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Bridenbaugh, Carl, ed. Gentleman's Progress, The Itenerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton 1744. (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1948) p. 55.


Dr. Alexander Hamilton traveled throughout the colonies in the 1740s, leaving behind a rich account of his journey and the people and places he encountered. Often, his descriptions combined elements of reporting with critical commentary on practices he found questionable, as in this excerpt.

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“We went ashore to fill water near a small log cottage on the wes side of the river inhabited by one Stanespring and his family. The man was about 37 years of age, and the woman 30. They had seven children, girls and boys. The children seemed quite wild and rustick. They stared like sheep upon M___s [Milne] and I when we entered the house, being amazed att my laced hat and sword. They went out to gather blackberries for us, which was the greatest present they could make us. In return for which, we sestributed among them a handfull of copper halfpence. This cottage was very clean and neat but poorly furnished. Yet Mr. M_____s [Milne] observed severall superfluous things which showed an inclination to finery in these poor people, such as a looking glass with a painted frame, half a dozen pewter spoons and as many plates, old and wore out but bright and clean, a set of stone tea dishes, and a tea pot. Thes, Mr. M____s [Milne] said, were superfluous and too splendid for such a cottage, and therefor they ought to be sold to buy wool to make yarn; that a little water in a wooden pail might server for a looking glass, and wooden plates and spoons would be as good for use and , when clean, would be almost as ornamental. As for the tea equipage it was quite unnecessary, but the man's musket, he observed, was as usefull a piece of furniture as any in the cottage.”

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