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More information can be obtained by visiting the Thai Immigration website. The two main opportunities for work for foreigners are teaching English and dive instructor , but both are very competitive and dive masters in particular are paid a pittance. However, do not even consider working in Thailand without a valid work permit - you could easily end up deported and blacklisted form the country, always follow the rules!
To become a dive instructor, the most popular destination is Ko Tao Turtle Island a few hours off the coast of Chumphon in the Gulf of Thailand. There are dozens of dive shops that provide training and internships. Anyone with a four-year degree can gain employment as an English teacher in Thailand, and even those without a degree can usually find work under the table. As of , the Thai authorities are seriously cracking-down on foreigners working without the correct visa and work permit, so do not risk it by working illegally.
Normal starting salary is approximately 30, baht per month and this goes up and down slightly depending upon location higher in Bangkok, lower in some up-country towns. Some private teachers working at international schools can earn as much as , baht a month, however they will be very well qualified with a teaching qualification and many years of experience. There are so many opportunities with language centers, as they don't require a degree.
Providers include International House with locations in Bangkok www. Get your TEFL certification  at one of their training centers and start your international teaching career in Thailand or around the world after the four-week course. Finding any other kind of work in Thailand can be difficult, as wages are poor and a large number of occupations are legally off limits to non-Thais.
Thai law requires foreigner to earn quite a high wage to be eligible for a work permit. Companies and schools should assist employees to obtain visas and work permits, but some schools fear the extra work involved. Technically, even doing freelance work through the internet requires a work permit in Thailand, although some people seem to be doing this discretely.
If you can go about your work privately in your room, you may get away with it, but it is always advisable to stay on the correct side of the law. Working from shared spaces or internet cafes is highly inadvisable as eventually you should expect to be caught and deported. You may hear stories about people who have been working under the radar for years, however, you really do not want to be in the same boat. Volunteering is a great way to meet locals and experience the culture and traditions of Thailand.
Here are a couple of them:. Foreigners must obtain a work permit even to volunteer for small projects.
This is easier to obtain than a normal work permit, and can be issued even for one or two days. Tourists are advised to take these rules seriously. Thai jails are not comfortable; if you are arrested on a Friday you may not be able to contact anyone before Monday. The food alone is really reason enough for a trip to Thailand. Curries, fruit shakes, stir fries, fresh fish made a zillion ways - and that's just the beginning.
Since most backpackers will be sticking closer to the first than the second, one of the great things about Thailand is that food from stalls and tiny sidewalk restaurants is usually quite safe. Unlike some Asian countries, travellers should worry more about overeating or too much curry spice than about unclean kitchens and bad food. In fact, street restaurants, where you can see what you'll get and everything is cooked on the spot can be a safe option. Be very wary of eating something spicier than you are used to on the evening before a lot of travelling!
Thai food is most commonly eaten with fork and spoon. Hold the spoon in your right hand and use it to eat, and reserve the fork for piling food onto your spoon. Chopsticks are only employed for noodle soups and East Asian-style dishes. Thai food is meant for sharing. Everybody gets their own plate of rice and tiny soup bowl, but all the other dishes are laid out in the middle of the table and you're free to eat what you wish. Food is also generally brought out a dish at a time as it is prepared. It is not expected for diners to wait until all meals are brought out before they start eating as is polite in western culture.
Instead they should tuck into the nearest meal as it arrives. Thai cuisine is characterized by balance and strong flavors, especially lime juice , lemon grass and fresh coriander , the combination of which gives Thai food its distinctive taste. Thai dishes can be roughly categorized into central Thai food around Bangkok , northern Thai food from the northern region around Chiang Mai , with Burmese and Chinese influence , north-eastern Thai food from the Isaan region bordering with Laos and southern Thai food with heavy influences from Malaysia.
The following list covers some better-known dishes; see Isaan for Isaan food, which is widely available throughout the country. Thais are great noodle eaters. Unlike other Thai foods, noodles are usually eaten with chopsticks. They are also usually served with a rack of four condiments, namely dried red chillies , fish sauce, vinegar and sugar which diners can add to their own taste. Fish, in particular, is often deep-fried until the meat turns brown and crispy. A uniquely Thai flavor is achieved by drowning the ingredients in fish sauce, lime juice and chillies - the end result can be very spicy indeed!
In Thailand, there are many varieties of desserts. Most Thai people like to eat desserts that are made from coconut milk. Dumpling balls in coconut cream with egg is found everywhere in Thailand and it also is a popular dessert. This dessert is often enjoyed in the evening. The dumpling balls are made from flour, water and coloured water.
Dumpling balls in coconut cream with egg can also be found in colours such as green, purple, blue, yellow, pink, white and so on. Each colour is made from flowers and vegetables. The ingredients of this dessert contains eggs, coconut milk, taro, corn, and colourful dumpling balls. Most Thai people loves these because it is a hot coconut cream soup with dumpling balls and eggs and tastes sweet and creamy.
Banana in coconut milk are easy to buy and cook. The taste is creamy, sweet and silky. The ingredients are cheap and contains bananas, coconut milk, some salt and sugar. Most Thai people like to cook this dessert because of the affordable ingredients and the dish is easy to make. However, banana in coconut milk are easy to find in the supermarket and other shops.
That said, Thailand is a Buddhist country and vegetarianism is a fairly well-understood concept, especially among Chinese Thais many of whom eat only vegetarian food during several festivals. Tofu is a traditional Thai ingredient and they aren't afraid to mix it up in some non traditional dishes such as omelettes with or without eggs , submarine sandwiches, and burritos.
Since Thai dishes are usually made to order, it's easy to ask for anything on the menu to be made without meat or fish, but be careful because it's not impossible for someone to say that's fine and then put it in anyways. Bangkok features several fantastic veggie and vegan restaurants, but outside of big cities make sure to check that your idea of "veggie" matches the chef's.
Thailand has a large number of indigenous restaurant chains offering much the same fare as your average street stall, but with the added advantages of air conditioning, printed menus often in English and some semblance of hygiene. All the chains are heavily concentrated in Bangkok , but larger cities and popular tourist spots may have an outlet or two.
For those craving American-style pizza, try the ubiquitous The Pizza Company , which is a less expensive and arguably tastier local chain. Tap water is usually not drinkable in Thailand outside of Bangkok. In many places in Bangkok however, particularly in new buildings, drinking tap water is perfectly safe. However, if you don't want to chance it, buying a bottle of water is the obvious solution.
