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Contemporanea of April 30. Following tion." —Daily Telegraph, March 17, 1880. the example of Mr. Gladstone - and writ- Which made the old boots an expressive ing on the Eastern Question and Mr. factor in the character of the man.” Gladstone's attempted solution of it - May Fair, April 5, 1879. " A good digesthe Daily Telegraph, November 30, 1879, tion is always quoted as a factor in the says: “Another delusion dispelled by this composition of happiness.” — Pall Mall war is that which apprehends Russia to Gazette, April 29, 1880. " Whether Mr. be a civilizing factor in the East-European Gladstone wishes it or not, he must be problem.” Soap and water are also de its (the new ministry's) vital factor." clared to come under the category of Standard, April 13, 1880. “This country factors : “The Revising Barrister appears still an important factor in the affairs fully to appreciate the value of soap and of Europe.” – World, March 24, ISSO. water as an important factor in the prog. Fifty years ago the duel was still a recress of civilization." Crabs, lobsters, ognized and important factor in English oysters are “ factors," though not of the politics." — Globe, March 15, 1880. “A highest order, according to the Standard, few years ago M. Rochefort was a serious September 26, 1882: "Shellfish in the factor in French politics." — Daily News, past, even more than at the present date, March 24, 1880. “ The elector who, withoccupied an important place in the history out being actually illiterate, is merely of man's dietary, though, indeed, if we are stupid, is one of the most perplexing to accept without cavil Brillat-Savarin's factors that the wire-pullers have to reckfamous dictum, ' Dis.inoi ce que tu man-on with.”. Daily Telegraph, April 8, ges, et je te dirai qui tu es,' they cannot be 1880. accorded a lofty grade among the factors
Had and Would. — The colloquial use of civilization."
of the same contraction I'd for I hari and Nihilism in Russia is also a factor, or it I would has been extended imperceptibly might be said a malefactor. “ The des into writing and printing, with results that peration of the reckless minority organized threaten to supersede would altogether against the czar is a serious factor, which and to replace it most improperly by had. cannot be left out of the account.” Daily Same of our ablest writers have fallen Telegraph, September 22, 1882. “The into this inelegancy, or allowed their false prophet of the Soudan is a factor in printers to do so among others Mr. the situation with which the British gov- Thackeray, who says in “The Virginians," ernment will promptly have to reckon." “ I had rather have lost an arm," instead Pall Mall Gazette, October 24, 1882. A of “I would rather have lost an'arm;" culinary artist who, in a popular penny and Mr. Carlyle, who has “a doom for journal, endeavors to instruct the public Quashee (the negro) which I had rather on the secrets of gastronomy, informs his not contemplate,'' instead of “would rathreaders that“ the great factor in the dress er not.” Instances of this unnecessary ing of a salad is good Lucca oil and plenty corruption of the word are to be found so of it;” while another periodical says that far back as the days of Shakespeare, and “the essential factor of a good pancake is a century later in the usually well written an egg." “ A profuse expenditure of the and classical pages of " Thé Tatler" and coin of the realm, applied in a practical “ The Spectator." manner, has been a very powerful factor When had is followed by the word betamongst not a few potent agencies in ter, as in the phrase "you had better,” it bringing ignorant, neutral, and apathetic is an improper substitute for would, though voters to the poll." Globe, March 12, " you had better do so and so" has the 1882. A fashionable society paper, as sinall advantage of being more laconic journals of that class are absurdly called, than the synonymous phrase, “ It would declares that “one of the factors of her be better if you did so and so.” When had Majesty's health is a residence in the is followed by have, its use is still more Highlands.”. A few further specimens of ungrammatical. Thus when the Times, the abuse of the word in literary compo- March 12, 1879, says, “ Sir Wilfrid Lawsition are selected at random : “Russia son had better have kept to his original has once more become a mighty factor in proposal,” it means that “Sir Wilfrid Europe.” – Daily Telegraph, April 26, Lawson would have done better to keep, 1880. " The hostile attitude of Secocoeni or to have kept, to his original proposal." is no new factor in the general situation in So also the Spectator, March 2, 1879, Africa." Times, March 10, 1879. “The when it wrote, • The motion had better be prepossession of the police against prison. withdrawn," was guilty of a permissible ers is a factor in any case for the prosecu- colloquialism, but was grammatically in.
correct, and should have written, "It would " Which are all items, and important be betier if the motion were withdrawn."
