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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 4 14:56:14 EDT 2021

The Quote Investigator article was updated yesterday. The new version
seems to be visible to visitors. Below is the updated acknowledgement.
Thanks to all.


[Begin acknowledgement]
Great thanks to Bruce Bartlett whose inquiry led QI to formulate this
question and perform this exploration. Bartlett located a 1941 article
in “The Southwestern Historical Quarterly” that pointed to the
illuminating 1888 piece in the “Laredo Daily Times”.

Many thanks to John Baker who found the crucial citation for
Sheridan’s speech dated March 25, 1880.

Also, thanks to Stephen Goranson who pointed to the variant about
England attributed to Edwin Forrest.

In addition, thanks to Barry Popik for his pioneering research on this
topic. He located citations beginning on April 14, 1866, and he
located an instance of the Sheridan testimony dated December 19, 1883.

Further, thanks to discussant Dan Goncharoff for raising an
interesting question.
[End acknowledgement]


On Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 5:35 PM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Fantastic citation! Thanks John.
> Good question, Dan.
> Excellent pointer, Stephen.
> I will update the QI article with acknowledgements in the coming days.
> Here is another humorously exaggerated version of Sheridan's
> explanation which was printed shortly after his speech. The passage
> below mentions the famous agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll who doubted the
> existence of hell.
> [ref] 1880 March 26, The Galveston Daily News, Galveston Siftings:
> That Little Story About Phil Sheridan's Preferences, Quote Page 4,
> Column 4, Galveston, Texas. (Gale Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers)
> [/ref]
> [Begin excerpt]
> Gen. Sheridan explained last night at the banquet how he came to say
> that if he owned Texas, and that other village Bob Ingersoll says
> ain't laid down on the map, how he would prefer to rent out Texas and
> live in the other village during the summer months. You see, Sheridan
> had the prickly heat and several boils at the time, and had been
> riding in the sun for several thousand miles, without any regular
> relays of refreshments, and just as he was about to register at the
> hotel in Galveston, a bandy-legged reporter with a wild look in his
> eye, rushed at him and said: "General; what do you think of the
> beautiful climate and wonderful natural resources of our great state,
> and have you a cigar about you?" Sheridan was not mad at Texas, but at
> the reporter, and then he blurted out, with the rude impetuosity of a
> soldier, that historic remark about Texas and h—l. I think that is the
> name of the other town he mentioned.
> [End excerpt]
> Here is a citation for the remark attributed to Edwin Forrest
> mentioned by Stephen.
> [ref] 1898 June, The Cornhill Magazine, Volume 4, Number 24, Humours
> of the Theatre by Robert M. Sillard, Start Page 818, Quote Page 828,
> Smith, Elder, & Company, London. (Google Books Full View) link [/ref]
> https://books.google.com/books?id=QUhOAQAAMAAJ&q=%22rent+England%22#v=snippet&
> [Begin excerpt]
> That most choleric of tragedians, Edwin Forrest, who, on account of
> his unpardonable conduct towards Macready, could never make friends
> with an English audience, once declared that 'if he owned England and
> hell, he'd rent England and live in hell.'
> [End excerpt]
> Garson O'Toole
> On Fri, Jul 2, 2021 at 11:03 AM Baker, John <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

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