You can buy a large package of ice in most s for 7 baht, too. This is a clean the water is cleaned and UV-treated on the spot and extremely cheap option, also, this way you'll avoid making unnecessary plastic waste from empty bottles. These machines are widely available streetside in Chiang Mai. Available at restaurants and also from vendors that specialize in fruit juice. Fruit juices, freezes, and milkshakes of all kinds are very popular with Thais and visitors alike. Thais often add salt to their fruit juices-- an acquired taste that you might just learn to like. Thais also like to have basil seeds in their iced fruit juice sold on the road - which looks like small jelly balls down of the bottle.
Instantly identifiable thanks to its lurid orange colour, this is the side effect of adding ground tamarind seed or, these days, artificial colour during the curing process. The iced tea is always very strong and very sweet, and usually served with a dash of condensed milk; ask for chaa dam yen to skip the milk. Naam chaa is a loose term for plain tea without milk and sugar, being it black, Chinese or even green tea in some specific context.
Though mostly it'll refer to Chinese tea, asking for Naam chaa can give you any of these depending on what the restaurant serves. However, green tea is not so common in Thailand, in a sense. Ordering green tea outside of a Japanese style restaurant will most likely give you a sweet bottled green tea or sweet instant green tea which can be quite different from what you might expect. And if you happen to know that Dam means black in Thai, imitating the word structure of green tea hence asking for chaa dam will likely give you the cha dam yen mentioned above instead.
Ask for kaafae thung to get traditional filtered "bag" coffee instead of instant. Unlike tea, asking for kaafae dam will give you a black coffee but a lot of sugar is not uncommon. These are the places to look for if you want that triple-moccha latte with hazelnut swirl and are willing to pay 75 baht for the privilege. Herbal juice is characteristic of Thai drinks.
It makes from herbs in nature and it is folkways drinks of Thailand people as well. They call healthy drinks; they often drink herbal juice with ice. Basic process is squashing the herbal, it will give herbal juice. Also, herbal water has benefits to the body such that it can help you refreshed when you feel thirsty as well as it can help you to healthy such that it nurtures the skin ,nurtures the blood system and nurtures eyesight etc. Herbal drinks as the follows:. The Thai version, however, is syrupy sweet, uncarbonated and comes packaged in medicinal-looking brown glass bottles, as the target customers are not trendy clubbers, but Thailand's working class of construction workers and bus drivers in need of a pick-me-up.
And a pick-me-up it most certainly is; the caffeine content is higher even than Western-style Red Bull, and packs a punch equivalent to two or three shots of espresso coffee. Krathing Daeng and its many competitors including M, Shark,. Note that retail sales of alcohol in supermarkets, convenience stores etc are banned between midnight and and, more bizarrely, Restaurants and bars are not affected, and smaller, non-chain stores are often willing to ignore the rules.
However in certain circumstances these rules are relaxed for alcohol purchases above a particular quantity. For example if you purchase 5 liters of wine during the restricted period, then the purchase will not be allowed, however if you were to purchase say 10 liters of wine in the same period then this would be permitted. Up-market hotel bars and restaurants are probably the only places that are realistically likely to be exempt. Religious holidays and elections are normally the reason for these restrictions.
The misnamed Thai whisky lao refers to a number of liquors. Indeed, the only resemblances to whisky are the brown tinge and high alcohol content, and indeed many people liken the smell to nail polish remover, but the taste is not quite as bad, especially when diluted with cola or tonic water. This is also by far the cheapest way to get blotto, as a pocket flask of the stuff available in any convenience store or supermarket costs only around 50 baht.
While commercial versions are available, it's mostly distilled at home as moonshine, in which case it also goes by the name lao theuan "jungle liquor". Strictly speaking, both are illegal, but nobody seems to mind very much — especially when hilltribe trekking in the North you're likely to be invited to sample some, and it's polite to at least take a sip. While traditionally associated with Isaan , it's now sold nationwide under the brand Siam Sato , available in any at 25 baht for a 0. These are served by breaking the seal on the jar, adding water, and drinking immediately with either glasses or, traditionally, with a straw directly from the pot.
However, if you are an experienced drinker from Western Europe, namely Belgium or part of Germany, you will find it similar to your local tastes. Imported liquors, wines and beers are widely available but prohibitively priced for the average Thai. Note that, in cheaper bars especially the go-go kind , the content of that familiar bottle of Jack Daniels may be something entirely different.
Thailand has a plethora of accommodation in every price bracket. In smaller establishments also do ask for the agreed price in writing to avoid problems during check out. The peak season is during December - February. The prices listed are average for the country, and vary depending on the region and season. Smaller provincial towns will not have fancy hotels or resorts, while on popular island beaches it may be hard to find something cheaper than baht even during the low season. Hostels are something not typical for Thailand.
You will often get a bit more Westernized and hotel-like interiors. They will usually have both a dorm and private rooms, depending on what you are interested in. Hostels will usually always be filled with western tourists, and it is easy to make friends and socialize with the other guests. Most hostels will have decent air conditioning as well. They will almost always have free wifi, and usually a guest bar.
Guesthouses are usually the cheapest option, basic ones cost baht per room per night or less for a dorm bed. This gets you a room with a fan, a squat toilet often shared , shower shared or private and not much else. Better guesthouses, especially in towns with significant amount of foreign guests, have more amenities European style toilet, 24h hot shower, bigger room or even balcony, free wi-fi internet, sometimes TV, everyday room service, fridge - with price, subsequently, in the range baht.
Normally, you'll have to pay for the entire period asked, but note that if something changes and you have to check out early - money refunds are not customary in Thailand. Last-minute bookers can often get quite steep discounts at nice hotels. Last-minute deals can be found on the internet or since recently on some mobile applications that give you large discounts on same-day bookings. If you are lucky you can get a decent 3 or 4 star hotel for the price of a hostel or guesthouse room. Thai hotels start around baht and go up to around baht. The upper end of this range will be air-conditioned, the lower end will not.
The primary difference is that with a hotel room, your bathroom should be private, bed linen and towels should be provided, and there may be a hot shower. The guests are mostly Thais. Tourist hotels are generally around baht and offer the basics for a beach vacation: swimming pool, room service and colour TV. Boutique hotels , baht and up, have mushroomed during the past few years, they provide a limited number of rooms 10 or less and more personalized service.
While these can be excellent, quality varies widely, so research is essential. Business and luxury hotels , baht and up, offer every modern amenity you can think of and are largely indistinguishable from hotels anywhere else in the world. The most luxurious resorts also fall in this price category, with some of the very best and most private adding a few zeros to the price.
