Images de page
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]

Henry Vassall of Massachusetts had his coach and chariot as well as his chaise and curricle. Many of the coaches and chariots were very ornate, neatly carved, handsomely gilded, lined with dove-colored, blue, and crimson cloth, and sometimes furnished with large front glass plates in one piece, with the arms of the owner on the door panels. The harness was bright with brass or silver-gilt metal work and ornamented with bells and finery, and coach and horses were adorned with plumes. Equipages of such magnificence appeared in Virginia as early as the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Chaises were more somber, though occasionally set off to advantage with brass hubs and wheel boxes. Though vehicles and harness were at first usually imported from England, chaise making in the North gradually developed into an industry, and chairs, chaises, and phaetons were frequently exported to Southern ports. Beverley once wrote to England for a set of secondhand harness from the royal mews, under the impression that some of them were very little the worse for wear, but when the consignment arrived he was greatly disappointed to discover that the harness was “sad trash not worth anything.” In the Middle and New England colonies people usually traveled in winter in

sleighs. These vehicles are described by Birket as standing “upon two pieces of wood that lyes flat on the ground like a North of England sled, the forepart turning up with a bent to slyde over stones or any little rising and shod with smooth plates of iron to prevent their wearing away too fast.

We have now described in somewhat cursory fashion the leading characteristics and contrasts of colonial life in the eighteenth century. The description is manifestly not complete, for many interesting phases of that life have been left out of account. Little or nothing has been said of trade and business, money, newspapers, the postal service, prose and poetry, wit and humor, and the lighter side of government, politics, and the professions. To have made the account complete, something of each of these aspects of colonial life should have been included; but there are limita

tions of space and of material. Extensive as is the 7 evidence available regarding the weightier aspects

of early American life, there is but a slender residue from the vicissitudes of history to throw any sufficient light upon some of the habits, practices, and daily concerns of the colonists in the ordinary routine of their existence. Our forefathers on this

« PrécédentContinuer »