Boston 1775 explains:
In his “Sagittarius” letters of 1774, the Scottish printer John Mein referred to:
the very honest Samuel Adams, Clerk, Psalm-singer, Purlonier, and Curer of Bacon.
Mein was clearly being derogatory, but what exactly did he mean?
To start with, Adams was clerk of the Massachusetts General Court.
As I wrote in this article at the Journal of the American Revolution, Adams was known for psalm-singing, and indeed for recruiting Sons of Liberty at psalm-singing lessons. Loyalists like Mein really harped on that.
“Purlonier” was the printer’s typographically challenged way of spelling “purloiner.” That undoubtedly referred to Adams’s controversial tenure as one of Boston’s tax-collectors from 1756 to 1764. He didn’t supply the town with all the money the law said it was owed. Mein insinuated that Adams kept those funds for himself. But he probably never collected them in the first place, cementing his popularity.
Which brings us to “Curer of Bacon.” What does that mean? A family biography treats that as an allusion to the malthouse business that Adams inherited from his father and couldn’t keep up. But what exactly is the connection between a malthouse and bacon?
Read the rest here.