The number one cause of death for visitors to Thailand is motorbike accidents , especially on the often narrow, mountainous and twisty roads of Phuket and Samui. Drive defensively, wear a helmet, don't drink and avoid travel at night. If you don't have experience of riding motorcycles, don't rent a motorbike in Thailand, unless you want to risk ending up as another statistic.
Riding a motorcycle through Bangkok traffic can be very dangerous indeed, Thai motorists can be very unpredictable at best, and downright dangerous at other times. Thailand has the second most deadly roads in the world. The dangers of driving in Thailand cannot be overstated. Factor in Westerners without a motorcycle license assuming they can ride properly, cheap buckets of strong booze, and the false-assumption of an "anything goes" type society means that many young travellers never make it home.
Especially on the islands, you will encounter very poorly maintained roads, with horrendous potholes, and steep drops if you veer off the road. And drink or drug driving, although illegal, are very common indeed, and does not have the social stigma associated with drink-driving in the west. Also be aware that your travel insurance probably will not cover motorcycle accidents.
They definitely will not pay out of you don't have a full motorcycle driving license, or were even mildly intoxicated at the time of the accident. Thailand is deeply troubled politically. The army has overthrown the democratically elected government twice since and now runs Thailand. A new constitution has been drafted which would greatly curtail the power of elected governments. A referendum on this draft has been promised for but public discussion of it is severely curtailed and the military junta have announced the setting up of a network of reducation camps for critics of the regime.
The political situation is likely to remain tense. Do not under any circumstances say or write anything negative, or even make jokes, about the Thai royal family. There are strict Lese Majeste laws. This extends as far as the currency, which bears the picture of the king. Many locals will not hesitate to physically assault you or at the least verbally attack you. This will also usually land you in prison and your embassy will have little influence in freeing you.
The Islamist group Jemaah Islamiyah still operates in the country, and may have links to foreign jihadists. It is very unlikely that a Thai person would be offended by a tourist asking genuine question about the political situation. However, it is best to avoid this topic entirely, it should be of little interest to you anyway. Many Thai nationals have died as a result of heavy-handed police initiatives and politics-related violence.
Thailand has more than its fair share of scams , but most are easily avoided with some common sense. Just remember, if something seems to good to be true, then it almost certainly is. A genuine tuk-tuk driver will not drive all day for 20 baht! And real precious gems are never sold for a fraction of their real value! The first question a scammer will ask is "is this your first time in Thailand?
Even if true, never answer that this is your first trip, or you will be marked for several scams. More a nuisance than a danger, a common scam by touts, taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers in Thailand is to wait by important monuments and temples and waylay Western travellers, telling them that the site is closed for a "Buddhist holiday", "repairs" or a similar reason. The 'helpful' driver will then offer to take the traveller to another site, such as a market or store. Travellers who accept these offers will often end up at out-of-the-way markets with outrageous prices - and no way to get back to the centre of town where they came from.
Always check at the front gate of the site you're visiting to make sure it's really closed. Some Tuk-tuk drivers might demand much higher price than agreed, or they might take you to a sex show, pretending they didn't understand the address they get commissions from sex shows. For the same reason, avoid drivers who propose their services without being asked, especially near major tourist attractions.
If you are in a public park, and someone approaches you and puts bird seed in your hand, do not take it or you will be charged an exorbitant amount after you have fed the birds! Don't buy any sightseeing tours at the airport. If you do, they will phone several times to your hotel to remind you about the tour.
During the tour, you will be shortly taken to a small temple, without a guide, and then one shop after another they get commissions. They might refuse to take you back home until you see all the shops. On your way back, they pressure you to buy more tours. Also, there are some unscrupulous travel agents in Bangkok targeting naive Westerners, after buying a huge package taking you around Thailand with plane tickets and hotels etc, when you arrive at the airport you may find that nothing has been booked and you have lost your money!
Easily identified with practice, it is not uncommon in tourist areas to be approached by a clean cut, well dressed man who often will be toting a cellphone. These scammers will start up polite conversation, showing interest in the unsuspecting tourist's background, family, or itinerary. Inevitably, the conversation will drift to the meat of the scam. This may be something as innocuous as over-priced tickets to a kantok meal and show, or as serious as a gambling scam or particularly in Bangkok the infamous gem scam.
Once identified, the wary traveller should have no trouble picking out these scammers from a crowd. The tell-tale well pressed slacks and button down shirt, freshly cut hair of a conservative style, and late-model cellphone comprise their uniform. Milling around tourist areas without any clear purpose for doing so, the careful traveller should have no difficulty detecting and avoiding these scammers. Many visitors will encounter young Thai ladies armed with a clipboard and a smile enquiring as to their nationality, often with an aside along the lines of "please help me to earn 30 baht".
The suggestion is that the visitor completes a tourism questionnaire which includes supplying their hotel name and room number with the incentive that they just might win a prize - the reality is that everyone gets a call to say that they are a "winner"; however, the prize can only be collected by attending an arduous time-share presentation. Note that the lady with the clipboard doesn't get her 30 baht if you don't attend the presentation; also that only English-speaking nationalities are targeted.
Never keep your wallet in your back pocket and check your bill they will write in Thai to try and confuse you, ask for the bill in English. If you really must rent a jet-ski, take copious photos of the entire jet-ski with the owner present. Otherwise you could be extorted for thousands of dollars after he claims that you damaged his jet-ski. A more recent serious scam involves being accused of shoplifting in the duty free shops in the Bangkok airport. This may involve accidentally straying across ill defined boundaries between shops with merchandise in hand, or being given a "free gift".
Always get a receipt.
See a Problem?
If you end up in this pickle, contact your embassy and use their lawyer or translator, not the "helpful" guy hanging around. If a Thai person approaches you speaking excellent English, beware, and if they suggest that you go somewhere, politely decline. And if anyone tries to convince you that the destination you are heading to is closed, ignore them as it will indeed be open, they just want to take you somewhere else and scam you.
Be aware that there are also some Westerners here involved in scamming tourists, the classic setup is to invite you to a 'poker game' but when you arrive it is nothing of the sort, you could end up drugged and missing your wallet. Some of the Thai scammers may also employ foreigners to pretend to be tourists to make the scam seem more believable. There has been an increase in the number of Eastern European scammers targeting Thailand's ATMs with skimming devices - if an ATM looks suspicious or appears to have a box attached to the front, do not use it, and report it if you have time.
