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 Front Matter

Group Title: A gross literary fraud exposed; : relating to the publication of Worcester's dictionary in London.
Title: A gross literary fraud exposed
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001393/00001
 Material Information
Title: A gross literary fraud exposed relating to the publication of Worcester's dictionary in London
Physical Description: 24 p. : ; 24cm.
Language: English
Creator: Worcester, Joseph E ( Joseph Emerson ), 1784-1865
Publisher: Jenks, Hickling, and Swan
Place of Publication: Boston
Publication Date: 1853
Subject: English language -- Lexicography   ( lcsh )
General Note: Cover title.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00001393
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000584551
oclc - 01034614
notis - ADB3183
lccn - 01011195
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
        Page 3
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Full Text









W9do k


::L. Z


Cambridge, September 30,1853.
GENTLEMEN, The fact that an edition of my Uriiver-
sal and Critical Dictionary of the English Language," with
a false title and a garbled and mutilated preface, has been
published in London, has recently come to my knowl-
edge; and I have had some correspondence on the subject
with Mr. Wilkins, of the late firm of Wilkins, Carter,
& Co., the original publishers of the Dictionary. As you
are now the publishers of it, I send this correspondence
to you, together with a correction of some false state-
ments relating to myself, which the publishers of Dr.
Webster's Dictionary have made and circulated very
widely, with a request that you will get these matters
printed and put in circulation, in order that this literary
fraud may be exposed. I am sorry to have occasion to
make such a request; but it seems proper that some-
thing should be done; and it is my wish that such a
course may be adopted as may tend to set matters right,
as far as the case admits.
I do not wish any thing ever to be said or done, in order
to promote the circulation of my literary publications,
that is not in strict accordance with truth and propriety,
or that can give reasonable offence to any one. The
world is wide enough, and the demand for useful books
sufficient, to give employment to all literary laborers, who
make use of proper means for preparing books which will
promote the improvement of society; and I see no good
reason for hostile contention between those who make
such books, or between those who sell them.
Respectfully yours,

~I~_ ~1~1~




Cambridge, August 24, 1853.
DEAR SIR, -Not long since I saw, in an English
journal, an advertisement of a Dictionary published in
London, in the title of which my name was connected
with that of Dr. Noah Webster, in a way that I did not
understand, and could not account for; and in the Boston
Daily Advertiser, of the 5th instant, there is a communica-
tion with the signature of G. & C. Merriam, the publishers
of Webster's Dictionary, from which the following para-
graphs are extracted: -
Mr. Worcester having been employed by Dr. Webster
or his family, to abridge the American Dictionary of the
English Language, some years afterwards, and subse-
quently to Dr. Webster's death, in presenting to the pub-
lic a Dictionary of his own, of the same size as the
Abridgment prepared by him of Webster, says in his
Preface, that he 'is not aware of having taken a single
word, or the definition of a word' from Webster in the
preparation of his work.
Now mark this fact. An edition of Worcester's Dic-
tionary has recently been published in London, and sought
to be pushed there, in which the paragraph we have cited
is carefully suppressed, and is advertised as 'Webster's
Critical and Pronouncing Dictionary, &c., enlarged and
revised by Worcester.' On the title-page Webster is

placed first, in large type, and Worcester follows in an-
other line in smaller type; and the book is lettered on the
back Webster's and Worcester's Dictionary'!"
Now this was new and surprising to me; for I did not
know thEt my Dictionary had been published in London.
Since seeing this statement, I have called three or four
times at your office in Boston to make inquiry of you
respecting the matter; but did not find you in till yester-
day. I had, however, seen Mr. Rice, who was lately con-
necte'd with you in business, and he told me that the
Dictionary had been published in London, and that he.
believed you had a copy of the London edition. On
seeing you yesterday, you said that you had a copy, and
that you would send it to me. I have this morning re-
ceived it; and I am astonished to find that the title is as
follows :-
A Universal, Critical, and Pronouncing Dictionary of
the English Language: including Scientific Terms, com-
piled from the materials of NOAH WEBSTER, LL.D. By
JOSEPH E. WORCESTER. New Edition, to which are added
Walker's Key to the Pronunciation of Classical and
Scripture Proper Names, enlarged and improved; a Pro-
nouncing Vocabulary of Modern Geographical Names;
and an English Grammar. London: Henry G. Bohn,
4, 5, and 6 York Street, Covent Garden."
The true title of my Dictionary is as follows:-
A Universal and Critical Dictionary of the English
Language: to which are added Walker's Key to the
Pronunciation of Classical and Scripture Proper Names,
much enlarged and improved; and a Pronouncing Vocab-
ulary of Modern Geographical Names. By JOSEPH E.
I find that the Preface is garbled and much altered;
and several omissions are made. One of the matters
omitted in it is the following statement, viz.: -" With
respect to Webster's Dictionary, which the compiler several

