1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Massachusetts
MASSACHUSETTS (an Indian name, originally applied to a tribe of Indians), one of the original thirteen states of the American Union, bounded on the N. by Vermont and New Hampshire, on the E. by the Atlantic, on the S. by Rhode Island and Connecticut, and on the W. by New York. It lies approximately between 41° 15′ and 42° 50′ N. lat. and 69° 55′ and 73° 30′ W. long. The bulk of its area—which is about 8266 sq. m. (of which 227 are water)—forms a parallelogram of 130 m. E. and W., 46 m. N. and S., the additional area lying in a projection at the S.E. and a lesser one at the N.E., which give the mainland a breadth of 90 m. where it borders upon the ocean, while the general irregularity of the coast-line gives a sea frontage of about 250 m.
Physical Features.—The east and south-east portions are in general undulating or level, the central hilly and broken, and the west rugged and mountainous. (For geological details see United States: Geology, ad fin.) The Hoosac Hills (1200–1600 ft. high), separating the valleys of the Housatonic and Connecticut, are a range of the Berkshires, a part of the Appalachian system, and a continuation of the Green Mountains of Vermont, and with the Taconic range on the west side of the Housatonic Valley—of which the highest peaks are Greylock, or “Saddleback” (3535 ft.), and Mt Williams (3040 ft.)—in the extreme north-west corner of the state, form the only considerable elevated land. Bordering on the lowlands of the Connecticut, Mt Tom (1214 ft.) and a few other hills (Mt Holyoke, 954 ft.; Mt Toby, 1275) form conspicuous landmarks. East of this valley the country continues more or less hilly and rocky, but the elevations eastward become increasingly slight and of little consequence. Mt Lincoln (1246 ft.) and especially Mt Wachusett (2108 ft.), to the east in a level country, are very exceptional. The Blue Hills in Milton are the nearest elevations to the coast, and are conspicuous to navigators approaching Boston. The south-east corner of the state is a sandy lowland, generally level with a slightly elevated ridge (Manomet) south of Plymouth, and well watered by ponds.
With the exception of this corner, Massachusetts is a part of the slanting upland that includes all of southern New England. This upland is an uplifted peneplain of subaerial denudation, now so far advanced in a “second” cycle of weathering and so thoroughly dissected that to an untrained eye it appears to be only a country of hills confusedly arranged. The general contour of the upland, marked by a remarkably even sky-line, is evident at almost every locality in the state. In the nature and position of the upland rocks—mainly crystalline schists and gneisses, excessively complicated and disordered in mass, and also internally deformed—there is found abundant proof that the peneplain is a degraded mountain region. The upland is interrupted by the rivers, and on the coast by great lowlands, and is everywhere marked by hills somewhat surmounting the generally even skyline. Monadnock (in New Hampshire, near N.E. Massachusetts), the Blue Hills near Boston, Greylock, in the north-west, and Wachusett in the centre, are the most commanding remnant-summits (known generically as “Monadnocks”) of the original mountain system. But in the derivant valley peneplains developed in the present cycle of denudation, and there are residual summits also; in the Connecticut Valley trap ridges, of which Mt Tom and Mt Holyoke are the best examples; at Mt Holyoke, lava necks; occasionally in the lowlands, ridges of resistant sandstone, like Deerfield Mountain near Northampton; in the Berkshire Valley, summits of resistant schists, like Greylock, the highest summit in the state. The larger streams have cut their channels to very moderate gradients, but the smaller ones are steeper. The Housatonic and Millers (and the Connecticut also, but not in its course within Massachusetts alone) afford beautiful examples of the dependence of valley breadth upon the strike of soft or harder rocks across the stream. The Connecticut lowland is cut from 5 to 18 m. wide in soft sandstones and shales. The glacial era has left abundant evidences in the topography of the state. The ice covered even the Monadnocks. Till drumlins, notably abundant on the lowland about Boston and the highland near Spencer; morainic hills, extending, e.g. all along Cape Cod; eskers, kames and river terraces afford the plainest evidences of the extent of the glacial sheet. The Berkshire country—Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties—is among the most beautiful regions of the United States. It is a rolling highland dominated by long, wooded hill-ridges, remarkably even-topped in general elevation, intersected and broken by deep valleys. Scores of charming lakes lie in the hollows. The district is often called the Lake Region of America, partly from the comparableness of its scenic beauties with the English Lake Country (Matthew Arnold, however, wrote: “The country is pleasing but not to be compared with Westmoreland. It is wider and opener, and neither hills nor lakes are so effective.”), and partly from the parallelism of literary associations. It has become since 1850, and especially in much more recent years, a favoured resort of summer residents. Owing to topography, and also to the manner in which Massachusetts was settled, the western counties were long connected commercially more closely with New York than with Massachusetts, and this territory was long in dispute between these two states.
The Connecticut is the most considerable stream, and is navigable by small craft. Its valley, much the richest portion of the state agriculturally, is celebrated for the quiet variety and beauty of its scenery. The Housatonic, in portions placid, in others wild and rapid, winding along the deflecting barrier of the Hoosac Hills, is the most beautiful river of the state, despite the mercantile use of its water-power. The Merrimac, the second stream of the state in volume, runs in a charming valley through the extreme north-east corner, and affords immensely valuable water-power at Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill.
South of Cohasset the shore is sandy, with a few isolated rocky ledges and boulders. About Boston, and to the north of it, the shore is rocky and picturesque. Cape Cod, like a human arm doubled at the elbow, 40 m. from shoulder to elbow and 30 from elbow to hand, is nowhere more than a few miles broad. It is a sandy ridge, dotted with summer resorts and cottages. Cape Ann has a rugged interior and a ragged, rocky coast. It, too, is a summer recreation ground, with much beautiful scenery. Boston Harbor (originally known as Massachusetts Bay, a name which now has a much broader signification) is the finest roadstead on the coast. The extreme hook of the Cape Cod Peninsula forms Provincetown Harbor, which is an excellent and capacious port of refuge for vessels approaching Boston. Salem Harbor is the most considerable other haven on Massachusetts Bay; on Buzzard’s Bay New Bedford has a good harbour, and on the Atlantic coast are the excellent harbours of Gloucester and Marblehead, both frequented by summer residents. Gloucester has the largest fishery interests of any place in the country, and is one of the chief fishing ports of the world. Buzzard’s Bay is also a popular yachting ground, and all about its shores are towns of summer residence. Wood’s Hole is a station of the United States Bureau of Fisheries, and a marine biological laboratory is there.
The principal islands lie off the south coast. The largest is Martha’s Vineyard, about 20 m. long, with an extreme breadth of about 91 m. It has in Vineyard Haven (Holmes’s Hole) a spacious harbour, much frequented by wind-bound vessels seeking a passage round Cape Cod. The island is covered with stunted trees. Its population was formerly dependent wholly upon the sea, but its climate has made it a popular summer resort, Oak Bluffs being one of the chief resorts of the Atlantic coast. Farther east, Nantucket, a smaller island of triangular shape, is likewise the home of a seafaring folk who still retain in some degree primitive habits, though summer visitors are more and more affecting its life.
Flora and Fauna.—Massachusetts lies entirely in the humid area of the Transition life-zone, with the exception of the extreme north-western corner of the state, which lies in the Boreal zone. Thus the original native trees and plants were those common to New England and northern New York. The presence of a dense population has driven out some, and brought in others, including some noxious weeds. The larger wild animals have disappeared, excepting an occasional black bear or deer. Of the smaller fur-bearing animals, the beaver was long ago exterminated, the otter is seen very rarely, and the mink only in the most isolated districts; but foxes, skunks, weasels, musk-rats, rabbits, and grey and red squirrels are not uncommon. Copperhead snakes and rattlesnakes are occasionally seen, and there are several species of harmless serpents. Of game birds the most characteristic is the partridge (ruffed grouse), exclusively a woodland bird; the Wilson’s snipe and the woodcock are not uncommon in favourable localities, and several species of ducks are found especially in the bays and marshes near the coast during the seasons of migration. A stray eagle is sometimes seen. Very interesting to ornithologists are the few heath hens, the eastern representative of the prairie hen (pinnated grouse), which are found on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, and are the sole survivors in the eastern states of one of the finest of American game birds, now practically exterminated even on the western plains. There are many insectivorous birds; among the song birds are the hermit thrush, the wood thrush, the Wilson’s thrush, the brown thrasher, the bobolink, the catbird, the oven bird, the house wren, the song sparrow, the fox sparrow, the vesper sparrow, the white-throated sparrow (Peabody bird), the goldfinch and the robin. Brook trout are found, especially in the streams in the western part of the state, and bass, pickerel, perch and smaller fish occur in the rivers and other inland waters. Fish are so abundant on the coast that the cod is sometimes used as an emblem of the state; thus a figure of one hangs in the representatives’ chamber at the State House. The artificial propagation and preservation of salmon and other edible fresh-water fish have been carried on successfully under the supervision of a state commission. The commonwealth has expended large sums since 1890 in a vain attempt to exterminate the gipsy moth (Ocneria, or more exactly Porthetria, dispar), accidentally allowed to escape in 1869 by a French naturalist.
Climate.—The climate is trying, showing great extremes of temperature (20° F. below zero to 100° above) and marked local variations. The south-eastern coast and islands are mildest. The mean average temperature of Boston is 48° F. In the interior it is slightly lower. The mean summer temperature generally over the state is about 70° F. Changes are often sudden, and the passage from winter to summer is through a rapid spring. The ocean tempers the climate considerably on the seaboard. Boston Harbor has been frozen over in the past, but steamtugs plying constantly now prevent the occurrence of such obstruction. In the elevated region in the west the winters are decidedly severe, and the springs and summers often late and cold. Williamstown has a winter mean of about 23° F. The yearly precipitation is about 39 to 45 in., decreasing inland, and is evenly distributed throughout the year. Fogs are common on the coast, and east wind drizzles; the north-east winds being the weather bane of spring and late autumn. In the summer and the autumn the weather is commonly fine, and often most beautiful; and especially in the Berkshires a cool, pure and elastic atmosphere prevails, relatively dry, and altogether delightful.
Agriculture.—The soil, except in some of the valleys, is not naturally fertile; and sandy wastes are common in the south-east parts. High cultivation, however, has produced valuable market-gardens about Boston and the larger towns; and industry has made tillage remunerative in most other parts. The gross value of agricultural products is not great compared with that of other industries, but they are of great importance in the economy of the state. The total value of farm property in 1900 was $182,646,704, including livestock valued at $15,798,464. Of the increase in the total value of farm property between 1850 and 1900 more than half was in the decade 1890–1900; this increase being due partly to the rising value of suburban realty, but also to a development of intensive farming that has been very marked since 1880. The total value of farm products in 1899 was $42,298,274 (expenditure for fertilizers $1,320,600); crops representing 54.7 and animal products 45.3% of this total. The leading crops and their percentages of the total crop value were hay and forage (39.1%), vegetables (23.9%), fruits and nuts (11.7%), forest products (8.4%), and flowers and plants (7.1%). Of the animal products 67.3% were dairy products, and 20.8% poultry and eggs. Cereals have been for many years declining, although Indian corn is a valuable subsidiary to the dairy interest, which is the most thriving farm industry. The value of farms on which dairying was the chief source of income in 1900 was 46% of the total farm value of the state; the corresponding percentages for livestock, vegetables, hay and grain, flowers and plants, fruit and tobacco, being respectively 14.6, 10.2, 8.0, 4.2, 3.2, and 1.8%. The shrinkage of cereal crops has been mainly responsible for the idea that Massachusetts is agriculturally decadent. Parallel to this shrinkage was the decrease in ranging sheep (82.0% from 1850–1900; 34.2% from 1890–1900), and cattle, once numerous in the hill counties of the west, and in the Connecticut Valley; Boston, then ranking after London as the second wool market of the world, and being at one time the chief packing centre of the country. Dairy cows increased, however, from 1850 to 1900 by 41.9% (1890–1900, 7.3%). The amount of improved farmland decreased in the same period 39.4%, decreasing even more since 1880 than earlier, and amounting in 1900 to no more than 25.1% of the area of the state; but this decrease has been compensated by increased value of products, especially since the beginning of intensive agriculture. An unusual density of urban settlement, furnishing excellent home markets and transportation facilities, are the main props of this new interest. Worcester and Middlesex counties are agriculturally foremost. Tobacco, which has been cultivated since colonial times, especially since the Civil War, is grown exclusively in the Connecticut Valley or on its borders. In the swamps and bogs of the south-east coast cranberry culture is practised, this district producing in 1900 three-fifths of the entire yield of the United States. “Abandoned farms” (aggregating, in 1890, 3.4% of the total farm area, and 6.85% in Hampshire county) are common, especially in the west and south-east.
