the poles cost but a trifle. But little as yet, however, are they cultivated, as beer is but little used.

Durham is on higher land than Brunswick, is pleasantly situated and exhibits many fine farms. It finds a market for its produce in Brunswick. At its northern side on the Androscoggin at what is called the south west bend of the river, is an extensive interval of the richest soil under high cultivation. Considerable lumber, that comes down the river is transported from this place to Freeport, about

 
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seven or eight miles. This town is more broken and uneven than Durham, but is a good farming town. From its creeks and bays, large quantities of wood as well as from Brunswick are sent, to Boston annually. It has considerable navigation and ship building affords employment to many of its inhabitants. At Phipsburgh, as you enter the Kennebec, is a well constructed fort, bearing a number of pieces of heavy artillery. Bath is twelve miles above; a place of activity and extensive commerce. It is the great repository of lumber from the Androscoggin and Kennebec; is at the head of winter navigation and will soon be a great commercial place. Vast quantities of salmon, shad, and other fish were formerly taken in these rivers. By the various obstacles, thrown in their way, they have diminished in a great degree.

The annual average of water, that falls here in rain and snow is about thirty seven inches; one third of which falls in snow. They look out for snow with as much anxiety, in December, as we do for spring, when "the sun, from the chambers of the south, looks out and smiles." It is much easier to guard against the north wind, than it is against the intense heat of the sun with us; they make nothing of paying a family visit a dozen miles in their sleighs, in the evening, and at a seasonable hour return to their fire side. In fact, winter seems not only to be the time of business, but as it were, the play time of the season.

While the south and the north in union arc blended.
The shores of Columbia will be safely defended.
Their produce exchanging, old Neptune will guide.
And the primitive states be posterity's pride.

P. N.






 
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LETTER V.

April, 4, 1820.

DEAR FRIEND,
I believe, I remarked in my last that the climate is very salubrious. There are many instances of longevity in this place and Topsham. At their elections, I have seen a number at the polls, more than ninety years of age.

In military strength and resources, the south we know must give New England the decided preeminence. Maine ranks high with her parent and sister states in energy and discipline. I have attended a number of reviews with much satisfaction. You rarely find a sol-dier, that is not completely equipped. Here I have contemplated the importance of harmony and union between the south and north; that in such a world of vicissitude and chance, perhaps half a century may not roll away, ere our slaves may necessitate us to look to the north for protection, and that even Missouri in blood may lament her boasted acquisition, A regiment consisting of about a dozen companies has a line parade ground in this village. The cavalry appear well. There are two companies of artillery in excellent order and discipline. Their light infantry, in a beautiful uniform, for exactness in step, correctness in evolution, and quickness of movement, vie with the first corps in the Union. The four neighboring towns, exhibit more field artillery, than the great state of Virginia did in 1810. The constitution of Maine exempts but few from the rolls, and of course all are soldiers here. I have never seen any take the ranks with a stick, or umbrella for a weapon: as you often

 
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have witnessed even in the middle states, Their returns exhibit nearly as many muskets as men. Of so much importance is military discipline considered in Maine; you will find their boys with their wooden guns and swords are quite skilled it tactics, before, by age, they are required to do duty. In military music, they are rapidly improving. They have an eye to French movements in their attention to time and step. Many of them have had the advantage of attending the reviews in Boston, which is the school of our country.

The winter is now beginning to break and they are obliged to abandon their favorite sleighs. The river, generally breaks up about the middle of this month; but the freshet is not at its height, till about the middle of May. At this time the logs, which are haulled on to the ice in the winter and marked, are brought down by the current to their booms, where they are separated according to the marks of the several owners. They have a severe penalty against purloining logs, or cutting out the mark, yet the logs are frequently transformed into shingles without the knowledge of the owner, I amused myself many hours last season on the remains of old Fort George, I have mentioned, in contemplating the logs, struggling as it were, between the rebounding current and the dams over which they had fallen, till they literally were ground to atoms. At Lewistown falls, twenty miles above this, and other falls on the river, many of the finest masts, arc broken in pieces and destroyed in this way.

I believe, I observed in my last, that in Brunswick, the favorite resorts of the Indians in summer, was one of the last stands they made against the whites. At

 
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Norridgewock about 70 miles to the north of this, it is said a decisive battle was fought about a century ago. The natives resisted to desperation; at length retreated to their church, which was built for them by the Catholics of Canada, and over which presided a Canadian French priest. This was set on fire in the engagement and many perished in the flames. It seems, they were tenacious of their bell, which they secreted under a large hemlock log, and it never was till lately discovered. This lay within a few feet of the foot path, in which Arnold led his troops to Canada in 1775. A gentleman discerned, as he thought, a piece of iron, appearing through the centre of the decayed trunk, and found the bell resting on the ground. This bell I have seen. It was presented to Bowdoin College, and weighs about 67 pounds. The tongue is hung on two links of iron, that are but a little coated with rust. This excited curiosity to examine the ground under the church, where, a number of feet below the surface, was discovered many layers of birch bark; between them was found parched corn in a perfect state of preservation. This anecdote finds something to corroborate its truth in the narrative of Makenzie, whose indian guides hid their corn in the way in various places on his tour from the lakes to the northern sea, and found the corn uninjured the following season. In the Kennebec, near the same place was found, the same season, a bag of musket balls and a pike, that Arnold lost on his, return from his expedition. They had become considerably cemented together and look like clusters of grapes.

Scientific gentlemen in every section of Maine seem to have made a spontaneous effort to patronise and improve agriculture, to encourage the yeoman, and to

 
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convince him of his importance in society. Many associations for improvement in the breed of their cattle, horses, &c. have been recently formed. There is a general society for the state; one in almost every county; and many towns have their minor societies; and perhaps farmers, could not spend a few of their leisure evenings better than in this way, as they must always be gaining or giving information.

In this town, to which I have told you I am so much endeared, some gentlemen have requested a copy of these letters. I have yielded to their solicitation; yet fearing a stranger might make some mistake in gathering facts, But I have endeavoured "nought to extenuate, and nought to set down in malice."

 

To candid friends I yield this hasty view,
Let critics spare. ! did not write for you.
Should all be truth, for errors some would seek.
"Though Handel harmonize" and Chatham speak.
Brunswick, farewell, forbid to linger here.
Accept the tribute of a parting tear.