Be a Red Apple and surround yourself with Red Apples and don’t mind the Green Apples
Like all aspects of life, and in business, we have different customers who can be negative, positive or neutral. We have different employee who can be negative, positive or neutral. We have different co-works who can be negative, positive or neutral. No matters what is the example, we will always find red apples, green apples and brown apples.
The Red apples are the good ones, the delicious one, the performers, the positive, the high energy etc.
The Green apples are the sour ones, the ones who do not want to move but they do not decide, the undecided, I call them waiting for the train to have a ride or a hit, etc.
The Brown apples are the bad ones, the negative, the rejection, the non-performers, the road blocker, the negatives, Etc. These are the bad influences, who can harm you.
To be successful, you must be a Red Apple, surrounded by at least 90% Red Apples and do not mind up to 10% Green Apples. But, avoid Brown Apples and have 0% Brown Apples in your life. Your goal is convert Green Apples to Red Apples. If you stuck with a Brown Apple, you will be Brown.
It is Red, Red, Red, Apple; and only Red Apple.
Legal Rules v. Non-legal Rules
Rules are principles that guide our behaviour. They can derive their authority from the law (made by parliament or the courts), or by an organisation or cultural expectation. Legal rules apply to everybody and the State provides a mechanism to enforce them.
Non-legal rules, when made by an organisation, only apply to people within that organisation. A society may enforce cultural norms through its media and individual people’s behaviour.
For example, a golf club may require its members to wear a certain colour of pants, and prevent its members from entering the club if they are not wearing the right coloured pants. The popular, fashion-forward girls in an American high school may laugh and turn their back on a girl wearing white pants after Labor Day, discouraging her from wearing them in future (deterrence). However, there is no legal rule about the colour of your pants, so nobody can sue you or report you to the police for that.
Whilst not strictly relevant right now, it is useful to keep in mind that there are different types of legal rules. Legal rules can be characterised in the following ways:
- their jurisdiction (state, federal or international application)
- the area of law (very broadly speaking, civil law or criminal law)
- their level of detail (laws or regulations)
- who they were made by (parliament/legislation, court/common law/case law/judge made law, subordinate/delegated authorities, constitutional powers).
The image above illustrates the similarities and differences between legal and non-legal rules.
Law under the Feudal System.
By Cuming Walters.
TO the historian proper feudalism presents a wide subject with diverse points of interest, but its legal aspect is comparatively a small matter, and it can be considered without detailed reference to the whole vast scheme which existed from early German and Gothic times, and overspread the greater part of Europe. It is a common error to suppose that it was introduced into England by the Normans. William the Conqueror only superimposed a French form of feudalism upon that which already existed; and all historians agree that the measures he adopted, the restrictions he made, and the original conditions he established, were evidence of his farseeing genius, and a masterpiece of statecraft. His was a feudalism which, while giving the lords great personal power and influence, retained them still as the servants of the king, and totally prevented them from using their strength against the throne. In this respect the feudal system in England never resembled that of Germany and France, or even that which the Norman barons established in Scotland. The Conqueror had no intention of allowing the owners of territory to supersede his own authority, and to be beyond the sovereign’s control. While, therefore, he allowed them all liberty in dealing with their dependents, he made it impossible for them to defy his own authority, first by distributing their possessions so that they could not have a great army of followers at command, and, secondly, by insisting upon a formal declaration of allegiance from both the barons and their vassals. The former, therefore, were not beyond the law, and the latter had nominally, if not actually, some right of appeal to the monarch. These points it is necessary to bear in mind for a full understanding of legal procedure during the long period feudalism prevailed.
The feudal lord’s claims upon his vassals were numerous. First came his claim to their military service. He could demand from them service as assessors in his courts of various fines and payments and confiscations of land. He could dispose of females in marriage; not infrequently he consigned them to a debased existence. When the tenant was invested with possession of his feud or fief, he paid homage to his lord, that is, he proclaimed himself the “man” to help and to serve his master. Kneeling humbly before the baron, he took oath of fealty, and practically enslaved himself. It was here that King William showed his wisdom by ordaining that the oath of allegiance should be not only to the feudal superior, but to the monarch as the head of all, and thus he secured the ultimate service of all vassals to the crown, and deprived the barons of autocratic power.
The Saxon feudalism had been of the most tyrannical character, the owners of slaves making their own laws, and carrying them out with the utmost barbarism. Records exist which prove that for slight offences mistresses were accustomed to order their servants to be scourged to death, or subjected to fearful tortures. For breaking a dish, or spilling wine from a cup, for example, a servant might have his ears cut off, his nose slit, or suffer the loss of his hand, according to the caprice or fancy of his lord or lady. While murderers and robbers could find sanctuary in the Church, servants had no such refuge. They were torn away from the altar to which they clung in their terror, and none could or would intervene to protect them. According to the decree of King Ethelred, public punishments were to be mild, and death sentences were seldom to be passed; but the sovereign’s wishes had no effect upon the treatment of bondmen. High-born women were as cruel as their husbands, and King Ethelred’s own mother is said to have beaten him so severely when he was a child that he regarded whipping instruments with horror to the end of his life. Flagellation was not recognised as a legal punishment by the Saxons, though a husband might beat his wife and incur no penalty, while the whipping of slaves was accounted no more than the whipping of animals, and perhaps less. For all other classes money-fines were almost the only authorised penalty, a fixed price being set upon persons of different degrees. But the slave had no real value, and hence could be mutilated or killed at the pleasure of his lord.