Mines and Mining.—Granite is the chief mineral, and granite quarrying is the principal mineral industry of the state. In 1900 the value of manufactures based primarily upon the products of mines and quarries was $196,930,979, or 19% of the state’s total manufactured product. In 1906 Massachusetts led all states in the value of its granite output, but in 1907 and 1908 it was second to Vermont. The value of the product (including a small output of igneous rocks) was in 1903, $2,351,027; 1904, $2,554,748; 1905, $2,251,319; 1906, $3,327,416; 1907, $2,328,777; 1908, $2,027,463.
Granite boulders were used for construction in Massachusetts as early as 1650. Systematic quarrying of siliceous crystalline rocks in New England began at Quincy in about 1820. The Gloucester quarries, opened in 1824, were probably the next to be worked regularly. The principal granite quarries are in Milford, (Worcester county), Quincy and Milton (Norfolk county), Rockport (Essex county) and Becket (Berkshire county). Of the fourteen quarries of “Milford granite,” twelve are in the township of that name, and two in Hopkinton township, Middlesex county. B. K. Emerson and J. H. Perry classify this granite as post-Cambrian. They describe it as “a compact, massive rock, somewhat above medium grain, and of light colour. The light flesh colour of the feldspar, and the blue of the quartz give it in some places a slight pinkish tint, and it is now much used as a building-stone under the name of ‘pink granite.’ ”
The Quincy granite district lies around the north-east end of the Blue Hill region, about 11 m. south of Boston. For monumental purposes this granite is classified as “medium,” “dark,” and “extra dark.” Quincy granite takes a very high polish, owing to the absence of mica and to the coarser cleavage of its hornblende and augite. The lightest of the monumental stone quarried at Quincy is called gold-leaf; it is bluish-green gray, speckled with black and light yellow brown. Another variety has small, rather widely separated cherry-red dots.
The Rockport granite is found along or near the seashore, between Rockport and Bay View, and within about three-quarters of a mile of Cape Ann. The granite is of two kinds, known commercially as “grey granite” and “green granite.” Both varieties are hard and take a very high polish.
The Becker granite (known as “Chester dark” and “Chester light”) is a muscovite-biotite granite varying from medium grey to medium bluish grey colour, and fine in texture. It is used principally for monuments.
In 1907 Massachusetts ranked sixth among the states in the value of its trap rock product ($432,604), and eighth in sandstone ($243,328). The value of the marble produced in the same year was $212,438, the state ranking fifth in the value of the total product and fourth in building-marble. Other minerals are emery, limestone and quartz. The state ranked fifth in 1906 in the total value of stone quarried ($4,333,616), and eighth in 1908 ($2,955,195). The output of lime in 1908 was 107,813 tons, valued at $566,022. Second in value to the various stones were the clay products of the state, which were valued in 1906 at $2,172,733 (of which $1,415,864 was the value of common brick) and in 1908 at $1,647,362 (of which $950,921 was the value of common brick). There are many mineral springs in the state, more than half being in Essex and Middlesex counties. The total amount of mineral waters sold in 1908 was valued at $227,907. In that year the total value of the minerals and mining products of the state was $5,925,949. Gold has been found in small quantities in Middlesex, Norfolk and Plymouth counties.
Manufactures.—Though only four states of the Union are smaller, only three exceeded Massachusetts in 1905 in the value of manufactured products (six exceeding it in population); and this despite very scant native resources of raw materials and a very limited home market. Historical priority of development, exceptionally extensive and well utilized water-power, and good transportation facilities are largely responsible for the exceptional rank of Massachusetts as a manufacturing state. Vast water-power is developed on the Merrimac at Lawrence and Lowell, and on the Connecticut at South Hadley, and to a less extent at scores of other cities on many streams and artificial ponds; many of the machines that have revolutionized industrial conditions since the beginning of the factory system have been invented by Massachusetts men; and the state contains various technical schools of great importance. In 1900 the value of manufactures was $1,035,198,989, an increase from 1890 of 16.6%; that from 1880 to 1890 having been 40.7%. In textiles—cottons, worsteds, woollens and carpets—in boots and shoes, in rubber foot-wear, in fine writing paper, and in other minor products, it is the leading state of the country. The textile industries (the making of carpets and rugs, cotton goods, cotton smallwares, dyeing and finishing textiles, felt goods, felt hats, hosiery and knit goods, shoddy, silk and silk goods, woollen goods, and worsted goods), employed 32.5% of all manufacturing wage earners in 1905, and their product ($271,369,816) was 24.1% of the total, and of this nearly one-half ($129,171,449) was in cotton goods, being 28.9% of the total output of the country, as compared with 11% for South Carolina, the nearest competitor of Massachusetts. There is a steadily increasing product of fine grade fabrics. The output of worsted goods in 1905 ($51,973,944) was more than three-tenths that of the entire country, Rhode Island being second with $44,477,596; in Massachusetts the increase in the value of this product was 28.2% between 1900 and 1905. The value of woollen goods in 1905 ($44,653,940) was more than three-tenths of the entire product for the country; and it was 44.6% more than that of 1900. The value of boots and shoes and cut stock in 1905 was $173,612,660, being 23% greater than in 1900; the value of boots and shoes in 1905 ($144,291,426) was 45.1% of the country’s output, that of New York, the second state, being only 10.7%. In this industry, as in the manufacture of cotton goods, Massachusetts has long been without serious rivalry; Brockton, Lynn,
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Haverhill, Marlboro and Boston, in the order named, being the principal centres. The third industry in 1905 was that of foundry and machine-shop products ($58,508,793), of which Boston and Worcester are the principal centres. Lesser interests, in the order of importance, with the product value of each in 1905, were: rubber goods ($53,133,020), tanned, curried and finished leather ($33,352,999), in the manufacture of which Massachusetts ranked second among the states; paper and wood pulp ($32,012,247), in the production of which the state ranked second among the states of the Union; slaughtering and meat packing ($30,253,838); printing and publishing ($33,900,748, of which $21,020,237 was the value of newspapers and periodicals); clothing ($21,724,056); electrical machinery, apparatus and supplies ($15,882,216); lumber ($12,636,329); iron and steel, steel works and rolling-mills products ($11,947,731; less than in 1900); cordage and twine ($11,173,521), in the manufacture of which Massachusetts was second only to New York; furniture ($11,092,581); malt liquors ($11,080,944); jewelry ($10,073,595), Massachusetts ranking second to Rhode Island; confectionery ($9,317,996), in which Massachusetts was third among the states.
Many of these industries have a history going back far into colonial times, some even dating from the first half of the 17th century. Textile products were really varied and of considerable importance before 1700. The policy of the British government towards such industries in the colonial period was in general repressive. The non-importation sentiment preceding the War of Independence fostered home manufactures considerably, and the Embargo and Non-Intercourse Acts before the war of 1812, as well as that war itself (despite the subsequent glut of British goods) had a much greater effect; for they mark the introduction of the factory system, which by 1830 was firmly established in the textile industry and was rapidly transforming other industries. Improvements were introduced much more slowly than in England, the cost of cotton machinery as late as 1826 being 50–60% greater in America. The first successful power loom in America was set up at Waltham in 1814. Carding, roving and spinning machines were constructed at Bridgewater in 1786. The first cotton mill had been established in Beverly in 1788, and the first real woollen factory at Byfield in 1794. Woolcard machinery destined to revolutionize the industry was devised by Amos Whittemore (1759–1828) in 1797; spinning jennies were in operation under water-power before 1815. Carpet-weaving was begun at Worcester in 1804. “Not a yard of fancy wool fabric had ever been woven by the power-loom in any country till done by William Crompton at the Middlesex Mills, Lowell, in 1840” (Samuel Lawrence). The introduction of the remarkably complete machinery of the shoe industry was practically complete by 1865, this being the last of the great industries to come under the full dominance of machinery. At Pittsfield and at Dalton is centred the manufacture of fine writing papers, including that of paper used by the national government for bonds and paper money. Four-fifths of all loft-dried paper produced in the country from 1860–1897 was made within 15 m. of Springfield; Holyoke and South Hadley being the greatest producers. Vulcanized rubber is a Massachusetts invention. Most of the imitation jewelry of the United States is produced at Attleboro and North Attleboro, and in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1905 Boston produced 16.4% of all the manufactures of the state, and Lynn, the second city, which had been fifth in 1900, 4.9%. Some industries which have since become dead or of relatively slight magnitude were once of much greater significance, economically or socially: such as the rum-distilling connected with the colonial slave trade, and various interests concerned with shipbuilding and navigation. The packing of pork and beef formerly centred in Boston; but, while the volume of this business has not diminished, it has been greatly exceeded in the west. For many years Massachusetts controlled a vast lumber trade, drawing upon the forests of Maine, but the growth of the west changed the old channels of trade, and Boston carpenters came to make use of western timber. It was between 1840 and 1850 that the cotton manufactures of Massachusetts began to assume large proportions; and about the same time the manufacture of boots and shoes centred there. Medford ships began to be famous shortly after the beginning of the 19th century, and by 1845 that town employed one quarter of all the shipwrights in the state.
Fishing is an important industry. Drift whales were utilized in the earliest years of the colony, and shore boating for the baleen (or “right”) whale—rich in bone and in blubber yielding common oil—was an industry already regulated by various towns before 1650; but the pursuit of the sperm whale did not begin until about 1713. The former industry had died out before the War of Independence; the latter is not yet quite extinct. Nantucket and New Bedford were the centres of the whaling trade, which, for the energy and skill required and the length (three to five years when sailing vessels were employed) of the ever-widening voyages which finally took the fishermen into every quarter of the globe, contributes the most romantic chapters in the history of American commerce. At one time it gave occupation to a thousand ships, but the introduction of petroleum gradually diminished this resource of the lesser ports. The Newfoundland Bank fisheries were of greater economic importance and are still very important. Gloucester is the chief centre of the trade. The value of fishery products in 1895 was $5,703,143, and in 1905 $7,025,249; and 15,694 persons were engaged in the fisheries. Though cod is much the most important fish (in 1905 fresh cod were valued at $991,679, and salted cod at $696,928), haddock (fresh, $1,051,910; salted, $17,194), mackerel (value in 1905, including horse mackerel, $970,876), herring (fresh, $266,699; salted, $114,997), pollock ($267,927), hake ($258,438), halibut ($218,232), and many other varieties are taken in great quantities. The shell fisheries are less important than those of Maine.
Commerce.—Already by 1660 New England products were an “important element in the commerce and industries of the mother country” (Weeden). Codfish was perhaps the truest basis of her commerce, which soon came to include the West Indies, Africa and southern Europe. Of fundamental importance was the trade with the French West Indies, licit and illicit, particularly after the Peace of Utrecht (1713). Provisions taken to Newfoundland, poor fish to the West Indies, molasses to New England, rum to Africa and good cod to France and Spain, were the commonest ventures of foreign trade. The English Navigation Acts were generally evaded, and were economically of little effect; politically they were of great importance in Massachusetts as a force that worked for independence. Privateering, piracy and slave-trading—which though of less extent than in Rhode Island became early of importance, and declined but little before the American War of Independence—give colour to the history of colonial trade.
