The Humourist (April 9, 1754)

Just as the Humourist appeared mysteriously in the South Carolina Gazette on November 26, 1753, he disappears mysteriously with the announcement that appears below.  (Don’t forget, however, that I will continue my blog.  Next week, on April 16, I’ll share my plan for unveiling all the authorship “clues” that I have amassed since the blog began last November 26.)

[9 April 1754]

The HUMOURIST is become an Invalid, and as he loves Retirement must quit the foolish busy World, and please his vacant Hours with the secret Satisfaction of having intentionally displeased no one.  He thanks the Publick for having generously construed these Papers; but, for some private Reasons, is under a Necessity of declaring, that he will never more (either under this or any other Title, or on any Pretence, or on any Occasion whatsoever) enter the Lists of Authorism in this Province.

12 thoughts on “The Humourist (April 9, 1754)

  1. Well, this is very unsatisfactory. “Private reasons” are all very well, but I’m sure his faithful readers wanted to know more than that. Did no one write to the Editor requesting further details? Was his true identity such an open secret that everyone already knew the situation?

    I hope these authorship clues are unambiguous. I fear some among your readers may be nascent conspiracy theorists.


    • Of course, it is unsatisfactory! You can well imagine my shock when I found this “farewell” in the South Carolina Gazette. Your question regarding subsequent letters to the Editor is a valid one. Let me answer: no one wrote. As far as your speculation that his identity was an open secret and everyone knew, I think not. I believe that the public at large did not know The Humourist’s identity. Let me hasten to add that I do believe several people knew his identity and their knowledge may have led him to renounce authorship under any and all circumstances in the Province of South Carolina. And with that revelation, I have just tossed out a rather significant clue!

      The authorship clues are unambiguous as you will see when I disclose them, and, perhaps, as you have seen already in your own examination of the clues. They are abundant, from start to finish–even in his farewell note. Nascent conspiracy theorists among my readers? What a delightful and elevated prospect!


  2. I am hoping that the Wired Professor’s revelation (or “relevation” as it were, connecting us to higher understanding) will match the anticipation of months… And what of a next noble re-search? Noble?


    • Hmmm….relevation. I must check the Oxford English Dictionary to see whether such a word exists and how/when it was first used! Of course, the word exists. You just used it! Perhaps it was born here and defined here. Is it, however, part of the vernacular? Will it become such? Time will answer that question, just as time will show whether my forthcoming revelation will match months of anticipation. I have always found that heightened and prolonged anticipation brings heightened and intense enjoyment. I am confident that it will do the same as I move ahead with my plan to analyze the massive number of clues that allow me to solve this literary whodunit. Let me go one step further and say this. When I started my blog, I was 99% certain of the author’s identity based on my preliminary analysis of the clues. Now that I have gotten to The Humourist’s farewell announcement, I am 99.9% certain. How’s that! No reasonable person will be able to refute my authorial attribution claims. The case is that solid!


    • Your comment is an astute one! Thank you! Of course: “Lists of Authorism” was a common phrase then, used routinely by those familiar with the publication trade. Indeed, the South Carolina Gazette published such lists regularly. Do you think the Humourist was among such lists, a member of the publication trade ilke (or, at least familiar with the trade)? Maybe so. Maybe he is more than a mere Humourist!


      • Well, shoot. “Lists of authorism” as a literal list went right over my head. I must have read too many Sir Lancelot novels as a child because I assumed this list was a metaphor for the “competitive” (jousting) fields of battle. Which, considering that The Humourist has just “renounced” all further authorship, implies to me that he lost.


      • Dear, dear, dear Dindrane of Mallory! There are metaphors and then there are metaphors! This is NOT a metaphor. The Humourist is not jousting. He is literally renouncing. Excuse me: you lose!


  3. The suspense is killing me! I’m eager to read the clues to the identity.

    Also, after reading the farewell announcement, it seems a bit like he could be fishing for a response. I pictured a temper tantrum in print in an attempt to evoke a response from the readers. This most likely is not the case, but it humors me how it struck me this way. (“Humors” me…and he’s The Humourist! ha–I didn’t do that on purpose.)


    • How wonderful to have a WIRED follower! I hope that you are as WIRED as I am. If so, life will bring you joy after joy and surprise after surprise!

      That being said, do not anticipate too much too soon! Come Tuesday, April 16, I will reveal my plan for revealing the identity of the Humourist. You do understand, I am sure, that I cannot disclose the Humorist’s identity all at once: it would blind! I must disclose his identity gradually! (Aside from not blinding my followers, I do not want to lose them. Surely, mystery will compel them to stay with me! Agreed?)

      So, for now, dear follower, stay wired! You will not be disappointed. Never underestimate the joy of research!


      • Yes: Emily Dickinson captured that truth beautifully!

        Even so, I’ll wager that today’s character sketch of the Humourist is anything but gradual. It is not enough to blind, but it is enough to begin the process of disclosure. Classicist. Bibliophile. Historian. Lover of Literature. Painter. Indeed, it might be argued that those tags could fit anyone with a broad range of interests. However, it seems rather unlikely that one person would be not only interested in all those topics but also be knowledgeable in them. As we have seen already, the Humourist shows considerable depth of knowledge in those areas.


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