The Standard offends in the In like manner the Examiner fell into same manner, “ Everything obliges us to the prevalent carelessness, when it wrote, assume, and to assume with much confiMarch 2, 1879, “If the University of dence ;” and “We say it, and say it ad. London, after an existence of forty years, visedly.” So also the Morning Advertiser cannot produce a competent man, it had of November 1, 1882, has, “They think, better cease to exist."
and rightly think, the question of proce. The style oratorical first prominently, dure one which especially concerns the introduced by Lord Macaulay in his crit. dignity of the House of Commons.” The ical essays has been, and is, imitated ad Daily Telegraph, November 6, 1982, in nauseam by writers of the present day. expatiating on the beauties and amenities It is intended to be forcible, but is only of Hampstead Heath as a recreation forcibly-feeble at the best. When an ora- ground for London, says that the neightor, in the height of his argument or bis boring inhabitants thought, and very passion, omits his adjective and stops the properly thought, that cricket ought not flow of his words to supply it, as in the to be forbidden.” phrase, “. It has been saint, and excellently Exaggeration, or attempted intensificawell said,” he is perfectly justified in tion of language, especially in the use of strengthening his meaning by an after- epithets, is one of the colloquial or lit. thought, even though it lead to a sur. erary vices of the age, and is by no plusage of words ; but when a writer, who means peculiar to the newspapers. "If a can supply the missing epithet in its thing is very good, or exceedingly good, proper place by a stroke of the pen in the it is not sufficient to say so in simple manuscript, writes as if he were making a terms. Very, is but a weak word in the speech, the mannerism, if too often re. requirements of modern times, which in. peated, becomes painful to the reader. sist on the stronger epithets of awfully, or Thus, when the Standard, May 10, 1882, dreadfully, to express a becoming sense Irrites, “ Though direct proof may as yet of the charms either of beauty, health, be wanting, the vast majority of the Én- wealth, or mirth. Awfully handsome, glish people will believe, and rightly awfully well, awfully rich, or awfully funbelieve, that the Phænix Park victims ny, are common colloquialisms. Then were butchered with American knives, “awfully” is varied ad libitum by dreadand their murderers paid with American fully, or even by excruciatingly. A very gold,” the two believes are neither neces- funny farce would be but a poor thing in sary nor in good taste; and “the English the parlance of to-day, and must be depeople will rightly believe ” would be bet- scribed as “screamingly funny," if it were ter than " believe, and rightly believe.” expected to be acceptable to the jaded
The Freeman's Journal on the same frequenters of any modern theatre. To subject has, “ Ireland would welcome with burst into tears is no longer a permissible a sense of profound relief the appoint- phrase in the language of novelists, noth. ment to the chief secretaryship of any ing less than a flood or a deluge of tears English politician except Mr. Forster, will suffice for their exigencies; while to because it would be assumed, and natu- be applauded, signifies nothing unless the rally assumed, that the appointment of Mr. recipient of the public favor be applauded Forster ineans a return in a more intense “to the skies." form to the policy of coercion.” Why The introduction of new words into the the repetition of assumed ? and does the language, or the formation of new words repetition add either to the sense or the upon the old Greek and Latin bases, is no elegance of the phrase?