Trade with China and India from Salem was begun in 1785 (first voyage from New York, 1784), and was first controlled there, and afterwards in Boston till the trade was lost to New York. The Boston trade to the Canadian north-west coast was begun in 1788. The first regular steamship line from Boston to other American Atlantic ports was established in 1824. In commercial relations the chief port of Massachusetts attained its greatest importance about 1840, when it was selected as the American terminus of the first steamship line (Cunard) connecting Great Britain with the United States; but Boston lost the commercial prestige then won by the failure of the state to promote railway communication with the west, so as to equal the development effected by other cities. The decline of commerce, however, had already begun, manufacturing supplanting it in importance; and this decline was rapid by 1850. From 1840 to 1860 Massachusetts-built ships competed successfully in the carrying trade of the world. Before 1840 a ship of 500 tons was a large ship, but after the discovery of gold in California the size of vessels increased rapidly and their lines were more and more adapted to speed. The limit of size was reached in an immense clipper of 4555 tons, and the greatest speed was attained in a passage from San Francisco to Boston in seventy-five days, and from San Francisco to Cork in ninety-three days. The development of steam navigation for the carrying of large cargoes has driven this fleet from the sea. Only a small part of the exports and imports of Massachusetts is now carried in American bottoms. The first grain elevator built in Boston, and one of the first in the world, was erected in 1843, when Massachusetts sent Indian corn to Ireland. When the Civil War and steam navigation put an end to the supremacy of Massachusetts wooden sailing ships, much of the capital which had been employed in navigation was turned into developing railway facilities and coasting steamship lines. In 1872 the great fire in Boston made large drains upon the capital of the state, and several years of depression followed. But in 1907 Boston was the second port of the United States in the magnitude of its foreign commerce. In that year the value of imports at the Boston-Charlestown customs district was $123,411,168, and the value of exports was $104,610,908; for 1909 the corresponding figures were $127,025,654 and $72,936,869. Other ports of entry in the state in 1909 were Newburyport, Gloucester, Salem, Marblehead, Plymouth, Barnstable, Nantucket, Edgartown, New Bedford and Fall River. A protective tariff was imposed in early colonial times and protection was generally approved in the state until toward the close of the 19th century, when a strong demand became apparent for reciprocity with Canada and for tariff reductions on the raw materials (notably hides) of Massachusetts manufactures.
At the end of 1908 the length of railway lines within the state was 2,109.33 miles. The Hoosac Tunnel, 53 m. long, pierces the Hoosac Mountain in the north-west corner of the state, affording a communication with western lines. It cost about $20,000,000, the state lending its credit, and was built between 1855 and 1874. The inter-urban electric railways are of very great importance in the state; in 1908 the total mileage of street and inter-urban electric railways was 2841.59 m. (2233.85 m. being first main track). The Cape Cod canal, 12 m. long, from Sandwich on Barnstable Bay to Buzzard’s Bay, was begun in June 1909, with a view to shortening the distance by water from Boston to New York and eliminating the danger of the voyage round Cape Cod.
Population.—The population of the state in 1910 was 3,366,416, the increases in successive decades after 1790 being respectively 11.6, 11.6, 10.9, 16.6, 20.9, 34.8, 23.8, 18.4, 22.4, 25.6, 25.3 and 20%. With the exception of Rhode Island, it is the most densely populated state in the Union, the average number to the square mile in 1900 being 349 (in 1910, 418.8), and the urban population, i.e. the population of places having above 8000 or more inhabitants, being 69.9% in 1890 and in 1900 76.0% of the total population (in places above 2500, 91.5%; in places above 25,000, 58.3%). The female population is greater (and has been since 1765, at least) than the male, the percentage being in 1900 greater than in any other state of the Union (51.3%; District of Columbia, owing to clerks in government service 52.6%). In 1900 less than 1.3% of the population was coloured; 30.2% were foreign-born (this element having almost continuously risen from 16.49% in 1855), and 62.3% of all inhabitants and 46.5% of those native-born had one or both parents of foreign birth. Ireland contributed the largest proportion of the foreign-born (29.5%), although since 1875 the proportion of Irish in the total population has considerably fallen. After the Irish the leading foreign elements are Canadian English (18.7%), Canadian French (15.8%) and English (9.7%), these four constituting three-fourths of the foreign population. Since 1885 the natives of southern Italy have greatly increased in number. Of the increase in total population from 1856–1895 only a third could be attributed to the excess of births over deaths; two-thirds being due to immigration from other states or from abroad. Boston is the second immigrant port of the country. A large part of the transatlantic immigrants pass speedily to permanent homes in the west, but by far the greater part of the Canadian influx remains.
According to the census of 1910 there were 32 incorporated cities in Massachusetts, of which 6 had between 12,000 and 20,000 inhabitants; 3 between 20,000 and 25,000 (Gloucester, Medford and North Adams); 11 between 25,000 and 50,000 (Maiden, Haverhill, Salem, Newton, Fitchburg, Taunton, Everett, Quincy, Pittsfield, Waltham, Chicopee); 7 between 50,000 and 100,000 (New Bedford, Lynn, Springfield, Lawrence, Somerville, Holyoke, Brockton); and 5 more than 100,000 (Boston, 670,585; Worcester, 145,986; Fall River, 119,295; Lowell, 106,294; Cambridge, 104,839).
Taking quinquennial periods from 1856–1905 the birth-rates were 29.5, 25.3, 26.0, 27.6, 24.2, 25.0, 25.8, 27.6, 27.0 and 24.2 per 1,000; and the death-rates 17.7, 20.7, 18.2, 20.8, 18.8, 19.8, 19.4, 19.8, 18.0 and 16.4. Pneumonia and consumption, approximately of equal fatality (15 to 18 per 10,000 each), exceed more than twofold the diseases of next lower fatality, cancer and cholera infantum.
Of males (1,097,581) engaged in 1900 in gainful occupations 47.1% were engaged in manufacturing and mechanical pursuits (77.9 in every 100 in 1870 and 73 in 1900), 27.1 in trade and transportation, 14.2 in domestic and personal service, 7.4 in agricultural pursuits and 4.2 in professional service. The corresponding percentages for females (1,169,467) were 46.4 in manufacturing (in 1890, 52%), 32.3 in domestic and personal service, 13.6 in trade and transportation, 7.1 in professional service and 0.6 in agriculture. Formerly farmers’ daughters of native stock were much employed in factories; but since operatives of foreign birth or parentage have in great part taken their places, they have sought other occupations, largely in the manufacture of small wares in the cities, and particularly in departments of trade where skilled labour is essential. Household service is seldom now done, as it formerly was, by women of native stock. The federal census of 1900 showed that of every 100 persons employed for gain only 37.5% were of native descent (that is, had a native-born father). Natives heavily predominated in agriculture and the professions, slightly in trade, and held barely more than half of all governmental positions; but in transportation, personal service, manufactures, labour and domestic service, the predominance of the foreign element warranted the assertion of the state Bureau of Statistics of Labour that “the strong industrial condition of Massachusetts has been secured and is held not by the labour of what is called the ‘native stock,’ but by that of the immigrants.” After the original and exclusively English immigration from 1620 to 1640 there was nothing like regular foreign immigration until the 19th century; and it was a favourite assertion of Dr Palfrey that the blood of the fishing folk on Cape Cod was more purely English through two centuries than that of the inhabitants of any English county.
With foreign immigration the strength of the Roman Catholic Church has greatly increased: in 1906 of every 1000 of estimated population 355 were members of the Roman Catholic Church (a proportion exceeded only in New Mexico and in Rhode Island; 310 was the number per 1000 in Louisiana), and only 148 were communicants of Protestant bodies; in 1906 there were 1,080,706 Roman Catholics (out of a total of 1,562,621 communicants of all denominations), 119,196 Congregationalists, 80,894 Baptists, 65,498 Methodists and 51,636 Protestant Episcopalians.
Reference has been made to “abandoned farms” in Massachusetts. The desertion of farms was an inevitable result of the opening of the great cereal regions of the west, but it is by no means characteristic of Massachusetts alone. The Berkshire district affords an excellent example of the interrelations of topography, soil and population. Many hill towns once thriving have long since become abandoned, desolate and comparatively inaccessible; though with the development of the summer resident’s interests many will probably eventually regain prosperity. Almost half of the highland towns reached their maximum population before the opening of the 19th century, although Berkshire was scarcely settled till after 1760, and three-fourths of them before 1850. On the other hand three-fourths of the lowland towns reached their maximum since that date, and half of them since 1880. The lowland population increased six and a half times in the century, the upland diminished by an eighth. Socially and educationally the upland has furnished an interesting example of decadence. Since 1865 (at least) various parts of Cape Cod have shrunk greatly in population, agriculture and manufactures, and even in fishing interests; this reconstruction of industrial and social interests being, apparently, simply part of the general urban movement—a movement toward better opportunities. What prosperity or stability remains in various Cape Cod communities is largely due to foreign immigrants—especially British-Americans and Portuguese from the Azores; although the population remains, to a degree exceptional in northern states, of native stock.
Government.—Representative government goes back to 1634, and the bicameral legislature to 1644. The constitution of 1780, which still endures (the only remaining state constitution of the 18th century), was framed in the main by Samuel Adams, and as an embodiment of colonial experience and revolutionary principles, and as a model of constitution-making in the early years of independence, is of very great historical interest. It has been amended with considerable freedom (37 amendments up to 1907), but with more conservatism than has often prevailed in the constitutional reform of other states; so that the constitution of Massachusetts is not so completely in harmony with modern democratic sentiment as are the public opinion and statute law of the state. The commonwealth, for example, is still denominated “sovereign,” and education is not declared a constitutional duty of the commonwealth. One unique feature is the duty of the supreme court to give legal advice, on request, to the governor and council. Another almost equally exceptional feature is the persistence of the colonial executive council, consisting of members chosen to represent divisions of the state, who assist the governor in his executive functions. Massachusetts is also one of the few states in which the legislature meets in annual session. Townships were represented as such in this body (called the General Court) until 1856. Religious qualifications for suffrage and office-holding were somewhat relaxed, except in the case of Roman Catholics, after 1691. Real toleration in public opinion grew slowly through the 18th century, removing the religious tests of voters; and a constitutional amendment in 1821 explicitly forbade such tests in the case of office-holders. Property qualifications for the suffrage and for office-holding—universal through colonial times—were abolished in the main in 1780. From 1821 to 1891 the payment of at least a poll-tax was a condition precedent to the exercise of the suffrage. An educational test (dating from 1857) is exacted for the privilege of voting, every voter being required to be able to read the constitution of the commonwealth in the English language, and to write his name. The property qualification of the governor was not abolished until 1892. In the presidential election of 1896, when an unprecedentedly large vote was cast, the number of voters registered was nearly 20% of the population, and of these nearly 82% actually voted. Massachusetts is one of the only two states in the Union in which elections for state officers are held annually. In 1888 an act was passed providing for the use in state elections of a blanket ballot, on which the names of all candidates for each office are arranged alphabetically under the heading of that office, and there is no arrangement in party columns. This was the first state law of the kind in the country. The same method of voting has been adopted in about two-thirds of the townships of the state. A limited suffrage was conferred upon women in 1879. Every female citizen having the qualifications of a male voter may vote in the city and town elections for members of the school committee.
A householder with a family may, by recording the proper declaration in a registry of deeds, hold exempt from attachment, levy on execution, and sale for the payment of debts thereafter contracted an estate of homestead, not exceeding $800 in value, in a farm or lot with buildings thereon which he lawfully possesses by lease or otherwise and occupies as his residence. The exemption does not extend, however, to the prohibition of sale for taxes, and in case the householder’s buildings are on land which he has leased those buildings are not exempt from sale or levy for the ground rent. If the householder has a wife he can mortgage or convey his estate of homestead only with her consent, and if he dies leaving a widow or minor children the homestead exemption survives until the youngest child is twenty-one years of age, or until the death or marriage of the widow, provided the widow or a child continues to occupy it.
