Alexander Hamilton had a rough night of sleep before leaving Connecticut in August 1744, and that may have colored his farewell to the colony’s “ragged money, rough roads and enthusiastick people.”
He had traveled with his slave, Dromo, from Annapolis, Md., since May 30, 1744, reaching all the way to York, Maine. By late August, he was on his way back home.
Alexander Hamilton was a Scottish doctor who had immigrated to the colonies. He had yet to be married, and took the long journey for his health. Historians are glad he did. His travel diary, which he published under the name Itinerarium, gives a rare insight into colonial life between 1730 and 1745.
On the way back through Connecticut they stayed at an inn in Norwalk run by a man named Taylor. Dromo attracted children’s attention. Wrote Hamilton:
While I was at Taylor’s the children were frightened at my negro. Slaves are not so much in use as with us, their servants being chiefly bound or indentured Indians. The child asked if that negro was acoming to eat them up. Dromo indeed wore a voracious phiz, for, having rid twenty miles without eating, he grinned like a crocodile, and showed his teeth most hideously.
“FAREWELL, Connecticut” (said I, as I passed along the bridge), “I have had a surfeit of your ragged money, rough roads, and enthusiastick people.” The countries of Connecticut and New England are very large and well peopled, and back in the country here, upon the navigable rivers, as well as in the maritime parts, are a great many fine large towns. The people here are chiefly husbandmen and farmers. The staples are the same as in the Massachusetts Province. They transport a good many horses to the West Indies, and there is one town in this Province that is famous for plantations of onions, of which they send quantities all over the continent and to the islands, loading sloops with them. Many of these onions I have seen nearly as large as a child’s head.
It is reported that in Connecticut alone they can raise fifty or sixty thousand men able to bear arms. One Mr. Law’ is present Governour of the Province. It is but a deputy Government under that of New England or the Massachusetts.
This story last updated in 2022.