Posted by R. Berg on January 28, 2001
In Reply to: Re: Robbing Peter to pay Paul posted by R. Berg on January 27, 2001
: : I have a bet with someone on who can find the origin of this first. Does anyone have an idea? I've been all over the web with some pretty good sites but can't find the phrase. Anyone?
: : thanks,
: : Michael
: Michael, if you win the bet, are you offering to share your winnings with the person who did the research?
That wasn't very nice of me, was it? Anyway, setting aside issues of robbery and payment, a few minutes of searching in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations turned up "To robbe Peter and pay Poule" as an entry in a collection of English "Proverbes" compiled by John Heywood (1497-1580). That doesn't mean that Mr. Heywood originated the saying, only that he wrote it down.