[Ads-l] "back slums" 1821, including a Cruickshank illustration

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 13 18:22:25 UTC 2019

"Slum," "Back Slum," "Lodging-Slum," "Billiard-Slum," and "Area Slum" 
are all included in a "Vocabulary of Flash Language" appended to the end 
of Jame Hardy Vaux's, Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux, London, W. Clowes, 
1819 (HathiTrust).

"Slum" is defined with two distinct meanings, one as a synonym of 
"racket," and the other as a "room."

As a "racket," it notes that:

[Excerpt (page 200)]
In fact, any game may be termed a rig, racket, suit, slum, &c., by 
prefixing thereto the particular branch of depredation or fraud in 
question, many examples of which occur in this work.
[End Excerpt]

Of the "many examples" of such rackets in the book, a "Lodging-Slum" is 
"the practice of hiring ready-furnished lodgings, and stripping them of 
the plate, linen, and other valuable."

A "Billiard-Slum" is defined as a synonym of "Mace," which in turn is 
defined as
"to obtain goods on credit, which you never mean to pay for; to run up a 
score with the same intention, or to sponge upon your acquaintance, by 
continually begging or borrowing from them."

"Area Slum" is "the practice of slipping unperceived down the areas of 
private houses, and robbing the lower apartments of plate or other 

As a room, "Back-Slum" is a "back room; also the back entrance to any 
house or premises; thus, we'll give it 'em on the back-slum, means, 
we'll get in at the back-door."

------ Original Message ------
From: "Stephen Goranson" <goranson at duke.edu>
To: ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu
Sent: 3/13/2019 7:30:30 AM
Subject: "back slums" 1821, including a Cruickshank illustration

>---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
>Subject:      "back slums" 1821, including a Cruickshank illustration
>Anatoly Liberman discussed "back slums."
>OED has 1825 for the "back slums" collocation.
>Eight pages in the following 1821 have "back slums."
>A footnote on p. 274 defines this as "low, unfrequented parts of the town.'
>After page 346 is a colored illustration, captioned as "Tom and Jerry 'Masq=
>uerading it' Among the Cadgers in the "Back Slums..."'
>Life in London, or, The day and night scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq. : and =
>his elegant friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, i=
>n their rambles and sprees through the metropolis / by Pierce Egan ... ; em=
>bellished with thirty-six scenes from real life designed and etched by I.R.=
>  & G. Cruikshank and enriched also with numerous original designs on wood b=
>y the same artists.
>Stephen Goranson
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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