The scope of state activity has become somewhat remarkable. In addition to the usual state boards of education (1837), agriculture (1852), railroad commissioners (1869), health (1869), statistics of labour, fisheries and game, charity (1879), the dairy bureau (1891), of insanity (1898), prison, highways, insurance and banking commissions, there are also commissions on ballot-law, voting machines, civil service (1884), uniformity of legislation, gas and electric lighting corporations, conciliation and arbitration in labour disputes (1886), &c. There are efficient state boards of registration in pharmacy, dentistry and medicine. Foods and drugs have been inspected since 1882. In general it may be said that the excellence of administrative results is noteworthy. The work of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, of the Bureau of Health, of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, and of the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration, and the progress of civil service, have been remarkable for value and efficiency. Almost all state employees are under civil service rules; the same is true of the city of Boston; and of the clerical, stenographic, prison, police, civil engineering, fire, labour-foreman, inspection and bridge tender services of all cities; and under a law (1894) by which cities and towns may on petition enlarge the application of their civil service rules. Various other public services, including even common labourers of the larger towns, are rapidly passing under civil service regulation. Veterans of the Civil War have privileges in the administration of the state service. In the settlement of labour disputes conciliatory methods were successful in the formative period, when the parties to disputes adopted customary attitudes of hostility and fought to the end unless they were reconciled by the Board to a final agreement or to an agreement to arbitrate. In this earlier period (before 1900), thanks to the efforts of the board there was an increase in the frequency of appeal to arbitration, and settlements by compromise were often made. Afterwards the number of arbitrations by the board increased in number: from 1900 to 1908 (inclusive), of 568 controversies submitted to the board, 525 were settled by an award and 43 by an induced agreement. In the same period the mediation of the Board settled disputes affecting 5560 establishments; and in the latter half of this period labour disputes involving hostilities and of the magnitude contemplated by the statute governing the Board of Conciliation and Arbitration had almost disappeared. The laws relating to labour are full, but, as compared with those of other states, present few features calling for comment. In 1899 eight hours were made to constitute a day’s work for all labourers employed by or for any city or town adopting the act at an annual election. Acts have been passed extending the common-law liability of employers, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of sweat-shop clothing, and authorizing cities and towns to provide free lectures and to maintain public baths, gymnasia and playgrounds. Boston has been a leader in the establishment of municipal baths. The state controls and largely maintains two beaches magnificently equipped near the city. The Massachusetts railroad commission, though preceded in point of time by that of New Hampshire of 1844, was the real beginning of modern state commissions. Its powers do not extend to direct and mandatory regulation, being supervisory and advisory only, but it can make recommendations at its discretion, appealing if necessary to the General Court; and it has had great influence and excellent results. The Torrens system of land registration was adopted in 1898, and a court created for its administration. In the case of all quasi-public corporations rigid laws exist prohibiting the issue of stock or bonds unless the par value is first paid in; prohibiting the declaration of any stock or scrip dividend, and requiring that new stock shall be offered to stockholders at not less than its market value, to be determined by the proper state officials, any shares not so subscribed for to be sold by public auction. These laws are to prevent fictitious capitalization and “stock-watering.” In the twenty years preceding 1880 60% of all sentences for crime were found traceable to liquor. In 1881 a local option law was passed, by which the granting of licences for the sale of liquor was confined to cities and towns voting at the annual election to authorize their issue. In 1888 the number of licences to be granted in municipalities voting in favour of their issue was limited to one for each 1000 inhabitants, except in Boston, where one licence may be issued for every 500 inhabitants. The vote varies from year to year, and it is not unusual for a certain number of municipalities to change from “licence” to “no licence,” and vice versa. The general result has been that centres of population, especially where the foreign element is large, usually vote for licence, while those in which native population predominates, as well as the smaller towns, usually vote for prohibition. Through a growing acquiescence in the operation of the local option law, the relative importance of the vote of the Prohibition Party has diminished. Since 1895 indeterminate sentences have been imposed on all convicts sentenced to the state prison otherwise than for life or as habitual criminals; i.e. maximum and minimum terms are established by law and on the expiration of the latter a revocable permit of liberty may be issued. Execution by electricity has been the death penalty since 1898. Stringent legislation controls prison labour.
The extension of state activity presents some surprising features in view of the strength of local self-sufficiency nurtured by the old system of township government. But this form of pure democracy was in various cases long since inevitably abandoned: by Boston reluctantly in 1822, and subsequently by many other townships or cities, as growing population made action in town meeting unbearably cumbersome. In modern times state activity has encroached on the cities. Especially has the commonwealth undertaken certain noteworthy enterprises as the agent of the several municipalities in the immediate vicinity of Boston, constituting what is known as the Metropolitan District; as, for example, in bringing water thither from the Nashua River at Clinton, 40 m. from Boston, and in the development of a magnificent park system of woods, fells, river-banks and seashore, unrivalled elsewhere in the country. The commonwealth joined the city of Boston in the construction of a subway beneath the most congested portion of the city for the passage of electric cars. For the better accommodation of the increasing commerce of the port of Boston, the commonwealth bought a considerable frontage upon the harbour lines and constructed a dock capable of receiving the largest vessels, and has supplemented the work of the United States government in deepening the approaches to the wharves. It has secured as public reservations the summit and sides of Greylock (3535 ft.) in the north-west corner of the state, and of Wachusett (2108 ft.) near the centre. Since 1885 a large expenditure has been incurred in the abolition of grade crossings of railways and highways, and in 1894 the commonwealth began the construction and maintenance of state highways.
Since 1885, in Boston, and since 1894, in Fall River, the administration of the city police departments, including the granting of liquor licences, has been in the hands of state commissioners (one commissioner in Boston, a board in Fall River) appointed by the governor. But though in each case the result has been an improved administration, it has been generally conceded that only most exceptional circumstances can justify such interference with local self-government, and later attempts to extend the practice have failed. The referendum has been sparingly used in matters of local concern. Beginning in 1892 various townships and cities, numbering 18 in 1903, adopted municipal ownership and operation of lighting works. The gasworks have been notably more successful than the electric plants.
In Massachusetts, as in New England generally, the word “town” is used, officially and colloquially, to designate a township, and during the colonial era the New England town-meeting was a notable school for education in self-government. The members of the first group of settlers in these colonies were mostly small farmers, belonged to the same church, and dwelt in a village for protection from the Indians. They adapted to these conditions some of the methods for managing local affairs with which they had been familiar in England, and called the resultant institution a town. The territorial extent of each town was determined by its grant or grants from the general court, which the towns served as agents in the management of land. A settlement or “plantation” was sometimes incorporated first as a “district” and later as a town, the difference being that the latter had the right of corporate representation in the general court, while the former had no such right. The towns elected (until 1856) the deputies to the general court, and were the administrative units for the assessment and collection of taxes, maintaining churches and schools, organizing and training the militia, preserving the peace, caring for the poor, building and repairing roads and bridges, and recording deeds, births, deaths and marriages; and to discuss questions relating to these matters as well as other matters of peculiarly local concern, to determine the amount of taxes for town purposes, and to elect officers. All the citizens were expected to attend the annual town-meeting, and such male inhabitants as were not citizens were privileged to attend and to propose and discuss measures, although they had no right to vote. Generally several villages have grown up in the same “town,” and some of the more populous “towns,” usually those in which manufacturing has become more important than farming, have been incorporated as “cities”; thus either a town or a city may now include a farming country and various small villages. Although the tendency in Massachusetts is towards chartering as cities “towns” which have a population of 12,000 or more, the democratic institution of the town-meeting persists in many large municipalities which are still technically towns. Most “towns” hold their annual meeting in March, but some hold them in February and others in April. In the larger “towns” the officers elected at this meeting may consist of five, seven or nine selectmen, a clerk, a treasurer, three or more assessors, three or more overseers of the poor, one or more collectors of taxes, one or more auditors, one or more surveyors of highways, a road commissioner, a sewer commissioner, a board of health, one or more constables, two or more field drivers, two or more fence viewers, and a tree warden; but in the smaller “towns” the number of selectmen may be limited to three, the selectmen may assess the taxes, be overseers of the poor, and act as a board of health, and the treasurer or constable may collect the taxes. The term of all these officers may be limited to one year, or the selectmen, clerk, assessors and overseers of the poor may be elected for a term of three years, in which case a part only of the selectmen, assessors and overseers of the poor are elected each year. The selectmen have the general management of a “town’s” affairs during the interval between town-meetings. They may call special town-meetings; they appoint election officers and may appoint additional constables or public officers, and such minor officials as inspectors of milk, inspectors of buildings, gauger of measures, cullers of staves and hoops, fish warden and forester. A school committee consisting of any number of members divisible by three is chosen, one-third each year, at the annual town-meeting or at a special meeting which is held in the same month. Any “town” having a village or district within its limits that contains 1000 inhabitants or more may authorize that village or district to establish a separate organization for lighting its streets, building and maintaining sidewalks, and employing a watchman or policeman, the officers of such organization to include at least a prudential committee and a clerk. All laws relative to “towns” are applied to “cities” in so far as they are not inconsistent with general or special laws relative to the latter, and the powers of the selectmen are vested in the mayor and aldermen.
Education.—For cities of above 8000 inhabitants (for which alone comparative statistics are annually available), in 1902–1903 the ratio of average attendance to school enrolment, the average number of days’ attendance of each pupil enrolled, and the value of school property per capita of pupils in average attendance were higher than in any other state; the average length of the school term was slightly exceeded in eight states; and the total cost of the schools per capita of pupils in average attendance ($39.05) was exceeded in six other states. In 1905–1906 the percentage of average attendance in the public schools to the number of children (between 5 and 15 years) in the state was 80; in Barnstable county it was 95, and in Plymouth 92; and the lowest rate of any county was 68, that of Bristol. In the same year the amount of the various school taxes and other contributions was $30.53 for each child in the average membership of the public schools, and the highest amount for each child in any county was $35.77 in Suffolk county, and in any township or city $68.01—in Lincoln. The school system is not one of marked state centralization—as contrasted, e.g. with New York. A state board of education has general control, its secretary acting as superintendent of the state system in conjunction with local superintendents and committees. Women are eligible for these positions, and among the teachers in the schools they are greatly in excess over men (more than 10 to 1), especially in lower grades. No recognition exists in the schools of race, colour or religion. The proportion of the child population that attends schools is equalled in but two or three states east of the Mississippi river. The services of Horace Mann (q.v.) as secretary of the state board (1837–1848) were productive of almost revolutionary benefits not only to Massachusetts but to the entire country. His reforms, which reached every part of the school system, were fortunately introduced just at the beginning of railway and city growth. Since 1850 truant and compulsory attendance laws (the first compulsory education law was passed in 1642) have been enforced in conjunction with laws against child labour. In 1900 the average period of schooling per inhabitant for the United States was 4.3 years, for Massachusetts 7 years. (The same year the ratio of wealth productivity was as 66 to 37.) Massachusetts stands “foremost in the Union in the universality of its provision for secondary education.” The laws practically offer such education free to every child of the commonwealth. Illiterate persons not less than ten years of age constituted in 1900 5.9% of the population; and 0.8, 14.6, 10.7% respectively of native whites, foreign-born whites and negroes. More patents are issued, relatively, to citizens of Massachusetts than to those of any other state except Connecticut. Post office statistics indicate a similarly high average of intelligence.
The public school system includes common, high and normal schools, and various evening, industrial and truant schools. Many townships and cities maintain free evening schools. In 1894 manual training was made a part of the curriculum in all municipalities having 20,000 inhabitants. There are also many private business colleges, academic schools and college-preparatory schools. The high schools enjoy an exceptional reputation. An unusual proportion of teachers in the public schools are graduates of the state normal schools, of which the first were founded in 1839 at Lexington and Barre, the former being the first normal school of the United States. These two schools were removed subsequently to Framingham (1853) and Westfield (1844), where they are still active; while others flourish at Bridgewater (1840), Salem (1854), Worcester (1874), Fitchburg (1895), North Adams (1897), Hyannis (1897) and Lowell (1897), that at Framingham being open to women only. There is also a state normal art school at Boston (1873) for both sexes.
The commonwealth contributes to the support of textile schools in cities in which 450,000 spindles are in operation. Such schools exist (1909) in Lowell, Fall River and New Bedford. The commonwealth also maintains aboard a national ship a nautical training school (1891) for instruction in the science and practice of navigation. During the Spanish-American War of 1898 more than half of the graduates and cadets of the school enlisted in the United States service.
