[PW] ?Australian quote

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Fri Mar 23 02:51:28 PDT 2018

Here are some earlier citations based on the lead provided by Charles Early.

The letter to the editor of "The Sydney Morning Herald" listed below
was published under the title "Starr of office porn" which referred to
the Starr Report concerning the Clinton administration.

Date: September 15, 1998
Newspaper: The Sydney Morning Herald
Newspaper Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Letter to the editor from Liz Maher, Bangor
Date of letter: September 14
Quote Page 12, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Thank God (or should it be Charles I) that we got the convicts and the
Americans got the puritans.
Liz Maher, Bangor.
[End excerpt]

Date: November 16, 1998
Newspaper: Lincoln Journal Star
Newspaper Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Article: Celebrate the Pilgrim myth, but praise the First Amendment
Author: Leon Satterfield
Quote Page 4B, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
A couple of weeks ago there was a letter to the editor in The New York
Times quoting a funny letter to the editor of an Australian newspaper.
The full text of the funny letter: "Thank God we got the convicts and
they got the Puritans."
[End excerpt]

Date: February 3, 2002
Newspaper: The Southern Illinoisan
Newspaper Location: Carbondale, Illinois
Article: Letter to the editor from Donn S. Miller, Tamms
Quote Page 2E, Column 2
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
At the height of the Clinton impeachment brouhaha, when the moralistic
right were rolling their eyes and drooling at every fresh revelation
of the president's debauchery, an Australian newspaper published a
letter to the editor that contained the following memorable line:
"Thank God that we got the convicts and the U.S. got the Puritans!"
[End excerpt]


On Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 5:12 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Following the lead of Charles Early, here is a 2001 citation.
> Website: CounterPunch
> Date on website: December 8, 2001 (Wayback Machine snapshot Sep 28, 2012)
> Title: High-Tech Puritanism
> Author: John Chuckman
> https://www.counterpunch.org/2001/12/08/high-tech-puritanism/
> [Begin excerpt]
> During the insane episode of keeping a little boy away from his father
> and his country on the basis of ideology, a perceptive Australian
> wrote in a Sydney paper that he was grateful Australia got the
> convicts instead of the Puritans.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson
> On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 11:41 AM, Charles Early <charles.early at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I remember encountering this quote (in the form "Thank God we got the
>> convicts instead of the Puritans!") during the Clinton impeachment of
>> 1998.  It's possible it was invented by an envious American at that time.
>> On Wed, Mar 21, 2018 at 11:33 PM, peter macinnis <
>> petermacinnis at ozemail.com.au> wrote:
>>> On 22/03/2018 08:41, d-lien University of Minnesota wrote:
>>>> I posted a query on another of my groups, which has a number of
>>>> Australians contributing.  Only got one response, from an Australian
>>>> woman now living in the U.S. who says she's familiar with the quote
>>>> and uses it herself, but has no idea of its origins or its canonical
>>>> exact wording.
>>>> For what it's worth. . .
>>>> Dennis Lien /d-lien at umn.edu
>>> I am Australian. I have never come across it. I have no doubt that
>>> somebody will attribute it to Mark Twain. Before I start, a declaration of
>>> interest: I have no known convict ancestors, unlike my wife, of whom I am
>>> profoundly jealous: we Australians see the convicts now as having equal
>>> standing with the DAR.
>>> There's a close hit here: <http://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/337200>
>>> A spot-on hit here: <https://boards.straightdope.c
>>> om/sdmb/showthread.php?t=665409>
>>> Sir Les Patterson (Barry Humphries) said it in 2008: <
>>> https://www.spectator.co.uk/2008/10/diplomatic-notebook/>
>>> That, on  a cursory look, is the earliest. A lot of our most colourful
>>> expressions (like 'Technicolor Yawn') came from Humphries' invention, Bazza
>>> McKenzie, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was the source.
>>> The sort of stupid "slinging off" about convicts that merits a slap-down
>>> comes usually from a particular class of young males with the charisma of
>>> John Major on a wet day and the personal hygiene of Albert Steptoe. They
>>> feel injured when we don't dance around, admiring them.
>>> That is when they start making convict comments. My retort in that case is
>>> to explain how my grandmother feared going to England "because that was
>>> where the convicts came from", and I think that one might actually trace
>>> back to Miles Franklin.
>>> For a more even-handed look at the early convicts, see <
>>> https://oldblockwriter.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/about-those-convicts.html>
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