difficult process. The difficulty lies in The Pall Mall Gazette possesses a procuring their acceptance. It is almost writer or writers with whom this manner. impossible to force them into favor or into ism appears to be a favorite. Thus, on general use if prematurely or unnecessaNovember 1, 1882, we find in its columns, rily compounded. In the “ New World "The usually apathetic majority of disap- of Words," 1678, by Edward Phillips, pointed citizens have revolted, and suc- which borrowed its title from a previous cessfully revolted.” On October 26, 1882, work by Florio, " The World of Words,” it has, “ The constituency will conclude, there is inserted by way of appendix a list and properly conclude." "On September of two hundred and forty words, which he 20, 1882, the same journal has two ex. declared “to be formed of such affected amples of this affectation, “Who do words from the Latin or Greek as are dot prepare, and carefully prepare," and | either to be used warily, and upon occa
sion only, or totally to be rejected as “duffer," and "cad” are words familiar barbarous, or illegally compounded and to aristocratic lips. “Who is that awfully derived.” Of these prohibited or partially fine filly?” says Fitz.Noodle to his comprohibited words, only eleven have made panion at an evening party; "she's good their footing in ihe language during dreadfully nicely groomed!” As if the more than two centuries. These eleven. fine girl had just been trotted out of the which in our day could not well be dis- stable, after a careful curry.combing, or pensed with, and to which it seems strange rubbing down. Even ladies – but fortuthat anyone could ever have objected, are nately not gentlewomen – have caught “autograph, aurist, bibliograph, circum- the contagion of vulgarity from their husstantiate, evangelize, ferocious, holograph, bands, lovers, or brothers, and defiled inimical, misanthropist, misogynist, and their fair lips with what is called fast lan. syllogize." Possibly, during the next two guage, and with words which, if they only centuries, a few more of the strange knew their meaning and origin, they might words collected by Phillips may force blush to pronounce if blushing were their way into colloquial or literary favor; still in fashion. but there seems to be little chance of the Though new words, however unobjecadoption of the greater part of them, such tionable in their origin, are slow to find as fallaciloquent, speaking deceitfully favor, they are destined to live hereafter or fallaciously; floccification, setting at in the language if they express meanings nought; homodoć, of the same opinion; or shades of meanings better or lubidinity, obscenity; mauricide, a mouse- tersely than the pre-existing terms or killer; nugipolyloquous, speaking much combinations. Offive among such useful about trifles; spurcidical, obscene; vul- neologisms that have all but established pinarity, fox-like cunning; and ulpicide, themselves – namely folk-lore, outcome, a mole-catcher, and others equally egre. funster, criticaster, and disacquainted, gious. It is to be remarked, that very only the first has as yet been admitted to many of the words which met with his ap- the honors of the dictionary. Outcome is proval, and found a place in his “ World in constant use, so constant that it threatof Words," have died out, and are wholly ens, though without occasion, to superunintelligible to the present generation. sede entirely its more ancient synonyms, Who, for instance, could divine that "result” and “issue.” Criticaster is as Perreurigh meant adorned with precious legitimate a word as poetaster, and is stones or pierreries? or even guess at the much needed for the proper designation signification of passundation ?
of the little presumptuous and often igno. Of late years, especially since the abo. rant pretenders to literature and art, who lition of what were called the taxes on sit in judgment upon their betters, and knowledge, viz., the excise duty on paper squeak their praise — and more often and the newspaper stamp, and the conse- their dispraise — through the penny trum. quent establishment of the penny press, pets of the time. Furster - founded on many new words have been introduced by the same principle as the recognized word the rapid and careless, and also by the punster - is a clear gain to the language, semi.educated penmen who cater for the and is much better than “wag," " joker," daily and weekly press. A number of or "funnyman,” with which it is synony. old English words — current in the mous. To say that we are disacquainted United States - have been reintroduced with a person, to whom we were formerly into English with the gloss of apparent more or less known, is a better locution novelty, but also with the unmistakable than to say that we have " dropped his stamp of vulgarity broadly impressed acquaintance," and will doubtless make
And not alone in the press, good its footing. It is not exactly a new but in society. Men of education, some word, but a revival of one that has been of them moving in high or the highest obsolete during two or three centuries. circles, have condescended to repeat in It is doubtful whether the word endorse, their daily or customary conversation the borrowed from the language of com: language of costermongers and of grooms merce, and originally signifying to write and jockeys, and to use it as if it were one's name on the back of a bill of exgood English. The basest slang of the change, is a gain to the language, in the streets is but too frequently heard among sense in which in our day it is too comeducated people, who ought to know bet. monly employed. I endorse that state. ter than to use it, and has invaded the ment, I endorse that opinion, are not bet. forum and the senate — if it have not yet ter than to say, I agree in that opinion, or penetrated into the pulpit. Bloke,” | I confirm that statement, though perhaps
more consistent with the train of thought | haughtily independent American workamong a “nation of shopkeepers.” man recognizes no “master” in his em.
