« PreviousContinue »
time. Neither should we now have had them if it had not been for this spirit of inquiry which actuated these men's minds, this brain-work which showed the great necessity for better tools and implements of husbandry as well as methods. And then, as soon as this want became known, it was urged upon the inventors and mechanics, who have gradually made these great improvements in tools and all other implements used by the farmers. This Board itself is but an outgrowth of these and the other agricultural societies, made up as it is by one delegate from each society, and three appointed at large by the governor, and a few others ex officio. The necessity of fostering this great interest, upon which the success of all manufactures and commerce depends, and which lies at the foundation of this and all other nations' prosperity, became so apparent to a few gentlemen, at the head of whom was Hon. Marshal P. Wilder, the senior member of this Board, that they applied to the Legislature, which passed an Act establishing the State Board of Agriculture, and giving it the general control of all agricultural matters within the State. These meetings are one of the inethods adopted by the Board for aiding the farmers and others interested in finding better, more economical and successful methods of farm husbandry, and have become, under this management, a part of the system of State agricultural education.
The committee of arrangements have procured lecturers to open the subjects before this meeting ; but we depend upon all in attendance to discuss them in a spirit of fairness and intelligence, and to give the results of their practical experience, and to throw such light as they are able upon the matters before the meeting.
In the selection of subjects for the lectures and discussions, we have followed the usual custom, and have selected such as were somewhat adapted to the locality where the meetings are held, as by so doing we should create a greater interest in the immediate vicinity of the meeting.
And now allow me to say a few words about the town of Waltham, which, as many of you know, is located in the immediate vicinity of the great market-garden interest of the State. A ride of ten miles, in almost any direction from where we now are, would take you through a section of
country, in which you would find farms, market-gardens with the usual appliances of hot-beds and forcing-houses, florists with their greenhouses, suburban residences, many of them with beautiful and extensive pleasure-grounds, adding not only beauty and variety to the landscape, but an actual cash value to the farms and gardens in their immediate vicinity; for it is well understood that the better the surroundings the more valuable becomes the neighboring property. Now, gentlemen, we meet here to-day, in this good old town of Waltham, and by a special invitation of the Waltham Farmers' Club, - an organization entitled to its well-earned reputation of being one of the most active, efficient, and progressive clubs in the State. I hardly need to add that you have fallen among friends of large hearts and unbounded hospitality
And now allow me to assure you, visitors as well as members of the Board, that it gives me great pleasure to meet you
here in Middlesex County; and I trust that, with your aid, we shall make this not only an instructive and profitable meeting, but one to be remembered with pleasure hereafter.
Now, gentlemen, I have the honor of introducing to you the Rev. BENTON SMITH, President of the Farmers' Club of Waltham.
ADDRESS OF WELCOME.
BY REV. BENTON SMITH.
Gentlemen of the State Board of Agriculture, — The Farmers' Club of this town, and the selectmen in behalf of the citizens generally, have charged me with the very pleasant duty of extending to you a welcome to Waltham and its hospitalities. By those who are unacquainted with it, Waltham is supposed to be almost exclusively a manufacturing town; but it is largely agricultural. Therefore the people appreciate the action by which you decided to hold this meeting with them, sure that you will enlighten and quicken them in regard to one of their great interests.
It has been a quiet town, in which its inhabitants have pursued their various kinds of business with intelligence and industry, without being aware of how directly and powerfully
they were influencing the business of the world at large; and even its own people have been surprised to learn that the eyes of all nations are turned towards it, and that its name is fast becoming a familiar one upon the lips of all people, because of its peculiar manufactures, which are of importance not only to its own people, and to our State and country, but to the world.
Within view from the hall in which we are assembled, stands the first cotton-mill of the world, where, beneath a single roof, cotton was taken in a raw state, and manufactured into cloth by power. The system of performing different parts of cloth-making in separate and sometimes distant buildings is still adhered to in the Old World. In Manchester there may be seen to-day great loads of yarn that was spun in one building, in transit to another and distant one, to be woven into cloth, at great loss of time and expense in the transportation. Since the erection of this mill, all the large manufactories of our country have been built upon the plan adopted by the Boston Manufacturing Company; and the economy and comfort of the system have no doubt given our manufacturers one advantage over those of Europe.