years since abridged, he is not aware of having taken a
single word, or the definition of a word,from that work in
the preparation of this."
I do not kno*r that the truth of this statement has ever
been explicitly' denied, and I do know that it has never
been disproved. You will see how inconsistent--how
false and injurious is the statement in the Title of the
London edition, compiled from the materials of Noah
Webster"! The person who remodelled the Title and
Preface of the London edition, must have known that he
was contradicting the statement which I made in my
Preface; and the publishers of Webster's Dictionary are
endeavoring to make use of this dishonest proceeding
of the London publisher to my injury, and in such a
manner as no honorable or honest men would do, if they
knew the facts in the case.
I would now ask, what is to be done in this matter?
You will not suppose that I ought to feel satisfied to have
it remain uncontradicted; yet I am very averse to appear
before the public in any controversy relating to a publica-
tion of my own. You are aware, as well as other per-
sons who have been concerned in publishing works which
I have prepared for the press, that my habit has been to
leave my books to the management of the publishers,
without defending them from any attack, or doing any
thing to injure any works that may come in competi-
tion with them; nor do I wish ever to deviate from this
As I have no pecuniary interest in the London edition of
the Dictionary, I think I am entitled to be protected from
being injured by it in this manner; and as you have made
the contract, if there has been one made, with the London
publisher, I must call your attention to the subject; and
I do so in full confidence that you will wish to have the
matter set right, and have no wrong done to any one.
Truly yours,

Boston, August 31, 1853.
DEAR Sr, Your favor of the 24th instant came duly
to hand, but I have not had leisure until now to an-
swer it.,
Early in 1847, Mr. James Brown, of the firm of Little,
Brown, & Co. of this city, was about to visit Europe;
and we (Wilkins, 'Carter, & Co.) authorized him to nego-
tiate for the publication of your Dictionary in England if
he had opportunity, and particularly with Mr. Bohn, from
whom we had received an application for the privilege.
Subsequently Mr. Brown informed us of an offer he had
received from Mr. Bohn, and furnished us with the letter
from Mr. Bohn to him; to the proposals in which we
acceded, and in October of that year shipped the plates
to London.
I remember perfectly well that we felt some doubt
in regard to the validity of a contract made on paper
not bearing a stamp; but we supposed Mr. Bohn was
an honorable man, and would not repudiate it.
After shipping the plates we heard nothing from Mr.
Bohn until the next year, when we became somewhat
impatient of the delay, and we wrote him urging him to
go on in fulfilment of his agreement. We received an
answer stating that he was sorry the plates had been sent.
And we learned that he had become interested in the
sale of Webster's Dictionary. Several letters passed be-
tween him and us, but we were unable to induce him to
fulfil his agreement.
In the autumn of 1849, more than two years after the
plates were sent, Mr. Carter went to Europe for his health,
- intending to see Mr. Bohn and come to some arrange-
ment with him. But his health did not allow of this. In
the summer or autumn of 1850, Mr. Bohn wrote us asking
our lowest terms to sell the plates, which I named, -
never dreaming that any other use would be made of
them than that of publishing your Dictionary under your

name. He accepted my offer, and the transfer of the
plates was effected.
On Mr. Carter'sareturn from Italy, in the summer of
1851, he brought home a copy of his (Mr. Bohn's) bare-
faced publication.' You can judge of our surprise, I might
say amazement, at the audacity of this literary fraud.
We felt very uncomfortable about it, but did not see
that any thing could be done to remedy the evil. Mr.
Carter was never afterwards able to attend to business,
and the subject of this publication was never further con-
sidered between us.
You may well think it strange that I did not at the
time call your attention to the subject of this literary
imposition; but as I did not see any means of remedying
the evil, and knowing that the condition of your eyes was
such that you could make but little if any use of them, I
did not feel in haste to trouble you with a knowledge of
it. I have, however, never seen any notice of this spuri-
ous publication in this country, until you called my at-
tention to one. Had any such notice met my eye, I should
certainly have deemed it my duty to call your attention
to the volume brought home by Mr. Carter.
Had I leisure to narrate the details of our business
transaction with Mr. Bohn, I think it would appear to
be, on his part, as commercially dishonorable, as this liter-
ary enterprise is fraudulent and disgraceful.
Your obedient servant,

