( Originally Published 1919 )
Where is New Hampshire? Every schoolboy knows, and yet the question is now before the Supreme Court of the United States for decision. For more than a century the dispute has gone on between New Hampshire and Vermont as to where one State ends and the other begins, whether the thread of the river is the boundary or the west bank, and what part of that bank.
A few years ago a workman on a bridge at Bellows Falls fell to the rocks below and was killed. The personal liability laws of Vermont and New Hampshire were so different that while the lawyers of one side maintained that he fell in Vermont, those on the other insisted that he fell in New Hampshire. This revived dormant controversy, and, after vain attempts of a commission to settle the question, Vermont is now suing New Hampshire before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Millions hang upon the decision, for below Bellows Falls between high and low water, on the west side, the International Paper Company has built great mills to utilize the waterpower. Both New Hampshire and Vermont have laid claim to the taxes, so meanwhile the Company has deposited a sum in a bank at Bellows Falls to be held in escrow.
The rival claims date from the eighteenth century. "The Westminster War" of 1775 was due to the New Hampshire Government sending an armed force across the river to protect the New Hampshire grantees.
Vermont, an independent republic until 1791, claimed territory to the thread of the river and at times parts of what is now New Hampshire. But in 178z its legislature accepted the west bank of the river as the eastern boundary. Then the question arose,—Where is the west bank line,—at low water, at high water, or at the top of the bank? If the Supreme Court calendar is not too crowded, we shall in a few years know where Vermont begins and New Hampshire ends.
New Hampshire is known as the ` Granite State,' though the three bordering States quarry and manufacture a far greater amount of that commodity. The rivers and streams are the most industrious things of the State, turning thousands of wheels and millions of spindles and providing a bare existence for hordes of Poles, Russians, Italians, Syrians, Greeks, and other operatives. One of the State's first efforts in the production of statesmen resulted in Daniel Webster, but she continues to produce them in ever increasing numbers and ever diminishing sizes.
Concord is the capital, though in the days of Jethro Bass much of the State's business was done at Croydon and later the Boston & Maine R.R. saved the legislature all cerebral activity by attending to that in its Boston offices. For several decades the railroad owned and managed the State, but because of extravagant and careless methods finally lost its hold. How extravagant, was shown in a recent legislative inquiry in an item for $35,000 paid an attorney for a "conversation," which somebody figured out was at the rate of $70 a word,—a pretty high rate, though Colonel Harvey is said to have once paid the Pope $8 a word for an article for the "North American Review."
The White Mountains are prominent a little north of the center of the State. Now that they have been skinned of their timber, they have been unloaded upon the Government by thrifty citizens for a `Forest Reserve.' The Appalachian Mountain Club has built gently graded paths all through the mountains, so that invalids and old ladies can scale the most precipitous and inaccessible peaks. The State has twenty-five peaks over 2500 feet high, and some of its hotel prices are even higher, but, in order to neglect none, it also has summer resorts at a dollar a day.
The `Old Man of the Mountains' gave its name to the Profile Notch and gave inspiration to an enthusiastic New Hampshirite to write,—"Way up in New Hampshire God hung a gigantic stone man high on a mountain side, to indicate that there He makes men." If this is true, this is the earliest case of hanging on record.
New Hampshire was early a pioneer in the summer resort business and today shows a larger turnover on the capital invested than any other State. 400,000 summer visitors yield her an annual income of $50,000,000,—her most prosperous industry. The State is some-times advertised as `The Switzerland of America' because of its Presidential Range of mountains. Some recent booster speaks of the State as the "green pharmacy of nature, a resting-place for the million, as well as for the millionaire." There is something about the New Hampshire hills that produces a great number of highly successful farmers who, however, migrate in the winter to eke out an existence in Boston or New York, running railroads or banks, or manipulating the stock market.