"puff and stratagem"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Jan 14 19:26:55 UTC 2012

Perhaps the antecedent of "smoke and mirrors"?

"Imagining I should find the extraordinary Accounts which have been
so frequently set forth in the News Papers, of the Creature called a
_Chimpanzie_ to be nothing but Puff and Stratagem, to draw in the
Multitude ...".  He went to see it himself, and was disabused of his
former opinion.

Between 1738 Sept. and 1739 Feb., probably Oct. or Nov.  Letter from
"Publicus".  Cited in G. S. Rousseau, _Enlightenment Crossings: Pre-
and Post-Modern Discourses, Anthropological_ (Manchester University
Press, 1991; ISBM 0-7190-3072-2), p. 201.  Rousseau unfortunately
does not identify the specific London newspaper.

Rousseau's quotation is the only Google Everything hit.  The OED has
"puff and promise" in 2004.


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