I was doing some tending here on the Quodid site today and I saw a citation to "Archbishop Ireland" and I got curious. I'd never heard of that person. Turns out, Wikipedia has a page for him is labeled "John Ireland (bishop)" And the man was a Catholic Bishop in the 19th century and into the 20th. He was the first Roman Catholic archbishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota (1888–1918). So I knew that was the right guy.
When in doubt here on Quodid, I normalize naming of famous people the Wikipedia way. I do this for a couple different reasons. One is simply that we use Wikipedia as a way to tell visitors more about the people we're quoting. The other is that I figure no where else have more people been able to weigh in on the question of what to call a person.
Anyway, to today's topic. Which is neither the internal workings of Quodid, nor a detailed biography of Bishop John Ireland.
Instead, while looking into this whole thing I found that our first (and at that point only) quote attributed to Bishop John Ireland was this:
Law is order in liberty, and without order liberty is social chaos.
Because I didn't immediately feel like, "that's a thing this man would have said," I Googled the quote, curious if our citation was correct. I found lots of sites that cite "Archbishop Ireland," as we had. I also found a lot of citations saying that it was instead from an entirely different person, Sydney J. Harris. There are many sites that list it this way, here's one for reference.
Not knowing anything, I also Google Mr. Sydney Harris, and checked out his Wikipedia page. Sydney Justin Harris was a 20th century American journalist. He wrote columns for both the Chicago Daily-News and Chicago Sun-Times. So it seemed reasonable to think that maybe this quote was from him, not Archbishop Ireland.
So who was it that we should be citing? Syndey Harris or John Ireland? "Law is order in liberty..." seems like something that either of them --- or hundred of other Americans --- might reasonably have written. And my searching mostly found sites like ours: they had the quote, the citation, and no surrounding context. (By the way, that is a deficiency that's one of my long-term hopes in working on Quodid, but I don't want to get too far off-course...)
It took some playing, but when I add "bibliography" to the whole phrase in quotes, I finally found something interesting. The Internet Archive has a page with the heading 'Full text of "The Church and Modern Society: Lectures and Addresses"' that hit page 2 of Google's search results. Searching in the page (cmd+F), I found it:
AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP, 205
Law is order in liberty, and without order liberty is social chaos. The highest test of a people's fitness for free institutions is their willingness totow*** *° °k e y ^ aw - * n monarchies and empires physical force restrains the multitude and maintains government. In a democracy all depends on the intelligence and conscience of the people.
(I knowingly and intentionally left the weirdnesses of formatting and gibberish. We'll get to the well-format final thing in a bit.)
Anyway, I felt sure I'd found a real bona fide source. Clicking on the link in the page title, I hit the Archive's page for the book which was, as you might have guessed from the title labelled "The Church and Modern Society: Lectures and Addresses by John Ireland." So inside of a collection of lectures given by Archbishop Ireland was indeed this quote. So it wasn't a Sydney Harris quote at all. It was a published fact that Bishop John Ireland had said it.
And here's the full quote padded out, without the gibberish:
Law is order in liberty, and without order liberty is social chaos. The highest test of a people's fitness for free institutions is their willingness to obey law. In monarchies and empires physical force restrains the multitude and maintains government. In a democracy all depends on the intelligence and conscience of the people.
That's enough for today. I have to say when looking into this quote I didn't realize quite how relevant it was to the issue that have been roiling America in the early 2020s...