[This phrase is used for the first time by Washington Irving in the Creole Village; but Mr. Irving assures us that no irreverence was intended by him. Dickens makes use of the expression, without acknowledgement, in his American Notes, Chap. III. (Boston.) The almighty wand is a phrase used long ago by Cowley in his poem on the plagues of Egypt, Line 45; and the late Mr. Serjeant Cockle, whose powers of persuasion were so great, obtained the appellation of the almighty of the North.Law and Lawyers, 204. Again,
and even Dr. Young, to whom one would not impute anything profane, has made use of the phrase Almighty vanity! (Satire II. Line 13.) Churchill has Prudence, almighty Prudence, gives thee all, (Night, Line 310); Dryden, in the 10th Satire of Juvenal, has the almighty bribes and presents, which prevail when no persuasion will.
Dean Swift, with reference to the Eolists, a sect which pretended to inspiration, says, their gods were the four winds and the chief of them was the almighty north; (see the Tale of a Tub, Sec. 8;) and in The Pretended Letter of Thanks Swift writes Your Lordships almighty pen; and lastly, De Quincey in a Paper on the Revolt of the Tartars, page 169, in allusion to the horrors of thirst, writes, forgetful of all things at that moment but of one almighty instinct.]