"Walk the plank", 1763 (now May 9)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Oct 7 18:21:22 UTC 2011

Not yet the SCGazette from April, but earlier than the London
Chronicle of June 21 (same article):

Newport Mercury [R.I.]; Date: 05-09-1763; Issue: 244; Page: [2]; col. 3:

South Carolina. ... April 16.
     According to our last advices from St. Christophers [date set
for execution of 4 persons for piracy] ...four other small vessels
... were cruising ... manned by Spaniards and Caribbee-Indians, who
had taken several vessels, and among others one belonging to the
Grenades, whose crew, being English, they obliged to walk into the
sea upon a plank fixed for that purpose; this was related by one who,
through good swimming, got ashore at the Grenades.


At 10/7/2011 01:52 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>The following, located by a correspondent, is an antedating of the
>OED (third ed., June 2006), "plank, n.", P2, a.  The earliest OED
>quotation is 1789; also, the 1789 pertains to slave ships whereas the
>following pertains to pirates.  It's not literally "walk the plank"
>but rather "walk into the sea upon a plank", so perhaps it merely
>deserves bracketing.
>One presumably should be able to antedate this from the South
>Carolina Gazette (or perhaps the Virginia Gazette), perhaps 4 to 6
>weeks earlier.  I might try to find such (my experience with a
>text-searchable database of the SCG has not been pleasant, but there
>is always the microfilm.)
>>From: John Sullivan
>>An earlier appearance, from 1763 (London Chronicle, Tuesday, June 21); ...

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list