We hope that however festively you brought in the New Year, you didn't quite reach the excesses of these sea captains from colonial Rhode Island, above. However, if you did, and if you are searching for a genteel way to describe your condition, we suggest you peruse the Drinker's Dictionary compiled by Benjamin Franklin (1708-1790).
Originally published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1736, the Dictionary begins with an almanack observation by Poor Richard (aka Franklin) that there is "Nothing more like a Fool than a drunken Man", and then launches into dozens of 18th c. euphemisms for the same.
Are you feeling bowz'd? cherry merry? fetter'd? lappy? mountous? Perhaps you have poetically seen a Flock of Moons, or, more nautically, been Right before the Wind with all your Studding Sails Out? Or perhaps even had a Thump over the Head with Sampson's Jawbone? These and many more are to be found here, though Franklin admits that this is likely only a beginning:
I do not doubt but that there are many more in use; and I was even tempted to add a new one my self under the Letter B, to wit, Brutify'd: But upon Consideration, I fear'd being guilty of Injustice to the Brute Creation, if I represented Drunkenness as a beastly Vice, since, 'tis well-known, that the Brutes are in general a very sober sort of People.
Happy New Year to you all!
Above: detail, Sea Captains Carousing in Surinam by John Greenwood, c. 1752
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.