In my letter to Mr. Wilkins, I say, in relation to the
statement that I am not aware of having taken a single
word, or the definition of a word, from Dr. Webster's Dic-
tionary, in the preparation of mine," that "I do not know
that the truth of this statement had ever been explicitly
denied." But the title of the London edition states that
my Dictionary was compiled from the materials of Noah
Webster "! and the publishers of Webster's Dictionary

seem to insinuate very strongly, in the paragraphs which
I have quoted, as they have also done on other occasions,
that the.;statement is not correct. But if there is a word
or the definition of a word that was, in the preparation
of riy Dictionary, taken from that of Dr. Webster, I am
ignorant of the fact. Having had some knowledge of Dr.
Webster's readiness to complain of improper use being
made of his work,* I resolved that, in preparing my Diction-
ary, I would forego all the benefit which might be derived
from the use of the materials found in his work, so that
I might not give the least occasion for an accusation of
the kind, and might be enabled to make the statement which
I did make, and which I challenge any one to disprove.

Having felt it incumbent on me to expose the dis-
honest proceedings of the London publisher, it may not
be improper for me to notice some other false statements,
designed to injure me, which the publishers of Webster's
Dictionary have repeatedly made and widely circulated.
As these statements have not been publicly contradicted,
they have doubtless done me injury in the minds of many.
The quotation above made from their communication
to the Boston Daily Advertiser begins thus:--" Mr.
Worcester having been employed by Dr. Webster or
his family to abridge the American Dictionary of the
English Language"; and in their Advertising Pamphlet
they say, Mr. Worcester was employed by Dr. Webster
or his family to prepare an Abridgment of the American
Dictionary," accompanying the statement with injurious
reflections. As this statement has been so often rnade
in a form designed to do me injury, and as it is doubtless
true that many persons may have been made to believe
that there was something wrong or dishonorable on my
part, I think it proper that the public should have the
means of knowing the facts in the case.

See Appendix.

The statement that I "was employed by Dr. Webster
or his family to abridge the American Dictionary," is
void of truth. The gentleman who employed me was
Sherman Converse, Esq., the original publisher of Dr.
Webster's Dictionary. So far was the task from being
one of my own seeking, that I declined two applications
that were made to me to undertake it, and one reason was
the fear that it would bring me into some difficulty or em-
barrassment in relation to the Comprehensive Diction-
ary," which I was then preparing; but the matter was urged
upon me by Mr. Converse, after I had stated my objec-
tions. If any one shall say that I committed an error in
judgment in finally consenting to make the abridgment, I
shall certainly, on that point, not contend with him, for
it has been to me a matter of much regret that I did so,
as may readily be believed from what has taken place.
But I am conscious of having acted in good faith in the
matter, and of not having deserved ill treatment from Dr.
Webster or his friends.
After seeing the publication above referred to in the
'Daily Advertiser, I sent a copy of it to Mr. Converse,
(whom I had seen but once, I believe, for more than fifteen
years,) accompanying it with a letter, in which I requested
him to give a brief statement of the facts in the case; and
I received from him the following letter: -

Newburgh, N. Y., August 31, 1853.
DEAR SIR,- Having been absent from New York for
several weeks, I have but just received your favor of the
12th instant, with a copy of the Boston Daily Advertiser
accompanying it. I have read the article in the Adver-
tiser, in which your name is coupled with that of the
octavo abridgment of Mr. Webster's larger work. Authors
are sometimes sensitive, but really I do not think you
have much occasion for anxiety in regard to your repu-
tation, either personal or literary. But since you ask me