There are several hundred private schools, whose pupils constituted in 1905–1906 15.7% of the total school-enrolment of the state. Of higher academies and college-preparatory schools there are scores. Among those for boys Phillips Academy, at Andover, the Groton school, and the Mount Hermon school are well-known examples. For girls the largest school is the Northfield Seminary at East Northfield. In Boston and in the towns in its environs are various famous schools, among them the boys’ classical school in Boston, founded in 1635, one of the oldest secondary schools in the country. The leading educational institution of the state, as it is the oldest and most famous of the country, is Harvard University (founded 1636) at Cambridge. In the extreme north-west of the state, at Williamstown, is Williams College (1793), and in the Connecticut Valley is Amherst College (1821), both of these unsectarian. Boston University (Methodist Episcopal, 1867); Tufts College (1852), a few miles from Boston in Medford, originally a Universalist school; Clark University (1889, devoted wholly to graduate instruction until 1902, when Clark College was added), at Worcester, are important institutions. Two Roman Catholic schools are maintained—Boston College (1863) and the College of the Holy Cross (1843), at Worcester. Of various institutions for the education of women, Mount Holyoke (1837) at South Hadley, Smith College (1875) at Northampton, Wellesley College (1875) at Wellesley near Boston, Radcliffe College (1879) in connexion with Harvard at Cambridge and Simmons College (1899) at Boston, are of national repute. The last emphasizes scientific instruction in domestic economy.
For agricultural students the state supports a school at Amherst (1867), and Harvard University the Bussey Institution. In technological science special instruction is given—in addition to the scientific departments of the schools already mentioned—in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1865), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (opened in 1865). There are schools of theology at Cambridge (Protestant Episcopal), Newton (Baptist) and Waltham (New Church), as well as in connexion with Boston University (Methodist), Tufts College (Universalist) and Harvard (non-sectarian, and the affiliated Congregational Andover Theological Seminary at Cambridge). Law and medical schools are maintained in Boston and Harvard universities.
Public Institutions.—Massachusetts was in 1903, in proportion to the population, more richly provided with public collections of books than any other state: in that year she had nearly a seventh of all books in public, society and school libraries in the country, and a much larger supply of books per capita (2.56) than any other state. The rate for New York, the only state having a larger number of books in such libraries, being only 1.19. The Boston public library, exceeded in size in the United States by the library of Congress at Washington—and probably first, because of the large number of duplicates in the library of Congress—and the largest free municipal library in the world; the library of Harvard, extremely well chosen and valuable for research; the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (1791); the Boston Athenaeum (1807); the State Library (1826); the New England Historic Genealogical Society (1845); the Congregational Library; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1780); and the Boston Society of Natural History (1830), all in Boston, leave it easily unrivalled, unless by Washington, as the best research centre of the country. The collections of the American Antiquarian Society (1812) at Worcester are also notable. Massachusetts led, about 1850, in the founding of town and city libraries supported by public taxes, and by 1880 had established more of such institutions than existed in all other states combined. In 1900 out of 353 towns and cities only five, representing less than half of 1%, were without free library facilities, and three of these five had association libraries charging only a small fee.
The state is very well supplied with charitable and reformatory institutions, in which noteworthy methods have been employed with success. The state institutions, each governed by a board of trustees, and all under the supervision of the state board of charity, include a state hospital at Tewksbury, for paupers (1866); a state farm at Bridgewater (1887) for paupers and petty criminals; the Lyman school for boys at Westboro, a reformatory for male criminals under fifteen years of age sentenced to imprisonment for terms less than life in connexion with which a very successful farm is maintained for the younger boys at Berlin; an industrial school for girls at Lancaster, also a reformatory school—a third reformatory school for boys was planned in 1909; a state sanatorium at Rutland for tuberculous patients (the first public hospital for such in the United States) and a hospital school at Canton for the care and instruction of crippled and deformed children. Three more hospitals for consumptives were planned in 1909. Under the supervision of the state board of insanity, and each under the government of a board of seven trustees (of whom two are women) are state hospitals for the insane at Worcester (1833), Taunton, Northampton, Danvers, Westboro and Medford, a state colony for the insane at Gardner, a state hospital for epileptics at Palmer, a state school for the feeble-minded at Waltham (governed by six trustees), a state school at Wrentham, state “hospital cottages for children” (1882) at Baldwinville (governed by five trustees), and the Foxboro state hospital for dipsomaniacs and insane. There are also semi-state institutions for the insane at Waverley, Barre, Wrentham and Baldwinville, and nineteen small private institutions, all under the supervision of the state board of insanity. Under the supervision of a board of prison commissioners, which appoints the superintendent and warden of each, are a reformatory prison for women at Sherborn (1877), a state reformatory for men at Concord (1884), a state prison at Boston (Charlestown), and a prison camp and hospital at Rutland (1905). There is a prison department at the state farm which receives misdemeanants. Other institutions receiving state aid, each governed by trustees appointed by the governor, are the Massachusetts general hospital at Boston, the Massachusetts charitable eye and ear infirmary at Boston, the Massachusetts homoeopathic hospital at Boston, the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts school for the blind at South Boston and the soldiers’ home in Massachusetts at Boston. The Horace Mann school in Boston, a public day school for the deaf, the New England industrial school for deaf mutes at Beverly and the Clarke school for the deaf at Northampton are maintained in part by the state. Finally, many private charitable corporations (about 500 in 1905) report to the state board of charity, and town and city almshouses (205 in 1904) are subject to visitation. The Perkins Institution is memorable for its association with the fame of S. G. Howe (q.v.), whose reforms in charity methods were felt through all the charitable interests of the state. The net yearly cost of support and relief from 1884 to 1904 averaged $2,136,653, exclusive of vagrancy cases (average $31,714). The whole number of paupers, besides vagrants, in 1908 was 23.02 per 1000 of state population, and the cost of relief ($5,104,255) was $1.699 for each inhabitant of the state. The number of sane paupers declined steadily and markedly from 1863 to 1904.
Finance.—Massachusetts is a very rich state, and Boston a very wealthy city. The debt of the state (especially the contingent debt, secured by sinking funds) has been steadily rising since 1888, and especially since 1896, chiefly owing to the erection of important public buildings, the construction of state highways and metropolitan park roadways, the improvement of Boston harbour, the abolition of grade crossings on railways, and the expenses incurred for the Spanish-American War of 1898.
The net direct funded debt (also secured by accumulating sinking funds) in December 1908 was $17,669,372 (3.61 millions in 1893). The average interest on this and the contingent debt ($60,428,223 in December 1908) combined was only 3.35%. The net debts of towns and cities rose in the years 1885–1908 from $63,306,213 to $163,558,325. The county debts in 1908 aggregated $6,076,867. The assessed valuation of realty in the state in 1908 was $2,799,062,707 and of personalty $1,775,073,438. No other state has given so vigorous a test of the ordinary American general-property tax, and the results have been as discouraging as elsewhere. The “dooming” process (i.e. estimation by assessors, without relief for overvaluation except for excess more than 50% above the proper valuation) was introduced in 1868 as a method of securing returns of personalty. But the most rigorous application of the doomage law has only proved its complete futility as an effort to reach unascertained corporate and personal property. Various special methods are used for the taxation of banks, insurance companies, railways, tramways, trust companies and corporations, some of them noteworthy. In the case of corporations realty and machinery are taxed generally by the local authorities, and stock values by the commonwealth. The Boston stock exchange is the second of the country in the extent of the securities in which it deals. The proportion of holders of U.S. bonds among the total population is higher than that in any other state.
History.—It is possible that the coasts of Massachusetts were visited by the Northmen, and by the earliest navigators who followed Cabot, but this is only conjecture. In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold landed at and named Cape Cod and coasted as far south as the present No-Man’s Land, which he named Martin’s or Martha’s Vineyard, a name later transferred to a neighbouring larger island. Pring and Champlain at a later date coasted along what is now Massachusetts, but the map of Champlain is hardly recognizable. The first sufficient explorations for cartographical record were made by John Smith in 1614, and his map was long the basis—particularly in its nomenclature—of later maps. Permanency of occupation, however, dates from the voyage of the “Mayflower,” which brought about a hundred men, women and children who had mostly belonged to an English sect of Separatists, originating in Yorkshire, but who had passed a period of exile for religion’s sake in Holland. In the early winter of 1620 they made the coast of Cape Cod; they had intended to make their landing farther south, within the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company, which had granted them a patent; but stress of weather prevented their doing so. Finding themselves without warrant in a region beyond their patent, and threatened with the desertion of disaffected members of their company (probably all servants or men of the “lesser” sort) unless concessions were made to these, they drew up and signed before landing a democratic compact of government which is accounted the earliest written constitution in history. After some exploration of the coast they made a permanent landing on the 21st of December 1620 (N.S.) at Plymouth, a harbour which had already been so named by John Smith in his maps of 1614 and 1616. During the first winter nearly one-half their number died from exposure, and the relations of the survivors with their partners of the London Company, who had insisted that for seven years the plantation should be managed as a joint stock company, were unsatisfactory. However, about thirty-five new colonists arrived in 1622 and ninety-six more in 1623. The abandonment of the communal system was begun in the latter year, and with the dissolution of the partnership with the adventurers of the London Company in 1627 Plymouth became a corporate colony with its chief authority vested in the whole body of freemen convened in the General Court. Upon the death of the first governor, John Carver, in the spring of 1621, the General Court chose William Bradford as his successor, and with him was chosen one assistant. The subsequent elections were annual, and within a few years the number of assistants was increased to seven. The General Court was the legislature and the electorate; the governor and assistants were the executive and the judiciary. The whole body of freemen composed the General Court until other towns than Plymouth had been organized, the first of which were Scituate in 1636 and Duxbury in 1637, and then the representative form of government was adopted and there was a gradual differentiation between Plymouth the town and Plymouth the colony. When it had become known that the colony was within the territory of the New England Council, John Pierce, in 1621, procured from that body a grant which made the colonists its tenants. A year later Pierce surrendered this and procured another, which in effect made him proprietor of the colony, but he was twice shipwrecked and was forced to assign to the adventurers his second patent. In 1629 Governor Bradford procured from the same council a definite grant of the tract which corresponds to the south-eastern portion of the present state. But all attempts to procure a royal charter for Plymouth Colony were unsuccessful, and in 1691 it was annexed to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay under what is termed the Provincial Charter.
King James having by patent in 1620 created a Council for New England to whom he made a large grant of territory, the council in 1628 made a sub-grant, confirmed by a royal charter that passed the seals on the 4th of March 1629, to the “Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in Newe England.” There had been various minor expeditions during the few years since Smith was on the coast before this company, in the Puritan interests, had sent over John Endecott with a party in 1628 to what is now Salem. In 1630 the government of the company, with questionable right (for the charter seems evidently to have contemplated the residence of the company in England), transferred itself to their territory, and under the leadership of John Winthrop laid the foundations anew of the Massachusetts colony, when they first settled Boston in the autumn of that year. Winthrop served repeatedly, though not continuously, as governor of the colony till his death in 1649, his rejection in 1636 being due to a party of theological revolt which chose Henry Vane (afterwards Sir Henry) to the office. This was an incident in a famous episode, important rather as a symptom than in itself, namely, the Antinomian controversy, “New England’s earliest protest against formulas,” in which Vane and Ann Hutchinson took the lead in criticizing the official orthodoxy of the colony.
