Following the arrival of large waves of Irish immigration, anti-Irish sentiment on these shores began to grow. Echoes of this, such as “Paddy and Murphy” jokes live on to this day, playing the Irish down as stereotypically “thick” or stupid”.
The bulk of this text is an extract from The Limerick Evening Post of 15th April 1828. It reveals that the Irish had decidedly had enough of it at this point. What follows is a rather humorous interpretation of the English, and more specifically, folk from the West Midlands.
IGNORANCE of the ENGLISH PEOPLE
The annexed extract from the London Sun of Wednesday, we intend for the perusal of our Biblical gentry, but more especially those who come from the “enlightened people” of the sister-isle, to preach from the text of “Irish ignorance and superstition,” an unwarranted and mischievous crusade against the character and feelings of the country. The paragraph is taken from a lengthened account of a boxing match near Wolverhampton, given in the usual flash style, and here it is :-
“Ourself, in company with another friend, left Wolverhampton early on the Tuesday morning, for Stourbridge, and resolved to ‘nurse our prads [horses] gently’ in case any thing unpleasant might happen, and that ‘move off‘’ should be ordered. It is pretty well known that the working people (alias the operatives) in that neighbourhood are the most illiterate in England and, in consequence, we proposed a bet to our friend, of a flimsy to the tune of fifty, that the three first people he should meet at their doors, in the first four miles, did not know the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Done !‘ was the answer, and the following scene took place.
Our friend went up to a decent looking woman, who was staring at the cavalcade that was filing by, and accosted her with, ‘My good woman, do you know the Lord’s Prayer?’’
‘Lod’s Prayer? No, Zur, I doant know him; he doant live hereabout, I’ze sure.‘
Our friend looked unutterable things; took a pinch of snuff, and asked ourself to smoak a cigar. ‘Yes,’ was our reply. We pulled up our prads at a decent-looking house, to get a light, which being procured, we prepared to toddle, first putting our smoaking faculties into full operation, when the sight of a petticoat caught our friend’s eye, and as he was partial to the ogles of a ‘rum blowing,’ he determined to pop the question, and thus addressing her
‘My darling creature a word in your listener if you please; do you know, my love, the Lord’s Prayer?’’
‘Lord’s Prayer, Lord’s Prayer, noa xur, I doant know en that name, but perhaps my devil does— (here’s two said ourself) — the females in this part of the country call their husbands by way of eminence their devils; here she cried ‘Tommy! Tommy! come out, come out, here’s some gemmen want to know summitt.’
Our friend here repeated his question to the ‘gentle creature’s devil,’ who’s reply was, ‘noa zur, I’ant lived long about here; I doant know him rightly ; but an you’ll tell whether banks-man or a pit-man, I’ll be zure to know him.’
Our friend was completely ‘slow whidded’, and cut his stick [made off].”
A single comment on this would weaken it, so much does it speak for itself.
- The Limerick Evening Post, 15th April 1828