Jacksonian Miscellanies, #15: April 22, 1997

Topic: First Book of History for Children and Youth, by the Author of Peter Parley's Tales (Boston: Jenks, Palmer, & Co. 1849)

Copyright by the editor, Hal Morris, Secaucus, NJ 1997. Permission is granted to copy, but not for sale, nor in multiple copies, except by permission.

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Regarding the author, Samuel Griswald Goodrich (1793 - 1860), Scribner's Concise Dictionary of American Biography says that he edited The Token, "best of the American annuals" for many years. From 1827 on, he wrote the "Tales of Peter Parley About America" for children, followed by more than a hundred others (some probably ghost-written), which "sold in the millions". In these books, "a kindly, omniscient old gentleman converses with a group of priggishly inquiring children, and instruction is given a thin sugar-coating of fiction".

The book from which these selections is taken is the first of a three-part series of schoolbooks. This volume covers the Western Hemisphere (mostly the U.S., of course), and mostly on a state-by-state basis. In the back are some well-executed maps, including county maps of some eastern states, and throughout are scattered 68 small engravings. The cover is a sort of greenish pasteboard with engravings and copious writing on it, including, as was typical, a list on the back, or "School Books Published by Jenks, Palmer, & Co., Boston".

On a personal note, I got this book for $1.00 at an antique store in Huntington, WV., and, like several other books I own, the spline is very loose, the cover is hanging on by a few threads, and the outer veneer is flaking off. If anyone can point me to information (online, in books, whatever) on simple, not too arduous methods for stabilizing the condition of such books, I'd greatly appreciate it. I also got a full set (from about 1900) of Richardson's Messages and Papers of the Presidents, and the leather veneer on the splines will soon crumble to dust if I handle them much.



1. Massachusetts is not a large state, but there are a great many people in it. It has ninety­four persons to each square mile of its territory, supposing they were distributed equally all over it. This is being more thickly settled than any other of the United States. England has two hundred and sixty people to each square mile. Those who live along the seaboard, at Boston, Salem, New Bedford, Nantucket, and other places, own a great many ships, brigs, sloops, and schooners. Some of these ships are sent to England, and other parts of Europe, and they bring back various kinds of goods.

Other ships are sent to China, and they bring back tea. The trade carried on by these ships is called commerce. Some of the vessels go to a great distance to catch whales, for their oil. Other vessels go out to catch cod­fish and mackerel.

3. Great numbers of cod are taken in boats, along the shores, but most on the banks of Newfoundland. These banks are Immense sandy places, out at sea, east of Newfoundland; the largest its four hundred miles long, and the water is from one hundred and twenty to three hundred feet deep upon them.

4. The cod­fish are in millions, feeding on the worms on the bottom. The vessels come here in the summer, from Europe and America, and get loads of fish, which they take with hooks and clams for bait. The cod are split and salted down. The livers are kept in barrels, where oil drains from them. When the vessels come home, the fish are spread to dry on flakes, or platforms made of branches and twigs of trees, on a frame three feet from the ground.

5. The mackerel are caught in early summer, all along the northern United States, in immense shoals or swarms. They are opened, pickled, and then assorted into barrels by an inspector appointed for the purpose, who marks them No. 1, 2, &c., according to the quality. These cod and mackerel are eaten at home, or sent to the Southern States the West Indies, South America, and Southern Europe.

6. The whale fishery in America was first begun by the inhabitants of Nantucket. They, and the people from New Bedford, Connecticut, New York &c., to procure lamp­oil, spermaceti and whalebone, carry it on at the north pole, at the south pole, and in the great oceans, where the whales have. been taken eighty to a hundred feet long. I will tell you about it when I come to speak of Greenland. A great many sloops, and schooners, and brigs, go to New York, Philadelphia, Charleston. and other places.

7. They carry a good many articles away, which are not wanted in Massachusetts, and get, in exchange for them, other articles that are wanted here. So, you see, there are a great many people constantly occupied in managing these ships. You may often see several hundred vessels, of various kinds, at Boston.