The magistrates successfully asserted themselves to the discomfiture of their critics (Ann Hutchinson being banished), and this was characteristic of the colony’s early history. The charter gave the company control over the admission of “freemen” (co-partners in the enterprise, and voters), “full and absolute power and authority to correct, punish and rule” subjects settling in the territory comprised in their grant, and power to “resist . . . by all fitting ways and means whatever” all persons attempting the “destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance” of the plantation. Some writers deny the company’s right under this instrument to rule as they proceeded to do; but at any rate what they did was to make the suffrage dependent on stringent religious tests, and to repress with determined zeal all theological “vagaries” and “whimsies.” Criticism of church or magistrates was not tolerated. Laws were modelled closely on the Bible. The clergy were a ruling class. The government was frankly theocratic. Said Winthrop (1637): “We see not that any should have authority to set up any other exercises besides what authority hath already set up”; and a synod at Cambridge in 1637 catalogued eighty-two “opinions, some blasphemous, others erroneous and all unsafe,” besides nine “unwholesome expressions,” all of which were consigned “to the devil of hell from whence they came.” Another synod at Cambridge in 1647 more formally established the principle of state control. The legislation against Baptists (about 1644–1678) and the persecution of the Quakers (especially 1656–1662) partook of the brutality of the time, including scourging, boring of tongues, cutting of ears and in rare cases capital punishment. It cannot be denied that men like Roger Williams and some of the persecuted Quakers, though undeniably contentious and aggressive in their conscientious dissent, showed a spirit which to-day seems sweeter in tolerance and humanity than that of the Puritans. And it seems necessary to emphasize these facts because until about 1870 it was almost unchallenged tradition to regard the men of Massachusetts Bay as seekers and champions of “religious liberty.” They left England, indeed, for liberty to discard the “poperies” of the English Church, and once in Massachusetts they even discarded far more than those “poperies.” But religious liberty in our modern sense they did not seek for themselves, nor accord to others; they abhorred it, they trampled on it, and their own lives they subjected to all the rigid restrictions to which they subjected others. They were narrow but strong; no better example can be imagined of what the French call “the defects of one’s qualities.” Their failures were small compared with those of their contemporaries in England and elsewhere in Europe, and public opinion did not long sustain violent persecution of opinion. More than once mobs freed Quaker prisoners. Also it is to be said that with the single exception of religious toleration the record of the state in devotion to human rights has been from the first a splendid one, whether in human principles of criminal law, or in the defence of the civil rights commonly declared in American constitutions. It was once generally assumed that the repression practised attained its end of securing harmony of opinion. The fact seems to be that intellectual speculation was as strong in America as in Puritan England; the assumption that the inhibition of its expression was good seems wholly gratuitous, and contrary to general convictions underlying modern freedom of speech. A safer opinion is probably that “the spiritual growth of Massachusetts withered under the shadow of dominant orthodoxy; the colony was only saved from mental atrophy by its vigorous political life” (J. A. Doyle). In literature the second half of the 17th century is a sterile waste of forbidding theology; and its life, judged by the present day, singularly sombre.
In addition to the few persons banished to Rhode Island, theological and political differences led many to emigrate thither. Others, discontented with Massachusetts autocracy and wishing, too, “to secure more room,” went to Connecticut (q.v.) where they established a bulwark against the Dutch of New York.
A witchcraft scare (at its worst in 1691–1697, though the earliest Connecticut case was in 1646–1647 and the earliest in Boston in 1648) led to another tragedy of ignorance. In all thirty-two persons were executed (according to W. F. Poole, about a thousandth part of those executed for witchcraft in the British Isles in the 16th and 17th centuries). Salem was the scene of the greatest excitement in 1691–1692.
Exceptionally honourable to the early colonists was their devotion to education (see Harvard University and Boston). Massachusetts Bay had a large learned element; it is supposed that about 1640 there was an Oxford or Cambridge graduate to every 250 persons in the colony. The earliest printing in the British-American colonies was done at Cambridge in 1639; it was not until 1674 that the authorities of the colony permitted printing, except at Cambridge. Boston and Cambridge remain leading publishing centres to-day. The first regular newspaper of Boston, the Boston Newsletter, was the pioneer of the American newspaper press.
The early history was rendered unquiet at times by wars with the Indians, the chief of which were the Pequot War in 1637, and King Philip’s War in 1675–76; and for better combining against these enemies, Massachusetts, with Connecticut, New Haven and New Plymouth, formed a confederacy in 1643, considered the prototype of the larger union of the colonies which conducted the War of American Independence (1775–83). The struggle with the Crown, which ended in independence, began at the foundation of the colony, with assumptions of power under the charter which the colonial government was always trying to maintain, and the crown was as assiduously endeavouring to counteract. After more than half a century of struggle, the crown finally annulled the charter of the colony in 1684, though not until 1686 was the old government actually supplanted on the arrival of Joseph Dudley, a native of the colony, as president of a provisional council; later, Sir Edmund Andros was sent over with a commission to unite New York and New England under his rule. The colonists had been for many years almost independent; they made their own laws, the Crown appointed natives as officials, and the colonial interpretation of the old charter had in general been allowed to stand. Massachusetts had excluded the English Book of Common Prayer, she had restricted the franchise, laid the death penalty on religious opinions, and passed various other laws repugnant to the Crown, notably to Charles II. and James II.; she had caused laws and writs to run in her own name, she had neglected to exact the oath of allegiance to the sovereign, though carefully exacting an oath of fidelity to her own government, she had protected the regicides, she had coined money with her own seal, she had blocked legal appeals to the English courts, she had not compelled the observance of the navigation acts. The revocation of the charter aroused the strongest fears of the colonists Andros speedily met determined opposition by measures undertaken relative to taxation and land titles, by efforts to secure a church for Episcopal service, and an attempt to curb the town meetings. His government was supported by a small party (largely an Anglican Church party), but was intensely unpopular with the bulk of the people; and—it is a disputed question, whether before or after news arrived of the landing in England of William of Orange—in April 1689 the citizens of Boston rose in revolution, deposed Andros, imprisoned him and re-established their old colonial form of government. Then came a struggle, carried on in England by Increase Mather as agent (1688–1692) of the colony, to secure such a form of government under a new charter as would preserve as many as possible of their old liberties. Plymouth Colony, acting through its agent in London, endeavoured to secure a separate existence by royal charter, but accepted finally union with Massachusetts when association with New York became the probable alternative. The province of Maine was also united in the new provincial charter of 1691, and Sir William Phips came over with it, commissioned as the first royal governor. As has been mentioned already, the new charter softened religious tests for office and the suffrage, and accorded “liberty of conscience” except to Roman Catholics. The old religious exclusiveness had already been greatly lessened: the clergy were less powerful, heresy had thrived under repression, Anglican churchmen had come to the colony and were borne with perforce, devotion to trade and commerce had weakened theological tests in favour of ideals of mere good order and prosperity, and a spirit of toleration had grown.
Throughout the continuance of the government under the provincial charter, there was a constant struggle between a prerogative party, headed by the royal governor, and a popular party who cherished recollections of their practical independence under the colonial charter, and who were nursing the sentiments which finally took the form of resistance in 1775. The inter-charter period, 1686–1691, is of great importance in this connexion. The popular majority kept up the feeling of hostility to the royal authority in recurrent combats in the legislative assembly over the salary to be voted to the governor; though these antagonisms were from time to time forgotten in the wars with the French and Indians. During the earl of Bellomont’s administration, New York was again united with Massachusetts under the same executive (1697–1701). The scenes of the recurrent wars were mostly distant from Massachusetts proper, either in Maine or on Canadian or Acadian territory, although some savage inroads of the Indians were now and then made on the exposed frontier towns, as, for instance, upon Deerfield in 1704 and upon Haverhill in 1708. Phips, who had succeeded in an attack on Port Royal, had ignominiously failed when he led the Massachusetts fleet against Quebec in 1690; and the later expedition of 1711 was no less a failure. The most noteworthy administration was that of William Shirley (1741–1749 and 1753–1756), who at one time was the commanding officer of the British forces in North America. He made a brilliant success of the expedition against Louisburg in 1745, William Pepperell, a Maine officer, being in immediate command. Shirley with Massachusetts troops also took part in the Oswego expedition of 1755; and Massachusetts proposed, and lent the chief assistance in the expedition of Nova Scotia in 1755 which ended in the removal of the Acadians. Her officers and troops also played an important part in the Crown Point and second Louisburg expedition (1758).
The first decided protests against the exercise of sovereign power by the crown, the first general moral and political revolt that marked the approach of the American War of Independence, took place in Massachusetts; so that the most striking events in the general history of the colonies as a whole from 1760 to 1775 are an intimate part of her annals. The beginning of the active opposition to the crown may be placed in the resistance, led by James Otis, to the issuing of writs (after 1752, Otis’s famous argument against them being made in 1760–1761) to compel citizens to assist the revenue officers; followed later by the outburst of feeling at the imposition of the Stamp Act (1765), when Massachusetts took the lead in confronting the royal power. The governors put in office at this time by the crown were not of conciliatory temperaments, and the measures instituted in parliament (see United States) served to increase bitterness of feeling. Royal troops sent to Boston (several regiments, 1768) irritated the populace, who were highly excited at the time, until in an outbreak on the 5th of March 1770 a file of garrison troops shot down in self-defence a few citizens in a crowd which assailed them. This is known as the “Boston Massacre.” The merchants combined to prevent the importation of goods which by law would yield the crown a revenue; and the patriots—as the anti-prerogative party called themselves—under the lead of Samuel Adams, instituted regular communication between the different towns, and afterwards, following the initiative of Virginia, with the other colonies, through “committees of correspondence”; a method of the utmost advantage thereafter in forcing on the revolution by intensifying and unifying the resistance of the colony, and by inducing the co-operation of other colonies. In 1773 (Dec. 16) a party of citizens, disguised as Indians and instigated by popular meetings, boarded some tea-ships in the harbour of Boston, and to prevent the landing of their taxable cargoes threw them into the sea; this incident is known in history as the “Boston tea-party.” Parliament in retaliation closed the port of Boston (1774), a proceeding which only aroused more bitter feeling in the country towns and enlisted the sympathy of the other colonies. The governorship was now given to General Thomas Gage, who commanded the troops which had been sent to Boston. Everything foreboded an outbreak. Most of the families of the highest social position were averse to extreme measures; a large number were not won over and became expatriated loyalists. The popular agitators, headed by Samuel Adams—with whom John Hancock, an opulent merchant and one of the few of the richer people who deserted the crown, leagued himself—forced on the movement, which became war in April 1775, when Gage sent an expedition to Concord and Lexington to destroy military stores accumulated by the patriots and to capture Adams and Hancock, temporarily staying at Lexington. This detachment, commanded by Lord Percy, was assaulted, and returned with heavy loss. The country towns now poured their militia into Cambridge, opposite Boston; troops came from neighbouring colonies, and Artemas Ward, a Massachusetts general, was placed in command of the irregular force, which with superior numbers at once shut the royal army up in Boston. An attempt of the provincials to seize and hold a commanding hill in Charlestown brought on the battle of Bunker Hill (June 17, 1775), in which the provincials were driven from the ground, although they lost much less heavily than the royal troops. Washington, chosen by the Continental Congress to command the army, arrived in Cambridge in July 1775, and stretching his lines around Boston, forced its evacuation in March 1776. The state was not again the scene of any conflict during the war. Generals Henry Knox and Benjamin Lincoln were the most distinguished officers contributed by the state to the revolutionary army. Out of an assessment at one time upon the states of $5,000,000 for the expenses of the war, Massachusetts was charged with $820,000, the next highest being $800,000 for Virginia. Of the 231,791 troops sent by all the colonies into the field, reckoning by annual terms, Massachusetts sent 67,907, the next highest being 31,939 from Connecticut, Virginia furnishing only 26,678; and her proportion of sailors was very much greater still. In every campaign in every colony save in 1779–80 her soldiery were in absolute, and still more in relative, number greater than those of any other colony.
