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

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 30 17:47:54 UTC 2018

I recall seeing that letter prefaced by the words "I am sitting in the
smallest room of my house." It was long ago and I don't remember the
reference or the attribution.

Mark Mandel

On Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 2:23 PM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>

> 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.
> https://yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/2043-you-can-quote-them
> 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)
> https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b4010789;view=1up;seq=548
> [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

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