“Well, I like men in vestments. Does that count?”
(Conversation reported by a friend in the metropole.)
At least for the purposes of popular thought and speech, God and the saints became the subjects of legal rights, if not of legal duties. [ . . . ] In the old land-books the notion is put before us in many striking phrases. In the oldest of them the newly converted Æthelbert says, ‘To thee Saint Andrew and to thy church at Rochester where Justus the Bishop presides I do give a portion of my land.’ The saint is the owner; his church at this place or that is mentioned because it is necessary to show of which of his many estates the gift is to form part. [ . . . ] Gradually (if we may so speak) the saint retires behind his churches; the church rather than the saint is thought of as the holder of lands and chattels. When it comes to precise legal thinking, the saint is an impracticable person, for if we ascribe rightful we may also have to ascribe wrongful possession to him, and from this we shrink, though Domesday Book courageously charges St Paul with an ‘invasion’ of land that is not his own*.
*D.B. ii. 13: ‘Aliam Nessetocham tenuit Turstinus Ruffus ... modo Sanctus Paulus invasit.’ We might compare this to those phrases current at Oxford and Cambridge which tell how Magdalen has won a cricket match and the like; but there is less of conscious abbreviation in the one case than in the other.
There are many reasons to read Pollock and Maitland’s masterpiece, The History of English Law before the Time of Edward I (Cambridge: CUP, 1895, 18982), but surely the wonderful words that one learns are high on the list. Example: vifgage (vivum vadium), in contrast to mortgage (mortuum vadium) (II.119): in a vifgage, the amount of the debt is progressively reduced by the profits that the creditor takes from the land given to him as a gage; in a mortgage, it is not. Further, if somewhat fanciful, etymological speculations in Glanvill x, 8, and Littleton § 332, according to the footnote.
Denn was ist die Seligkeit jedes Paradieses? ... Wir würden es vielleicht schon errathen; aber besser ist es, dass es uns eine in solchen Dingen nicht zu unterschätzende Autorität ausdrücklich bezeugt, Thomas von Aquino, der grosse Lehrer und Heilige. „Beati in regno coelesti“, sagt er sanft wie ein Lamm, „videbunt poenas damnatorum, ut beatitudo illis magis complaceat.“ Oder will man es in einer stärkeren Tonart hören, etwa aus dem Munde eines triumphirenden Kirchenvaters, der seinen Christen die grausame Wollüste der öffentlichen Schauspiele wiederrieth — warum doch? „Der Glaube bietet uns ja viel mehr — sagt er, de spectac. c. 29 ss. — viel Stärkeres; Dank der Erlösung stehen uns ja ganz andre Freuden zu Gebote; an Stelle der Athleten haben wir unsre Märtyrer; wollen wir Blut, nun, so haben wir das Blut Christi ... Aber was erwartet uns erst am Tage seiner Wiederkunft, seines Triumphes!“ — und nun fährt er fort, der entzückte Visionär: [ . . . ]And then follows a quotation from De spectaculis too long to transcribe. I was asked some time ago for the technical name of the doctrine to which the quotations of Tertullian and Thomas allude. There was, as far as I can tell, no specific term for this at the time when it was propounded as doctrinal orthodoxy; but the nineteenth-century phrase is ‘the abominable fancy’, due to one Dean F.W. Farrar, in a sermon preached in 1877 at Westminster Abbey. This is, at least, the source given by D.P. Walker in his useful The Decline of Hell: Seventeenth-Century Discussions of Eternal Torment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), p. 31. Walker also gives an interesting quotation from Bayle, demonstrating (on his reading) a view of the doctrine midway between the unqualified endorsement of Tertullian and the revulsion of Farrar:
Il y a même je ne sai quoi qui choque notre raison dans l’hypothese que les Saints du Paradis tirent en partie leur félicité de ce qu’ils savent que d’autres hommes sont tourmentez & le seront éternellement. [Bayle, Œuvres diverses, 3:863, quoted by Walker, p. 30]Incidentally, I’m fairly certain that Walker (and, for that matter, Nietzsche) considerably oversimplifies the post-patristic history of the doctrine: St Thomas’ claim is that the blessed rejoice not per se but per accidens in the torments of hell, inasmuch as in observing them they observe the workings of divinely ordained justice: et sic divina justitia et sua liberatio erunt per se causa gaudii bonorum, sed poenae damnatorum per accidens (In IV Sent. d. 50 q. 2 a. 4 qc. 3 co.). This seems clearly conceptually distinct from, if not much less offensive than, the enjoyment Tertullian is describing.
