[Ads-l] Quote: If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 2 12:53:23 EDT 2021


Let me rephrase this: is "I'd rent out X and live in Hell" an older concept?

On Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 12:49 PM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> I think the idea of owning two places, of which one is rented out and the
> other is lived in, has been around for a while.  Normally it’s just a
> factual statement, not a joke.
>
>
> John Baker
>
>
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of Dan
> Goncharoff
> Sent: Friday, July 2, 2021 12:07 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Quote: If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and
> live in Hell
>
> The phrase is unusual enough to make me ask: is there a "rent out X and
> live in Y" that is older?
>
> On Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 11:03 AM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com<mailto:
> JBAKER at stradley.com>> wrote:
>
> > Sheridan’s 1880 speech, in which he specifically stated that the quip was
> > from 1866, was printed in the Galveston News, Mar. 25, 1880, which is
> > available in Gale Primary Sources: Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers.
> > Sheridan’s remarks were a reply to a toast, given at a banquet for
> > ex-president Grant at the Tremont Hotel in Galveston on Mar. 24, 1880.
> The
> > relevant passage was as follows:
> >
> > “Speaking so kindly of Texas – and I speak from my heart – probably I
> > ought to explain a remark I once made about it [loud applause], and I can
> > do it in this way: It was in 1866. At that time we had some trouble with
> > Mexico, and I went down to the border operating under the direction and
> > influence of your honored guest here to-night. I went down there to meet
> > some of the representatives of the president of that country who were
> then
> > at Chihuahua, and on my return to San Antonio I found a dispatch there
> > which required me to go with the greatest haste to New Orleans. I
> remember
> > that I hired relays and coaches from San Antonio to Galveston, so that I
> > had only to hitch on the wagon and go speedily. I traveled day and night.
> > It was in August and very warm, the dust being about as deep as it is in
> > Mexico, where it has not rained for several months. One or two officers
> > fell sick and I left them. I arrived in Galveton [sic] covered with dust.
> > My eyes and ears and throat were filled with it; and I think I had about
> as
> > much of the soil of Texas on me as would have raised a cotton crop. I
> went
> > to a little hotel (a voice: the Washington); and in that condition, as I
> > went up to register, one of these newspaper mem rushed up to me and said
> > he: “How do you like Texas?” I was mad, and I said if I owned Texas and
> > all hell, I would rent out Texas and live in hell. [Applause.] Now I want
> > to assure you that by that expression I only meant to convey how much I
> was
> > disgusted with that newspaper man. It did not represent my opinion of
> > Texas, and I know a great deal more about Texas than most people who are
> > about here, and I have always had the very highest regard for Texas.
> Every
> > time I visit Texas I think a little more of it than ever before, as Gen.
> > Grant said of his country when he came back to it. [Applause.]”
> >
> > This version is similar to, but differs somewhat from, the version of the
> > speech reprinted in 1938 and included in the Quote Investigator article.
> > Let me know if you need a copy of the PDF.
> >
> >
> > John Baker
> >
> >
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:
> ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>> On Behalf Of
> > ADSGarson O'Toole
> > Sent: Friday, July 2, 2021 4:18 AM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Subject: Quote: If I owned Hell and Texas, I would rent out Texas and
> live
> > in Hell
> >
> > External Email - Think Before You Click
> >
> >
> > I received a request from a political pundit to explore the provenance
> > of the quip in the subject line. Here is a link to the Quote
> > Investigator article:
> > https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/07/01/texas-hell/<
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/07/01/texas-hell><
> > https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/07/01/texas-hell<
> https://quoteinvestigator.com/2021/07/01/texas-hell>>
> >
> > The Yale Book of Quotations and Barry Popik have entries on this
> > topic. The earliest match I found appeared a couple months before the
> > previously known citations.
> >
> > [ref] 1866 February 22, The Mobile Daily Times, Communicated from
> > TRAVELER to the Editor of Mobile Times, Quote Page 2, Column 1,
> > Mobile, Alabama. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > So Gen. Sheridan, who was obliged to stop in Texas awhile on duty,
> > said if “he owned Texas and h--l both, he would rent Texas and live in
> > h--l!”
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > The other most important cites in the QI article are dated July 8,
> > 1883 and 1938. The 1938 cite presents an excerpt from a speech by
> > General Philip Sheridan that supposedly occurred in 1880. It would be
> > nice to have earlier evidence for that speech.
> >
> > H. L. Mencken’s “A New Dictionary of Quotations” and Burton
> > Stevenson's "The Macmillan Book Of Proverbs" (1948) both claim that
> > Sheridan used the expression in 1855. Mencken and Stevenson usually
> > provide valuable information, but I have found no evidence before
> > 1866.
> >
> > Feedback welcome
> > Garson O'Toole
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
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