8. At Boston, some years since, was commenced the ice trade, which now amounts to an immense value every year. The ice is taken from the ponds and collected in ice­houses, in the winter. This is pretty cold work, you may be sure. The men have thick mittens, and they thrash their arms together, and blow their fingers with their hot breath; and when the cold wind comes, they work away the harder, to keep themselves

9. You will be interested to go out to these ponds, to some of which they have made railroads, on purpose to bring the ice to the wharves. You would find some of the men sawing the thick ice into blocks; and others pulling it from the water with iron hooks and long poles, and there it is hauled by horses, and an ingenious contrivance of ropes and pulleys, into the ice­houses on the border of the pond. These houses are built double, and the space between the outside and inside walls is filled in with tan­bark, that the ice may not melt.

10. At proper times the ice is carried on carts or railroads to the vessels, in which it is carefully packed in sawdust, and so carried half over the world In hot countries it is very grateful; and even in England, during summer, American ice has become quite famous. Sometimes they put fish, or meats fruits, in among the ice, and they keep nicely on the voyage, and when taken out look; as fresh, and taste as well, as when first put in.

11. In those parts of the state remote from the sea, the people of Massachusetts are chiefly occupied in agriculture. There are a great many very fine farms and the people manage them extreme well. There are also very extensive manufactories in Massachusetts. Lowell is a great manufacturing town.

12. You must not, fail, if you have opportunity, to stop at Lowell, and mark the industry and the success this astonishing cited. In 1825 it part of Chelmsford, and had only hundred inhabitants; in 1847, it about thirty thousand. You must visit the factories there, and see how neat and clean every thing is; the rooms and the people in them. A place for everything, and everything in its place, is the rule there

13. You would find, if you were to count them, nine or ten thousand persons at work; at once; seven thousand of them are women and girls, who come from all parts of the country. They stay here about five years. then return with the money they earned by industry and good behavior to be happy at home. They have books to read; and they write and publish a book, or magazine, themselves, month; it is called the Lowell Offering.

14. They make in Lowell aboutenty­five millions of yards of cloth a year. Lowell was the first place in the world where they wove carpets, and all their rich and curious patterns, with power looms, that is, which go by water or steam. They used always to be woven by hand. This place is an excellent specimen of our manufacturing villages and cities, so much better than those we read of in England and the rest of Europe.

16. More of these busy places are constantly building. On the Merrimac river, just below Lowell, they built, in 1847, a number of large factories, and called the place Lawrence. And still others at Hadley Falls, on the Connecticut river, at a place which they have named Ireland.

16. At Newburyport and Salem are very large factories, which go by steam. There is one of this kind at Salem which is among the largest in the United States, if not in the world. It has twenty­seven thousand spindles, which are spinning away all at once; and a busy sight and whiz they make of it.

17. There are many other manufactories, at Waltham, Taunton, Canton, Ware, Springfield, Framingham, and other places. The goods manufactured in these towns are chiefly carried to Boston, and are thence taken to New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans, and various foreign markets.

18. On the south­eastern shore of Massachusetts, you would see, in passing close to the ocean, a great many low wooden vats, into which the salt water of the sea is put. The sun dries up the water, and the salt is left on the bottom and sides of the vats, and collected, in great quantities, for use and sale. When a shower is coming up, you will see the men run to slide the covers over these salt works, so that the water shall not spoil the operations.

19. Boston is the largest city in New England. There are many interesting things in Boston. The Common is a very beautiful place. It is delightful to see it covered with people, men, women, and children, on a pleasant summer evening. How pleased the boys are to get around the Frog­pond, and throw sticks into it, so that they may see the dogs jump in, swim about and get them!

20. In 1847 the people of Boston finding that the city was getting to have so many people and houses in it that there was not enough good fresh water to use, purchased a whole pond, called Long Pond. This they re­called by its old Indian name, Cochituate Lake. It is situated in Framingham, Natick, &c., about twenty miles west of Boston, and higher than the highest part of the city.

21. They built a large brick aqueduct, so large that you might walk up right through it, in which the water runs from Cochituate Lake, over rivers and valleys, and through hills, to a large reservoir, and thence by iron pipes into the chambers of any of the houses m the city. These pipes carry it through all the streets, and there are altogether, sixty miles in length of them. They may also be used to feed public fountains, which are very pretty, with the bright water sparkling like diamonds in the sunshine. This structure is next in size to the Croton water­works, which supply New York city, and of which I shall tell you by and by. Many of our large cities in the United States are thus supplied with pure water, as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, &c.