to say whether I "know of any thing wrong or dis-
honorable on your part in relation to that Abridgment,"
I answer, Nfothing whatever.
The simple history of the whole matter is this. I had
published Mr. Webster's great Dictionary, and presented
it to the public. The labor had cost from two to three
years of the best portion of my business life, without any
adequate remuneration. For this I looked to an Abridg-
ment, and such future editions of the larger work as the
demand might authorize. But if I published an Abridg-
ment, I wished to stereotype it, and, as a business man,
I desired it to be made by an able hand, and with some
variations, of minor importance, from the original. On
conferring with Mr. Webster upon the subject, he stated
two objections to my views. He felt that he had not the
physical power left to perform the labor in a reasonable
time, and that he could not preserve his literary consist-
ency and be responsible for the variations which I de-
sired. Yet, as I had published the great work after it had
been declined, and that not very graciously, by all the
principal booksellers on both sides of the Atlantic, he was
willing that Ishould derive any remuneration I might an-
ticipate from an octavo abridgment. With these views
and feelings, he consented to commit the subject to the
mutual discretion of Professor Goodrich and myself;
setting a limit, however, beyond which variations should
not be made; and that he might not incur the least re-
sponsibility for such variations as the abridgment might
contain, I understood him to say, he should give the copy-
right to another.
As soon as Mr. Webster had made his decision, which
was probably a sacrifice of feeling on his part to do me
a favor, I applied to you to undertake the labor. You de-
clined, and so decidedly that I made a visit to Cambridge
for the sole purpose of urging your compliance with my
request. You assured me that you could not undertake
to abridge Mr. Webster's Dictionary, for the very good

reason that you had then already made considerable prog-
ress in preparing a Dictionary of your own. At the
same time, you showed me a Synopsis of words of dis-
puted pronu*iation, with the respective authorities. But
the result 6f 6ur interview was an agreement on your part
to abridge the Dictionary for me, and to allow me to use
your Synopsis, with the express reservation of the right to
use it as your own, for your own Dictionary. And I must
say that my persuasive powers were very severely taxed
in securing the desired result.
I returned to New Haven, and subsequently called on
you in company with Mr. Goodrich, when the matter of
variations was settled, and you entered upon the labor;
and I am free to say you performed it to my entire satis-
faction, and I believe to that of Professor Goodrich also,
for I never heard an intimation to the contrary.
I am very faithfully yours,

It may not perhaps be improper for me to give brief
extracts from letters which I received from Dr. Webster
and Professor Goodrich, very soon after they had been in-
formed that I "had consented to undertake the abridg-
The following is an extract from a letter of Dr. Webster
to me, dated New Haven, July 27, 1828:--
Sir, Mr. Converse has engaged you to abridge my
Dictionary, and has requested me to forward you the
copy of the first volume. This was unexpected to me;
but under the circumstances, I have consented to it, and
shall send the copy."
The following is an extract from a letter of Professor
Goodrich to me, dated Yale College, July 28, 1828:-
My dear Sir, Mr. Converse, who was here on Satur-
day, informed us that you had consented to undertake the
abridgment of Mr. Webster's Dictionary. This gives me

and Mr. Webster's other friends the highest satisfaction;
for there is no man in the United States, as you know
from conversation with me, who would be equally ac-
ceptable." i

The publishers of Webster's Dictionary, in order to
make it appear that I have been inconsistent with myself
in relation to orthography, say: In 1827, an edition of
Todd's Johnson's Dictionary, 1 vol. 8vo, was published in
Boston, of which Mr. Worcester was the American editor.
Having the entire control of the matter, he retained the k
in words terminating in c, as music, physick, almanack,
&c., and the u in honour, favour, author, and that large
class of words." And they say further, in relation to
orthography: Worcester, not guided by any system or
principles of his own, but seeking to fall in with the con-
stantly changing practice of the hour," &c.
"Johnson's English Dictionary, as improved by Todd
and abridged by Chalmers, with Walker's Pronouncing
Dictionary combined," first published in Boston in 1827,
was edited by me on principles fixed upon by the publish-
ers and some literary gentlemen, who were their coun-
sellors in the matter; and of these counsellors, the one who
did the most in the business was the late learned and
much respected Mr. John Pickering. It was made my
duty to conform to the principles established for my guid-
ance; and Ihad no "control of the matter." The Diction-
ary was to contain Johnson's orlh, .-ra7pllY1, and Walker's
pronunciation. I was so far from defending the use of the
final k in music, physic, &c., that I said in relation to it, in
my Preface to that Dictionary: The general usage, both
in England and America, is at present so strongly in favor
of its omission, that the retaining of it seems now to
savor of affectation or singularity."
As the orthography of this Dictionary was that of John-
son, so the orthography of the Abridgment of Webster's
Dictionary made by me, was that of Webster, with some

