English from 1500-2000
Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Dieter Kastovsky and Nikolaus Ritt
INGRID TIEKEN-BOON VAN OSTADE: “Disrespectful and too familiar”? Abbreviations as an Index of Politeness in 18 th -Century Letters 229
INGRID TIEKEN-BOON VAN OSTADE UNIVERSITY OF LEIDEN “Disrespectful and too familiar”? Abbreviations as an Index of Politeness in 18th-Century Letters1 1. Introduction On 13 November 1768, Robert Lowth (1710-1787), English gram- marian and at that time since two years Bishop of Oxford, wrote the following letter to his friend Glocester Ridley (1702-1774): Cuddesdon; Novr. 13 1768. (1) Dear Sr. I just now observe in ye. St. James’s Chronicle of Yesterday an Advertisement fm. the Chamber of ye. City of Exeter, for raising 3000ll on Anuities for Lives: they offer 10ll p. an– for 100ll on a Life of 60 years of age: Mrs. Lawman’s Anuity may therefore be purchased for 120ll: & the Security is better yn. yt. of many private person. If you approve of dealing with ym., I will write immediatly to Chancellor Quicke at Exeter to secure it; for as ye. sum to be raised is small, it will soon be filled. Pray let me have your answer immediately. Granville Sharpe, who publishes, never was in India: he is Son of ye. ye. [sic] late Archdeacon Sharp. Dear Sr. Your’s most Affly. R. Oxford. Cover: To/ The Revd. Dr. Ridley/ Poplar near/ London. 1 I am very grateful to Noel Osselton for presenting me with his notes on contractions and abbreviations in eighteenth-century spelling books, as well as for his comments on an earlier version of this article. I should also like to acknowledge the comments made on an earlier version of this paper by the anonymous referees....
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