Very soon after this mill was put in operation, wise business considerations induced the company to erect a bleachery, — the second large one in the country, — which now prepares for sale not less than fifteen tons of cloth daily. So we can almost say that this is the first place in which raw cotton was made into cloth, bleached, finished, and packed in boxes ready for shipment, beneath one roof.
The establishment of the bleachery created a demand for sulphuric acid and bleaching salts. Up to this time, these chemicals had been made in this country in small quantities and by individual manufacturers. The Boston Manufacturing Company encouraged the formation of a company that should make the chemicals in large quantities. And one was formed whose works soon covered many acres.
But while the men who accomplished all this looked for a just return for the risk they assumed, and the capital and wisdom and genius they invested, and were fully entitled to it, they did not consider their pecuniary interests alone. They were men of large hearts and large souls, as well as men of large means and brain; and they provided generously
for all the higher needs of those who might be in their employ. When they purchased their first bales of cotton, they purchased also a large library of choice books, and placed them in their counting-room for the free use of those who should do the labor of turning that cotton into cloth. They encouraged the formation of a literary society, and one was formed that took the name of Rumford Institute.
The company then erected the hall in which we are gathered, for the use of the institute, made over to it their library, and granted it the use of the hall upon condition that it would expend a certain sum of money annually to enlarge the library. And here the members met to engage in discussions and to conduct other literary exercises; and here, under their auspices, courses of public lectures were given, season after season, by the ablest men of the time. This institute, if not the first, was nearly the first, in this country that maintained a library, conducted literary exercises, and supported a course of lectures yearly. And now, after more than fifty years since its formation, it still exists, and maintains its annual course of public lectures and entertainments.
They also provided amply for the education of the children of those whom they might employ; for they built the first school-house erected in this part of the town, placed the name of the teacher upon the pay-roll of the corporation, and made the school free to all. And even after the town took charge of the schools located here, they provided a school-house, free of expense to the public, for many years.
They also built the first church erected in this section of Waltham, to meet the spiritual needs of their operatives. The company let the pews and collected the rents, and placed the minister's name upon its pay-roll; and his salary was regularly paid by its treasurer.
In addition to these great public benefits, the company reserved from sale this tract of land which is now our public common, and of which our citizens are justly proud ; and by this generous forecast they provided for the pleasure, the refinement and health of the community.
Waltham, therefore, owes very much of its growth, its intelligence, its industry, its public spirit, and its character for quiet self-reliance, to the Boston Manufacturing Company. And we can but pray that the spirit which animated the men
who composed it may fill and animate all the men who may lead in the business enterprises of the future of our country.
The manufacture of the chalk crayons that are now so universally used in our public schools, and other institutions of learning, originated in this town. Before these were manufactured, shapeless lumps of chalk were the only article used in the schoolroom in work upon the blackboards. Now these carefully prepared and nicely shaped crayons have banished the crude chalk from the schoolrooms, not only in our own country but also in most distant ones; for they are sent to England, France, Germany, Russia, and even to Japan. So Waltham can be said to make its mark all over the world.
The first attempt to manufacture watches entirely by machinery, and upon the system of making all the corresponding parts of the watches perfectly interchangeable, is due to American genius and skill. The establishment in which the effort was first made, was located in Roxbury; but, after a brief existence there, it was removed to Waltham and permanently located here. The watches are made entirely by machinery, that works so accurately and regularly, that should any part be broken or otherwise rendered useless, a corresponding part can be supplied by the manufactory, which will just fill the place at once, and perfectly perform the work of the injured part.
After long and severe struggle against very many obstacles, the Amercan Watch Company has gained a world-wide reputation for the superiority of its watches. Europe, especially Switzerland, believed itself possessed of a monopoly of the watch-making of the world ; and it was quietly enjoying the belief that this monopoly could never be disturbed, until M. Edouard Favre-Perret, one of the Swiss commissioners to the Centennial Exhibition, and a member of the International Jury on Watches, saw and examined the watches of the American Watch Company at Philadelphia, and visited the works here, and returned home to startle his countrymen and all Europe from their sleep, in regard to this manufacture. Upon his return, at a meeting held to hear his report, he assured his fellow craftsmen, that they had been living over a “ volcano;” for the American Watch Company had been making a much cheaper and better watch by machinery