variations which were decided upon by "his representa-
tive," and over which I had no control. The only orthog-
raphy for which I am responsible is that found in my
own Dictionaries.
These publishers further charge me with "adopting
several of Dr. Webster's peculiarities, omitting the k and
u," &c. I am not aware of having adopted any of Dr.
Webster's "peculiarities" relating either to orthography
or pronunciation; and if any such can be found in my
Dictionary, I should certainly not regard them as adding
to the value of the work.
With respect to the omission of k in music, public, &c.,
it may be stated, in addition to what is said above, that it
was omitted in that class of words in Martin's English
Dictionary, published in 1749, before that of Johnson; and
it has been omitted in many other Dictionaries published
since; and the omission of u in honor, favor, &c. was
countenanced in the'Dictionaries of Ash and Entick, pub-
lished long before that of Dr. Webster. The fact that this
orthography was the prevailing usage with the best authors
in this country was a good reason for adopting it.
There are other falsehoods relating to me, contained in
the Advertising Pamphlet of these publishers, which I pass
by without particular notice.

With respect to the manner in which my Dictionary
has generally been noticed in Reviews and Literary Jour-
nals, so far as 1 have seen such notices, I have reason to
be entirely satisfied. There is, however, an article upon it
in the American Review, published in New York, (written,
as I have been informed, by a Professor at New Haven, at
the time when the new edition of Dr. Webster's Diction-
ary was preparing at that place,) which is in remarkable
contrast to any other review of the work that I have seen.
The reputed author of this article has been employed by
the publishers of Dr. Webster's Dictionary as a public


advocate of that work; and his notice of mine is so
much to their purpose, that they have seen fit to insert
a great part of it in their Advertising Pamphlet. Con-
sidering the circumstances under which this article was
written;, and the manifest object of it, such of the alleged
imperfections in the Dictionary as are founded in truth,
are not greater or more numerous than might reasonably
be expected.
As a specimen of the candor and truthfulness of the
writer of this review, I quote a part of what he says in
relation to what the author of the Dictionary has done
with respect to words differently pronounced by different
orthoipists:-" He has," says the reviewer, "collected
and attached to every important word, every method of
pronouncing it that has ever been recommended by a
writer, whether great or small, conceited or well-informed,
judicious or affected."
Now the following is the true statement of what is done,
in the Dictionary, in relation to words differently pro-
nounced by different orthoepists, as may be seen on page
xxiv.: -" The English authorities most frequently cited
in this volume are Sheridan, Walker, Perry, Jones, Enfield,
Fulton and Knight, Jameson, Knowles, Smart, and Reid,
all of whom are authors of Pronouncing Dictionaries. In
addition to these, various other English lexicographers
and ortho6pists are frequently brought forward, as Bailey,
Johnson, Kenrick, Ash, Dyche, Barclay, Entick, Scott,
Nares, Maunder, Crabb, and several others; besides the
distinguished American lexicographer, Dr. Webster."

There has been, as I have understood, considerable
controversy relating to the Dictionaries in the newspapers
and literary journals, particularly in the city of New York;
but it took place when I had little use of my eyesight, and
I have seen little of it. While my Dictionary was passing
through the press, one of my eyes became blind by a cata-

ract, and not a great while after, the sight of the other
eye was lost in the same way; and though my eyesight
has been in some measure restored, yet for a great portion
of the time since its failure, I have been able to do little
or nothing as a student; so that it has been impossible
for me to make such a revision of my different publica-
tions, as I might otherwise have done.
The manner in which my literary productions have
generally been noticed by the press and patronized by the
public, calls for the expression of gratitude much more
than for complaint. It is with great reluctance that I
have been induced to appear before the public in a
manner that may savor so much of egotism; but the
base conduct of the London publisher especially seemed
to render it necessary that something should be done;
and I trust that nothing which has here been said in my
defence will be found inconsistent with truth or propriety.
I have acted wholly on the defensive, and I have no dis-
position "to dip my pen in gall," or to make a hostile
attack on any one, or to speak disparagingly of any pub-
lication that may come in competition with mine. I
have not, so far as I know, ever seen or ever injured
any one of the persons on whose course I have made
strictures. Whether their consciences are at ease in this
matter or not, is a question that concerns themselves
more than it does me. For myself, I would rather be
the subject than the perpetrator of such falsehood and