22. The State­house is finely situated, and it has a good appearance. When I was young, I used to like to go to the top of the State­house, from which there is a splendid prospect. I could see the ocean, with a great many islands in it, and I could see a great many fine towns all around Boston, and I could look down upon the city itself, and see almost all that was going on in the streets.

23. There are a great many handsome buildings in Boston. The Stone Market is a very fine building, and I do not think there is a more beautiful market in the world. Tremont House King's Chapel, St. Paul's Church, and Trinity Church; the new Boston Athenaeum; the Howard Athenaeum; the Museum; several freestone, Gothic and other churches; the Merchants' Exchange, and the United States Custom house, are very elegant edifices.

24. The land in Boston was originally about six hundred acres, but they have filled it up on the borders of the bays, until, in 1847, it had about thirteen hundred acres, and one hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants. But the surrounding lately incorporated cities of Roxbury, Cambridge, and Charlestown, and the towns, join it so closely, that you would take them all together to be one city of more than two hundred thousand inhabitants. Boston is continually advancing with the rest of the state and country. It is connected with all parts of the land by railroads, and with all parts of the world by the sea.

25. I will tell you about those railroads, because they have changed all the old modes of travelling and of doing business, all over the country. They have, also, wherever they are, rendered states flourishing, and have increased wealth more than all their enormous cost. One locomotive engine on a railroad will do the work of six hundred and sixty­eight horses. It needs only four men to take care of it; but the four horse teams, to equal it, would require one hundred and sixty­seven men.

26. There are more than thirty railroads in New England, with all their branches. They have cost forty or fifty millions of dollars. Seven of these railroads, as you will see on the map, diverge directly from Boston, the capital, into all parts of the state, and into other states.

27. These make in all more than eight hundred miles of railroad. In 1847, their cars travelled, over them, one million five hundred and thirty thousand miles, and transported three million one hundred and thirty­five thousand passengers. And for that quick and easy travelling, in comfortable. clean, and well ventilated cars, they charged a passenger only two and two fifths cents a mile.

28.. Salem is quite a city, and many of the people are engaged in commerce. The city of Worcester, and the towns of Springfield and Northampton, are remarkably handsome. Massachusetts abounds in beautiful villages. It is pleasant to observe, in travelling through it, the great number of very neat meeting­houses.

29. The city of Worcester you will find the grand centre for railroads from Boston, Albany, Providence, Norwich, Nashua, and Concord. It has been proposed to build a mammoth depot, to accommodate all these together. What curious articles you would see piled up there and lying about, brought from so many different places, and going, perhaps, to every part of the world!

30. At Cambridge there is a college, called Harvard University. In 1818, its libraries amounted to eighty­two thousand volumes and besides its schools of Law, Medicine, and Divinity, there was established here, in 1847, the Lawrence Scientific School, for practical science. Another college is located at Amherst, and one also at Williamstown. There are a great many academies and schools in the state, and it has one of the best organized and established systems of public free schools.

31. More than one hundred and fifty thousand children are at school all the lime, who have the use of district school libraries, provided for them by the forethought and liberality of the towns and of the state. They have also Normal Schools, so called, where males and females, who wish to become teachers, are admirably taught by able instructors; and afterwards themselves do a great deal of good in teaching, all over the country.

32. Massachusetts has done more than any other state towards encouraging farmers, who are so important a class, as they furnish us with food, and the materials of which our clothes are made. They have societies of agriculture and horticulture here, as in other states. The intelligence and experiments of the members of such societies are constantly improving those branches of industry. There is a Massachusetts State Manual Labor School at Westboro', and a Farm School, established near Boston, on an island, by private munificence. Here boys who are so unfortunate as to be exposed to vice. without other opportunities, are trained to habits of industry and morality, and instructed in what will be useful to them when they grow up. In 1845 and 1848, were incorporated the Mass. Academy of Agriculture, and the Mass. Agricultural Institute.