The English language still waits for ployer, but calls him his “boss,” and many new words — and will receive them thinks that “master” is a word only fit to as the time rolls on. · Among the most be used by negroes in a state of slavery; urgent of them is a synonym for “whole which in their new state of freedom even sale in the uncommercial sense. To the negroes are beginning to repudiate. speak of wholesale objections, wholesale A boss signifies not so much a “master robberies, or wholesale murders, is to in the strict sense of the word, but an employ a word that labors under the overseer, a director, a manager, and the double disadvantage of inadequacy and verb to “boss” means to superintend, to vulgarity. The French plirase en gros is manage, to control, or be responsible for something, though not much better. It the labor of the workmen and the proper should be stated, however, that the En completion of their work. The word has glish language is not alone in the abuse of been partially adopted by the English this commercial word as applied to mat- newspapers, one of which informed its ters entirely non-commercial, and in no readers through the medium of its ubiq. way pertaining to the shop. But doubt. uitous and omniscient London corresponless if a word were coined for such an dent, that it was well known that Mr. epithet as “wholesale murder," it would Joseph Chamberlain, the president of the not be generally or even partially accept- Board of Trade, was the boss of the ed. Many new words, or words long Birmingham Caucus.” The St. James's since obsolete in England, come back to Gazette of November 11, 1882, in an article us from the United States, that retain very on American politics, and the results upon many Shakespearian and sixteenth and the state of parties of the recent elections seventeenth-century expressions that of State functionaries, and the pernicious have long disappeared from the literary system of exacting an annual contribution language of the nineteenth, and are grad. from any official, high or low, who owes ually finding their way into currency his place to the organization of either the mainly through the instrumentality of new Republican or Democratic party, the newspapers. Of words entirely new says : “Among the proximate causes of to English proper, which have recently the reaction against the Republican party come into favor, are skedaddle, boss, in America, the scandalous persistence of ranche, bogus, caucus, and vamose. the leaders in keeping up the system of Among politicall phrases, derived from political assessments on public officers the vernacular of wild and uncultivated must be reckoned as the chief. The materritory, are log-rolling, wire-pulling, and chine theory on the subject is simple axe.grinding; and of new combinations enough. The office-holders owe their of old words, and of more or less justifi- places to their party; therefore they ought able innovations upon the old rules of to contribute from their pay to the camgrammatical construction, are to collide, paign funds. Control of these funds gives instead of to come into collision; burgle, the bosses their chief power. . . . The instead of to commit a burglary; and to machine methods have failed this time. telescope — applied to railway accidents But that, the bosses will say to the reformwhen the force of a collision causes the ers, is because you chose to be disgusted cars or carriages to run or fit into each with them. You thwarted us, no doubt; other, like the lengthening and conse- but you have still to show that you can quently shortening slides of a telescope. lead on the lines of purity, the masses that Of them, collide must be accepted as a we controlled by corruption.”