As the question respecting the use made of the materials of Dr.
Webster" has become one of so much importance, I have thought,
on further reflection, that it is proper the public should have the
means of better understanding the reasons which induced me to take
the course which I did, in preparing my "Universal and Critical
Dictionary." My course, which was known to some of my literary
friends, was objected to; for I was told that, by totally abstaining
from such use of Dr. Webster's Dictionary, I deprived myself of ad-
vantages for improving my own, which I might, to some extent,
without impropriety, avail myself of; but I was sure, from what had
already taken place, that I could not make such use, to a degree
that would be of any benefit to me, without subjecting myself to
such reproach as would be very unpleasant. I therefore merely
cited Dr. Webster's authority in relation to words differently pro-
nounced by different orthoepists.
The necessity, in order to avoid reproach, of my taking the
course I did in relation to the Universal Dictionary, must be suffi-
ciently obvious to all who know what took- place with respect to my
previous work, entitled the Comprehensive Dictionary, which was
first published in 1830. In November, 1834, there appeared in the
"Worcester Palladium," (a newspaper published at Worcester,
Mass.,) at the instigation, as I was informed, of an agent for Dr.
Webster's Dictionaries, an attack upon me, in which the following
language was used : -" A gross plagiarism has been committed by
Mr. J. E. Worcester on the literary property of Noah Webster,
Esq. ..... Mr. Worcester, after having become acquainted with Mr.
Webster's plan, immediately set about appropriating to his own
benefit the valuable labors, acquisitions, and productions of Mr.
Webster. ..... If we had a statute which could fix its grasp on those
who pilfer the products of mind, as readily as our laws embrace the
common thief, Mr. Worcester r,..'!,71 a.ir!.la, .. ,,I, i;-.it mulct."
At this time the Christian Register," published in Boston, was

edited by Professor Sidney Willard, who happened to be as well ac-
quainted with my lexicographical labors and the circumstances re-
lating to them, as almost any gentleman in the community; and he
answered this (as.he styled it) ferocious assault," in such a manner
as he thought jproer, before I had any knowledge that such an as-
sault had been made.. In order to sustain his accusation, the editor
of the Palladium enumerated twenty-one words, which he said "are
found in none of the English Dictionaries in common use, and were
undoubtedly taken from Webster's." I thought proper to send to
the editor an answer to his attack. In a succeeding number of the
Palladium, there appeared a short letter to the editor from Dr. Web-
ster, dated New Haven, December 11th, 1834, in which he said,
" That he [Worcester] borrowed some words and definitions, I sup-
pose to be proved by the fact that they are found in no British Dic-
tionary; at least in none that I have seen." Subsequently there
appeared, in the Palladium, a letter from Dr. Webster, addressed to
me, dated January 25th, 1835. This wag followed by an answer
from me, dated February 6th. Two more letters from Dr. Webster
followed, together with my answers. The editor of the Christian
Register transferred the whole correspondence into his paper.
By perusing all that appeared in these two newspapers, the Palla-
dium and the Register, the reader would have the means of judging
of the merits of the case, and would be able to understand something
of the circumstances and reasons which' induced me to take the
course of abstaining entirely from the use of the materials found in
Dr. Webster's Dictionary. But as it might tax the patience of the
reader too much to place before him all this matter (which may be
seen by examining the files of those newspapers), I will now insert
Dr. Webster's first letter to me, dated January 25, together with my
answer. This letter contains Dr. Webster's chief specifications
against me, a list of 121 words, which," he said, "prim facie,
would seem to be taken from his Dictionary." In his subsequent
letters, he did not specify any more words as borrowed from him;
and the only word specified, with respect to which he accused me of
"adding his definitions," was the word clapboard; and in that, I-
may say, he succeeded no better in his evidence, than with respect
to the charge of borrowing the 121 words. The reader will please
to compare the specifications and the evidence with the charges
against me, quoted from the Worcester Palladium, and characterize
the whole transaction as he may see fit.



From the Worcester Palladium.
New Haven, January 25, 1835.

