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

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jan 25 06:37:05 UTC 2011

I seem to have not received what Victor wrote, but I can add to the
analysis of the two Google Books hits, William Emerson's Fourth of
July Oration and The Eclectic Review.   With the aid of the (publicly
accessible) Harvard on-line catalog.  In summary, the date of the Old
Church leaflet instance is 1890s or later; the date of the Eclectic
Review instance is 1836/37.

1)  Emerson's 1802 Fourth of July Oration is in one of the
*collections* of "Old South leaflets", here issues 126-150, published
by "Burt Franklin, 235 East 44th Street, New York, N.Y. 10017",
apparently without an imprinted date  The text containing "keep your
powder dry" is in a footnote (page 209 of 569), presumably written by
the editor/collector; it is not in Emerson's oration..  When were ZIP
codes introduced?  Text on page 565 of 569 contains in the first line
(of a footnote) the date 1895.  (Some of the Old South collections
were published as late as the 1950s; search the Harvard catalog for
"Old South leaflets".)  Even if Emerson's oration was originally
printed near 1802 as an individual "Old South leaflet", the target
phrase is in the footnote, not his oration.

2)  For The Eclectic Review issue containing "keep your powder dry"
-- Search GBooks for eclectic + "keep your powder dry", before
1899.  7 results.  Some are claimed to be 1837 (page 496), others
1861 (page 547), and the 1805/Volume 1 also appears (Snippet).

2a)  The 1805 is a false dating (see also (2b) below).  In the
Harvard catalog, Search in Journal Titles / Journal title beginning
with / for "Eclectic Review".  In Browse List: Titles All, select
"The eclectic review" (2 records), then the second of the two records
(with date 1805)..  The Full View of Record shows dates of
publication, beginning it is true with 1805 but running through
1868.  Click on the Location "Networked Resource" that says
Restrictions "Access to portions of this material may be
restricted."  On the Holdings page click on the Internet Link.  On
the Find it! @ Harvard page is a list of all the issues Harvard has
supplied Google with.  Click Full Text for v. 1.  The Google holding
is Full Text here (not Snippet), and searching for "keep your powder
dry" yields "No results".

2b)  Downloading the 1836 issue via Google Books does find "Put your
trust in God, but keep your powder dry" on page 496 (515 of 659),
with running head "Osler's Church and Dissent".  Page 492 (511 of
659)  is headed "Art. VII. The Church and Dissent ... By Edward
Osler. ... London: 1836.  12mo."  The title page of this volume of
The Eclectic Review is dated "MDCCCXXXVII [1837], January--June", and
it is "New Series. Vol. I".  This presumably explains GBooks' false
1805 instance -- someone took "Vol. I" to mean 1805, not realizing
that The Eclectic Review was eclectic about its series -- the Harvard
catalog shows *several* "new ser." at various dates.


At 1/24/2011 09:19 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>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.

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