The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Appleton, Nathan
APPLETON, Nathan, an American merchant and political economist, born in New Ipswich, N. H., Oct. 6, 1779, died in Boston, July 14, 1861. In 1813 he was associated with Francis C. Lowell and Patrick T. Jackson in establishing at Waltham near Boston a cotton mill, in which was set up the first power loom ever used in the United States. In 1821 he became one of the founders of the Merrimack manufacturing company, from which originated the city of Lowell; and he was the projector and chief proprietor of the Hamilton company. He was distinguished as a steady advocate of the protective system. In 1815 he entered the legislature, and was several times re-elected. In 1830 he was chosen a representative in congress from Boston, and during the first session opposed McDuffie's report on the tariff, in a speech characterized by Mr. Webster as “a model of close reasoning on an abstruse subject.” In 1842 he was again elected to congress, and aided in securing the passage of the protective tariff bill of that year; but after the close of a single session he resigned his seat. His little treatise entitled “Remarks on Currency and Banking” (enlarged edition, 1857), has been pronounced “almost worthy of being studied in the schools as an elementary manual.” He also published an account of the introduction of the power loom and the origin of the city of Lowell. He accumulated a large estate, and was noted for his integrity and philanthropy.