Re: More info on greetings & salutations
- Jim Sieradzki wrote:
> I have just started reading "Itinerarium" by Dr. Alexander Hamilton (no, notThis is one of my favorite accounts of 18th-century America. Dr.
> THE Alexander Hamilton of ten-dollar bill fame); a journal of his travels
> between Annapolis, Maryland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire during the Summer
> of 1744.
Hamilton was a keen observer, and he got to see several towns in the
middle and northern colonies. He could be caustically witty about the
people he met, but was also willing to note his own foibles.
I remember being struck by how many nationalities Dr. Hamilton
encountered, including a Frenchman or Spaniard lying low because King
George's War had just broken out. The doctor's enslaved companion
tried to greet an enslaved woman in New York, and was angry to find
she would only speak Dutch. The book also brings out differences
between the colonies: at one point Hamilton grumbles about how
tediously Philadelphia merchants at a gathering in Boston repeatedly
apologized for coming out in their casual dress, with caps instead of
wigs, because that was how they socialized with other gentlemen at
home. (The doctor then undercuts his own superior equanimity by noting
that he spent much of the evening worrying if people would notice a
spot on his coat.)
Another ongoing theme in the book is medical men. As a Scottish
emigrant and a doctor, Hamilton seems to have been introduced to other
Scotsmen and medicos wherever he went. He displays a wide spectrum of
disdain for the doctors, especially traditional healers. Alas, he
doesn't say enough about his actual medical beliefs to reveal how well
founded his judgments were. He could have been thinking, "This poor
hack thinks extract of willow bark will cure headache, while everyone
with Edinburgh training knows that bleeding is the best remedy!"
The first print edition of Dr. Hamilton's "Itinerarium" was titled
GENTLEMAN'S PROGRESS, and has fine notes by Carl Bridenbaugh. The
Penguin volume that Mr. Sieradzki is reading has nearly the full
narrative, as I recall, and is appropriately handy for trips.
J. L. Bell JnoLBell@...