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Lowell History: Visitor Observations 1827-1913

1833 Observations of Lowell by Godfrey T. Vigne, Esquire of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law

From Six Months in America 1833

"Lowell, the Manchester of America, is twenty-seven miles from Boston, and may be visited in the way from Burlington to Boston. Twelve years ago there was scarcely a house in the place; and only eight years ago it formed part of a farming town, which was thought singularly unproductive, even in the midst of the sterile and rocky region with which it is surrounded. At present it contains 8000 people, who are all more or less connected with the manufactories; and thirty-three large wheels, which are the movers of all the machinery in the place, are turned by means of canals supplied by the prodigious water-power contained in the rapid stream of the Merrimack river. There is no steam-power there, and consequently little or no smoke is visible, and every thing wears the appearance of comfort and cleanliness. At present there are 50,000 cotton-spindles in operation at Lowell, besides a satinet and carpet manufactory. A good English carpet weaver who understands his business, may earn a dollar a-day; but the calico weaving is chiefly performed by females, whose general neatness of appearance reflects the greatest credit upon themselves and their employers. No less than 40,000 additional spindles had been contracted for, and workmen were employed upon them in the large building called the machine-shop, which of itself is well worth the attention of the traveller. The vast buildings belonging to the Merrimack and Hamilton companies, are very conspicuous from the road by which the town is approached from Boston, particularly the latter, which are ranged along the side of the canal. As yet there is, I believe, no linen manufactory in the United States. Lowell contains the most extensive cotton-works; but as a manufacturing town merely, its population and business are perhaps trebled at Pittsburgh on the Ohio. The scenery about Lowell is not deficient in interest and beauty, but it scarcely merits further description."

-Vigne, Godfrey Thomas. Six Months in America. Ash, Thomas T. 140 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, 1833, page 194.