For many years I’ve known, enjoyed, and occasionally used the expression “This is Liberty Hall, you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard!” For almost as many years I’ve vaguely wondered where I got it, and it finally occurred to me to ask Professor Google, so now I know, thanks to this web page:
John Grimes often welcomed his guests with the phrase “Come In. This is Liberty Hall; you can spit on the mat and call the cat a bastard!”. There seems to be some interest in the origin of this quote.
One of the earliest variations of this quote seems to comes from the Oliver Goldsmith play “She Stoops to Conquer” written in 1773. The quote goes “Mr. Marlow—Mr. Hastings—gentlemen—pray be under no constraint in this house. This is Liberty-hall, gentlemen. You may do just as you please here.” (www.bartleby.com/18/3/2.html)
A. Bertram Chandler used the phrase and it is used in nearly all the John Grimes books. It is first used in “The Road to the Rim” published in If magazine in 1967.
Since I was a loyal reader of If in those years, I think I can say with confidence that that is my source. And I’m glad to know about the prehistory in Goldsmith.