Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I spent much of yesterday reading editions of The British Whig, from the 1850s and 1870s in relation to my research project on the Frontenac County Court House. The British Whig was one of Kingston's local papers in the 19th century, and a precursor of the current Whig-Standard.

The Whig-Standard, and most modern newspapers, don't write the way they used to. An excerpt from The British Whig, 29 June 1855:

One of the Apologies of the British Whig

The British Whig is a most unfortunate newspaper, everlastingly getting itself into all manner of scrapes. The use of the Cockney term, "Cock and lien Party," meaning simply that ladies and gentlemen were intermingled at the Dinner to the Governor General, has given deep and very serious offence to the Aristocracy of this good city. Now really, when no offence of any kind was intended, it is most stupidly ridiculous, to take offence; and if the aforsaid Aristocracy are offended, all that can be said is that the British Whig is very sorry - very sorry indeed, that it did not use a more elegant phrase.
The sarcasm is fantastic, as is the phrase "stupidly ridiculous."

Also of note, a bushel of potatoes could be purchased at the Kingston market for 3s.6p. and a pound of beef for a mere 6p. Also, you could have seasoned your beef with Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce; the product was advertised continuously in the Whig during the summer of 1855.

Posted by Matthew @ 11:24 a.m.

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Could this be a cause of the decline of the written word? It just ain't entertainin no mo'.

Everything is scrubbed and sanitized to remove offense, and is now boring to read.

Posted by Blogger Closet Liberal @ October 31, 2006 3:14 p.m. #

I was also thinking along those lines. Of course there is very little 'scrubbing or sanitizing' in the blogosphere.

Posted by Blogger Matthew @ October 31, 2006 4:14 p.m. #
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