Dianae sumus in fide
puellae et pueri integri
Dianam pueri integri
1) that deodands were abolished by statute, 9 & 10 Vict. c. 62, after coroner's juries began reviving them as a means of getting around the legal impunity of railway companies for fatal accidents;There was, in fact, a reasonable path that got me from (1) to (2), but that's of no moment.
2) that "A Swiss Army knife is commonly called "Macgybar Chakku" in Bangladesh, "Maekgaibeo Kal" in South Korea, and "Pisau MacGyver/Pisau Lipat MacGyver" in Indonesia/Malaysia".
23. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.This absurd claim is demonstrably false, as can be discovered in a half a minute on Wikipedia and confirmed almost as quickly in a real source. In the main, British treason law is set by the Treason Act 1351, 25 Edw. 3 st. 5 c. 2, which says nothing about postage stamps (although it does have a number of archaic provisions, and one ("si home [...] soit adherant as enemies nostre seigneur le roy en le royalme, donant a eux eid ou confort en son royalme ou par aillours", although the text is cited variously, cf. 1 Hale P.C. 88, 3 Co. Inst. 10-11) that lies behind the oft-misquoted provision in the American Constitution). Nor are such things to be found in the other relevant statutes in force.
"I'm not sure I understand," Oedipa said.And, as the cognoscenti know, The Crying of Lot 49 only seems to be fiction. I saw the evidence myself back in the Web's younger days, but evil Thurn und Taxis henchmen brought the site down, so we are forced to rely on the Wayback machine and this tireless investigator.
"Allow me." He rolled over to her a small table, and from a plastic folder lifted with tweezers, delicately, a U.S. commemorative stamp, the Pony Express issue of 1940, 3¢ henna brown. Cancelled. "Look," he said, switching on a small, intense lamp, handing her an oblong magnifying glass.
"It's the wrong side," she said, as he swabbed the stamp gently with benzine and placed it on a black tray.
"The watermark." Oedipa peered. There it was again, her WASTE symbol, showing up black, a little right of center. (95-96)
Only the cellars [of Bismarck’s house in the Wilhelmstraße] were properly stocked. When Bismarck left in 1890, 13,000 bottles of wine had to be cleared out in a couple of days. This is not surprising in view of his statement that he intended to consume 5,000 bottles of champagne in his life—and this only as light refreshment after the table wines and brandy, to say nothing of beer.—A.J.P. Taylor, Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman (London, 1955), 112.
“Daß die Anarchisten langweilig werden, ist vielleicht das letzte Zeichen dafür, daß es mit einer Gesellschaft zu Ende ist.”