SIR, -Before I saw, in the Worcester Palladium, a charge
against you of committing plagiarism on my Dictionary, I had not
given much attention to your Dictionary. Nor have I now read and
compared with mine one tenth part of the work. But in running
over it, in a cursory manner, I have collected the following words,
which, primifacie, would seem to have been taken from my Dic-
tionary : -


Hydrant Olivaceous
Irredeemable Ophiologist
Instanter Ophiology
Isothermal Philosophism
Johannes Phosphoresce
Judiciary (noun) Phosphorescence
Kumiss Phosphorescent
Land-office Prayerful
Lapstone Prayerless
Landslip Promisee
Leach Pappoose
Leachtub Pistareen
Magnetize Pledgee
Mazology Postfix
Mishna Postnote
Moccason Raca
Monitorial Ramadan
Muscovado Razee
Muskrat, or Redemptioner
Musquash Rhabdology
Notarial Rock-crystal
Neap (of a cart, 4-c.) Roil, roily
Neptunian Repealable
Outlay Safety-valve
Obsidian Semiannual
Obstetrics Sectional
Ochlocracy Sabianism

Saltrheum Succotash Tuffoon
Savings-bank Selectman Uranology
Scorify Sparse Varioloid
Scow Sou Vapor-bath
Sheepshead Souvenir Vermivorous
Spry Suffix, n. 4- v. Vishna
Squirm Tirade Voltaism
Spinning-jenny Tenderloin Volcanist
Spinning-wheel Teraphim Waffle
Seraskier Test, v. Whiffletree
Siderography Thammuz Wilt
Siderographical Tetaug Winter-kill
Slump Tomato Zumology.
I will thank you, Sir, to state in what other Dictionary, except
mine, you found the foregoing words, and how many or which you
borrowed from mine.
Your compliance with this request will oblige
Your humble servant,

Cambridge, February 6, 1835.
SIR, On Friday last I received a copy of the Worcester Palla-
dium, in which was found a letter addressed by you to me, contain-
ing a list of one hundred and twenty-one words from my Dictionary,
"which," you say, "prima facie, would seem to have been taken
from your Dictionary"; and you add that you will thank me to
state in what other Dictionary, except yours, I found the words, and
how many or which I borrowed from yours."
As a lawyer, Sir, you are aware, that, when an accusation is
made, the burden of the proof lies not with the accused, but with
the accuser. It might not, therefore, perhaps be improper for me
to take the ground that your request is an unreasonable one, and for
that reason to decline to comply with it. I will not, however, avail
myself of this right. I think I may truly say that in my transac-
tions with you, it has been my intention to act uprightly and faith-
fully, nor do I know that an individual of those who are most
acquainted with the facts (yourself excepted) has a different impres-

sion. In answer to the charges which have appeared against me in
the Worcester Palladium, I have already made some statements of
facts, none 6f which, so far as I know, have been, or can be, dis-
proved. You now call for something further, and it shall be cheer-
fully granted. I feel indeed gratified by the manner in which you
have been pleased to make the request; for though I have no love
of contention, yet if I must be dragged into a newspaper controversy
in defence of myself in this matter, I should prefer that, of all men
in the world, it should be with yourself, writing under your own
You evidently supposed, Sir, that none of the words in your list
were to be found in any Dictionary that was published before the
appearance of your work; but I confess I am somewhat surprised
at this fact, inasmuch as, from your reputation as a lexicographer, it
might naturally be supposed that you were extensively acquainted
with works of this sort, and especially with the works which are so
well known to all persons who have any just pretensions to much
knowledge of this kind of literature, as are the several publications
which I shall name. I shall not go out of my own library, or men-
tion any work that I was not in the habit of consulting in preparing
my Dictionary.
Of the one hundred and twenty-one words in your list, eighteen
are found in an edition of Bailey's Dictionary, published more than
a century ago, and twenty-one in a later edition; thirty-five, in Ash's
Dictionary, published in 1775; thirty-seven, in Todd's Johnson's
Dictionary combined with Walker's, edited by J. E. Worcester, and
published before the appearance of yours; twenty-one, in Mr. Pick-
ering's Vocabulary, published in 1816; not less than thirty in the
Encyclopedia Americana, and nearly as many in Brewster's New
Edinburgh Encyclopwdia;-and in these several works, upwards of
ninety of the words are found, and many of them several times re-
peated. I have, in addition to the works above mentioned, about
fifty English Dictionaries and Glossaries, in a majority of which 1
have ascertained that more or less of the words in question are to be
found, but I have not leisure, at present, to go through a minute ex-
amination of them.
Of your hundred and twenty-one words, six or seven are not to be
found, so far as I can discover, in your Quarto Dictionary, and one
of them is one of those three thousand words which are contained
in Todd's Johnson's Dictionary, but are not to be found in your