You may also be approached by a 'fake monk', usually asking for money. It is unlikely that a genuine monk would strike up a conversation with you, and even less likely that they would ask for money, so politely decline and walk away. If you are a smoker, don't walk down the street smoking. Particularly in some areas of Sukhumvit, you may be accosted by a policeman asking for baht if he sees you dropping your cigarette butt in public.
It's debatable as to whether or not this is a scam, but something to be aware of nonetheless. With Thailand increasingly moving towards banning smoking in public places, you are better off having your cigarette in a bar or restaurant, anywhere that provides an ashtray to ensure that you are not caught out. Powerful drugs such as benzodiazepines and deleriants can be bought in some less-scrupulous pharmacies in Thailand. This means that it is very easy for someone to drop something into your drink without looking, and this is happening every day in Thailand.
If you open your wallet at the bar to reveal a thick wad of thousand baht notes, somebody will have noticed - be careful drinking with strangers and don't leave your drink unattended, go to the toilet between drinks if possible. This happens to Thais as well as foreigners. Theft is common enough in Thailand - and buses are a favourite venue. In one famous case, the owner of Noporat Tours in Phuket was caught rifling minibus passengers' bags during a rest stop. People are also drugged and robbed on overnight buses.
Steer clear of cheapish and non-government buses, and keep your money in a money belt or another hard-to-reach place. Decline offers of food and especially drink. Warning your travel companions about these dangers will be useful. If robbed, refuse to get off the bus, loudly tell the other passengers what has happened, and ask the driver to call the police.
Never part with your valuables - this is not your home country and you are very unlikely to be able to gain any kind of redress if something goes 'missing'. Thailand's age of consent is 15 but a higher minimum age of 18 applies in the case of prostitutes. Thai penalties for sex with minors are harsh, and even if your partner is over the age of consent in Thailand, tourists who have sex with minors may be prosecuted by their home country. As far as ascertaining the age of your partner goes, all adult Thais must carry an identity card, which will state that they were born in or earlier if they were over the age of 18 on January 1, The difference is years.
However, most prostitutes in Thailand are very honest and decent and just want to be able to feed their families, bear this in mind. Obviously in the West, prostitutes are considered to be garbage, but remember that this is a third world country, these girls will have exhausted all other options of putting food on the table, and are not doing this for fun.
There is no welfare state. They are still human beings with families who love them, so bear this in mind as you walk past them late at night. Not everyone is as privileged as you! Thailand has extremely strict drug laws and your foreign passport is not enough to get you out of legal hot water. Possession and trafficking offenses that would merit traffic-ticket misdemeanors in other countries can result in life imprisonment or even death in Thailand.
Police frequently raid nightclubs, particularly in Bangkok , with full body searches on all patrons. It's highly unwise to rely on this. While some police will accept payments on the spot for violating drug laws, others will strictly follow the harsh drug laws to the letter. Discrete use of small amounts of softer drugs traditionally has been tolerated more on the islands than the mainland, however open and blatant use of drugs such as slurred speech, heavily dilated pupils, or smelling strongly of weed, WILL draw attention fast, so don't do it.
Bear in mind you can get upto 5 years for possession of one joint, and Thai prisons are some of the grimmest on the planet - many people die during their custody. Penalties for drug possession in Thailand vary in harshness depending on the following: category of drug, amount of drug, and intent of the possessor. If you do take the risk and get arrested on drug-related charges, you would do well to immediately contact your embassy as a first step.
The embassy usually cannot get you out of jail but can alert your home country of your arrest and can often put you in contact with a lawyer in Thailand. The availability of drugs in Thailand can mislead tourists into making light of the penalties for possessing or selling drugs, but that is unwise. Be aware of a common scam involving drugs. Someone will offer to sell you the drugs, but they are secretly in cahoots with a policeman.
If you buy the drugs, he will phone the policeman and within one minute of purchase, a policeman will arrive and search you. Once you have been arrested, the drugs are given back to the dealer, and the policeman will begin to extort you for hundreds of thousands of baht, or even worse, will lock you up in a prison of the most appalling conditions.
The conditions of a Thai prison are unimaginable to most Westerners - indeed many people do not survive their sentence and die from illnesses or beatings from other prisoners or guards. In short, never touch drugs in Thailand , and if you suspect someone of using them, then get as far away as you can so that you can't be implicated in case something happens! Also, even if you do not possess drugs, in the eyes of the Thai police, having drugs in your blood counts as possession and you will be in trouble.
A positive urine sample can put you in hot water very fast. It is therefore crucial that you give this some consideration if you have flown in from a country where cannabis is legal and you have partaken. Getting locked up and extorted by local police because of a positive urine sample, whilst very unlikely, WILL ruin your holiday. Even though some pharmacies in Thailand may sell powerful drugs over the counter, often this is not legal, and if you are caught with them without a copy of your doctor's prescription or at least contact details, you can end up in jail.
If you take regular medication, always check before you import them to Thailand. In , long-simmering resentment in the southern-most Muslim-majority provinces burst into violence in Narathiwat , Pattani and Yala provinces. All are off the beaten tourist trail, although the eastern rail line from Hat Yai to Sungai Kolok gateway to Malaysia 's east coast passes through the area and has been disrupted several times by attacks.
Hat Yai Thailand's largest city after Bangkok and its Nonthaburi suburbs in Songkhla has also been hit by a series of related bombings; however, the main cross-border rail line connecting Hat Yai and Butterworth on the west coast has not been affected, and none of the islands or the west coast beaches have been targeted. In September , three foreigners were killed in bombings in Hat Yai. Some rebel groups have threatened foreigners, but while targets have included hotels, karaoke lounges and shopping malls, Westerners have not been singled out for attacks.
Make a photocopy of your passport and the page with your visa stamp. Always keep your passport or the photocopy with you the law requires that you carry your actual passport at all times, but in practice a photocopy will usually suffice. Many night clubs insist on a passport and ONLY a passport as proof of age. It is not required that you leave your passport with a hotel when you check in. At any rate we may say that the same man could not have produced the essay on German schools of history, and written a magnum opus of his own. His life marks what, in an age of minute specialism, must always be at once the crown and the catastrophe of those who take all knowledge for their province.
His achievement is something different from any book. Those who lament what he might have written as a historian would do well to reflect on the unique position which he held in the world of letters, and to ask themselves how far he could have wielded the influence that was his, or held the standard so high, had his own achievement been greater. Men such as Acton and Hort give to the world, by their example and disposition, more than any written volume could convey. In both cases a great part of their published writings has had, at least in book form, to be posthumous.
