’Among those who joined it (the S.P.E.) immediately were Arthur J. Balfour, A.C. Bradley, Austin Dobson, Thomas Hardy, J.W. Mackail, Gilbert Murray, Mrs. Humphry Ward, and Mrs. Wharton.... The rallying of these men and women of letters was not more significant than the prompt adhesion of the Professors of English in the various British Universities: W.M. Dixon, Oliver Elton, E.S. Gordon, C.H. Herford, W.P. Ker, G.C. Moore-Smith, F.W. Moorman, A. Quiller-Couch, George Saintsbury, and H.C.K. Wyld....
’There is a peril to the proper development of the language in offensive affectations, in persistent pedantry, and in other results of that comprehensive ignorance of the history of English, which we find plentifully revealed in many of our grammars. It is high time that men who love the language, who can use it deftly and forcibly, and who are acquainted with the principles and the processes of its growth, should raise the standard of independence....
’It is encouraging to realize that the atrophy of the word-making habit is less obvious in the United States than it is in Great Britain.... We cannot but regret that it is not now possible to credit to their several inventors American compounds of a delightful expressiveness—windjammer, loan-shark, scare-head, and that more delectable pussy-footed—all of them verbal creations with an imaginative quality almost Elizabethan in its felicity, and all of them examples of the purest English.... We Americans made the compound farm-hand, and employ it in preference to the British [English?] agricultural labourer.
’The attention of the officers of the society may be called to the late Professor Lounsbury’s lively and enlightening History of the English Language, and to Professor George Philip Krapp’s illuminating study of Modern English.
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Of the proceedings of the Society for the first year ending Xmas, 1920.
The Society still remains governed by the small committee of its original founders: the support of the public and the press has been altogether satisfactory: the suggestions and programme which the committee originally put forward have met with nothing but favourable criticism; no opposition has been aroused, and we are therefore encouraged to meet the numerous invitations that we have received from all parts of the English-speaking world to make our activities more widely known. The sale of the Tracts has been sufficient to pay their expenses; and we are in this respect very much indebted to the Oxford University Press for its generous co-operation; for it has enabled us to offer our subscribers good workmanship at a reasonable price. The publication of this Tract IV closes our first ‘year’: we regret that the prevalent national disturbances have extended it beyond the solar period, but the conditions render explanation and apology needless.