Wise Saws

A Brief History of Windsor, Nova Scotia

6C. Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Sam Slick’s Wise Saws

Thomas Chandler Haliburton - Age 40

Thomas Chandler Haliburton – Age 40

Thomas Chandler Haliburton, born in Windsor in 1796 and educated at Canada’s first college, King’s College, Windsor, created the popular fictional character Sam Slick, a Yankee peddler who sold clocks to unsuspecting Nova Scotians, which he called “Bluenoses”.

Haliburton’s popular satirical writings made him the “Father of American Humor”. He is still the most commonly quoted writer in America.

Thomas Chandler Haliburton included many wise sayings used by Nova Scotians in his stories about Sam Slick:

  • As quick as a wink
  • Seeing is believing
  • He drank like a fish
  • Real genuine skinflint
  • I wasn’t born yesterday
  • You’re as sharp as a tack
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • Barking up the wrong tree
  • A miss is as good as a mile
  • They are all uppercrust here
  • The early bird gets the worm
  • Facts are stranger than fiction
  • Give and take, live and let live
  • This country is going to the dogs
  • You can’t get blood out of a stone
  • Every dog has his day in this world
  • As large as life and twice as natural
  • Six of one, half a dozen of the other
  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  • What a pity that marryin’ spoils courtin’
  • He flies right off the handle for nothing
  • I like to let every feller grind his own axe
  • It’s like looking for a needle in a hay stack
  • A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse
  • A knowledge of God is the foundation of all wisdom
  • An ounce of prevention is as good as a pound of cure
  • A college education shows how devilish little other people know
  • It is easier to make money than to save it; one is exertion, the other self-denial
  • If a man seems bent on cheating himself, I like to be neighborly and help him do it

T.C. Haliburton On Relationships…

“There is a private spring to everyone’s affection; if you can find that, and touch it, the door will fly open, tho’ it was a miser’s heart.”

“What a pity it is that marryin’ spoils courtin’.”

“Matrimony likes contrasts; friendship seeks it’s own counterparts.”

“All the girls regard marraige as an enviable lot, or a necessary evil.”

“There must have been a charming climate in Paradise. The temperature was perfect, and cannubial bliss, I allot, was a real jam up.”

“Women, in a general way, don’t look like the same critters when they are spliced, that they do before; matrimony, like sugar and water, has a nutral affinity for, and a tendency to acidity.”