I was not deterred from the party to Lowell and accordingly after an early breakfast, we started, Abby with me in my Gig. We passed through the towns of Woburn, Billerica, Chelmsford and arrived at
Lowell before twelve. Our party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Brooks, Abby, Miss Phillips1
and myself. Lowell is a curiosity from the circumstance that it is a new creation from what is called the American System, having risen within six years by the investment made by the rich Boston people in manufactures of printed calicoes and other cottons. The place is situated at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers. From the former, which here runs rapidly on a gradual decline, they derive their water power, not however directly but by means of a canal dug to the level of the bed of the river which diverges, and the water can be thus conducted at pleasure. It is carried round a semicircle of about a mile and a half and there falls again, into the Concord river, where it joins the Merrimack. They have thus a large extent of water power, which can also be increased at pleasure by cutting sluices at any time at right angles with the river thro’ this inclosed space. They have already four millions of dollars invested here, in the manufacture of printed cottons, of machinery for works of the kind, of jeans, and they propose shortly commencing one of carpets. In the afternoon we examined the principal works, through which Mr. Kirk Boott, the superintendant, was kind enough to lead us.2
We afterwards drank tea at his house and saw his wife, a lady-like woman. But the exertion of the day was very great and I was not a little fatigued so that I was glad to get home, and retire. My home tonight however was but a poor hotel.
1. Susan Phillips, a daughter of John Phillips and Lydia (Gorham) Phillips, Mrs. P. C. Brooks’ sister (Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Boston, 1855, 2:886).
2. Kirk Boott (1790–1837), one of the founders of Lowell, the agent of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company and its virtual “dictator” (