I found the following interesting and quite 'revealing.'
From Napoleon and the British by Stuart Semmel, xiii, A Note on Spelling and Punctuation:
'Unless otherwise indicated, italics in quotations are original to the sources. Spelling mistakes and typographical errors in quotations have generally been preserved and indicated. Certain spellings that depart from twenty-first century British practice, and which might appear to be the work of an American transcriber-for example, 'honor' and 'center'- were in fact the spellings employed by late Hanoverians, before a desire to Frenchify British spelling exerted itself later in the nineteenth century. In this sense…modern American usage remains closer than modern British usage to 'the king's English'-if the king in question is George III.'
Now isn't that both revealing and a surprise. So, modern British spelling is apparently French-inspired. 😀
That is absolutely true.
Indeed -- it's interesting to see how the two languages have evolved in parallel! I have a ca 1815 pronunciation dictionary (Walker's) and was interested to see that some of the UK pronunciations in the period would be closer to modern US ones -- for example "missile" would have been pronounced with a short second "i"...
You find both of what we would describe as modern-day US and UK spellings in contemporary MSS, but yes, "color", "favor", "behavior", "center", etc etc etc were pretty common (sometimes you find both in the same letter, which is great fun). There is that saying about how the English language doesn't borrow from other languages so much as mug them in dark alleys and go through their pockets for loose change...
As the initial colonists in Virginia and Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island were English, their mother tongue was English. So, I believe the idea of it being 'gifted' is a misnomer. The colonists spoke English when they showed up...🙄
@Kevin F. Kiley certainly not a surprise to me. I’d understood that we British had gifted the English language in it’s then form to the colonies. Of course a great deal of upper class English is French, courtesy of Norman French being the medieval courtly language. The Anglo-Saxon therefore became debased. Pork (porc) describes the meat, Swineherders look after the animal husbandry.. this has led to perfectly normal Anglo-Saxon becoming some of our most disliked (and beloved!) four letter swear words. This has a resonance in our period, Col Hake of Cumberland Hussars fame have his bridle seized and being “addressed in words of plain Saxon”.