[Ads-l] Quote: Sir your letter is before me, and it will presently be behind me. Attributed to Lord Sandwich

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 26 18:22:59 UTC 2018

A rare book dealer asked me to explore the scatological quip in the
subject line. The Yale Books of Quotations, Cassell's Humorous
Quotations, and many other references contain instances this remark.

In 2008 Fred Shapiro presented an attribution to the Earl of Sandwich
in an 1843 citation.


Here is an attribution to the Earl of Sandwich within an 1815 memoir.
The year specified in the memoir is 1786.

Year: 1815
Title: Historical Memoirs of My Own Time: Part the Second from 1781 to 1784
Author: Sir N. William Wraxall.
Section: 1781 (Yet, context specifies 1786)


[Begin excerpt]
How laconically, yet forcibly he could write, with what Conciseness
and Severity blended, he exhibited in his memorable Note to Mr. Eden,
afterwards created Lord Auckland. That Gentleman, when he quitted his
political Friends in 1786, in order to join Mr. Pitt, who sent him
over to Paris, for the purpose of negociating the Commercial Treaty;
addressed a circular Letter to them, endeavouring to explain and to
justify his Line of Conduct. Lord Sandwich, in answer to the Letter
that he received on the Occasion, instantly wrote back these Words.
"Sir your letter is before me, and it will presently be behind me. I
remain, Sir, your most humble Servant."
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list