26 APRIL 1890, Page 13


[To THZ EDITOR OF THY "SPRCTATOR."] SIR,—You have done a real political service in giving a short and yet complete definition of the verb "to boycott,"—viz., "to -excommunicate for a secular purpose." This differentiates it from exclusive dealing, dropping an acquaintance, putting in Coventry, and other minor penalties with which apologists of the boycott try to confound it.

It may interest some readers to know that the word made its first appearance in print on November 13th, 1880, in a ''leader" of the Dublin Evening Mail. We read there : "They will make the tenantry in each locality think twice before they -undertake to 'Boycott' a farm, or a shop, or an agent." The word occurs twice afterwards in the same article, once in inverted commas, and the second time without. On the 16th, the word "Boycotting" appeared at the head of a paragraph in the Freeman's Journal. Its first appearance in the London Press (according to Dr. Murray's Dictionary) was in the Times, December 20th: "The people of New Pallas have resolved to Boycott them, and refused to supply them with meat and drink."—I am Sir, &c., Trinity College, Dublin, April 21st. GEO. F. SHAW.