Future French Foreign Minister Charles de Talleyrand-Périgord journeyed to Maine a few years after the American Revolution scouting economic opportunities for his employers.
While he wasn’t overly impressed with some segments of Maine society –lumbermen and fishermen were particularly suspect –he was awed by its coasts, so favorable to shipping, and believed in its promise, as yet unrealized.
Hardly noticed by the rest of the country (even Massachusetts, according Talleyrand), Maine was nonetheless “destined by nature to play an important role in the American federation.”
Talleyrand explained further, “One can only auger well of a great province, which combines healthfulness and fertility, whose whole coast is one vast harbor of the sea, which is watered by rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, and streams in abundance according to the most fortunate distribution.”
Maine’s location provided not just the raw materials necessary for scraping a living from the land, but also connected vast natural enterprises – fishing, quarrying, lumbering among others – to global markets via Maine-built ships of extraordinary design.
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