But their influence on other workers is incalculable, and has not yet determined. To an age doubting on all things, and with the moral basis of its action largely undermined, Acton gave the spectacle of a career which was as moving as it was rare. He stood for a spirit of unwavering and even childlike faith united to a passion for scientific inquiry, and a scorn of consequences, which at times made him almost an iconoclast.
His whole life was dedicated to one high end, the aim of preaching the need of principles based on the widest induction and the most penetrating thought, as the only refuge amid the storm and welter of sophistical philosophies and ecclesiastical intrigues. The union of faith with knowledge, and the eternal supremacy of righteousness, this was the message of Acton to mankind. Edition: current; Page: [ xxxviii ] It may be thought that he sometimes exaggerated his thesis, that he preached it out of season, that he laid himself open to the charge of being doctrinaire, and that in fighting for it he failed to utter the resources of his vast learning.
Enough, however, is left to enable the world to judge what he was. No books ever do more than that for any man. Those who are nice in comparisons may weigh against the book lost the man gained.
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Those who loved him will know no doubt. It records in an imaginative form the ideals which he set before him. Perhaps it forms the most fitting conclusion to this Introduction. He loved retirement, and avoided company, but you might sometimes meet him coming from scenes of sorrow, silent and appalled, as if he had seen a ghost, or in the darkest corner of churches, his dim eyes radiant with light from another world. In youth he had gone through much anxiety and contention; but he lived to be trusted and honoured.
At last he dropped out of notice and the memory of men, and that part of his life was the happiest. Years ago, when I saw much of him, most people had not found him out. There was something in his best qualities themselves that baffled observation, and fell short of decided excellence. He looked absent and preoccupied, as if thinking of things he cared not to speak of, and seemed but little interested in the cares and events of the day.
Often it was hard to decide whether he had an opinion, and when he showed it, he would defend it with more eagerness and obstinacy than we liked. He did not mingle readily with others or co-operate in any common undertaking, so that one could not rely on him socially, or for practical objects.
As he never spoke harshly of persons, so he seldom praised them warmly, and there was some apparent indifference and want of feeling.
Ill success did not depress, but happy prospects did not elate him, and though never impatient, he was not actively hopeful. Facetious friends called him the weather-cock, or Mr. Facingbothways, because there was no heartiness in his judgments, and he satisfied nobody, and said things Edition: current; Page: [ xxxix ] that were at first sight grossly inconsistent, without attempting to reconcile them.
He was reserved about himself, and gave no explanations, so that he was constantly misunderstood, and there was a sense of failure, of disappointment, of perplexity about him. These things struck me, as well as others, and at first repelled me. I could see indeed, at the same time, that his conduct was remarkably methodical, and was guided at every step by an inexhaustible provision of maxims. He had meditated on every contingency in life, and was prepared with rules and precepts, which he never disobeyed.
But I doubted whether all this was not artificial,—a contrivance to satisfy the pride of intellect and establish a cold superiority. In time I discovered that it was the perfection of a developed character. It was part of his religion to live much in the past, to realise every phase of thought, every crisis of controversy, every stage of progress the Church has gone through.
So that the events and ideas of his own day lost much of their importance in comparison, were old friends with new faces, and impressed him less than the multitude of those that went before. This caused him to seem absent and indifferent, rarely given to admire, or to expect. But he could not easily enter into their motives when they were mixed, and finding them generally mixed, he avoided contention by holding much aloof. Being quite sincere, he was quite impartial, and pleaded with equal zeal for what seemed true, whether it was on one side or on the other. He would have felt dishonest if he had unduly favoured people of his own country, his own religion, or his own party, or if he had entertained the shadow of a prejudice against those who were against them, and when he was asked why he did not try to clear himself from misrepresentation, he said that he was silent both from humility and pride.
Liberty, next to religion, has been the motive of good deeds and the common pretext of crime, from the sowing of the seed at Athens, two thousand four hundred and sixty years ago, until the ripened harvest was gathered by men of our race. It is the delicate fruit of a mature civilisation; and scarcely a century has passed since nations, that knew the meaning of the term, resolved to be free.
During long intervals it has been utterly arrested, when nations were being rescued from barbarism and from the grasp of strangers, and when the perpetual struggle for existence, depriving men of all interest and understanding in politics, has made them eager to sell their birthright for a pottage, and ignorant of the treasure they resigned. At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition, and by kindling dispute over the spoils in the hour of success.
Edition: current; Page: [ 2 ] No obstacle has been so constant, or so difficult to overcome, as uncertainty and confusion touching the nature of true liberty. If hostile interests have wrought much injury, false ideas have wrought still more; and its advance is recorded in the increase of knowledge, as much as in the improvement of laws.
The history of institutions is often a history of deception and illusions; for their virtue depends on the ideas that produce and on the spirit that preserves them, and the form may remain unaltered when the substance has passed away. A few familiar examples from modern politics will explain why it is that the burden of my argument will lie outside the domain of legislation.
It is often said that our Constitution attained its formal perfection in , when the Habeas Corpus Act was passed. Yet Charles II. In , while the States-General assembled at Versailles, the Spanish Cortes, older than Magna Charta and more venerable than our House of Commons, were summoned after an interval of generations, but they immediately prayed the King to abstain from consulting them, and to make his reforms of his own wisdom and authority.
According to the common opinion, indirect elections are a safeguard of conservatism. But all the Assemblies of the French Revolution issued from indirect elections. A restricted suffrage is another reputed security for monarchy. But the Parliament of Charles X.
An unpaid legislature is, for obvious reasons, more independent than most of the Continental legislatures which receive pay. But it would be unreasonable in America to send a member as far as from here to Constantinople to live for twelve months at his own Edition: current; Page: [ 3 ] expense in the dearest of capital cities. Legally and to outward seeming the American President is the successor of Washington, and still enjoys powers devised and limited by the Convention of Philadelphia.
In reality the new President differs from the Magistrate imagined by the Fathers of the Republic as widely as Monarchy from Democracy, for he is expected to make 70, changes in the public service; fifty years ago John Quincy Adams dismissed only two men.
The purchase of judicial appointments is manifestly indefensible; yet in the old French monarchy that monstrous practice created the only corporation able to resist the king. Official corruption, which would ruin a commonwealth, serves in Russia as a salutary relief from the pressure of absolutism. There are conditions in which it is scarcely a hyperbole to say that slavery itself is a stage on the road to freedom. Therefore we are not so much concerned this evening with the dead letter of edicts and of statutes as with the living thoughts of men.
