Ploughs and Politicks: Charles Read of New Jersey and His Notes on Agriculture, 1715-1774

By Carl Raymond Woodward | Go to book overview

Six: The Husbandry of the Household

THE science of home economics goes hand in hand with that of agriculture. Just as Thomas Tusser, in his Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie, wrote of "Housewifery" as well as of "Husbandrie," so the coupling of farm and home has come down through the years. In this dual relationship Read's notes are no exception. In this respect, however, he differs from Eliot, whose Essays barely touch upon matters of the colonial household.

This section is made up mainly of recipes, for the preparation of foods, beverages, and medicines. The notes suggest a rather primitive status of medical science, but give the impression of general well-being and good living, which is confirmed by the author of American Husbandry, who wrote:

The inhabitants of this province [ New Jersey] . . . have no town of any note . . . this circumstance keeps them very much at home and pretty free from luxury, that is from the pleasures of a capital: they live in a very plentiful manner, which indeed they could hardly fail of doing in so plentiful a country; for no where on the coast are the necessaries of life in greater plenty. Fish, flesh, fowl, and fruits, every little farmer has at his table in a degree of profusion; and the lower classes, such as servants and labourers, artisans, and mechanics in the villages are all very well cloathed and fed; better than the same people in Britain. Tea, coffee, and chocolate, among the lowest ranks, are almost as common as tea in England; they are universal articles in every farmer's house and even among the poor.1

Besides culinary advice, the notes include general household hints: For example, how to control vermin, how to remove spots from clothes; also directions for making objects as widely diverse as a poke bonnet, a bearskin jacket, and soap. A few of the recipes were taken from English publications; many of them were supplied by friends. Recipes for pickling oysters

____________________
1
Op. cit., I, 152-153.

-385-

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Ploughs and Politicks: Charles Read of New Jersey and His Notes on Agriculture, 1715-1774
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xi
  • BOOK I Charles Read of New Jersey 1
  • One: the Man and His Times 3
  • Two: Youth 22
  • Three: New Jerseyman 39
  • Four: Customs Collector 54
  • Five: Land Speculator 64
  • Six: Countryman 70
  • Seven: Ironmaster 86
  • Eight: Secretary 97
  • Nine: Legislator 121
  • Ten: Councillor 145
  • Eleven: Colonel 164
  • Twelve: Indian Commissioner 179
  • Thirteen: Jurist 195
  • Fourteen: Exile 212
  • BOOK II Reads Notes on Agriculture 227
  • Introduction 229
  • One: the Husbandry of the Soil 235
  • Two: the Husbandry of Plants 254
  • Three: the Husbandry of Animals 322
  • Four: the Husbandry of Bees 366
  • Five: Farm Structures and Farm Implements 368
  • Six: the Husbandry of the Household 385
  • Seven: Fisheries 399
  • APPENDIX A Sketch of Charles Read (from Aaron Leaming's Diary, November 14, 1775) 404
  • APPENDIX B Inventory of the Personal Estate of Charles Read IV 407
  • Bibliography 413
  • Glossary 443
  • Index 451
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