"hang together..." precursor? (1795)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 8 15:20:38 UTC 2012

 Stephen Goranson wrote:
> Perhaps a forerunner of "hang together or hang separately."
> New-York Magazine; Or, Literary Repository, vol. 6, May, 1795, p. 265, col.=
>  1-2.
> A SCOTCH Parson, in his prayer said, Laird bless the grand council the Parl=
> iament, and grant they may hang together....in accord and concord. No matte=
> r what cord, replied the other, so 'tis but a strong cord.
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DJD8oAAAAYAAJ&pg=3DPA264&dq=3D%22hang+tog=
> ether%22&hl=3Den&sa=3DX&ei=3D4EnDUNfSAYqY8gTGyoGACg&ved=3D0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=3Do=
> nepage&q=3D%22hang%20together%22&f=3Dfalse

Great find, Stephen! The joke relies on the same type of wordplay
based on the phrase "hang together". Here is an instance a few years
earlier in 1786.

Cite: 1786 October 21, Massachusetts Centinel, Anecdote, [Freestanding
short article], Quote Page 37, Column 2, Boston, Massachusetts.

[Begin excerpt]
A SCOTCH parson, in his babbling prayer, said Laird bless the grand
council, the parliament, and grant they may hang together. A country
fellow standing by, replied, Yes, yes, with all my heart, and the
sooner the better; and I am sure it is the prayers of all good people.
But, friends, said Sawney, I don't mean as the fellow means, but pray
they may all hang together in accord and concord. No matter what cord,
replied the other, so it is but a strong cord.
[End excerpt]

Below is a short link to the cite Stephen located. The link in his
original post does not work for me because it has been split (in
transit) and extraneous characters have been inserted.

Cite: 1795 May, The New-York Magazine; Or Literary Repository,
Anecdote, [Freestanding short article], Quote Page 264, Printed and
fold by T. and J. Swords, New York. (Google Books full view)


Link to volume:


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

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