“I beg leave to assure you” — letter by John Marshall

Richmond May 1st [17]99 (Source of Letter)

Dear Sir

You may possibly have seen a paragraph in a late publication, stating that several important offices in the gift of the Executive, & among others that of secretary of State, had been attainable by me. Few of the unpleasant occurrences produc’d by my declaration as a candidate for congress (& they have been very abundant) have given me more real chagrin than this. To make a parade of profferd offices is a vanity which I trust I do not possess, but to boast of one never in my power woud argue a littleness of mind at which I ought to blush.

I know not how the author may have acquird his information, but I beg leave to assure you that he never receivd it directly nor indirectly from me. I had no previous knowledge that such a publication was designd, or I woud certainly have suppressd so much of it as relates to this subject.

Under Idioms, this page from the Oxford Dictionary says:

beg leave to do something (formal) = to ask somebody for permission to do something

Could someone please explicate and elucidate beg leave? I can’t grasp how one would ask person X for permission to assure person X of something (particularly in this context). Wouldn’t one just assure person X directly of whatever thing it is?

Answer

beg leave simply means I beg you to allow me to/give me permission to

I beg leave, to repeat here, what I have already said in my former volume, that…

from beg

ask formally for (permission to do something): I will now beg to make some observations; from Old English bedecian, of Germanic origin; related to bid

and leave

permission; from Old English leaf, meaning permission

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : NNOX Apps , Answer Author : anongoodnurse

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