Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Feb 1 03:21:35 UTC 2010

I did a little research into "Sawney Bean" because Dr. William
Douglass, the Scottish-born Boston antiinoculationist, was satirized
as "Sawny" in  a 1722 tract.  I don't think I found "Sawn[e]y in
print before the early 1700s, although I too saw an attribution of
him to the time of James.


At 1/31/2010 09:45 PM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
[here quoting George Thompson]
>>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_).
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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