I’m grabbing the chance to quote William Pavlovsky’s letter in Saturday’s Boston Globe because it fits right in with Boston 1775, it saves me from coming up with own material, and I think more people should hear about Dr. Alexander Hamilton of Annapolis.
Pavlovsky told the paper and its readers:
I would like to lay to rest, once and for all, the myth that fried clams were “invented” in Essex in 1916.Dr. Hamilton’s delightful description of a journey from Annapolis to York, Maine, is in print at a reasonable price in the Penguin Classics volume Colonial American Travel Narratives.
As proof of my contention, I offer the following from the “Itinerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton,” an account of a journey through the northern colonies in 1744 by a physician from Annapolis, Md., and published as “Gentleman’s Progress” by the University of North Carolina Press. From the entry for June 15, 1744, at the Narrows Ferry on Staten Island, N.Y.: “I dined att one Corson’s that keeps the ferry . . . upon what I never have eat in my life before — a dish of fryed clams, of which shellfish there is in abundance in these parts.”
Hamilton adds that the diners stuffed them down with rye bread and butter, and that they “took such a deal of chawing that we were long att dinner, and the dish began to cool before we had eat enough.”