in allusion to the Israelites in Egypt (Exodus v. 7):
"Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves"
The Israelites were not required to make bricks without straw, but to gather the straw for
themselves instead of having it furnished to them.
A misinterpretation has led to the phrase meaning to produce results without the means
usually considered necessary.
1658 - Memoirs of the Verney Family Volume III During the Commonwealth, Compiled by Margaret M. Verney;
see Example below
From: Memoirs of the Verney Family During the Commonwealth, 1650 to 1660
Compiled from the Letters
By Margaret M. Verney
Volume III, 1894
Chapter IX. Mun and his Lovemaking, 1656-1660
May 24, 1658