vi Boss” clear gain; burgle will pass muster, among in this passage is correctly used as an comic writers especially, and will doubt. American word for a purely American less, though wholly irregular, succeed in practice, though it is to be hoped neither establishing itself - at first in jest, and ihe word nor the thing will ever become afterwards in earnest; while “to tele naturalized in this country. “ Boss,” or scope,” in the sense in which it has lately “to boss," was, according to some philolo. become popular, is so useful in avoiding gists, originally introduced into the New a periphrasis, and so picturesque besides, World by Irish or Scottish immigrants, that it promises to become indispensable from the Gaelic bos, the hand. But this
The American word “boss” supplies is erroneous. The word is derived from in some respects a deficiency or corrects the Dutch settlers who first colonized an inaccuracy in its nearly synonymous New Amsterdam, first called New York word
“master.” The very free and by the English when the colony changed
masters by coming into possession of the Morning Chronicle, with other now forBritish government. Baas in the Dutch gotten masters of style, who were both language signifies a master, or the fore- scholars and politicians, were connected man of a workshop. Perhaps even the with the daily press of the metropolis, English-speaking population of the States, the paucity as well as the purity of their if they had known that “boss was no contributions excited general attention other than Dutch for master, might in and admiration ; but in our day the very their republican pride have repudiated multiplicity of leading articles deprives the word and invented another.
them of the notice which they might othThe constant and rapidly increasing in. erwise receive. Not that the chief lights tercourse between Great Britain and the of our daily literature do anything to deUnited States, the growing influence and teriorate or vulgarize the language. That enterprise of American newspapers, and unhappy task remains to the third-rate the consequent circulation in this country writers, who allow their slight stock of of the most important among them, to- good English to be diluted with the infe. gether with the ample quotations which rior vernacular verbiage that reacts upon are made from them in the. London and us from the United Stales, where the Enprovincial press, tend, imperceptibly per. glish of the farm, the workshop, or the haps, but very effectually, to Americanize counter is considered, with true republithe style as well as the language of news. can equality, to be quite good enough for paper writers in this country, especially the senate, the pulpit, or the press. The of ihose who do not stand in the foremost evils of this ultra-plebeian style of writrank of scholarship. Fifty, or even forty, ing are beginning to be felt in the United years ago what are called “ leading arti- States themselves. A recent writer in
were much fewer and better written the Atlantic Monthly, speaking of the than they are now. One really good lead-press in that country, condemns in very ing article was considered sufficient edi. | forcible terms “its insidious blood-poi. torial comment for one day, but at the soning at the well of English undefiled; present time it seems to be a rule with all its malign infatuation for coarseness and the principal journals of the metropolis to slang;” wits corrupt and mongrel vocabpublish at least four such articles every ulary; " "its vampire persistency;” and morning, even though the subjects really “its salacious flavoring of scandal.” worthy of comment do not amount to half These are hard words, but it cannot be the number. The provincial journals too said that they are wholly unmerited. often follow the unnecessary example, and But language always deteriorates when instead of filling their columns with news, the morals of a people become depraved, which their readers require, fill them with when the growth of political corruption stale opinions and vapid commentaries hardens the heart and dulls the conscience which nobody cares about. So careless of a nation; when men, and worse still and slipshod, for the most part, is the when women, lose the feeling and the style of these articles, that cultivated and habit of reverence, and when the cynical busy men are often compelled to pass sneer or the senseless ridicule of the high them over unread. A learned man, who and low vulgar are fashionable. When filled the position of sub-editor to the honest love is designated as “spoons Norning Advertiser, was, a few years and spooniness, when disinterested friendago, called to account by the committee ship which does not value friendship for of management, composed of licensed its own priceless self, but for what real or victuallers, for inserting a paragraph of supposed advantage it may bring to the news one day which had appeared in its person who pretends to feel it, is de. columns on the day previous. The sub-clared to be folly — the language in which editor denied the fact. The indignant such sentiments are uttered is already in committee thereupon produced the para. course of putrefaction. And when the graph in question – which had been lives of the great multitude of men and quoted and commented upon in a “lead- women, and even of children, are wholly ing” article and asked for an explana engrossed with the care and struggles tion. “I never read the leading articles,” necessary to surmount the difficulties and replied the peccant sub-editor; “I have soften the liardships of merely animal too much regard for pure English to run existence, and when consequently little the risk of contamination."
time or taste is left them for intellectual When, about forty years ago, Albany enjoyment or mutual improvement, the Fonblanque of the Examiner, John Black, deterioration of language receives an im. Charles Buller, and W. J. Fox of the petus which gradually bastens the unde