Another hero of that time, unfortunately a principal instead of a mere spectator in the recorded tragedy, is so full of exuberant vitality that we can scarcely reconcile ourselves to the belief that the poor man was hanged two centuries ago. The gallant Colonel Turner had served in the royal army, and, if we may believe his dying words, was specially valued by his Majesty. The colonel, however, got into difficulties: he made acquaintance with a rich old merchant named Tryon, and tried to get a will forged in his favour by one of Tryon’s clerks; failing in this, he decided upon speedier measures. He tied down poor old Tryon in his bed one night, and then carried off jewels to the value of 3000l. An energetic alderman suspected the colonel, clutched him a day or two afterwards, and forced him to disgorge. When put upon his defence, he could only tell one of those familiar fictions common to pickpockets; how he had accidentally collared the thief, who had transferred the stolen goods to him, and how he was thus entitled to gratitude instead of punishment. It is not surprising that the jury declined to believe him; but we are almost surprised that any judge had the courage to sentence him. For Colonel Turner is a splendid scoundrel. There is something truly heroic in his magnificent self-complacency; the fine placid glow of conscious virtue diffused over his speeches. He is a link between Dugald Dalgetty, Captain Bobadil, and the audacious promoter of some modern financiering scheme. Had he lived in days when old merchants invested their savings in shares instead of diamonds, he would have been an invaluable director of a bubble company. There is a dash of the Pecksniff about him; but he has far too much pith and courage to be dashed like that miserable creature by a single exposure. Old Chuzzlewit would never have broken loose from his bonds. It is delightful to see, in days when most criminals prostrated themselves in abject humiliation, how this splendid colonel takes the Lord Chief Justice into his confidence, verbally buttonholes “my dear lord” with a pleasant assumption that, though for form’s sake some inquiry might be necessary, every reasonable man must see the humour of an accusation directed against so innocent a patriot. The whole thing is manifestly absurd. And then the colonel gracefully slides in little compliments to his own domestic virtues. Part of his story had to be that he had sent his wife (who was accused as an accomplice) on an embassy to recover the stolen goods.“I sent my poor wife away,” he says, "and saving your lordship’s presence, she did all bedirt herself—a thing she did not use to do, poor soul. She found this Nagshead, she sat down, being somewhat fat and weary, poor heart! I have had twenty-seven children by her, fifteen sons and twelve daughters.” “Seven or eight times this fellow did round her.” “Let me give that relation,” interrupts the wife. “You cannot,” replies the colonel, “it is as well. Prythee, sit down, dear Moll; sit thee down, good child, all will be well.”And so the colonel proceeds with amazing volubility, and we sympathise with this admirable father of twenty-seven children under so cruel a hardship. But—not to follow the trial—the colonel culminated under the most trying circumstances. His dying speech is superb. He is honourably confessing his sins, but his natural instinct asserts itself. He cannot but admit, in common honesty, that he is a model character, and speaks under his gallows as if he were the good apprentice just arrived at the mayoralty. He admits, indeed, that he occasionally gave way to swearing, though he “hated and loathed” the sin when he observed it; but he was—it was the source of all his troubles—of a “hasty nature.” But he was brought up in an honest family in the good old times, and laments the bad times that have since come in. He has been a devoted loyalist; he has lived civilly and honestly at the upper end of Cheapside as became a freeman of the Company of Drapers; he was never known to be “disguised in drink;” a small cup of cider in the morning, and two little glasses of sack and one of claret at dinner, were enough for him; he was a constant church-goer, and of such delicate propriety of behaviour that he never “saw a man in church with his hat on but it troubled him very much” (a phrase which reminds us of Johnson’s famous friend); “there must be,” he is sure, when he thinks of all his virtues, “a thousand sorrowful souls and weeping eyes” for him this day. The attendant clergy are a little scandalised at this peculiar kind of penitence; and he is good enough to declare that he “disclaims any desert of his own”—a sentiment which we feel to be a graceful concession, but not to be too strictly interpreted. The hangman is obliged to put the rope round his neck. “Dost thou mean to choke me, fellow?” exclaims the indignant colonel. “What a simple fellow is this! how long have you been executioner that you know not how to put the knot?” He then utters some pious ejaculations, and as he is assuming the fatal cap, sees a lady at a window; he kisses his hand to her, and says, “Your servant, Mistress;” and so pulling down the cap, the brave colonel vanishes, as the reporter tells us, with a very undaunted carriage to his last breath.
Sir Thomas More with his flashes of playfulness, and Charles with his solemn “Remember,” could scarcely play their parts more gallantly than Colonel Turner, and they had the advantage of a belief in the goodness of their cause. Perhaps it is illogical to sympathise all the more with poor Colonel Turner, because we know that his courage had not the adventitious aid of a good conscience. But surely he was a very prince of burglars!
The king’s aristocratic opponents saw themselves playing the roles of Russell and Somers, Pym and Hampden, Simon Montfort and Stephen Langton; the Whig interpretation of history entered its third volume; and again much was heard (as it had never ceased to be) about the liberty-loving and sturdy (if uncouth) barons of Runnymede.*Sadly, my copy of Fanny Hill is not at hand to check the reference.
*This image of the barons—as representing both sides of the “Gothic” personality—had been around for some time and had a long life before it. John Cleland's Fanny Hill on one occasion—which it is unnecessary to describe in as much detail as she does—is reminded of their ancient vigour, and their battle-axes.