Date: Thu, 7 May 1998 11:43:55 EDT
From: Bapopik
Subject: Honest John

In the new movie BULWORTH, Warren Beatty plays a senator who does a
remarkable thing--he tells the truth.
SAFIRE'S NEW POLITICAL DICTIONARY has an entry for "honest graft," but
that's it as far as honesty goes.
The first citation for "Honest Abe Lincoln" dates from 1858 in the DA.
The RHHDAS dates "honest John" (an honest man) from 1884, although there
is a Washington Irving citation from 1807 that's noted. The complete and
utter truth is "honest-to-God" or "honest-to-John." Of interest also is the
entry for "honest Injun," which has a first citation from 1851.
This is from the PITTSFIELD SUN (MA), 21 October 1841, pg. 2, col. 4:

The whigs call their candidate "_honest_ John." So Othello called Iago
"honest, _honest_ Iago." The working-men remember "_honest_ John's" speech on
high wages in Congress. He told them the sub-treasury was the sole cause of
low wages. Only put the whigs in power and they would repeal it, and up wages
would go!
The working-men believed him, put the whigs in, the sub-treasury was
repealed, and where are "honest John's" high wages? No where. The workmen
find their wages cut down, their labor lengthened; it costs them more to live;
they get less for their labor, and _instead of ten hours, work from twelve to
fifteen, and are forbidden to open a letter or read a newspaper, while under
the ye of their task-master's at the Springfield armory!_ This is the result
of "honest John's" promises to them to get their votes.
The motto under which "honest John" was chosen Governor last year,
was--"ROAST BEEF AND TWO DOLLARS A DAY." (I'd vote for the vegetarian
candidate--ed.) The working-men who were deceived by this, get neither, and
are paid less and work more, than under the sub-treasury administration. We
must just ask "_honest_ John" in his own words, which he used to sneer at Mr.
Van Buren in his last Governor's Message:
"What have become of all your fair promises? Wages have been lowered,
and where is the prosperity you promised us? Where the golden era of
fruition? _The aching eyes of many are still stretched in vain after it,
while it recedes like the mirage of the desert before the weary traveller_."
That's a fact, "honest John," you never prophecied truer. When are the
working-men to have that "_roast beef and two dollars a day_" you promised
them, if they would make you Governor?--_Boston Post_.

"Roast beef and two dollars a day" is regrettably not recorded in most
places, but non-Oprahs can check out SAFIRE'S entry for "chicken in every