Cumberland Times-News

Maude McDaniel - Living

January 28, 2012

Wondering? Here’s how cards began

(Continued)

Finally there was the Stamp Act. Remember that important contribution to the American Revolution? All packs of playing cards shipped from England (the Americans had apparently not yet learned to make their own) were taxed a shilling a deck and each pair of dice, ten shillings. As a final insult, the proceeds were used to finance the cost of keeping the English troops in the Colonies. But the tax probably really spurred on the manufacture of cards in the New Country.
At Valley Forge, George Washington issued a stern directive forbiding the troops from playing cards or other games of chance. It was disregarded. Actually, you have to wonder why he did that, for surely they needed some amusement at Valley Forge. And besides that Washington himself greatly enjoyed playing cards at Mount Vernon and gambled heavily.The rest of society enjoyed cards too, especially in Virginia, where the Puritan culture had less influence than in New England.
And here’s an interesting reference from more recent history (Thank you, JG to my west on this page. ) A 1948 hit by country music singer T. Texas Tyler, tells about a young American soldier arrested for playing cards during church. He clears himself by pointing out that for him all the cards have Biblical meanings. The Ace is God, the Deuce stands for the two Testaments, The Queen is the Virgin Mary, and so forth. So, essentially, he is going to church whenever he plays cards.Wish I had thought of that!
The traditional moral judgment on cardplaying has lasted among some churchgoers into our own time, but it seems to me that, when it is detached from gambling, the most faithful Christians who play cards need not worry about their morals,
Your priest or preacher will not scold you for it.
Betcha a nickel.
Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears on alternate Sundays in the Times-News.
 

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Maude McDaniel - Living
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