An addendum on the history of the word “linguist” in the sense ‘interpreter’

One of my first publications was an article titled “Jurebassos and Linguists: The East India Company and Early Modern English words for ‘interpreter’” (abstract; full paper as a pdf). The article is a fairly straightforward and I admit rather light-weight investigation of the Early Modern English semantic field of ‘interpreter’, in which I note that […]

Kindness is the child of money

Thomas Wilson (c. 1565-1629; ODNB link) – among other things, intelligencer, secretary to Sir Robert Cecil, MP, and Keeper of the State Papers at Whitehall – left quite an impressive paper trail of his life post-1600. Yet thus far I have only come across one letter from him to a family member, being CP 83/47 […]

A Brief Treatise of Arithmeticke (1588)

In looking for something completely different, I browsed through bits of John Mellis’s 1588 manual on bookkeeping, A briefe instruction and maner hovv to keepe bookes of accompts after the order of debitor and creditor & as well for proper accompts partible, &c. […] (London. STC 18794. EEBO. Huntington Library). It contains A Short and Plaine Treatise […]

Deer heads for Mr Secretary

This inclosed to your lordship is from francis Seagar seruant to the lantgraue of Hess [.]  he hath sent also to your lordship 2 deeres heades the one of a Rayne deere, the other of an Ealand a kynd of deer soe caled ther [.] the heades are heer att my chamber att somersett howse vntill I vnderstand your lordhip‘s pleasure […]

The reliability of “Winwood’s Memorials”

The three-volume Memorials of affairs of state in the reigns of Q. Elizabeth and K. James I, collected (chiefly) from the original papers of … Sir Ralph Winwood, edited by Edmund Sawyer, published in 1725 (2nd ed. 1727), is a hugely convenient work for those working on late Elizabethan and early Stuart State Papers, since […]

What’s Early Modern English for “Tom, Dick & Harry”?

The other manner of my prosecution of my cuntrym{ens} causes they so farr myslyke, as one Don francisco (a Judg delegate for the assisting of the Councell of warr, in Causes ther depending in law) hauing lately receaued very sharpe letters from his majestie here, reprouing his slow proceeding in those of ye King my […]

“I like not these gold-makers”

I haue had ferther conferrence with the Scotsman / which came from madrid 15 dais past, he sayeth he hath Letters from my lord Ambassador and that his lordshipp gaue hym fyve hvndred Crowns per order from his majestie of England /. and that an vnckell he hath in madrid gaue hym fyve hvndred Crowns […]

Why am I doing this again?

I cannot claim to be an organized person who follows through agendas to their logical conclusions. Instead, more often than not, I find myself running down tangential paths, chasing unicorns or lemurs or hunches of inklings of ticklings of possibilities. Pots of gold at the end of rainbows, that kind of thing. Recently, as part […]