[Ads-l] early "tar and feather", 1771 [was: "goal" or "gaol"?]

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Thu Mar 31 16:58:48 UTC 2016


The following 1771 instance of "tar and feather' is quite early.   For the OED it is later than only one quotation, dated 1769 (under "tar, v.1"), and preceding a spate of 1774's.


           On Saturday last was committed to Gaol in this City, the noted James Cunningham, who about 6 Weeks ago underwent the Discipline of being carted, tarred, and feathered, as an Informer.
            N-Y Journal; or, The General Advertiser, June 6, 1771, p. 365 (p. 3), col. 3

(There may be in the OED files and should be in the ADS-L archives some earlier quotations than 1771 that I found, two bracketable ones from 1766 and 1768 and one from 1770.)

Joel
      From: George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
 To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU 
 Sent: Thursday, March 31, 2016 12:27 PM
 Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "goal" or "gaol"?
   
Here's our boy James Cunningham again.  Of the two reports of his arrest,
the first (which I just posted under a different heading) has "goal"; the
second has "gaol".

            [Saturday] was committed to our Goal, the *well-known* James
Cunningham, for robbing a Store at Newport, in Rhode Island, of Sail-Cloth,
Gammons, &c. to a considerable Amount, with which Goods he took his Passage
this Way, but being pursued, was taken in this Harbour before he could
confiscate any of his Booty.

            N-Y Gazette; and the W Mercury, June 3, 1771, p. 3, col. 1

            On Saturday last was committed to Gaol in this City, the noted
James Cunningham, who about 6 Weeks ago underwent the Discipline of being
carted, tarred, and feathered, as an Informer.
            N-Y Journal; or, The General Advertiser, June 6, 1771, p. 365
(p. 3), col. 3

Our ancestors -- ancestors of some of us, anyway -- didn't believe in
coddling criminals, but they seem also to have discouraged villains from
dropping a dime on other villains.
(Calvin Trillin writes somewhere that what he is most thankful for at
Thanksgiving is that his ancestors weren't here when the Indians were given
a tootsie-frootsing and pushed off their land.  I can't take that same
comfort.)

On Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 12:07 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 11:38 PM, Douglas G. Wilson <douglas at nb.net>
> wrote:
>
> > Several years ago when searching for something including the word
> > "pharaoh" I noticed a very large number of instances of "pharoah". Maybe
> > the sequence "ao" tends to look 'wrong' to the Anglo eye somehow.
> >
>
> You're not the first to notice, Doug.
>
>
> Headline: "Yes, American Pharoah's name is spelled wrong"
>
> http://goo.gl/TTQ61Q
>
> And there's the jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders.
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998..

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



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


More information about the Ads-l mailing list