Request: Match p-l-y in 1756 document

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Dec 5 15:58:13 UTC 2010

All I said was, "*I don't remember* seeing dashes used for
institutions"; and that was meant of my reading of other 18th-century
books and newspapers.  And only three of Douglas's examples refer to
institutions -- parliament, ministry, and House of Commons; the
others are references to people -- the holders of the offices
named.  But Douglas is certainly correct -- this (apparently
one-horse) journal does dash names of institutions.  Sometimes.  It
contains 100 instances of "parliament" spelled out, 9 of
"parliaments", 100 of "ministry" (although without perusing I can't
count how many are clerical rather than bureaucratic).

Page 171 is interesting.  "Ministry" and "parliament" are spelled out
earlier on the page, in the sentence "These practices ...".  But in
the context "... that there was no confidence to be placed in the
word of p-rl-m-nts ...", "parliament" becomes personified (it can
utter words).  Probably that's why it's dashed there, and perhaps
anxiety about whether a reference to an institution composed of
people -- as are parliaments, ministries, and the House of Commons --
would be taken by its members as personal is what led to the other
dashed names of these institutions.

The Dedication may support my supposition.  It says "The intention of
the Monitor, or British Freeholder, ... is to commend good men and
good measures, and to censure bad ones, without respect of persons
..." (first page).  The author(s) may have been especially sensitive
about being sued by those they censured.

Looking again at the "p-l-y" passage, I concede there is some
parallel with the (British) Parliament:  people who "may make a
flourish and give you a broadside or two" might allude to verbal
flourishes and printed broadsides.  But I still prefer "paltry" -- it
would have been a libelous reference to those Royal Navy captains of
the War of the Austrian Succession who were still living a decade later.


At 12/4/2010 11:44 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>Note in the same book:
>p. 41: "ch-----r of the ex-----r", presumably = "chancellor of the
>p. 84: "m-----y", ?= "ministry"
>p. 171: "p-rl-m-nts"
>p. 171: "k---s", probably = "kings"
>p. 174: "s-----n", ?= "sovereign"
>p. 265: "House of C-----s", ?= "House of Commons"
>p. 268: "P-----t"
>p. 269: "M-----r", ?= "Minister"
>pp. 276-8: multiple instances of "P-----t"
>and many other similar items.
>-- Doug Wilson
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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