33. Commerce, manufactures, fishing and farming, are the chief employments of the state, which is continually enterprising and successful. Her capital has now several routes connecting with New York city. Her Western Railroad, breaking through seeming impossibilities, opens to her the same West that makes New York great. Railroads confined to her own territory bring business to Boston, which has, also, railroads to Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and will soon be connected with Canada and be the winter communication at least between England and her provinces. by means of the great enterprise of the British government, through their agent. Mr. Cunard; who, in 1840, established a line of steamers between Liverpool and Boston, which come across in from eleven to fourteen days.

34. In 1825 was begun, and in 1842 was finished, at Bunker Hill, a granite obelisk, two hundred and twenty feet high a monument of the battle fought there, of which I will tell you in Chapter LIII. You can ascend to the top which is three hundred and nine feet above high water, by circular stone stairs around a well in the centre, and will have a fine view from it.

35. In 1825, died John Lowell, Jr., Esq., who founded free public lectures, at Boston, which were first commenced in 1839; and in 1839, Nathaniel Bowditch died , the great American astronomer. In 1842, died Rev. William E. Channing, a distinguished writer, and Washington Allston, the great American painter. In 1845, died Joseph Story Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, one of the ablest and most famous lawyers in the world, and in 1846, died Dr. Benj. Waterhouse who introduced vaccination against the small­pox into America, Feb. 23, 1848, died at Washington, where he represented his state in Congress, John Quincy Adams, Ex­president of the United States, a man possessed of more political knowledge than any individual in the United States of his time. He died in the Capitol, being stricken with disease in his place in Representatives, Hall. His body was brought to its tomb in Quincy by a delegation of members of Congress, one from each state and territory. The cities through which it passed, and the Legislature of Massachusetts, paid it the honor of funeral processions and eulogies. The tombs of most of these great men are to be seen at Mt. Auburn, the first, as it is also one of the best, of the ornamented cemeteries in the U. S.; it is at Cambridge.

36. We might also visit, very profitably, the admirably conducted Perkins Institution and Asylum for the Blind, at South Boston; the McLean Asylum for the Insane, at Somerville, just out of the capital; the Massachusetts Hospital, in the city; the State Asylum for the Insane, at Worcester; also the United States Arsenal, at Springfield.

37. It is not so cold in Massachusetts, during the winter, as in Vermont and Maine. The snow is not so deep, and there is not so much sleighing. If you ever travel through the state, you will find it very hilly. Though there are a great many railroads, yet, if you wish to see the country, you had better travel in some other way. Near Northampton is a high mountain. called Holyoke. From the top of it, you can look down upon Connecticut river, winding through a valley so rich and beautiful, that it seems like a carpet woven with various bright colors.

[Ed.: These questions appeared along the bottom of several pages. The -- sometimes incoherent -- wording was just as it appears here, but I've sorted them out, one question per line, whereas they were jumbled together with no breaks -- saving precious paper, I imagine.]

Questions on the Map of Massachusetts.- boundaries?
Describe the Merrimac River, Charles, Deerfield, Westfield.
What range of mountains in M.? Through what counties do these mountains run?
Describe Massachusetts Bay. Barnstable, Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay.
Describe the following islands Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Elizabeth, Dukes.
5. How many counties in M.? Their names? Capital ? In what county is Boston?
Describe the following towns Salem, New Bedford, Newburyport Worcester, Amherst, Cambridge, Northampton Springfield, Greenfield, Deerfield, Concord Lexington, Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Westfield, Williamston.
Population of M.? square miles? Greatest length of M.? Greatest width? Average length? Average width?

[Ed.: The numbers below relate the questions to the numbered paragraphs (above) in which the answers can be found]
1.What of Massachusetts? How many people to each square mile? How many in England? People along the seaboard?
2.What is commerce? What of vessels belonging to M.?
3. Describe the cod­fishery
5.The mackerel fishery
6.The whale fishery.
8, 9, 10, The ice trade? Describe the getting of the ice
11.What of the people remote from the sea? Manufactories in M.?
12,13,14. Lowell ? Describe any other manufacturing town or place that you have seen.
15.Lawrence ? Ireland?
16.Newburyport? Salem?
17.Other towns mentioned? What of the goods manufactured in M.?
18.Describe salt­making.
19.What of Boston? The Common ? Describe the picture. (ed.: 'Boys Playing on Boston Common')
20,21. Water­works?
22. State House
23. What fine buildings in Boston ? Extent and population?
25. Describe a railroad.
26, 27.Railroads in Massachusetts in 1847?
28.Salem' Northampton?
30. Cambridge? Amherst ? Williamstown? Public free schools
31. District school libraries? Normal Schools?
32. What is done for agriculture? Farming schools?
33.Chief employments of the people? Connection with other states? Steamers to England?
34. Bunker Hill Monument
35.Distinguished persons mentioned ? Mount Auburn ? Institution for the blind? Other institutions?
37.W inter ? Face of the country? Mt. Holyoke?



