Swaddlers

John Cennick.
John Cennick.

SWADDLERS. The term “Swaddler,” used by the Roman Catholics of Ireland to describe Protestants, had this origin:– “It happened that Cennick, preaching on Christmas-day, took for his text these words from St. Luke’s Gospel– ‘And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.’ A Catholic who was present, and to whom the language of Scripture was a novelty, thought this so ludicrous that he called the preacher a swaddler in derision, and this unmeaning word became the nickname of the Methodists, and had all the effect of the most opprobrious appellation.”

Robert Southey, Life of Wesley, ii. 153.