After the outbreak of the war a somewhat indefinite, heterogeneous provisional government was in power till a constitution was adopted in 1780, when John Hancock became the first governor. Governor James Bowdoin in 1786–1787 put down with clemency an almost bloodless insurrection in the western counties (there was strong disaffection, however, as far east as Middlesex), known as the Shays Rebellion, significant of the rife ideas of popular power, the economic distress, and the unsettled political conditions of the years of the Confederation. Daniel Shays (1747–1825), the leader, was a brave Revolutionary captain of no special personal importance. The state debt was large, taxation was heavy, and industry was unsettled; worthless paper money was in circulation, yet some men demanded more; debtors were made desperate by prosecution; the state government seemed weak, the Federal government contemptibly so; the local courts would not, or from intimidation feared to, punish the turbulent, and demagogues encouraged ideas of popular power. A convention of delegates representing the malcontents of numerous towns in Worcester county met at Worcester on the 15th of August 1786 to consider grievances, and a week later a similar convention assembled at Hatfield, Hampshire county. Encouraged by these and other conventions in order to obstruct the collection of debts and taxes, a mob prevented a session of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace at Northampton on the 29th of August, and in September other mobs prevented the same court from sitting in Worcester, Middlesex and Berkshire counties. About 1000 insurgents under Shays assembled at Springfield on the 26th of September to prevent the sitting there of the Supreme Court, from which they feared indictments. To protect the court and the national arsenal at Springfield, for which the Federal government was powerless to provide a guard, Major-General William Shepard (1737–1817) ordered out the militia, called for volunteers, and supplied them with arms from the arsenal, and the court sat for three days. The Federal government now attempted to enlist recruits, ostensibly to protect the western frontier from the Indians, but actually for the suppression of the insurrection; but the plan failed from lack of funds, and the insurgents continued to interrupt the procedure of the courts. In January 1787, however, Governor Bowdoin raised an army of 4400 men and placed it under the command of Major-General Benjamin Lincoln (1733–1810). While Lincoln was at Worcester Shays planned to capture the arsenal at Springfield, but on the 25th of January Shepard’s men fired upon Shays’s followers, killing four and putting the rest to flight. Lincoln pursued them to Petersham, Worcester county, where on the 4th of February he routed them and took 150 prisoners. Subsequently the insurgents gathered in small bands in Berkshire county; but here, a league having been formed to assist the government, 84 insurgents were captured at West Stockbridge, and the insurrection practically terminated in an action at Sheffield on the 27th of February, in which the insurgents lost 2 killed and 30 wounded and the militia 2 killed and 1 wounded. Two of the insurgent leaders, Daniel Shays and Eli Parsons, escaped to Vermont soon after the rout at Petersham. Fourteen other insurgents who were tried by the Supreme Court in the spring of 1787 were found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. They were, however, held rather as hostages for the good behaviour of worse offenders who had escaped, and were pardoned in September. In February 1788 Shays and Parsons petitioned for pardon, and this was granted by the legislature in the following June. The outcome of the uprising was an encouraging test of loyalty to the commonwealth; and the insurrection is regarded as having been very potent in preparing public opinion throughout the country for the adoption of a stronger national government. The Federal Constitution was ratified by Massachusetts by only a small majority on the 6th of February 1788, after its rejection had been at one time imminent; but Massachusetts became a strong Federalist state. Indeed, the general interest of her history in the quarter-century after the adoption of the Constitution lies mainly in her connexion with the fortunes of that great political party. Her leading politicians were out of sympathy with the conduct of national affairs (in the conduct of foreign relations, the distribution of political patronage, naval policy, the question of public debt) from 1804—when Jefferson’s party showed its complete supremacy—onward; and particularly after the passage of the Embargo Act of 1807, which caused great losses to Massachusetts commerce, and, so far from being accepted by her leaders as a proper diplomatic weapon, seemed to them designed in the interests of the Democratic party. The Federalist preference for England over France was strong in Massachusetts, and her sentiment was against the war with England of 1812–15. New England’s discontent culminated in the Hartford Convention (Dec. 1814), in which Massachusetts men predominated. The state, however, bore her full part in the war, and much of its naval success was due to her sailors.
During the interval till the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Massachusetts held a distinguished place in national life and politics. As a state she may justly be said to have been foremost in the struggle against slavery. She opposed the policy that led to the Mexican War in 1846, although a regiment was raised in Massachusetts by the personal exertions of Caleb Cushing. The leaders of the ultra non-political abolitionists (who opposed the formation of the Liberty party) were mainly Massachusetts men, notably W. L. Garrison and Wendell Phillips. The Federalist domination had been succeeded by Whig rule in the state; but after the death of the great Whig, Daniel Webster, in 1852, all parties disintegrated, re-aligning themselves gradually in an aggressive anti-slavery party and the temporizing Democratic party. First, for many years the Free-Soilers gained strength; then in 1855 in an extraordinary party upheaval the Know-Nothings quite broke up Democratic, Free-Soil and Whig organizations; the Free-Soilers however captured the Know-Nothing organization and directed it to their own ends; and by their junction with the anti-slavery Whigs there was formed the Republican party. To this the original Free-Soilers contributed as leaders Charles Sumner and C. F. Adams; the Know-Nothings, Henry Wilson and N. P. Banks; and later, the War Democrats, B. F. Butler—all men of mark in the history of the state. Charles Sumner, the most eminent exponent of the new party, was the state’s senator in Congress (1851–1874). The feelings which grew up, and the movements that were fostered till they rendered the Civil War inevitable, received something of the same impulse from Massachusetts which she had given a century before to the feelings and movements forerunning the War of American Independence. When the war broke out it was her troops who first received hostile fire in Baltimore, and turning their mechanical training to account opened the obstructed railroad to Washington. In the war thus begun she built, equipped and manned many vessels for the Federal navy, and furnished from 1861 to 1865 26,163 (or, including final credits, probably more than 30,000) men for the navy. During the war all but twelve small townships raised troops in excess of every call, the excess throughout the state amounting in all to more than 15,000 men; while the total recruits to the Federal army (including re-enlistments) numbered, according to the adjutant-general of the state, 159,165 men, of which less than 7000 were raised by draft. The state, as such, and the townships spent $42,605,517.19 in the war; and private contributions of citizens are reckoned in addition at about $9,000,000, exclusive of the aid to families of soldiers, paid then and later by the state.
Since the close of the war Massachusetts has remained generally steadfast in adherence to the principles of the Republican party, and has continued to develop its resources. Navigation, which was formerly the distinctive feature of its business prosperity, has under the pressure of laws and circumstances given place to manufactures, and the development of carrying facilities on the land rather than on the sea.
In the Spanish-American War of 1898 Massachusetts furnished 11,780 soldiers and sailors, though her quota was but 7388; supplementing from her own treasury the pay accorded them by the national government.
No statement of the influence which Massachusetts has exerted upon the American people, through intellectual activity, and even through vagary, is complete without an enumeration of the names which, to Americans at least, are the signs of this influence and activity. In science the state can boast of John Winthrop, the most eminent of colonial scientists; Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford); Nathaniel Bowditch, the translator of Laplace; Benjamin Peirce and Morse the electrician; not to include an adopted citizen in Louis Agassiz. In history, Winthrop and Bradford laid the foundations of her story in the very beginning; but the best example of the colonial period is Thomas Hutchinson, and in later days Bancroft, Sparks, Palfrey, Prescott, Motley and Parkman. In poetry, a pioneer of the modern spirit in American verse was Richard Henry Dana; and later came Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell and Holmes. In philosophy and the science of living, Jonathan Edwards, Franklin, Channing, Emerson and Theodore Parker. In education, Horace Mann; in philanthropy, S. G. Howe. In oratory, James Otis, Fisher Ames, Josiah Quincy, junr., Webster, Choate, Everett, Sumner, Winthrop and Wendell Phillips; and, in addition, in statesmanship, Samuel Adams, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. In fiction, Hawthorne and Mrs Stowe. In law, Story, Parsons and Shaw. In scholarship, Ticknor, William M. Hunt, Horatio Greenough, W. W. Story and Thomas Ball. The “transcendental movement,” which sprang out of German affiliations and produced as one of its results the well-known community of Brook Farm (1841–1847), under the leadership of Dr George Ripley, was a Massachusetts growth, and in passing away it left, instead of traces of an organization, a sentiment and an aspiration for higher thinking which gave Emerson his following. When Massachusetts was called upon to select for Statuary Hall in the capitol at Washington two figures from the long line of her worthies, she chose as her fittest representatives John Winthrop, the type of Puritanism and state-builder, and Samuel Adams (though here the choice was difficult between Samuel Adams and John Adams) as her greatest leader in the heroic period of the War of Independence.
|Governors of Plymouth Colony
(Chosen annually by the people).
|Thomas Prence (or Prince)||1634–1635|
|Thomas Prence (or Prince)||1638–1639|
|Thomas Prence (or Prince)||1657–1673|
|Sir Edmund Andros||1686–1689|
|Thomas Hinckley||1689–1692 |
Governors of Massachusetts
|John Leverett (acting, 1672–1673)||1672–1679|
|Sir Edmund Andros||1686–1689|
|Under Second Charter—appointed by the Crown.|
|Sir William Phips||1692–1694|
|William Stoughton (acting)||1694–1699|
|Richard Coote, earl of Bellomont||1699–1700|
|William Stoughton (acting)||1700–1701|
|William Tailer (acting)||1715–1716|
|William Dummer (acting)||1722–1728|
|William Dummer (acting)||1729–1730|
|William Tailer (acting)||1730|
|Spencer Phips (acting)||1749–1753|
|Spencer Phips (acting)||1756–1757|
|Thomas Hutchinson (acting)||1760|
|Sir Francis Bernard, Bart.||1760–1769|
|Thomas Hutchinson (acting)||1769–1771|
|Under the Constitution.|
|Samuel Adams (acting)||1793–1794|
|Moses Gill (lieut.-governor; acting)||”||1799–1800|
|Levi Lincoln (acting)||”||1808–1809|
|George N. Briggs||Whig||1844–1851|
|George S. Boutwell||Free-Soil Democrat||1851–1853|
|John H. Clifford||Whig||1853–1854|
|Henry J. Gardner||Know-Nothing||1855–1858|
|Nathaniel P. Banks||Republican||1858–1861|
|John A. Andrew||Republican||1861–1866|
|Alexander H. Bullock||”||1866–1869|
|William B. Washburn||”||1872–1874|
|Thomas Talbot (acting)||”||1874–1875|
|Alexander H. Rice||Republican||1876–1879|
|John Davis Long||”||1880–1883|
|Benjamin F. Butler||Democrat||1883–1884|
|George D. Robinson||Republican||1884–1887|
|John Q. A. Brackett||”||1890–1891|
|William E. Russell||Democrat||1891–1894|
|Frederic T. Greenhalge||Republican||1894–1896|
|W. Murray Crane||”||1900–1903|
|John L. Bates||”||1903–1905|
|William L. Douglas||Democrat||1905–1906|
|Curtis L. Guild||Republican||1906–1909|
|Eben S. Draper||”||1909–1911|
|Eugene N. Foss||Democrat||1911–|
