Home > History of Wine > “London and Carolina Madeira Wine”: A Madeira advertisement by George Abbott Hall & Co. of Charleston

“London and Carolina Madeira Wine”: A Madeira advertisement by George Abbott Hall & Co. of Charleston


Advertisement for 1771 and 1772 London Particular Madeira by George Abbott Hall & Co on January 28, 1774. [1]

George Abbott Hall (1737-1791) born in England eventually moved to Charleston, South Carolina around 1760, where he was a merchant, member of the provincial government of South Carolina, commissioner of the South Carolina navy, and appointed by George Washington as First Collector of the Port of Charleston in 1789.[2]

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

Upon arrival in Charleston, George Abbott Hall appears to have first joined the firm of Inglis, Lloyd, and Hall, importers of slaves into Charleston from 1759-1764. [3]  Of interest in today’s post is his advertisement from January 28, 1774, for London Particular Madeira from the vintages of 1771 and 1772.  It is not rare to see the description of London Particular Madeira, the top quality of Madeira shipped to America, in the advertisement but the appearance of the vintages is.

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

We know from Henry Hill, the Philadelphia based agent for the Madeira firm Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Co., that the 1771 vintage was regarded as “real[l]y exceeding inferior”.  News of the “remarkably fine” quality 1772 vintage reached the ears of George Washington who placed an order for four pipes of London Particular Madeira from Lamar, Hill, Bisset & Co. [5] Henry Hill had noted that the vintage promised “to be the largest ever known in the memory of Man”.  The quality of the wine was higher because “the vilas are more carefull when they have plenty of Grapes.”

Advertisements for Madeira by George Abbott Hall appear to be rare.  This could be due to the banning of Madeira imports into America beginning in the fall of 1774 followed by the disruption of trade during the Revolutionary War.  As such I cannot determine where he sold the Madeira from.  It is possible he sold the Madeira from the house he moved into around 1770 at 61 Tradd Street.  Unfortunately, for this post, there was a large plumbing van in front of the house when I visited it.


[1] “To George Washington from George Abbott Hall, 31 March 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-01-02-0365. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 1, 24 September 1788 – 31 March 1789, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987, pp. 469–470.]

[2] Advertisement. Date: Friday, January 28, 1774 Paper: South-Carolina and American General Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 4

[3] Laurens, Henry.  The Papers of Henry Laurens.  1972.  University of South Carolina Press. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=mRlEcWBdl5oC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Tradd Street (1-75). Charleston County Public Library. URL: http://ccpl.org/content.asp?id=15712&catID=6028&action=detail&parentID=5747

[5] “From George Washington to Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Company, 15 July 1773,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-09-02-0208. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 9, 8 January 1772 – 18 March 1774, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, pp. 280–282.]

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