Nancy Aycock Metz's Companion to Martin Chuzzlewit, which appeared more than a decade after my "The Names of Dickens's American Originals in Martin Chuzzlewit (September 1990), explains the the word "company" in the following phrase: "In the name of this company, sir."

"In the 1849 preface to the Cheap Edition of the novel, Dickens wrote of this episode:

all that portion of Martin Chuzzlewit's American experiences is a literal paraphrase of some reports of public proceedings in the United States (especially of the proceedings of a certain Brandywine Association), which were printed in the Times Newspaper in June and July 1843 — at about the time when I was engaged in writing those parts of the book. (Cardwell 847)

"The Brandywine Emmett Repeal Association of Delaware was one of several American organizations then forwarding funds and official manifestos of 'sympathy' to support the cause of Home Rule in Ireland. At issue was the repeal of the Act of Union with England (1800), a movement spearheaded by the charismatic Catholic nationalist Daniel O'Connell).

"America's sympathy with Ireland was predicated on a set of assumptions only partly accepted by the Irish themselves. Americans saw the Irish as logical inheritors of the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence and adopted a tone of benevolent sponsorship towards them. They specifically claimed kinship with the 'spirits of the patriots of '98': the United Irishmen, who had led a short-lived rebellion against British political authority at the turn of the century. The 'bitter insults' America herself had received at the hands of the mother countryespecially during the Canadian boundary dispute (1839) and the attack on the American steamboat Caroline (1837) — were fresh in recent memory. Seeing a potential ally in Ireland, the Brandywine Association thus adopted the bellicose tone then common in American newspaper reporting.

"The response of the Irish Repeal Association to these initiatives was qualified at best. While voting 'respectful thanks' to their American subscribers, the Association elected not to place the manifesto of sympathy in its official minutes. According to the Times report, members voiced two reservations. They disapproved of the 'unqualified praise' accorded by the Americans to 'the unfortunate dupes of British policy 1798'. More important, 'they totally disclaimed any participation in the haughty, and the hostile spirit, which the Americans displayed towards Great Britain . . . they would neither take any part with those who struggled against her on any other ground, nor make themselves a portion of any quarrel between American citizens and the of Great Britain' (Blaisdell 92; The Times, 7 July 1843, 3). ("Chapter Twenty-one," The Companion, pp. 296-97)"


Metz, Nancy Aycock. Companion to Martin Chuzzlewit. The Banks, Mountfield, East Sussex: Helm Information, 2001.

Last modified 8 March 2007