Tuesday, April 8, 2008

18th Century Swimming Skills

From Washington's Crossing, by David Hackett Fischer, Oxford University Press, 2004, pg. 219:

    The great majority of the army, like other populations in eighteenth-century America and Europe, were unable to swim a stroke. Soldiers joked that they did not fear to drown, for they were born to hang. Even seamen did not learn to swim, much to the disgust of Benjamin Franklin, who was a great swimmer himself and tried in vain to teach his American generation to take to the water.