Just a bit of a note on how annoying it can be realizing that if you want to find out something you need to know something about the thing you need to find out more about. Not unlike my problems with records or, say, the adjectives of the past.
For example, from time to time I have a habit of hunting through the digital mess of Google Books looking for references to “malt” in lists of ships’ provisions for some sort of expedition or another to see what I can find. I have learned that I have to include a search for “mault” or other variations in the spelling. This is how as I found out about Frobisher’s provisions for his 1577 Arctic expedition by searching for “biere” rather than “beer.” In that same way, I realized recently that I should also be hunting just for not multiple spellings but also phrases – as the phrase “for drink” in these examples show.
Let some to peel hemp, or else rushes to twine
To spin or to card or to seething in brine.
Grind malt for drink,
See meat do not stink.
1585: in Volume 2 of Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts at document #591, we can read in the requirements for setting up English plantations in Munster, Ireland that a farmer requires six quarters of “oats for drink” while a copyholder needs four and a cottager just two.
1597: in the Calendar of the State Papers Relating to Ireland, perhaps due to the failure of the previous plan noted above, we see that the military need to receive better supplies instead of just beef, including:
…cheese and salted fish, and with some malt for drink for the soldiers, who I see daily to perish for want thereof, against the rule of Christian compassion…
1623: in the records of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, we can read a note by Sir John Coke, a listing of provisions which includes “malt of barley for drink” and “malt of oats for drink.”
1624: a book on Puritan settlers of America indicate in quotations that their preparations need to include “meal for bread, malt for drink” as they should not expect to “meet neither with taverns nor alehouses.”
1688: in a summary sort of document recording aspects of Communications of the Board of Agriculture, a summary sort of acreage chart entitled Quantity of land necessary to subsist 8,000,000 of people in England, according to the present mode of living:
Bread corn – – – – – – – – – – – 3,000,000
Barley, for drink – – – – – – – – -1,500,000
Potatoes – – – – – – – – – — – – -500,000
Grass land, for butcher’s meat – 12,000,000
Grass land dairy – – – – – – – – -4,000,000
Nothing too profound about it all. Just worth noting that you… that I… have to be open to understanding that the short forms or cliches of others in the past are not the shorts forms of today. All very irritating. Except that you notice that over 7% of all English acreage in the late 1600s was used for beer making and then you think that, hey, that is sorta cool.