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Coaches and Sixes

Posted by Al Grundstad on February 18, 2006

Coaches and Sixes

Reading in Joseph J Ellis's American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson... On Jefferson's arrival for his presidential inauguration,

"Most commentators emphasized the relative lack of pomp and pagentry and contrasted Jefferson's modest entourage with the coaches and sixes used by Washington and Adams at their respective inaugurations."

Is there more to learn of the derivation of "coaches and sixes" that the obvious coaches drawn by six horses? The meager efficiency of the phrase over its not too wordy meaning lead me to believe it entered the slang of the day for a possibly more intersting reason.