I don't like the second example. せめて is not used that way.
would you use seizei instead? せいぜい、つまらないものですが、、
せいぜい also does not cut it. If you really want to use it in the context of the second example, it would be like せめてもと持参したつまらないものですが(it's an uninteresting thing that I at least brought," but that's really stretching it.
You can say せめてのもの instead of せめて. せめてのもの is stronger than せめて.
ex1174 J is weird for me. Did you mean ほんのつまらないものですが ?
攻めて and 責めて are the only two kanji that come up for this word. 責めて means to criticize, condemn or blame. Maybe せめて means (at it's core) "Even if you closely examine this situation, x should be expected." I don't know if this is true or not, but it's a thought.
攻めて and 責めて are not equivalent of せめて, but せめて did derive from 責む in 連用形 form with connective て. In archaic use, there were several other meanings associated with せめて, but what we now have is "although not sufficient, at least this much if the situation compels."
I agree with Miki-san re ex1174. As he says, it shoud be ほんのつまらないものですが and therefore does not belong to this thread.
Beg pardon but what is the difference between せめて and つくなくても ?
This isn't JLPT 1. My guess is level 3 or 2 but I don't know for sure which. On another note, does anyone besides me always get せめて and せいぜい confused? If so, does anyone have a good memory technique?