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New England > Maine


This state was originally granted by James I to the Plymouth Company, in 1606, by whom it was transfered to Mason and Gorges in 1624. This grant comprised all the territory between Merrimack river and Sagadahock. The territory was afterwards purchased by Massachusetts for £1,250, who obtained a confirmation of the charter in 1691, with the addition of the residue of Maine and Nova Scotia, including what is now called the Province of New Brunswick.

This state, formerly the district of Maine, became independent of Massachusetts in 1820. By the Constitution, the legislative power is vested in a Senate and House of Representatives, elected annually by the people, on the second Monday in September. The number of Senators cannot be less than 20, nor more than 31. The number of Representatives cannot be less than 100, nor more than 200. No town or city is entitled to more than seven representatives.

Maine is divided into the twelve following counties: York, Cumberland, Lincoln, Kennebec, Waldo, Hancock, Oxford, Somerset, Penobscot, Washington, Franklin, and Piscataquis.

The soil of Maine is various. For some miles from the sea coast it is rocky, sandy or clayey, with some fertile portions; generally this is the least productive part of the state. Advancing into the interior, the soil increases in fertility. The average quality of soil is equal if not superior to any other portion of New England. In some parts it is not exceeded in fertility by any section of the Union. Some of the most fertile parts of Maine are now almost a wilderness.

The ability of the soil of Maine to furnish an ample supply of bread stuffs, was fully tested in 1837, by the production of more than a million bushels of wheat, besides vast quantities of rye and corn.

The natural productions in the state, already known to exist in exhaustless quantities, are pine and hemlock timber; granite, slate, lime, iron, and all the materials in the composition of glass.

The sea coast of Maine, extending more than 230 miles, indented by an almost countless number of bays, harbors and islands of romantic beauty, presents facilities for navigation unrivalled by any portion of the globe. The great rivers, St. Croix, Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Saco, with their numerous tributaries piercing the interior, give to the farmer and mechanic a cheap and easy mode of transportation. These rivers, and thousands of ponds and other streams, dispersed throughout the state, afford a water power of vast extent and usefulness.

The celebrated John Smith made an unsuccessful attempt to settle this part of the country as early as 1614. The first permanent lodgement of the whites in the state was made from Plymouth colony, at York, in 1630.

The first settlers of Maine were a race of men of good minds, stout hearts and strong arms. By them and their sons the stately forests were converted into an article of commerce, of immense value; thus preparing the soil for its ultimate staples, wheat, beef, and wool.

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