Deliberate Speed

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 23 15:27:51 UTC 2008

An important discovery, Stephen!

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Stephen Goranson [goranson at DUKE.EDU]
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2008 10:21 AM
Subject: Re: Deliberate Speed

FWIW, here's an 1802 use.

Hygëia, or, Essays moral and medical
on the causes affecting the personal state of our middling and affluent
Thomas Beddoes
3 v. ; 23 cm.
London : R. Phillips.
Vol. 1, Essay Second (on Personal Imprudence, Active and Passive; on the
Incentives to It; on it's Effects, and Usual Origin.), p. 92:

We need but be perspicuous and impressive. If no crowds, drunk with
reel to our standard, converts will incessantly come over with deliberate

Stephen Goranson

Quoting "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>:

> Did Safire not mention the usages of "deliberate speed" by Walter
> Scott in 1817 and Lord Byron in 1819?  Both of these were probably
> inspired by legal usage, although no one has found any usages in
> legal texts prior to the 1844 case discovered by me while compiing
> the Yale Book of Quotations.
> Fred Shapiro
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Baker, John [JMB at STRADLEY.COM]
> Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 12:19 PM
> Subject: Deliberate Speed
> Safire's On Language column tomorrow discusses Obama's recent
> statement "I want to move with all deliberate haste," an obvious
> reference to the "deliberate speed" of Brown v. Board of Education.
> Safire says that, years ago, researching the phrase for his political
> dictionary, he sought the help of Justice Potter Stewart, who found
> it in a 1912 decision by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes drawing on
> English chancery law.
> The case found by Potter is apparently the 1911 case of Virginia v.
> West Virginia, 222 U.S. 17, 19 - 20 (1911), where Holmes wrote: "A
> question like the present should be disposed of without undue delay.
> But a state cannot be expected to move with the celerity of a private
> business man; it is enough if it proceeds, in the language of the
> English chancery, with all deliberate speed."
> I haven't checked the English chancery cases, but there is at least
> one much earlier American usage.  In an 1844 case from the High Court
> of Errors and Appeals of Mississippi, dealing with the much-delayed
> distribution of the estate of a man who died in 1831, Murdock v.
> Washburn, 1 Smedes & M. 546 (Miss. 1844), the court wrote:  "The
> statutes of this State, bearing upon the estates of decedents and the
> probate court, encourage a final settlement of such property with all
> deliberate speed.  While delay might operate advantageously in an
> individual instance, as a rule, it would trench seriously upon the
> rights of heirs and distributees."
> John Baker
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list