Sambo -- not 1861 or 1704, but 1657

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Feb 1 02:45:37 UTC 2010

> I suppose the contestant are Taffy, Sawney & Paddy.
> OED has "a1700" for Taffy; EEBO seems to have it from the mid 17th C.
> "a1704" for Sawney (Scotsman -- as opposed to Sawney = fool)
> Paddy = 1714
> I didn't check EEBO for Sawney or Paddy -- seemed likely to be a pain in
> the ass.

And we could add to Joel's "Jock" (supplementing Sawney) for a Scotsman
(though I suspect it doesn't quite partake of the pejorative register of the
other terms), "Mick" (supplementing Paddy) for an Irishman.

But a date of "a1704" for Sawney is interesting if we consider Sawney Bean,
the Demon Cannibal of Edinburgh.

Sawney Bean and his anthropophagic brood were supposed to date, and
terminate, not long before 1603, just before Jimmy the Sixth and One finally
skipped south.  But if I remember correctly, the legend first appears (or,
feeling about folk from Edinburgh as I do, perhaps we should rather say the
truth first surfaces) in the early eighteenth century.

For what it's worth.  Sweeney Todd is a distinctly pale imitation of his
precursor, who can still be viewed large as life in the midst of a kitchen
festooned with appropriate joints of meat in Madam Tussaud's House of
Horrors somewhere along the Royal Mile.

(The best-written version of the Sawney Bean story is by S.R.Crockett in
_The Grey Man_).


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