HOW FISHING HELPED START MANUFACTURING 214. The old days and the new.—When the first settlers came from England to New England, most of them made their living by farming. That was the only thing there was for them to do, except go fishing or hunting. Every farmer grew the things he used. He grew wheat and corn for his own bread; pigs, sheep, and cattle for the family meat; flax and wool for cloth to be woven by the women for the family clothes. The farmer himself often built the house, built the wagon, shod the horse, and made shoes for the children. He cut logs from the farm woodlot, and made his house; fastened it together with wooden spikes; roofed it with home-made wooden shingles; and heated it by a wood fire. White men lived in this way in New England for two hundred years before they began to build many factories and to live in cities, as they now do.
How different to-day is from that early time! Instead of living on farms, most of the New England people live in cities. Instead of one man having twenty trades, it takes twenty men to make one shoe. One man cuts out the pieces for the heel, another tacks them together, a third cuts out the upper leathers, the fourth sews two of the pieces together, and so on, until each of many men has done his small part toward making the shoe. That is the way in all factories; each man does only a small part. Which way makes the more goods, this or the old way? Which way of living do you think would be more interesting? Every day hundreds of freight cars rumble into New England loaded with flour, meat, oatmeal, oranges, corn, bran, cottonseed meal, coal, iron, lumber, cotton, wool, and leather. The New Englanders pay for these things with their factory goods, which are now sent to all the states, and to various foreign countries.
215. Small states and many cities.— Manufacturing, which began in the New England States, is spreading to the Middle Atlantic States, the North Central States, the South, and elsewhere. But in no other part of our country does such a large part of the population live in cities and make its living in factories.
This small section of the country has only one-fiftieth of the surface of the United States, but it has sixteen of the one hundred largest cities.
The six New England States together are not so large as any one of the Plateau or Pacific States. California is nearly two and one-half times as big as all New England. Most of the area of New Eng land is in forest, with very few people in it, but there are so many cities that Massa chusetts alone has more people than all the Plateau States together.
216. The New England How does it happen that New England has so many factory towns? The codfish helped to start them, but you would scarcely guess how he did it. The early New England settlers had one thing that the people in Europe wanted. It was dried codfish. Taking the codfish to mar ket caused the people to become traders. Then after they became traders, they became manufacturers so that they might hare more things to sell. This chapter will tell you how all this happened.
You remember that fishermen have caught cod near Newfoundland ever since the time of Columbus. The fishermen of New England also caught these fish in the early days. In fact, they still catch them, for there are good shallow places (fishing banks) off the coast of New England, and the market for dried codfish is good. See if there isn't some codfish in your grocery store. Sometimes the New England fishermen go several hundred miles, all the way to Newfoundland, to do their fishing. They take salt or ice with them to keep the fish that they catch. Mackerel, herring, bluefish, and lobsters are also caught along the coast of New England. At some places, the fish are canned. Most of the people of Gloucester, Massachusetts, are busy all the time catching fish, salting them, or fixing up fishing tackle. Down near the wharves of Gloucester, one can smell fish all the time. Many fishing boats go cut from Boston, Marblehead, and Portland, and from many small towns along the Maine coast.