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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 49

In America authors are to be found who make use of new or obsolete words which no good writer in this country would employ; and were it not for my destitution of leisure, which obliges me to hasten the occlusion of these pages, as I progress I should bottom my assertation on instances from authors of the first grade; but were I to render my sketch lengthy I should illy answer the purpose which I have in view.
  The British Critic, in April, 1808, admitted somewhat despairingly that the damage was already done—that “the common speech of the United States has departed very considerably from the standard adopted in England.” The others, however, sought to stay the flood by invective against Marshall and, later, against his rival biographer, the Rev. Aaron Bancroft. The Annual, in 1808, pronounced its high curse and anathema upon “that torrent of barbarous phraseology” which was pouring across the Atlantic, and which threatened “to destroy the purity of the English language.” 6 In Bancroft’s “Life of George Washington” (1808), according to the British Critic, there were gross Americanisms, inordinately offensive to Englishmen, “at almost every page.”   The Rev. Jeremy Belknap, long anticipating Elwyn, White and Lounsbury, tried to obtain a respite from this abuse by pointing out the obvious fact that many of the Americanisms under fire were merely survivors of an English that had become archaic in England, but this effort counted for little, for on the one hand the British purists enjoyed the chase too much to give it up, and on the other hand there began to dawn in America a new spirit of nationality, at first very faint, which viewed the differences objected to, not with shame, but with a fierce sort of pride. In the first volume of the North American Review William Ellery Channing spoke out boldly for “the American language and literature,” 7 and a year later