Welcome to our second installment of Treasures from the New Hampshire Room, a series we’ve created while cataloging the many wonderful items in our New Hampshire Room. Today’s feature is a book from 1869.
The Merrimack River
Its source and its tributaries.
A History of Manufactures, and of the Towns along its Course; Their Geography, Topography, and Products, with a Description of the Magnificent Natural Scenery about its Upper Waters
This fascinating book tracks the Merrimack River from its source all through the state. Its covers lakes and smaller rivers that are connected to the Merrimack, while also chronicling the history of the many towns the river passes through. The book is a remarkable example of prose style from the mid 1800s, Reading the text, one feels like one’s travelling back in time. People don’t talk like this anymore. It’s a bit nostalgic if you’re a logophile librarian.
Here’s an excerpt from the opening chapter detailing New Hampshire’s founding. Note the long sentences:
“With such men as the indomitable pioneers of New Hampshire, — men, who in company with the early navigators, had led the van along the trackless and hitherto unknown seas, or bared their breasts to the pitiless pelting of the lead and iron hail of internecine strife; or, better still, had wrung from mother earth a sustenance, and a tribute to their industry and skills with the plough, the spade and the sickle, — with such men as these there could be no such word as fail; the result was inevitable, and with broad shoulders, strong arms, stout hearts, and masculine intellects, they have left a record to which their State, their country, and their race may point with just and worthy pride.
To err is human; therefore perfection in any direction may not be claimed; still the bright galaxy of names which adorn and embellish each era of her history most clearly proves that her boast, her pride, or her claim is certainly, to say the least, well founded (9-10).”
The book also contains an old map of the state, which shows the course of the Merrimack River as well as all the major towns from that era and their boundaries, and lakes and tributaries mentioned in the text.
Interested in looking at this or other historical items? Stop by the library!