The drinking habits of Americans

by awindram

Via Lapham’s Quarterly, an Englishman’s observation on the drinking habits of Americans in the 1830s.

If you meet, you drink; if you part, you drink; if you make acquaintance, you drink; if you close a bargain, you drink; they quarrel in their drink, and they make it up with a drink; they drink, because it is hot; they drink, because it is cold. If successful in elections, they drink and rejoice; if not, they drink and swear.

The last sentence may still be apposite, but the rest sounds more like a Saturday night in any English market town.

As the Englishman in question, Frederick Marryat, served in the British navy, I assume he was impressed by the scale of the dipsomania he was confronted with in the US.