[Ads-l] O'Rafferty rules antedated to 1908

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Fri Jul 24 13:31:35 UTC 2015

OED and Australian National Dictionary have 1918 for Rafferty rules. Earlier this week I antedated that to 1911:

Independent (Footscray, Victoria) 15 July 1911 p. 3 col. 4 [Trove]:

The umpire lost all control of the game, and it became a case of Rafferty's rules with the players.

Then I learned of the 1880 tract or screed by Michael Davitt (1846-1906), using a name known from Irish ballad:

Paudeen O'Rafferty on the Landlord's Ten Commandments Dedicated to Exterminators and Rack-Renters as also to the People who Work: Creed of the right Hon: Lord Clan Rackrent, Earl of Idleness and Viscount Absentee.
This is reprinted in Michael Davitt: collected writings (2001), which I have not seen. But a long quotation was printed in The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.) 5 March 1881 p. 311 "The Irish Difficulty" col. 2-3, here 3. [Trove Newspapers]. A very rough paraphrase might be: landlords, evil beings, can do what they want. Or, to para-paraphrase: no rules, just wrong. It turns out that there are numerous instances of O'Rafferty('s) rules as well as Rafferty's. Here's one from 1908:
If [horse] riders do not wish to assist in putting down the practice, and are prepared to ride under "O'Rafferty" rules, then they must put up with the consequences.
Auckland Star v. 39 iss. 1, 1 January 1908 p. 3 {PapersPast] The Racing World.

Stephen Goranson

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

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