A century ago it was perfectly well known that whoever had one audience of a Master in Chancery was made to pay for three, but no man heeded the enormity until it suggested to a young lawyer that it might be well to question and examine with rigorous suspicion every part of a system in which such things were done. The day on which that gleam lighted up the clear hard mind of Jeremy Bentham is memorable in the political calendar beyond the entire administration of many statesmen.
It would be easy to point out a paragraph in St. Augustine, or a sentence of Grotius that outweighs in influence the Acts of fifty Parliaments, and our cause owes more to Cicero and Seneca, to Vinet and Tocqueville, than to the laws of Lycurgus or the Five Codes of France. By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion. The State is competent to assign duties and draw the line between good and evil only in its immediate sphere. Beyond the limits of things necessary for its Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] well-being, it can only give indirect help to fight the battle of life by promoting the influences which prevail against temptation,—religion, education, and the distribution of wealth.
In ancient times the State absorbed authorities not its own, and intruded on the domain of personal freedom. In the Middle Ages it possessed too little authority, and suffered others to intrude. Modern States fall habitually into both excesses. The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.
Liberty, by this definition, is the essential condition and guardian of religion; and it is in the history of the Chosen People, accordingly, that the first illustrations of my subject are obtained. The government of the Israelites was a Federation, held together by no political authority, but by the unity of race and faith, and founded, not on physical force, but on a voluntary covenant.
The principle of self-government was carried out not only in each tribe, but in every group of at least families; and there was neither privilege of rank nor inequality before the law. Monarchy was so alien to the primitive spirit of the community that it was resisted by Samuel in that momentous protestation and warning which all the kingdoms of Asia and many of the kingdoms of Europe have unceasingly confirmed.
The throne was erected on a compact; and the king was deprived of the right of legislation among a people that recognised no lawgiver but God, whose highest aim in politics was to restore the original purity of the constitution, and to make its government conform to the ideal type that was hallowed by the sanctions of heaven.
The inspired men who rose in unfailing succession to prophesy against the usurper and the tyrant, constantly proclaimed that the laws, which were divine, were paramount over sinful rulers, and appealed from the established authorities, from the king, the priests, and the princes of the people, to the healing forces that slept in the uncorrupted consciences of the masses.
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Thus the example of the Hebrew nation laid down the parallel lines on which all freedom has been won—the Edition: current; Page: [ 5 ] doctrine of national tradition and the doctrine of the higher law; the principle that a constitution grows from a root, by process of development, and not of essential change; and the principle that all political authorities must be tested and reformed according to a code which was not made by man.
The operation of these principles, in unison, or in antagonism, occupies the whole of the space we are going over together. The conflict between liberty under divine authority and the absolutism of human authorities ended disastrously. In the year a supreme effort was made at Jerusalem to reform and preserve the State. The High Priest produced from the temple of Jehovah the book of the deserted and forgotten Law, and both king and people bound themselves by solemn oaths to observe it. But that early example of limited monarchy and of the supremacy of law neither lasted nor spread; and the forces by which freedom has conquered must be sought elsewhere.
In the very year , in which the flood of Asiatic despotism closed over the city which had been, and was destined again to be, the sanctuary of freedom in the East, a new home was prepared for it in the West, where, guarded by the sea and the mountains, and by valiant hearts, that stately plant was reared under whose shade we dwell, and which is extending its invincible arms so slowly and yet so surely over the civilised world. According to a famous saying of the most famous authoress of the Continent, liberty is ancient, and it is despotism that is new.
It has been the pride of recent historians to vindicate the truth of that maxim. The heroic age of Greece confirms it, and it is still more conspicuously true of Teutonic Europe. Wherever we can trace the earlier life of the Aryan nations we discover germs which favouring circumstances and assiduous culture might have developed into free societies. They exhibit some sense of common interest in common concerns, little reverence for external authority, and an imperfect sense of the function and supremacy of the State.
Where the division of property and labour is Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] incomplete there is little division of classes and of power. Until societies are tried by the complex problems of civilisation they may escape despotism, as societies that are undisturbed by religious diversity avoid persecution. In general, the forms of the patriarchal age failed to resist the growth of absolute States when the difficulties and temptations of advancing life began to tell; and with one sovereign exception, which is not within my scope to-day, it is scarcely possible to trace their survival in the institutions of later times.
Six hundred years before the birth of Christ absolutism held unbounded sway. Throughout the East it was propped by the unchanging influence of priests and armies. In the West, where there were no sacred books requiring trained interpreters, the priesthood acquired no preponderance, and when the kings were overthrown their powers passed to aristocracies of birth. What followed, during many generations, was the cruel domination of class over class, the oppression of the poor by the rich, and of the ignorant by the wise.
The spirit of that domination found passionate utterance in the verses of the aristocratic poet Theognis, a man of genius and refinement, who avows that he longed to drink the blood of his political adversaries. From these oppressors the people of many cities sought deliverance in the less intolerable tyranny of revolutionary usurpers. The remedy gave new shape and energy to the evil. The tyrants were often men of surprising capacity and merit, like some of those who, in the fourteenth century, made themselves lords of Italian cities; but rights secured by equal laws and by sharing power existed nowhere.
From this universal degradation the world was rescued by the most gifted of the nations. Athens, which like other cities was distracted and oppressed by a privileged class, avoided violence and appointed Solon to revise its laws. It was the happiest choice that history records. Solon was not only the wisest man to be found in Athens, but the most profound political genius of antiquity; and the easy, bloodless, and pacific revolution by which he accomplished the deliverance of his country was the first Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] step in a career which our age glories in pursuing, and instituted a power which has done more than anything, except revealed religion, for the regeneration of society.
The upper class had possessed the right of making and administering the laws, and he left them in possession, only transferring to wealth what had been the privilege of birth. To the rich, who alone had the means of sustaining the burden of public service in taxation and war, Solon gave a share of power proportioned to the demands made on their resources. The poorest classes were exempt from direct taxes, but were excluded from office. Solon gave them a voice in electing magistrates from the classes above them, and the right of calling them to account.
This concession, apparently so slender, was the beginning of a mighty change. It introduced the idea that a man ought to have a voice in selecting those to whose rectitude and wisdom he is compelled to trust his fortune, his family, and his life. And this idea completely inverted the notion of human authority, for it inaugurated the reign of moral influence where all political power had depended on moral force. Government by consent superseded government by compulsion, and the pyramid which had stood on a point was made to stand upon its base. By making every citizen the guardian of his own interest Solon admitted the element of Democracy into the State.
