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[358] narrow and winding stream. The long passages made by these schooners prove to us, that their form and rig were not after the model and fashion of our day. One of them was “six weeks going to Virginea.” The build and rigging, now so peculiarly American, have no superiors in the world; and Medford has long stood among the leaders in improved naval architecture.

There is a tradition, probably founded on fact, that small sloops, called lighters, fit for the river navigation, were built in very early times at the “landing” near “Rock Hill,” in West Medford. At a later day, one of these was built there by Mr. Rhodes, of Boston, and called the Mayflower, in honor of that vessel of one hundred and eighty tons which came across the Atlantic freighted to the full with religion and liberty, and which landed our Pilgrim Fathers on the Rock of Plymouth. The registers of this small craft are lost, if they ever existed; as no trace of them can be found in the records of the Custom House at Boston, or in those of the Secretary of the Navy at Washington. This business of ship-building, beginning in 1631, and increasing annually for several years, required many men, who required houses and food within the town.

The origin of the name of schooners is thus given in the Massachusetts Historical Collection. Mr. Andrew Robinson, of Gloucester, Mass., built and rigged a small vessel having two masts. At the moment of launching, a bystander cried out, “Oh, how she scoons!” Robinson instantly replied, “A schooner let her be.” And thus they named her. The first bark built in Plymouth colony was built by private subscription; and the paper bears date of January 24, 1641. It was about fifty tons, and cost two hundred pounds.

That modelling is the difficult point in ship-building, is proved by the fact that science has so slowly approached that form which will safely carry the largest burden in the shortest time. From Noah's ark, which was not built for sailing, to the last improved clipper of our day, the science of modelling has produced strange results. How far the ark was a life-preserver of the arts of the antediluvians, we know not; but we cannot suppose it has done much more for ship-building than the shell of the nautilus or the sternum of the duck. That some arts are lost, there can be no doubt. We cannot embalm as did the ancient Egyptians, nor lift as they did the stones of their pyramids; we have not the petrifying cement

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