P. and Q. 1645, and editor's prince and queen

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Apr 23 13:20:43 UTC 2009

A letter from Dr. Stephen Goff[e] to Henry Lord Jermyn April 14/24, 1645 was
written in code, deciphered, and published in the Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow
(1617-1692) 1699 vol. 3 p.365 and later ed. and in the Calendar of
State Papers
for Charles I v.XX 1890 p.406. The letter includes:
...the intention being not for P. and Q. but for the Honour and Service of the
King, ...

The 1890 edition gives:
...not for P[rince] and Q[ueen]...
which in this context is plausible; the letter (supra) does mention prince and
queen. But the question remains whether this P and Q is related to
other Ps and
Qs use.

FWIW, in John Ruskin's Correspondence with Joan Severn p.85 2008 ed. Rachel
Dickinson includes a letter (1867) with P Q standing alone then "P. Q. means
American couple" and other marks. The editor: "... with the couple denoted in
the middle by 'P' and 'Q', probably for prince and queen meaning man and

Stephen Goranson

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

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