"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations . . . . He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance" - - T. Jefferson.
And among those officers - - eating out the substance thereof - - were agents of the Crown - - marking those largest, oldest and most perfect white pine trees that could be found - - as property of the Crown - - forbidden for the colonists to harvest and mill.
"The Broad Arrow mark was made on the base of the tree by three blows with a marking hatchet. It was said to resemble a crow's track more than an arrow. Mast trade with England declined steadily. Surveyor-Generals and their agents were responsible for selecting, marking, policing, and enforcing. They became very unpopular and enforcement more difficult, as they stepped up the marking of more and more trees with the ‘Broad Arrow’."
White pine - - the largest specimens, suitable as masts for the Royal Navy, greatly coveted for their strength, durability, straightness, size! Britannia ruled the waves in large measure because of the white pine forests of British North America? Timber of such a nature not obtainable ANYWHERE ELSE!!
"During the age of sail, tall white pines with high quality wood were known as mast pines. Marked by agents of the Crown in colonial times with the broad arrow, they were reserved for the British Royal Navy."
"The British built special barge-like vessels which could carry up to 50 pine trunks destined to be ship masts . . ."
[the USS Constitution when originally constructed had masts of white pine!! "The original masts on the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) were single trees but later they were laminated to better withstand cannon balls."]
A practice, the marking of the mast pines, reserved for use by the Royal Navy only, a disagreeable practice - - loathed by the American colonialists.
"Marking of large specimens by the Crown was very controversial in the colonies, and their de facto seizure was a point of great contention among the colonists and played a significant role in the events leading to the American Revolution."
"Among the real causes for the revolt by the Colonies was their resentment against the unpopular restriction on their right to cut tall pines (marked Broad Arrow), and against the efforts made by authorities to preserve them for exclusive use of the Crown."
Among the many "repeated injuries and usurpations" as visited by the Crown - - were the marking and harvesting, exclusively so, of those white pines most suitable as masts for ships!
"... for better providing and furnishing of Masts for our Royal Navy wee do hereby reserve to us . . . ALL trees of the diameter of 24 inches and upward at 12 inches from the ground, growing upon any soils or tracts of land within our said Province or Territory not heretofore granted to any private person. We . . . forbid all persons whatsoever from felling, cutting or destroying any such trees without the royal license from us . . . upon penalty of 100 pounds... for every such tree so felled... without such license had, etc. etc .... "
The White Pine forests of North America to include New England, Pennsylvania, New York, and what was to become the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, were an extremely valuable resource. Clear cut almost totally in the 1800's, only small and isolated remaining old growth stands of the timber now existing.
[for some unknown reason, when cut, white pine forests do not naturally regenerate.]
The broad arrow "vexation" was another unnecessary "repeated injury" that need not have occurred? An amicable settlement to the timber "issue" could have been arrived at? WAR between the American colonialists and their British masters and the Crown could have been avoided? A lot of scholars seem this is so! King George was "stubborn and stiff necked - - like unto an ass"?
The broad arrow represented a casus belli? Thomas Jefferson and the other colonial subjects of the Crown seem to have felt so! Who would have thought it!