[Ads-l] Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Sat Sep 12 16:17:40 UTC 2015

I would be grateful for help (ideally from more than one person) in reading a line from the Boston Gazette of 1721 (Aug.. 28 to) Sept. 4.  On page three there is a letter "To the Author of the Boston Gazette".  Its second paragraph contains the text "but whether a ? loose wild pedantick School Boy performance ..."

The letter is signed "W. Anti-inoculator" (William Douglass).  I am not able to identify the writer characterized as a "School Boy" performer.

I have two possible readings for the questioned word, "Bombard" (n. 1.a or 1.c) or "Bombast" (n. 3.a).  "Bombast" seems more likely to me given the context (speech) and the appearance of the next-to-last letter (more like a long s than an r).


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

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