Since it is the fourth of July today, I might perhaps draw on the possibility that many people will be Googling for “Independence Day” or indeed “the fourth of July” to invoke their help in identifying a reference.
I’ve already referred on this blog to my research on one of the earliest (anonymous) American English usage guides called Five Hundred Mistakes of Daily Occurrence (1856). Having just heard that my paper has been accepted for publication (thank you, Marina!) I was reminded of one the entries in the book:
134. “The Americans said they had no right to pay taxes.” [From a Fourth of July Oration.] They certainly had a right to pay them, if they wished. What the speaker meant was, they were under no obligation to pay, or, they were not bound to pay.
Apart from the fact that I’m not sure if I understand the point made here, I was wondering if anyone can help me identify the source, which I haven’t been able to find. Then again, it may just have been a spoken source (“oration”). Where should I look?
But: even if you are unable to help, American readers of the blog,
Happy Independence Day!