I’m looking for the Regency-era version of the term “left to one’s own devices.”
I suspect that the correct British/archaic version would be “left to one’s own devises”, but I’m having trouble confirming this. Can anyone speak to the use of this term in either modern or historic UK English?
Update: I fed the term into Google Books, restricting it to 18th and 19th century sources. What I found was that the phrase pops up in 18th century sources as almost exclusively “own devises” (or, to be accurate, “devifes”), and migrates by 1870 almost entirely to “own devices”, but around 1809 it’s predominantly “devises”, which ought not to be confused with the occurrences of one’s “own devises” as a legal term which seems to mean something else entirely. The spelling “devises” seems to be undergoing a 21st century resurgence, which I can’t really criticize as incorrect since the phrase makes sense either way and has historic precedent under both spellings.