1. On the 17th day of September, 1830. there was a great parade in Boston. There was the governor of the state, and the mayor of the city, and the president of Harvard college, and a great many other men; and then there were a great many children, little boys and girls, from all the schools in Boston.

2. It was a very bright day, and they all assembled on the Common. There were a great many thousand people beside, who came to look on. I was there myself, and I was delighted at the long rows of good little boys and girls. By and by, the men all went in a long procession to the Old South church, and there Mr. Quincy delivered an oration.

3. Now you will be curious to know what all this parade was about. I will tell you. It was to celebrate the settlement of Boston, which took place just two hundred years before; that is, on the 17th of September, 1630.

4. Ten years before, in 1620, some persons had come from England, and settled at Plymouth. At that period, many of the people in England were persecuted, and could not be happy there. They chose therefore to come to America, and live in the woods, with Indians and wild beasts around them, rather than stay there.

5. Accordingly fifteen hundred persons came over in 1630, and settled at Charlestown, Dorchester, and other places. A man by the name of Blackstone came to the place where Boston now stands, and liking it pretty well, he told some of the people about it, and they went and settled there.

6. The first settlers here suffered a great deal. They had poor, miserable huts to live in and in winter the weather was excessively cold. They were almost starved, too, for want of food. A great many of them died from hunger, cold, and distress.

7. Such is a brief sketch of the first settlement of Boston. What a wonderful change has taken place in two hundred years! The spot where Boston stands was then a wilderness. The hills and the islands were covered with trees, and the Indians were living all around Now the Indians are all gone, and there are one hundred and twenty thousand people living in this place ; in the towns around it there are at least as many more.

8. The forests have all been cut down, the hills have been levelled, the valleys have been filled up; houses churches, and other public edifices, now stand on the very places which were then occupied by Indian wigwams. The bay, where then you could see only a few Indian canoes, is now covered with hundreds of vessels, and in the streets you hear the noise of a thousand wheels, where then were heard only the cries of wild beasts and savage men.

9. Such are the mighty changes that have taken place in this country since it was settled by the white people. It is very interesting to look around, and see the present condition of towns, cities and countries. But I think it is still more interesting to go back and study the history of places, and see what has happened there in times that have now gone by.

10. The first settlement in New England was made at Plymouth, in 1620 The settlers were English people, called Puritans. Within ten years after, Salem, Dorchester, Charlestown, and Boston, were settled. A great many people came over from England, and thus the colony grew very rapidly.

11. They had a great many difficulties to encounter. Before they could raise grain to make bread of, they were obliged to cut down trees, and till the land. They had also to build houses, to make roads, and defend themselves against the Indians. Their condition was indeed a very hard one, and some of the people who came over died from want and fatigue, as I have said before.

12. Many of them were killed by the savages, but in spite of all these evils the colony continued to increase. The white people penetrated further into the interior, cut down the trees, built towns and villages, and soon spread themselves over the whole country that is now called Massachusetts.

13. But after a while the Revolutionary War broke out, and then the people had to defend themselves against British soldiers. I shall tell you all about this war by and by. I shall tell you of the battles of Lexington, and of Bunker Hill, and many other interesting things.

[Ed: Questions for Ch VII]
1. What took place in Boston in September, 1830?
Describe the picture.
3.What was this celebration for? When did the settlement of Boston take place?
4.Why did some English people come to live in America?
5.Settlers of 1630?
6.What of wolves? Sufferings of the first settlers?
7, 8.What changes have taken place in 218 years?
10.When was the first settlement in New England? What were the settlers called? What of Salem, and other towns?
11. What had the settlers to do? What was their situation?
12. Describe the progress of the settlements in Massachusetts.
13.Revolutionary War ?

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