The greatest glory of a ruler, he said, is to create a popular government. Believing that no man can be entirely trusted, he subjected all who exercised power to the vigilant control of those for whom they acted. The only resource against political disorders that had been known till then was the concentration of power. Solon undertook to effect the same object by the distribution of power. He gave to the common people as much influence as he thought them able to employ, that the State might be exempt from arbitrary government.
It is the essence of Democracy, he said, to obey no master but the law. Solon recognised the principle that political forms are not final or inviolable, and must adapt themselves to facts; and he provided so well for the revision Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] of his constitution, without breach of continuity or loss of stability, that for centuries after his death the Attic orators attributed to him, and quoted by his name, the whole structure of Athenian law. The direction of its growth was determined by the fundamental doctrine of Solon, that political power ought to be commensurate with public service.
In the Persian war the services of the Democracy eclipsed those of the Patrician orders, for the fleet that swept the Asiatics from the Egean Sea was manned by the poorer Athenians. That class, whose valour had saved the State and had preserved European civilisation, had gained a title to increase of influence and privilege. The offices of State, which had been a monopoly of the rich, were thrown open to the poor, and in order to make sure that they should obtain their share, all but the highest commands were distributed by lot.
Whilst the ancient authorities were decaying, there was no accepted standard of moral and political right to make the framework of society fast in the midst of change. The instability that had seized on the forms threatened the very principles of government. The national beliefs were yielding to doubt, and doubt was not yet making way for knowledge. There had been a time when the obligations of public as well as private life were identified with the will of the gods. But that time had passed. Pallas, the ethereal goddess of the Athenians, and the Sun god whose oracles, delivered from the temple between the twin summits of Parnassus, did so much for the Greek nationality, aided in keeping up a lofty ideal of religion; but when the enlightened men of Greece learnt to apply their keen faculty of reasoning to the system of their inherited belief, they became quickly conscious that the conceptions of the gods corrupted the life and degraded the minds of the public.
Popular morality could not be sustained by the popular religion. The moral instruction which was no longer supplied by the gods could not yet be found in books.
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There was no venerable code expounded by experts, no doctrine proclaimed by men of Edition: current; Page: [ 9 ] reputed sanctity like those teachers of the far East whose words still rule the fate of nearly half mankind. The effort to account for things by close observation and exact reasoning began by destroying.
There came a time when the philosophers of the Porch and the Academy wrought the dictates of wisdom and virtue into a system so consistent and profound that it has vastly shortened the task of the Christian divines. But that time had not yet come. The epoch of doubt and transition during which the Greeks passed from the dim fancies of mythology to the fierce light of science was the age of Pericles, and the endeavour to substitute certain truth for the prescriptions of impaired authorities, which was then beginning to absorb the energies of the Greek intellect, is the grandest movement in the profane annals of mankind, for to it we owe, even after the immeasurable progress accomplished by Christianity, much of our philosophy and far the better part of the political knowledge we possess.
Pericles, who was at the head of the Athenian Government, was the first statesman who encountered the problem which the rapid weakening of traditions forced on the political world. No authority in morals or in politics remained unshaken by the motion that was in the air. No guide could be confidently trusted; there was no available criterion to appeal to, for the means of controlling or denying convictions that prevailed among the people.
The popular sentiment as to what was right might be mistaken, but it was subject to no test. The people were, for practical purposes, the seat of the knowledge of good and evil. The people, therefore, were the seat of power. The political philosophy of Pericles consisted of this conclusion. He resolutely struck away all the props that still sustained the artificial preponderance of wealth.
For the ancient doctrine that power goes with land, he introduced the idea that power ought to be so equitably diffused as to afford equal security to all. That one part of the community should govern the whole, or that one Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] class should make laws for another, he declared to be tyrannical.
The abolition of privilege would have served only to transfer the supremacy from the rich to the poor, if Pericles had not redressed the balance by restricting the right of citizenship to Athenians of pure descent. By this measure the class which formed what we should call the third estate was brought down to 14, citizens, and became about equal in numbers with the higher ranks.
Pericles held that every Athenian who neglected to take his part in the public business inflicted an injury on the commonwealth. That none might be excluded by poverty, he caused the poor to be paid for their attendance out of the funds of the State; for his administration of the federal tribute had brought together a treasure of more than two million sterling.
The instrument of his sway was the art of speaking. He governed by persuasion. Everything was decided by argument in open deliberation, and every influence bowed before the ascendency of mind. The idea that the object of constitutions is not to confirm the predominance of any interest, but to prevent it; to preserve with equal care the independence of labour and the security of property; to make the rich safe against envy, and the poor against oppression, marks the highest level attained by the statesmanship of Greece.
It hardly survived the great patriot who conceived it; and all history has been occupied with the endeavour to upset the balance of power by giving the advantage to money, land, or numbers. A generation followed that has never been equalled in talent—a generation of men whose works, in poetry and eloquence, are still the envy of the world, and in history, philosophy, and politics remain unsurpassed.
But it produced no successor to Pericles, and no man was able to wield the sceptre that fell from his hand. It was a momentous step in the progress of nations when the principle that every interest should have the right and the means of asserting itself was adopted by the Athenian Constitution. But for those who were beaten in the vote there was no redress. The law did Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] not check the triumph of majorities or rescue the minority from the dire penalty of having been outnumbered.
When the overwhelming influence of Pericles was removed, the conflict between classes raged without restraint, and the slaughter that befell the higher ranks in the Peloponnesian war gave an irresistible preponderance to the lower. The restless and inquiring spirit of the Athenians was prompt to unfold the reason of every institution and the consequences of every principle, and their Constitution ran its course from infancy to decrepitude with unexampled speed. Their history furnishes the classic example of the peril of Democracy under conditions singularly favourable.
For the Athenians were not only brave and patriotic and capable of generous sacrifice, but they were the most religious of the Greeks. They venerated the Constitution which had given them prosperity, and equality, and freedom, and never questioned the fundamental laws which regulated the enormous power of the Assembly. They tolerated considerable variety of opinion and great licence of speech; and their humanity towards their slaves roused the indignation even of the most intelligent partisan of aristocracy.
Thus they became the only people of antiquity that grew great by democratic institutions. But the possession of unlimited power, which corrodes the conscience, hardens the heart, and confounds the understanding of monarchs, exercised its demoralising influence on the illustrious democracy of Athens. It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.
But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason.
The humblest and most numerous class of the Athenians united the legislative, the judicial, and, in part, the executive power. The philosophy that was then in the Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] ascendant taught them that there is no law superior to that of the State—the lawgiver is above the law. It followed that the sovereign people had a right to do whatever was within its power, and was bound by no rule of right or wrong but its own judgment of expediency. On a memorable occasion the assembled Athenians declared it monstrous that they should be prevented from doing whatever they chose.
