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way be obstructed by either; that all the produce of the forest in logs, lumber, timber, boards, staves, or shingles, or of agriculture, not being manufactured, or grown on any of those parts of the State of Maine watered by the river St. John or by its tributaries, of which fact reasonable evidence shall, if required, be produced, shall have free access into and through the said river and its tributaries, having their source within the State of Maine, to and from the seaport at the mouth of the said river, either by boats, rafts, or other conveyance, that, when within the Province of New Brunswick, the said produce shall be dealt with as if it were the produce of said province, &c. &c. "The largest portion of the territory on the upper St. John, or more properly speaking, the most valuable portion of said territory, is the joint property of this Commonwealth and the State of Maine, and in its present uncultivated situation the value principally consists in its growth and abundance of pine timber, which, according to the provision contained in the article of the treaty here recited, can be hauled and floated to the market at the city of St. John, and from thence can be shipped in British vessels to Europe or the West Indies. But as the freight on timber to foreign ports is of necessity very high on account of its bulk, no timber, except it be large and sound, can be shipped without great loss. Owing to this fact, the operators in the woods will not cut any but the largest, soundest, and best trees, if they can avoid it. In the course of the lumbering business, however, in consequence of hidden defects and other causes not easily obviated, a considerable amount of unsound and refuse timber must necessarily find its way to the city of St. John, and from the fact before stated, not being wanted, it is nearly worthless. So far therefore as regards the best quality of timber, the provisions of said treaty operates greatly to our advantage; but as regards the coarse, or defective and refuse qualities, it offers no inducement, as there is no market that will remunerate the operator for its removal, except it be admitted into the States free of duty. Under the existing tariff of the United States, lumber is subjected to a duty of twenty per centum ad valorem, which amounts to a prohibition of its being brought here.
"The value of that territory to the States of Maine and Massachusetts would be greatly enhanced, if the pine lumber from St. John river was admitted into our ports free of duty, — for in that case, a large amount of timber now standing in the forests of Maine could be removed to a valuable market, and would immediately increase the demand for timber and soil. The treasury of the United States can never be benefited by exact. ing a duty, as nothing of the lumber kind can afford to pay even
a small charge. It appears to me therefore, that the request would be reasonable, and no more than exact justice, that we should have a right secured to us of bringing our own produce from our own soil, without being subject to any exaction whatever, even if in its transit it necessarily passes through a foreign territory. It is true, if the timber is hewn in the State of Maine, and brought to our ports in that shape without alteration, no duties are required; but to bring lumber in that cumbersome form, would be more expensive than even the required duty. The grand falls on the St. John, and the falls at the mouth of the Aroostook river, both being within the limits of New Brunswick, the timber must of necessity be taken into the British province before it can be manufactured into boards, &c.
"I understand, that some individuals having an interest in that region are about to petition Congress, praying that pine lumber owned by American citizens, cut on American soil, and brought in American vessels, may be admitted free of duty. It seems to me the interest in this question to this Commonwealth and the State of Maine is of sufficient magnitude to induce some effort on our part for the accomplishment of the same object."
These remarks look to immediate and rapid sales, and indicate the means necessary for their accomplishment with the greatest profit. Mr. Coffin is an officer of so much. experience and faithfulness, and his opinions are entitled to such respect, that we shall not attempt to show the injurious effect upon the Commonwealth of a speedy disposal of her property in the regions to which he here invites the attention of her legislature. That such a course on the part of Maine would be unwise, we have already briefly urged, and the point need be pressed no further. With regard, however, to the suggestion contained in the last paragraph here quoted, some knowledge of the course of business near the eastern frontier causes us to fear, that if this kind of timber were admitted into the United States on the terms proposed, there might be facilities for the introduction of timber from trees that actually grew in New Brunswick. Great strictness in investigating the proof of origin would, doubtless, check irregularities; but we are not quite satisfied, that the most rigid course which could be devised or enforced, would entirely prevent them. Timber which proves "unsound and refuse" is cut on both sides of the line, and as is the case with every other commodity, will be sent to the best market, when that market is accessible by statutory provis
ions or ingenious devices. Nor would frauds be confined to the " coarse, or defective and refuse" kinds; since choice lots are sometimes, under a duty, brought to our ports for special purposes; and in the changes of trade, the merchantable timber, when the price is depressed in England, might be shipped to the United States to good advantage. Though it may be extremely difficult to ascertain the identity of timber and masts coming from the upper St. John to the sea, we would not discourage the attempt. We seek only to protect our own lumberers from their Colonial competitors. British Colonists interfere quite enough already with Northern industry; and before yielding them more, we would have full equivalents in hand, certain, and not contingent, realities, and not "boons."
