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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Page 1046

Appendix. (continued)
    Castles in the air.
          This is a proverbial phrase found throughout English literature, the first instance noted being in Sir Philip Sidney’s “Defence of Poesy.”
    Consistency, thou art a jewel.
          This is one of those popular sayings—like “Be good, and you will be happy,” or “Virtue is its own reward”—that, like Topsy, “never was born, only jist growed.” From the earliest times it has been the popular tendency to call this or that cardinal virtue, or bright and shining excellence, a jewel, by way of emphasis. For example, Iago says,—
”Good name, in man or woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.”
    Cotton is King; or, Slavery in the Light of Political Economy.
          This is the title of a book by David Christy (1855).

The expression “Cotton is king” was used by James Henry Hammond in the United States Senate, March, 1858.
    Dead as Chelsea.
          To get Chelsea; to obtain the benefit of that hospital. “Dead as Chelsea, by God!” an exclamation uttered by a grenadier at Fontenoy, on having his leg carried away by a cannon-ball.—Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1758 (quoted by Brady, “Varieties of Literature,” 1826).
    Die in the last ditch.
          To William of Orange may be ascribed this saying. When Buckingham urged the inevitable destruction which hung over the United Provinces, and asked him whether he did not see that the commonwealth was ruined, “There is one certain means,” replied the Prince, “by which I can be sure never to see my country’s ruin,—I will die in the last ditch.”—Hume: History of England. (1622.)