SpecGram Vol CXLVII, No 3 Contents Letters to the Editor

Sic Orsus Vates

A Letter from the Managing Editor

In last months' letter, our story halted with SpecGram's cessation of publication in 1773 upon dissolution of the Society of Jesus. However, in 1794, the journal was revived, in revolutionary France of all places, by constitutional bishop Gregoire in support of Robespierre's struggle against dechristianization. Gregoire and SpecGram survived Robespierre's fall and even flourished for a brief period following Bonaparte's Concordata with the Pope in 1801. However, church-state relations soon worsened again, and SpecGram increasingly adopted an anti-Napoleonic line. In 1806, the journal published an anonymous article ridiculing the "preposterous Italianate mispronunciation of our language by certain high-ranking government officials", an article which the Corsica-born empoeror did not appreciate. Within a week, most of the editorial board was under arrest.

Editorial Associate Jacques Chirac saved the journal. A wealthy merchant, an atheist, and a resolute republican, he stowed the presses on one of his ships and fled to New Orleans, a US possession since 1803. Soon SpecGram was being published again, but it no longer had any clerical affiliation. New Orleans, a bustling multicultural and multilingual port city, proved to be an excellent headquarters, and SpecGram soon was recognized as the leading linguistic journal of the New World. But during the Civil War, SpecGram's pro-Confederacy stance, natural in a New Orleans-based publication, led General Benjamin Butler to shut down the journal during the Union occupation. The economic wreckage resulting from the war made the closure this time look to be permanent.

But the tradition of excellence was too strong. In 1882, a group of Northern carpetbagger intellectuals residing in Galveston bought the SpecGram name from its surviving former owners. The journal was published for almost twenty years, until the great hurricane of 1900 essentially wiped out the city. All back issues of the journal that were stored in Galveston were lost in the devastation, so that we, the current editors, only have issues dating back to 1901. That was the year when, along with many other survivors of the disaster, the editors of SpecGram decided to move themselves and their business inland to Houston.

That's pretty much it. Since 1901, SpecGram has been published in Houston, Texas, and enjoyed worldwide by a select group of discriminating readers. The editorial board has judged this issue to be as uniformly excellent as those which preceded it, so we urge you to sit back and revel in the intellectual delight which must spring from contemplation of the following pages.

By the way, that was Mikolaj Kruszewski on the cover of the last issue. If you don't know who he was, you ought to.

Letters to the Editor
SpecGram Vol CXLVII, No 3 Contents