No force that existed could restrain them; and they resolved that no duty should restrain them, and that they would be bound by no laws that were not of their own making. In this way the emancipated people of Athens became a tyrant; and their Government, the pioneer of European freedom, stands condemned with a terrible unanimity by all the wisest of the ancients.
They ruined their city by attempting to conduct war by debate in the marketplace. Like the French Republic, they put their unsuccessful commanders to death. They treated their dependencies with such injustice that they lost their maritime Empire. They plundered the rich until the rich conspired with the public enemy, and they crowned their guilt by the martyrdom of Socrates.
When the absolute sway of numbers had endured for near a quarter of a century, nothing but bare existence was left for the State to lose; and the Athenians, wearied and despondent, confessed the true cause of their ruin. They understood that for liberty, justice, and equal laws, it is as necessary that Democracy should restrain itself as it had been that it should restrain the Oligarchy.
They resolved to take their stand once more upon the ancient ways, and to restore the order of things which had subsisted when the monopoly of power had been taken from the rich and had not been acquired by the poor. After a first restoration had failed, which is only memorable because Thucydides, whose judgment in politics is never at fault, pronounced it the best Government Athens had enjoyed, the attempt was renewed with more experience and greater singleness of purpose.
The hostile parties were reconciled, and proclaimed an amnesty, Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] the first in history. They resolved to govern by concurrence. The laws, which had the sanction of tradition, were reduced to a code; and no act of the sovereign assembly was valid with which they might be found to disagree. Between the sacred lines of the Constitution which were to remain inviolate, and the decrees which met from time to time the needs and notions of the day, a broad distinction was drawn; and the fabric of a law which had been the work of generations was made independent of momentary variations in the popular will.
The repentance of the Athenians came too late to save the Republic. But the lesson of their experience endures for all times, for it teaches that government by the whole people, being the government of the most numerous and most powerful class, is an evil of the same nature as unmixed monarchy, and requires, for nearly the same reasons, institutions that shall protect it against itself, and shall uphold the permanent reign of law against arbitrary revolutions of opinion.
Parallel with the rise and fall of Athenian freedom, Rome was employed in working out the same problems, with greater constructive sense, and greater temporary success, but ending at last in a far more terrible catastrophe. That which among the ingenious Athenians had been a development carried forward by the spell of plausible argument, was in Rome a conflict between rival forces. Speculative politics had no attraction for the grim and practical genius of the Romans. They did not consider what would be the cleverest way of getting over a difficulty, but what way was indicated by analogous cases; and they assigned less influence to the impulse and spirit of the moment, than to precedent and example.
Their peculiar character prompted them to ascribe the origin of their laws to early times, and in their desire to justify the continuity of their institutions, and to get rid of the reproach of innovation, they imagined the legendary history of the kings of Rome. The energy of their adherence to traditions made their progress slow, they Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] advanced only under compulsion of almost unavoidable necessity, and the same questions recurred often, before they were settled.
The constitutional history of the Republic turns on the endeavours of the aristocracy, who claimed to be the only true Romans, to retain in their hands the power they had wrested from the kings, and of the plebeians to get an equal share in it. And this controversy, which the eager and restless Athenians went through in one generation, lasted for more than two centuries, from a time when the plebs were excluded from the government of the city, and were taxed, and made to serve without pay, until, in the year , they were admitted to political equality.
Then followed one hundred and fifty years of unexampled prosperity and glory; and then, out of the original conflict which had been compromised, if not theoretically settled, a new struggle arose which was without an issue. The mass of poorer families, impoverished by incessant service in war, were reduced to dependence on an aristocracy of about two thousand wealthy men, who divided among themselves the immense domain of the State.
When the need became intense the Gracchi tried to relieve it by inducing the richer classes to allot some share in the public lands to the common people. The old and famous aristocracy of birth and rank had made a stubborn resistance, but it knew the art of yielding. The later and more selfish aristocracy was unable to learn it. The G. Merriam Co. The Merriam-Webster New International of had a serene, uncluttered air. The second edition, completely reedited, appeared in , and it, in turn, was superseded in by the Third New International , edited by Philip Babcock Gove.
At its first publication it stood alone among American dictionaries in giving a full report on the lexicon of present-day English. Because it, together with its supplements, is now available online, it is regularly updated. Sledd and Wilma R. Ebbitt The American Heritage was designed to take advantage of the reaction against the Merriam-Webster Third. In England, Henry Cecil Wyld produced his Universal Dictionary of the English Language , admirable in every way except for its social class elitism.
The smaller-sized dictionaries of the Oxford University Press deserved their wide circulation. Beyond the dictionaries intended for practical use by the general public are the scholarly dictionaries, with the scientific goal of completeness and rigour in their chosen area. Probably the most scholarly dictionary in the world is the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae , edited in Germany and Austria.
Its main collections were made from to , when publication began, but by the turn of the 21st century its publication had reached only the letter P. In the s more than million word examples were collected, and publication began in , but after two volumes the scope of the work was scaled back from 60 planned volumes to It was completed in The Oxford English Dictionary remains the supreme completed achievement in all lexicography.
Enough material was amassed under his direction so that editing could begin in publication, however, did not begin until , and before his death in he arranged that it should be carried on at the University of Edinburgh. The work on the older period spurred the establishment of a project on the modern Scots language , which got under way in , called The Scottish National Dictionary published —76 , giving historical quotations after the year In the mainstream of English, a period dictionary for Old English before was planned for many decades by a dictionary committee of the Modern Language Association of America Old English section , and finally in the late s it got under way at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies at the University of Toronto.
The Dictionary of Old English is based on a combining of computerized concordances of bodies of Old English literature. A Middle English Dictionary , covering the period to , was completed in , with an overwhelming fullness of detail. For the period to , an Early Modern English Dictionary did not fare as well. It got under way in at the University of Michigan , and more than three million quotation slips were amassed, but the work could not be continued in the decade of the Great Depression , and only in the mids was it revived.
The OED supplement of was itself supplemented in 4 volumes — A second edition of the OED was published in 20 volumes in , an expanded integration of the original volume set and the 4-volume set into one sequence. Three supplementary volumes were published in print in and , and an online version was launched in Craigie, in , proposed a dictionary of American English.
Support was found for the project, and he transferred from Oxford University to the University of Chicago in order to become its editor. After a year period of collecting, publication began in under the title A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles , and the 20 parts four volumes were completed in