Rats in the House That Jack Built

Rat in the House that Jack Built

Rat in the House that Jack Built

Rats!
The Arkansas delegation in Congress are singular fellows — singular, because Van Buren member of Congress, and yet quite honest. We have already amused our readers by sundry extracts from the blunt denunciations of the corruptions of the party to which they belong, which have fallen from the lips of Senator Sevier and Representative Yell. — The latter gentleman has been again applying the lash to his delinquent friends. Some proposition of the party being before the House, proposing the expenditure of several hundred thousand dollars, Mr. Yell broke out into the following exclamation, “is this the time,” said he, “for us to think of useless taxation, and useless expenditure? What is our condition? AN EMPTY TREASURY — A NATIONAL DEBT — A VILIFIED CREDIT!” Verily, here is a yell for you! The picture of the national degradation brought upon the country by the empiricism of Van Buren, is drawn with a pencil light! But hear Yell yet a while longer. Hear him describe his fellows of the House — the real Simon Pure hard-money-Loco-foco-Democratic-people-loving-money-hating, “cats and rats” of Van Burenism and their masters, who have kept them sleek and plump by good feeding!

cock-in-the-house-that-jack-built

“Mr. Speaker, it is not to be denied that there are in this House cats and rats — I certainly do not intend to offer any term reproach or discourtesy to any gentleman, when I make use of such epithets — who have for years been struggling, and often with too much success, to clutch the malt, and carry it away from the House that Jack built. The fact has been known to all — the late and present Executive have both been aware of the fact — and if I have any language of censure or of reproach to add, it must be found in a well grounded complaint that they have not drawn the offending rats from their hiding places, dismissed them from their confidence, and held them up to public reprobation.” — Journal and Register.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) July 17, 1838

The House That Jack Built

Other Political Uses From Wikipedia:

  • Thomas Jefferson, prior to serving as President, first used it to criticize the broad construction approach of the “necessary and proper” clause of the U.S. Constitution with respect to a bill to grant a federal charter to a mining company. The term was used to suggest that the expansion of federal powers under these arguments would give the federal government infinite powers. “Congress are authorized to defend the nation. Ships are necessary for defense; copper is necessary for ships; mines, necessary for copper; a company necessary to work the mines; and who can doubt this reasoning who has ever played at ‘This is the House that Jack Built’? Under such a process of filiation of necessities the sweeping clause makes clean work.”
  • One of the “Political Miscellanies” associated with the Rolliad, an 18th century British satire, was “This Is the House That George Built”, referring to George Nugent Grenville, Marquess of Buckingham, who had briefly supported William Pitt the Younger into government before resigning from office. The parody is attributed to Joseph Richardson.

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