Images de page
PDF
ePub

✓ with the fishermen off Nova Scotia and Newfound! land, in exchange with the Southern Colonies

for grain and naval stores, and in the purchase of slaves in Africa." Rum from the West Indies was always more highly prized than that of New England and brought a higher price in the market.

Though in all the colonies rum was a common drink and arrack was consumed also to some extent on Southern tables, the colonists in the North were more addicted to both these drinks than were the Southerners, and the colonists in New England more than those in New York and Pennsylvania, where beer drinking predominated among the Dutch and the Germans. On Southern plantations the large number of distilleries which existed and the presence of stillhouses, copper stills, and

sweat worms indicate a wider activity than merely ! the distilling of rum from molasses. Quantities of

apple and peach brandy, cherry fling, and cherry rum were made in Virginia and South Carolina, and we know that on one occasion Van Cortlandt of New York squared a single Virginia account by accepting six hundred gallons of peach brandy instead of cash. To a certain extent fruit brandies were made in the North also, but the famous applejack of New Jersey does not appear to have been introduced until just before the Revolution. It has been truly said that fruit growing in America “had its beginning and for almost two hundred years its whole sustenance in the demand for strong drink.”

* In 1763 the merchants of Boston estimated that Massachusetts produced yearly 15,000 hogsheads or 1,500,000 gallons of rum, distributed as follows: 9000 hogsheads for home consumption and the whale, cod, and macktowel.fisheries; 3000 for the Southern Colonies; 1700 for Africa; and 1300 for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. These figures upset some time-honored calculations as to the amount of rum used in the slave trade.

Of imported wines those most frequently in demand were madeira, claret, Canary vidonia, burgundy and other French wines, port, and brandy. A sort of homemade claret was prepared from wild grapes by the Huguenots at Manakintown, but it always remained an experiment. Claret was a table drink in New England, but Gerard Beekman wrote in 1753 that it was in no demand in New York and that French wines were not in favor. Though it was imported in considerable quantities, brandy never became a popular colonial drink, and in Charleston, when the price was high, it was used chiefly for medicinal purposes. In the same city, Canary vidonia was considered much inferior to madeira and was not usually liked because it was too sweet. Birket, however, said that it was a common drink among people of fortune in New England, though it was harsh in taste and inclined to look thick. As a rule the colonists did not like sweet wines, and for this reason the aromatic malmsey never pleased the colonial palate. Quincy, who found the Charleston wines “by odds the richest” he had ever tasted, thought them superior to those served by John Hancock of Boston and Henry Vassall of Cambridge. His account of the customary protracted toasting and drinking at Charleston tables reminds one of the story Hamilton is said to have related of Washington. “Gen'l H. told us,” says London in his diary, “that Gen'l Washington notwithstanding his perfect regularity and love of decorum could bear to drink more wine than most people. He loved to make a procrastinated dinner - made it a rule to drink a glass of wine with every one at table and yet always drank 3-4 or more glasses of wine after dinner, according to his company and every night took a pint of cream and toasted crust for supper."

An excellent idea of the customary drinks of these colonial times can be gained from a list issued in 1744 by the county court of Chowan, North Carolina, mentioning madeira, Canary vidonia, Carolina cider, Northern cider, strong malt beer of American make, Aip with half a pint of rum in it, porter from Great Britain, punch with loaf sugar, lime juice, and half a pint of rum, British ale or beer bottled and wired in Great Britain. Flip was made in different ways, but a common variety was a mixture of rum, pumpkin beer, and brown sugar, into which a red-hot poker had been plunged. For lighter drinks there were lemonade, citron water, distillations of anise seed, oranges, cloves, treacle, ratafia, peppermint, and angelica, and other homemade cordials and liqueurs.

Taverns, usually poor in appearance and service, were to be found everywhere from Maine to Georgia, in the towns, on the traveled roads, and at the ferry landings. They not only offered accommodations for man and beast but frequently served also for council and assembly meetings, social gatherings, merchants' associations, preaching, the acting of plays; and their balconies proved convenient for the making of public speeches and announcements. The taverns, which also provided resorts where it was possible for “gentlemen to enjoy their bowl and bottle with satisfaction,” were the scenes of a vast amount of hard drinking and quarreling. It! was, for instance, in a corner parlor of Hatheway's tavern in Charleston in 1770, that De Lancey was

mortally wounded by Hadley in a duel fought with pistols in the dark. Men met at the taverns in clubs to play billiards and cards, to drink, and to gamble, and the following record shows the sort of score that they ran up: “Punch and game of billiards; one pack of cards; to flip at whick (whist]; to punch at ombre; ditto at all fours; to liquor at billiards all night; to sangaree and wine; to sack, punch, and beer; club to brandy punch; to two sangarees at billiards; to punch at cards, club afterwards.” Many of the taverns had skittle alleys and shuffleboards, but neither these games nor billiards and bowling were confined to public resorts. Billiard tables were to be found in private houses, and bowling was often played in alleys specially built for the purpose; and we are told that Councilman Carter had a bowling green near Nomini Hall.

Card playing was a common diversion. Packs of cards must have come in with the first Virginia and Maryland settlers, for card tables are known to have been in use on Kent Island as early as 1658. The number of packs of cards imported was prodigious: one ship from London brought to the Cape Fear Colony toward the end of this period 144 packs, another 576, and another 888; a Boston

[ocr errors]

CU
mnon

« PrécédentContinuer »