Antedating of "Carpetbagger"

Nathaniel Sharpe nts at BETHLEHEMBOOKS.COM
Thu Jan 10 00:11:29 UTC 2013

Here's another instance that contains a colorful early definition.


    Date: Thursday, December 12, 1867 Paper: Flake's Bulletin
    (Galveston, TX) Volume: III Issue: 149 Page: 4

We see that the Republican caucus has
resolved to let loose upon us twenty more men
armed with carpet bags. A carpet bagger in
the political nomenclature of the day is an
itinerant lecturer and political speaker.
They come from the North and journey
Southward. Their ostensible mission is to
open the political eyes of the blind black men
and to comfort the hearts of heart-broken
We wish from the very bottom of our
hearts that every one of these wandering
lecturers would sprain his ankle joint, get the
gout, the sour apple complaint or any other
mild form of physical ill that would keep him at
home for the balance of his born days, or at
least until after reconstruction is completed.
We never knew one of them to enter a
State that mischief did not ensue. A carpet
bagger is generally an ignoramus of the first
water, for if he was not he could make a better
living teaching school or preaching to
country congregations or some other easy and
tolerably well paid employment. They are
lazy, else they would chop wood ere they
would condescend to earn a subsistence
so precarious. They are seldom men that are
respected in the North, and are generally
worthy of respect nowhere.

Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Antedating of "Carpetbagger"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> carpetbagger (OED 1868)
> 1867 _Montgomery Daily Mail_ 30 Nov. in _Journal of Southern History_ (2006=
> ) 72: 798  (headline) Carpet Bagers [sic] and Negroes to the Front.
> [NOTE: This occurrence may actually be the coinage of the term.]
> Fred Shapiro
> Editor
> YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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