great work, and which were inserted by me in the octavo abridgment
of your Dictionary.; Whether any of the others are among the
words which were( inserted in the abridgment at my suggestion, I
cannot say with certainty.
From the preceding statement, you may perceive, Sir, that your
primd facie evidence is sufficiently disposed of, as it respects the
most of the words in question. You inquire in what other Dic-
tionary the words are to be found; and in your former communi-
cation to the Worcester Palladium, you were so candid as to say,
" that I borrowed some words from you, you suppose to be proved
by the fact that they are found in no British Dictionary; at least in
none that you have seen." Now, Sir, it appears to me that it would
be quite as sound logic to infer from the above statements, that you
have not seen, or at least have not carefully examined, many British
Dictionaries, as it would to infer, with respect to a list of words, that
because you do not know of their existence in British Dictionaries,
they must, therefore, have been taken from yours; for it appears
sufficiently evident that there may be words in British Dictionaries
that you are not aware of. You seem also to have overlooked the
circumstance that there are, besides Dictionaries, other sources for
obtaining words, which are open to me, as well as to you; and if my
success in finding words out of Dictionaries should bear as good a
comparison with yours, as it seems to bear in finding the words in
question in them (I only put the case hypothetically), it would not
appear very wonderful, if I were able to find the few remaining
words without any assistance from your labors. Of the hundred and
twenty-one words, you have given authorities, in your Dictionary,
for only thirty-nine; but I can, without going out of my own library,
furnish authorities, in all cases different from yours, for upwards of
a hundred of them.
With respect to your inquiry, how many or which words I bor-
rowed from you, I have already said that I did not know that a single
one was inserted on your sole authority. I do not affirm this to have
been the fact, for I am aware that oversights of this sort may hap-
pen; but if any have been so inserted, I sincerely regret the circum-
stance, and will engage to erase from my Dictionary every word that
you will prove to have been thus inserted. But if I saw in your
Dictionary a word with which I was familiar, or which I knew was
in established use, or found in respectable authors, I regarded it as a
word belonging, not exclusively to any individual, but to all who

write and speak the language, to be used by them on all proper oc-
casions, even'though it was not to be found in any Dictionary but
yours. Tqke, for example, the very common compound word semi-
annual, onq in your list, which is not to be found in any of the Eng-
lish Dictionaries that I have examined, and you are entitled to the
merit, so far as I know, of having been the first to insert this word in
a Dictionary; yet you cannot doubt that I was familiar with this word
before your Dictionary was published; and as I have had occasion
to use it repeatedly in my other publications, I thought myself au-
thorized to insert it also in my Dictionary. All the words in your
own Dictionary were surely to be found in Dictionaries previously
published, or had been previously used by other persons, except such
as you coined or stamped anew, in order to enrich or embellish the
language; and with regard to all words which owed their origin or
new form to you, such as ammony, bridegoom, canail, island,
naivty, nightmare, prosopopy, &c., it has been my intention scrupu-
lously to avoid, as being your own property, and I have not even
inserted them in my Vocabulary of Words of Various Orthography,
being willing that you should for ever have the entire and exclusive
possession and use of them. There is a considerable number of
words in my Dictionary which are not to be found in yours; yet
they have all, I believe, had the sanction of respectable usage : I can
therefore claim no exclusive property in them; and you are perfect-
ly welcome, as I have before intimated to you, to have them all in-
serted in your Dictionary.
Should you be disposed, Sir, to pursue the examination of my Dic-
tionary further, and honor me with any more of your inquiries, I will
attend to them as promptly as my engagements may render it con-
Having paid such attention to your request as my engagements
have permitted, and answered your inquiry, in some measure, I
trust, to your satisfaction, I would now, Sir, respectfully make a re-
quest of you, which is, that you would be so good as to inform me
whether the charges against me in the Worcester Palladium were oc-
casioned by any statements made by you, or whether you have ever
made, or are now ready to make, any such statements.
Your compliance with this request will oblige
Your humble servant,

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