We are now prepared to conduct our readers "out of the woods"; and in the spirit of the adage, we will endeavour to make them go smilingly. With a rapid sketch of the lumberer as he was, and as he is, we will conclude. It is of the man of work, and not of the great operator, of whom we speak; and between the two there is a wide difference. Our subject is known by various names. In the forest, he is a logger; on the stream, he is a river-driver; in the mill, he is a sawyer or mill-man; between the mill and the place of loading a vessel, he is a raftsman; and when on board ship, he is a coaster. Though he sometimes confines himself to one of these callings, he occasionally makes himself a proficient in all. But wherever found, he was often a wild, improvident, and thoughtless fellow. Within a few years, he has taken the " pledge, " and now he saves his wages. You may see him now with a wife, a home, a farm, and a stock of cattle; or, if he has them not, they are all embraced in his plans, and all within his reach. He was an inveterate coveter of shingle-rift and mast-trees, and cared but little who owned them, if sharp eyes were not upon him. To the mortal hate he bore to the king's guardians of the woods, we have already alluded; and we may add, that it was a long time before he could forget, that land agents were their successors. Nor is trespassing a very grave offence in his estimation, even now; he will often plunder, just to show his adroitness in outwitting those who are set to watch him. As he wiles away a period of stormy weather in his camp, he will relate some wonderful exploits, which, in other
days, he devised or aided to execute. He had, too, a way of seeming honesty, which, to those who were inexperienced in his manœuvres, lulled all suspicion. When he cut the timber of another person under a permit, and engaged to pay the owner stumpage by the thousand feet, the sealer * was allowed to see the logs lying upon the ice in the stream, measured them, and went his way. Apparently all was right; but the logger had commenced hauling trees to the stream when the ice was thin, and, if rolled heavily from the bank, the logs would break through it; and he had continued this course until more timber was beneath the ice than above it. But who could impeach his integrity, since the proprietor's own sealer came to the rolling-tier,† and saw for himself, and took account, without let or hindrance? If the half of his logs were invisible, how could he help it? This was but one among many of his old devices.
He was wont to be a liberal provider for himself and those who went with him for a winter's work in the woods; but not always for those dependent upon him at home. “I will get my supplies now," said an old man to his merchant, some thirty years ago. "What will you have?" "Well, I hardly know; but as I shall come in by and by, I will only just take a few things to stand us a spell. We are but eight hands, all told, and don't need much. A barrel of rum, another of molasses, three barrels of pork, and six of flour, and that meal bag full of tea, with the corn I have already got for the oxen, will do to begin with." The tea was weighed and poured into "that meal bag," and, provided with all that he asked for, he departed; but, as may be supposed, people who ate and drank at this rate could find little time for chopping and hauling; and the merchant's books have not been balanced, we opine, to this day.
Nor, in other days, was he exact in business, or scrupulous in log-marks; so that the old saying, that "one gang of loggers and a saw-mill will support a lawyer," was not entirely destitute of truth. But as we have said, he is a changed man now, both in his deeds and dress. As for the latter, you may see him in the glazed hat, the upper and
+ Place at the stream-end of his road, which he prepares in order to get his logs from the land upon the ice.
lower oil-cloth garments, and "proper strong boots" of the fisherman; rather than in the linsey-woolsey of the familyloom and dye-pot, with cap and buskins of the same, which he wore in the olden time. His manners, his faults, and his vices show him to be a rough man. But he has ever been ready at the first tap of the drum to enlist in the service of his country. He went with Phips, who had been his companion in the woods; and with Pepperell, his own mill-owner. He was on the battle grounds of the Revolution, and the ploughman finds his bones at Plattsburg and Bridgewater.
As for the master of the lumber-coaster, he was once neither a landsman nor seaman; and his men had the same amphibious character. Twenty-five years ago, they sailed in almost any vessel, and on almost any terms. He dodged along shore, and had a rule to pass no harbour after meridian, and not to leave one until past twelve o'clock at night. He nailed a horse-shoe on his mainmast, and would look well to its safety whenever he was off Salem. The superscription of the village attorney could be seen upon letters addressed to him, in almost every tavern or store of the town where he lived. He took passengers at "nine shillings for going, and two and three-pence a day for grub"; and huddled them, male and female, into a cabin without state-rooms, partitions, or even curtains to the berths. His cook was a never washed, never combed boy, who wore his father's trousers and nobody's shoes; and was proud of the mysteries of making bread by mixing Indian meal with water, and stirring them up with a black iron spoon; of mincing fish with potatoes and warming them with pork fat; and of making, for a treat on Sunday, a salt meat soup. Those who paid "for going and for grub" were taxed a pint or a quart of "the West India," for every harbour new to them between the port of departure and destination, and were put under liberal contribution for the gallons that were now and then provided in order "to raise a fair wind."
But such men, such vessels, and such customs have wellnigh passed away. The coaster now owns a part of his vessel, and is frequently the ship's husband. He is a good navigator, and ventures out at sea with the boldest ; makes passages as quick as the quickest; and instead of being a lounger about home in the winter months, as he was formerly, may be found "freighting" at the South, or making