„MR. PANSCOPE. (suddenly emerging from a deep reverie.) I have heard, with the most profound attention, everything which the gentleman on the other side of the table has thought proper to advance on the subject of human deterioration; and I must take the liberty to remark, that it augurs a very considerable degree of presumption in any individual, to set himself up against the authority of so many great men, as may be marshalled in metaphysical phalanx under the opposite banners of the controversy; such as Aristotle, Plato, the scholiast on Aristophanes, St Chrysostom, St Jerome, St Athanasius, Orpheus, Pindar, Simonides, Gronovius, Hemsterhusius, Longinus, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Paine, Doctor Paley, the King of Prussia, the King of Poland, Cicero, Monsieur Gautier, Hippocrates, Machiavelli, Milton, Colley Cibber, Bojardo, Gregory Nazianzenus, Locke, D'Alembert, Boccaccio, Daniel Defoe, Erasmus, Doctor Smollett, Zimmermann, Solomon, Confucius, Zoroaster, and Thomas-a-Kempis.
MR. ESCOT. I presume, sir, you are one of those who value an authority more than a reason.
MR. PANSCOPE. The authority, sir, of all these great men, whose works, as well as the whole of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the entire series of the Monthly Review, the complete set of the Variorum Classics, and the Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions, I have read through from beginning to end, deposes, with irrefragable refutation, against your ratiocinative speculations, wherein you seem desirous, by the futile process of analytical dialectics, to subvert the pyramidal structure of synthetically deduced opinions, which have withstood the secular revolutions of physiological disquisition, and which I maintain to be transcendentally self-evident, categorically certain, and syllogistically demonstrable.
SQUIRE HEADLONG. Bravo! Pass the bottle. The very best speech that ever was made.
MR. ESCOT. It has only the slight disadvantage of being unintelligible.
MR. PANSCOPE. I am not obliged, Sir, as Dr Johnson remarked on a similar occasion, to furnish you with an understanding.
MR. ESCOT. I fear, Sir, you would have some difficulty in furnishing me with such an article from your own stock.
MR. PANSCOPE. 'Sdeath, Sir, do you question my understanding?
MR. ESCOT. I only question, Sir, where I expect a reply, which from what manifestly has no existence, I am not visionary enough to anticipate.
MR. PANSCOPE. I beg leave to observe, sir, that my language was perfectly perspicuous, and etymologically correct; and, I conceive, I have demonstrated what I shall now take the liberty to say in plain terms, that all your opinions are extremely absurd.
MR. ESCOT. I should be sorry, sir, to advance any opinion that you would not think absurd.
MR. PANSCOPE. Death and fury, Sir!
MR. ESCOT. Say no more, Sir - that apology is quite sufficient.
MR. PANSCOPE. Apology, Sir?
MR. ESCOT. Even so, Sir. You have lost your temper, which I consider equivalent to a confession that you have the worst of the argument.
MR. PANSCOPE. Lightnings and devils!“
— Thomas Love Peacock
Headlong Hall, chapter V (1816).