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Tincture of adulation

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 05, 2008 at 04:24

In Reply to: Tincture of adulation posted by RRC on October 04, 2008 at 21:18:

: : Where does the term "tincture of adulation" come from and what does it mean? e.g. "Without the slightest tincture of adulation, he was easy, courteous and affable." as found in "The Port Folio" By Joseph Dennie, John Elihu Hall.

: A tincture is an extract of the essence of something using alcohol. Since the pure essence is diluted with alcohol, metaphorically, it means a hint or trace of something.
: Adulation is excessive praise or flattery, so
: "Without a hint of excessive praise,..." He was nice without being obsequious, fawning, overly flattering, ingratiating, etc.

I found the old-fashioned language of the sentence quoted by Kate from the Port Foilo intriguing, and wondered whence it came. (I also enjoyed the less dated language of RRC in his excellent explanation.)

The Port Folio was a "politico-literary" periodical founded in 1801 by Joseph Dennie as a Federalist answer or antidote to Jeffersonia ideas and actions. Other authors besides Dennie contributed, but with Dennie's death in 1812 the magazine died as well. Most of the modern interest in the Port Folio seems to have been stirred by a slim book by Richard Dowling, "Literary Federalism in the Age of Jefferson; Joseph Dennie and the Port Folio,1801-1812" (Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1999). The reviews offer opinions both of Dowling and of Dennie. In one, Dennie is compared to Joseph Addison, co-founder, with Richard Steele, of The Spectator. I'm not sure why, since The Spectator began life in 1711, and the essays are not easily comparable to those in the Port Folio. The attacks on Jefferson by Dennie were sometimes so vicious that he was once sued for libel, though he was not found guilty.