Bibliography.—For Topography: W. M. Davis, Physical Geography of Southern New England (New York, 1895), and for the western counties, R. D. Mallary, Lenox and the Berkshire Highlands (New York-London, 1902); also Inland Massachusetts, Illustrated . . . (Springfield, 1890); C. F. Warner, Picturesque Berkshire (also Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Northampton, 1890–1893); U.S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 116, H. Gannett, “Geographic Dictionary of Massachusetts.” On Minerals: U.S. Census, 1900, and U.S. Geological Survey, annual volume on Mineral Resources. On Agriculture: U.S. Census and reports of Mass. Census (alternating with Federal census), and reports and bulletins of the Board of Agriculture (1852) and the Agricultural College (1867), and Experiment Station (1883) at Amherst. On Manufactures, &c.: See Reports of state and Federal censuses; also Annual Reports (1869) of the state Bureau of Statistics of Labor, which contain a wealth of valuable material (e.g. 1903, “Race in Industry”; 1902, “Sex in Industry”; 1885, “Wages and Prices, 1752–1863,” &c.); W. R. Bagnall, The Textile Industries of the United States (vol. i., 1639–1810, Cambridge, 1893); J. L. Hayes, “American Textile Machinery: its Early History, &c.” (Cambridge, 1870; Bulletin of National Association of Wool Manufacturers), and literature therein referred to. On Commerce and Communications: U.S. Census, 1902 (vol. on “Electric Railways”); U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, annual Statistics of Railways; publications of the State Board of Trade; W. Hill on “First Stages of the Tariff Policy of the United States” in American Economic Association Publications, vol. viii., no. 6 (1893). On Population: Census reports, state and Federal, publications of Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Board of Health (1869–; the Annual Report of 1896 contains an exhaustive analysis of vital statistics, 1856–1895); Board of Charity (1878– ), &c. On Administration: G. H. Haynes, Representation and Suffrage in Massachusetts, 1620–1691, in Johns Hopkins University, Studies in History, xii.; Manual for the General Court (Annual); R. H. Whitten, Public Administration in Massachusetts, in Columbia University, Studies in History, vol. viii. (1898); H. R. Spencer, Constitutional Conflict in Provincial Massachusetts (Columbus, O., 1905); and the annual Public Documents of Massachusetts, embracing the reports of all state officers and institutions. On Taxation: See especially the official “Report of the Commission Appointed to Inquire into the Expediency of Revising and Amending the Laws ... Relating to Taxation” (1897), and vol. xi. of the Report of the United States Industrial Commission (Wash., 1901); H. G. Friedman, The Taxation of Corporations in Massachusetts (New York, 1907); and C. J. Bullock, Historical Sketch of the Finances and Financial Policy of Massachusetts (1907). On Education: See Annual Reports of the United States Commissioner of Education; G. G. Bush, History of Higher Education in Massachusetts (Washington, U.S. Bureau of Education, 1891); article on Harvard University. On History: Elaborate bibliography is given in J. Winsor’s Narrative and Critical History of America and in his Memorial History of Boston. The colonial historical classics are William Bradford, History of Plimoth Plantation (pub. by the commonwealth, 1898; also edited by Charles Deane, in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1856, series 4, vol. iii.); J. Winthrop, History of New England 1630–1649, edited by J. Savage (Boston, 2 vols. 1825–1826, new ed., 1853); S. E. Sewall, Diary, 1674–1729 (3 vols., Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, series 5, vols. v.–vii., 1878–1882), a fascinating and microscopic picture of colonial life; T. Hutchinson, History of . . . Massachusetts (3 vols., respectively Boston, 1764, 1767, London, 1828); also the very valuable Hutchinson Papers (2 vols., Prince Society, Boston, 1865). For the period 1662–1666, when Massachusetts was investigated by royal commissioners, see Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, series 2, vol. viii., 1819; on the Andros period, 1689–1691, see the Andros Tracts (3 vols., Prince Society Publications, v.–vii., Boston, 1868–1874), ed. by J. H. Whitmore. The one-time-standard general history was that of J. G. Palfrey, History of New England (5 vols., Boston, 1858–1890), to the War of Independence. It is generally accurate in facts but written in an unsatisfactorily eulogistic vein. Of importance in more modern views is a volume of Lectures Delivered . . . before the Lowell Institute . . . by Members of the Massachusetts Historical Society on Subjects Relating to the Early History of Massachusetts (Boston, 1869), perhaps especially the lectures of G. E. Ellis, later expanded, and in the process somewhat weakened, into his Puritan Age and Rule in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, 1629–1685 (Boston, 1888; 3rd ed., 1891). See C. F. Adams, Massachusetts: its Historians and its History (Boston, 1893), for a critique of the “filiopietistic” traditions of Massachusetts writers; also his Three Episodes of Massachusetts History,—namely, Settlement of the Colony, Antinomianism, and church and town government in Quincy from 1634–1888 (2 vols., Boston, 1892). On town government see further E. Channing in Johns Hopkins University, Studies in History vol. ii. (1884); P. E. Aldrich in American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, new series, vol. 3, pp. 111–124; and C. F. Adams and others in Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 2nd series, vol. vii (1892). On the Pilgrims and Puritans: See article Plymouth; also E. H. Byington, The Puritan in England and America (Boston, 1896) and The Puritan as Colonist and Reformer (Boston, 1899). On the Quaker Persecution: R. P. Hallowell, The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts (Boston, 1883; rev. ed., 1887). On Witchcraft: See C. W. Upham, Witchcraft in Salem (2 vols., Boston, 1867); S. G. Drake, Annals of Witchcraft (Boston, 1869) and The Witchcraft Delusion in New England (3 vols., Roxbury, 1866), this last a reprint of accounts of the time by Cotton Mather and R. Calef; W. F. Poole, “Cotton Mather and Salem Witchcraft” (North American Review, April 1869); and controversy of A. C. Goodell and G. H. Moore in Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings. On Slavery: G. H. Moore, Notes on the History of Slavery (New York, 1866); E. Washburn in Collections, Massachusetts Historical Society, series 4, iv., 333–346; C. Deane in same, pp. 375–442, and in Proceedings, American Antiquarian Society, new series, iv., 191–222. In the essays of J. R. Lowell are two on “New England two Centuries Ago” and “Witchcraft.” For economic history, W. B. Weeden, Economic and Social History of New England, 1620–1789 (2 vols., Boston, 1890); C. H. J. Douglas, The Financial History of Massachusetts . . . to the American Revolution (in Columbia University Studies, vol i., 1892). On the revolutionary epoch, Mellen Chamberlain, John Adams . . . with other Essays and Addresses (Boston, 1898); T. Hutchinson, Diary and Letters (2 vols., Boston, 1884–1886); H. A. Cushing, Transition from Provincial to Commonwealth Government in Massachusetts (Columbia University Studies in History, vol. iii., 1896); S. B. Harding, Contest over the Ratification of the Federal Constitution in Massachusetts (Harvard University Studies, New York, 1896); and on the Shays Rebellion compare J. P. Warren in American Historical Review (Oct., 1905). On New England discontent preceding 1812, Henry Adams, Documents Relating to New England Federalism, 1780–1815 (Boston, 1877); T. W. Higginson, Massachusetts in the Army and Navy during the War of 1861–65 (Official, Boston, 2 vols., 1896). For a list of the historical societies of the state consult A. M. Davis in Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. i.; the most important are the Massachusetts Historical Society, established 1791, publishing Collections and Proceedings (Boston) and the American Antiquarian Society, established 1812, publishing Proceedings (Worcester). In many cases the most valuable material on various periods is indicated under the biographies (or autobiographies in some cases) of the public men named in the above article, to which add Timothy Pickering, George Cabot, Joseph Warren, Elbridge Gerry, Benjamin F. Butler, G. S. Boutwell and George F. Hoar. Many townships have published their local records, and many township and county histories contain valuable matter of general interest (e.g. as showing in detail township action before the War of Independence), though generally weighted heavily with genealogy and matters of merely local interest. In American works of fiction, particularly of New England authors, the reader will find a wealth of description of Massachusetts and New England life, past and present, as in the writings of William D. Howells, Sarah O. Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, Harriet B. Stowe and others.
- At least seventy hills in the state, mainly in this quarter, have an elevation of 1500 ft. (twenty-four above 2000 ft.).
- In some localities it is not easy to establish irrefutably and in detail the inter-arrangement of drainage and rock structure that proves it to be a subaerial peneplain instead of an uplifted submarine platform; but the general proof is very clear.
- The yield of cereals and of such other crops in 1907 as are recorded in the Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture was as follows: Indian corn, 1,584,000 bushels; oats, 245,000 bushels; barley, 64,000 bushels; buckwheat, 42,000 bushels; potatoes, 3,600,000 bushels; hay, 760,000 tons; tobacco, 7,167,500 ℔. In the same year, according to the same authority, there were in the state 196,000 milch cows, 92,000 other neat cattle, 45,000 sheep and 70,000 swine.
- The Green Schists and Associated Granites and Porphyries of Rhode Island, Bulletin, U.S. Geological Survey, No. 311, 1907.
- In 1905 Massachusetts produced 60.7% of the writing paper manufactured in the country. Besides writing paper, book paper and building paper are made in the state, but very little newspaper.
- It must be noted, however, that the first successful construction of cards, drawing and roving, and of spindles, on the Arkwright principle was by S. Slater at Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1790.
- The tax valuation on ships engaged in foreign trade was lowered between 1884 and 1900 from $2,801,405 to $147,768.
- The population of the state was 378,787 in 1790; 422,845 in 1800; 472,040 in 1810; 523,287 in 1820; 610,408 in 1830; 737,699 in 1840; 994,514 in 1850; 1,231,066 in 1860; 1,457,351 in 1870; 1,783,085 in 1880; 2,238,943 in 1890; and 2,805,346 in 1900. In 1905, according to the state census, the population was 3,003,680, or about 7.7% more than in 1900.
- In 1910 the following townships each had populations of more than 15,000: Revere, Leominster, Westfield, Attleborough, Peabody, Hyde Park.
- The birth-rates every fifth (census) year up to 1895 varied for natives from 14.48 to 19.49; for foreigners from 45.87 to 66.68. The marriage rates in quinquennial periods up to 1905 were 19.6, 18.6, 21.0, 19.8, 15.6, 18.6, 18.6, 18.6, 17.4 and 17.4; the ratio of marriages to the marriageable population was for males (above 16 years) 61.5, for females (above 14) 46.0; the fecundity of marriages seemed to have increased, being about twice as high for foreigners as for natives. See Annual Report of the Board of Health (1896), by S. W. Abbott; and Sixty-fourth Report of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Massachusetts (1906).
- The number of representatives from 1832 to 1908 varied from 240 to 635, and the length of session from 58 to 206 days (since 1867 none of under 100 days), with an almost continual increase in both respects.
- However, every office-holder was, and every subject might be, required to take (though this was not a condition of the franchise) the oaths enjoined by parliament in the first year of the reign of William and Mary as a substitute for the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy; and the same still applies to the signing of the Declaration.
- From 1887–1900, out of 290 cases settled, only 107 were formal arbitrations, 124 agreements were effected by the mediation of the Board, 100 were effected otherwise while proceedings were pending, and in 59 cases the Board interposed when the parties preferred hostilities.
- For a summary statement of state labour laws in the United States in 1903 see Bulletin 54 of the United States Bureau of Labor, September 1904; and for a summary of labour laws in force at the end of 1907 see 22nd Annual Report (for 1907) of the U.S. Commissioner of Labor (Washington, 1908).
- The usual allotment of the cost of this work is as follows: 65% is paid by the railway company, 25% by the commonwealth and 10% by the municipality in which the crossing is located.
- The cost was apportioned between the commonwealth and the local government in the proportion of 3 to 1.
- Boston remained a township, governed by town-meetings, until 1822, when it had a population of some 47,000. The government of Brookline (pop. in 1905, 23,436) is an interesting example of the adaptation of the township system to urban conditions. The town is frequently referred to as a model residential suburb; its budgets are very large, its schools are excellent, and, among other things, it has established a township gymnasium. The town hall is not large enough for an assemblage of all the voters, but actually the attendance is usually limited to about 200, and since 1901 there has been in force a kind of referendum, under which any measure passed by a town-meeting attended by 700 or more voters may be referred, upon petition of 100 legal voters, to a regular vote at the polls. Much of the work of the town-meetings is done through special committees.
- E. G. Brown, in Monographs on Education in the United States prepared for the Paris Exposition of 1900 and edited by N. M. Butler.
- This is an especially honourable distinction, for William T. Harris has said that “The history of education since the time of Horace Mann is very largely an account of the successive modifications introduced into elementary schools through the direct or indirect influence of the normal school.”
- In 1869 the personalty valuation was 60% that of realty; but it steadily fell thereafter, amounting in 1893 to 32%. From 1874–1882 the assessment of realty increased nearly twelve times as much as personalty. In the intervening period the assessed valuation of realty in Boston increased more than 100%, while that of personalty slightly diminished (the corresponding figures for the entire United States from 1860 to 1890 being 172% and 12%), yet the most competent business and expert opinions regarded the true value of personalty as at least equal to and most likely twice as great as that of realty.
- In this document, whose democracy is characteristic of differences between the Plymouth Colony and that of Massachusetts Bay, the signatories “solemnly and mutually . . . covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame—[laws]—unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.” This was signed 11/21 of November 1620 by 41 persons.
- Slavery had existed as a social fact from the earliest years, and legally after 1641; but it was never profitable, and was virtually abolished long before the War of American Independence; still it was never abolished explicitly by Massachusetts, though the slave trade was prohibited in 1788, and though a number of negroes were declared free after the adoption of the constitution of 1780 on the strength of the sweeping declaration of human rights in that instrument.
- According to the final report of the U.S. Adjutant-General in 1885, the enlistments were 146,730 men, of whom 13,942 died in war. These figures are probably less accurate than those of the state.
- Endecott, by commission dated the 30th of April 1629, was made “governor of London’s plantation in the Massachusetts Bay.” Matthew Cradock, first governor of the Company, from the 4th of March 1629 to the 20th of October 1629, was succeeded on the latter date by John Winthrop, who, on reaching Salem on the 12th of June 1630 with the charter, superseded Endecott.
- During three periods, 1701–1702, in February 1715, and from April to August 1757 the affairs of the colony were administered by the Executive Council.
- General Gage was military governor, Hutchinson remaining nominally civil governor.