Quote or Proverb: My boys trust in the Lord, and keep your powder dry (antedating 1832 February 28)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jan 25 02:19:38 UTC 2011

Victor wrote:
> With apologies to Garson and his incremental approach, it pains me to
> punch a hole in the theory of the quotes coalescing around an 1830s
> literary work.

Thanks for your response Victor. I located the two citations from
Google Books that you mention during my initial search. After
examining them closely I decided that the dates were inaccurate.

Assessing the dates of volumes that appear in the Google Books
database can be a difficult task. And I might be wrong. You mentioned
the problems with the second cite. Perhaps I should have discussed the
first cite and my reasons for excluding it in the original post.

Thanks to DanG for his insightful comment about the text appended to
the leaflet.

> http://goo.gl/RmK9Q
> Old South Leaflets. No. 134
> Fourth of July Oration. 1802. p. 16 [GB volume is a compilation, dated
> 1788, p. 200]
>> The first of Mr. Emerson's published discourses, given at Harvard,
>> Mass., July 4, 1794, is interesting in comparison with the Boston 4th
>> of July oration in 1802. It was given at the request of the military
>> officers of the town of Harvard, who, with the militia under their
>> command, assembled to hear it. It dwelt largely upon the importance of
>> morals and religion in the nation. Referring to dangers then
>> confronting, or likely to confront, the nation, the preacher said, "If
>> ever called to the field, we trust ye will remember fromwhom ye
>> descend." *The motto for the whole might very well have been that
>> often attributed to Cromwell's Puritans: "Trust in God, and keep your
>> powder dry."*
> There is an apparent 1805 hit--vol. 1 of The Eclectic Review--but it
> only comes in snippets in GB so I was unable to either verify it or get
> the full context (the preview does include the whole quote, but there is
> no guarantee that it's from the right volume, as the snippet shows
> nothing). The following is what's in the preview, complete with odd
> spelling:
> http://goo.gl/AcfjU
>> ...Fear not, but put toue Trust in God, and keep your Powder dry." '
>> Ho ! Marston, 'neath the moonlight thy thousands owned his power. Ho !
>> Naseby ! blood-bespangled in freedom's glorious hour. Ho ! Preston !
>> Dunbar ! Worcester !...
> But I suspect this to be an error. The clipping is from a Ramsey
> Churchyard 1848 poem The Farmer o St. Ives. (http://goo.gl/a0oSJ ) The
> fact that the snippet does not correspond to the preview suggests the
> possibility that they are taken from different texts. Still an
> interesting piece, but far too late to be of any use.
> I haven't checked EAN.
>     VS-)
>     VS-)
> On 1/24/2011 5:32 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>> Thanks for your response DanG. The evidence that Cromwell said the
>> phrase is very weak because the date of the first known appearance is
>> so late as you note. In 1832 the words were attributed to Archdal
>> (also spelled Archdale) by the Earl of Radnor in the Hansard
>> transcripts. Archdale was based in Ireland I think, and he attributed
>> the words to Cromwell.
>> It seems possible that a fictional treatment of Cromwell influenced
>> the attribution. A citation supporting that hypothesis would be
>> fascinating.
>> The footnote in the Dublin University magazine in 1834 said: "There is
>> a well-authenticated anecdote of Cromwell" saying a version of the
>> phrase. But no evidence accompanied this claim. If there is evidence
>> it may not have been digitized yet, or it may be difficult to access.
>> Reporting incremental progress was the intention for my post: pushing
>> the earliest date back a couple years, and identifying Archdale as a
>> locus of popularization.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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