The ideal of feudalism, never realised in England, was that the king and his tenants-in-chief should hold law-courts, which the tenant or the sub-tenants should be bound to attend to have their cases tried according to statute rules. But the system was only imperfectly carried out, and the fact that the tenant-in-chief, or feudal lord, had the right to levy taxes (called “tallage” or “tailles”) on his vassels, speedily led to all sorts of tyranny and abuse. Still, the feudal courts could not engross the legislation for the excellent reason that the quick-witted Conqueror had preserved the Witanagenot and the courts of the shire and the hundred to check the barons. The latter made a big effort to introduce the Continental system of feudalism, by which each of them would have been supreme in his domain; but the plans were defeated as we have seen. William’s successors were men of a different stamp, and the system proved unworkable in the hands of weaker men. “The prince,” says Hume, “finding that greater opposition was often made to him when he enforced the laws than when he violated them, was apt to render his own will and pleasure the sole rule of government, and on every emergency to consider the power of the persons whom he might offend rather than the rights of those whom he might injure.” The mischievous course pleased none, and the royal prerogative was at last systematically assailed by the barons in the time of John, and the Magna Charta wrestled from him. The concessions then made were of benefit to the barons rather than to the landless and dependent classes, and it remained for the third Edward to diminish their power and increase the liberties of the populace.
Law in England during all this period was chiefly a system of oppression, proceeding stage by stage from the highest to the lowest. The revenues of the crown were obtained by extravagant rents, forfeits, taxes, reliefs, fines, aids, and other devices which show the amazing ingenuity of the extortioners. The result was that most tyrannical exactions were made in turn by the feudal lords, and the dependents groaned for six centuries under these lawless yet legalised oppressions. Personal property was at the mercy of the lords, who adopted the most cruel means to enforce their “rights.” They, in turn, could be the victim of extortions, as was proved in the case of Roger of Dudley, who was summoned to receive the honour of knighthood in 1233. He found the honour so expensive that he declined to appear, whereupon a writ was issued—“Because Roger de Someri, at the feast of Pentecost last last, has not appeared before the King to be girded with the military girdle, the Sheriff of Worcestershire is hereby commanded to seize on the house of Dudley and all other lands of the said Roger within his jurisdiction, for the King’s use; and to keep them with all the cattle found upon them, so that nothing may be moved off without the King’s permission.” The same Roger had a twelve years’ dispute with William de Birmingham touching the service due for the manor of Birmingham, for which the latter was required to perform the service of eight knights’ fees, a half and a fourth part, and also to do suit to the court at Dudley once every three weeks. In such wise did these cheftains rule. Another curious piece of law relating to the Dudley lands is told by Leland:—“The lorde Powis, grauntfather that is now, being in a controversy for asawte made upon hym goying to London by the lord Dudeley, Dudeley castelle condesended by entreaty, that his son and heir should mary the olde lorde of Dudleis’ daughter.” A very amiable method of atoning for personal violence.
The feudal lord had absolute power over his own family, as well as over his dependents, the laws of household government being entirely of his own devising and prompted by his passion, his ignorance, and his wickedness. Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shropshire and of Arundel and Shrewsbury, one of the most powerful and defiant barons of Norman times, tore out the eyes of his own children when they had, in sport, hidden their faces beneath his cloak. He cast his wife in a dungeon, heavily fettered; but every night he sent his servants to drag her to his bed, and in the morning sent her back to her prison. This torture he inflicted upon her to gain money from her family. He disdained to allow his captives in war to be ransomed, but impaled them, men and women, upon stakes. His friends were terrified to approach him, for by way of pleasantry he would engage them in merry chat and suddenly plunge his sword into their sides with a loud laugh. No law could touch this man, and no avenger arose to overcome him. The Warden of the Welsh and English Marches made also his own laws, which were conceived in a spirit of the utmost cruelty. Border foragers, for example, were cast into a dungeon, and subjected to the punishment of having their right hands chopped off with the axe. This prescribed penalty was often aggravated by additional torture or death.
Feudalism was deep-rooted, so deep-rooted that not the enactments of all the Normans and Plantagenets could do more than check its growth and gradually ameliorate its severities. But while some of the old customs were abolished, the bulk of the laws remained based upon the Anglo-Saxon customs, so that as one writer has tersely explained, “the Land Laws and Game Laws are derived from the Normans, the Common Law from the Anglo-Saxons, and almost all our Statute Laws breathe the spirit of pre-Norman England.” To this Macaulay refers with ill-disguised scorn in his History: “Our laws and customs have never been lost in general irreparable ruin. With us the proceedings of the Middle Ages are still valid precedents, and are still cited on the gravest occasions by the most eminent statesmen…. Thus in our country the dearest interests of parties have been staked on the results of the researches of antiquaries.” The historian, however, does admit that there is compensation for the anomalies which result from this polity. “Other societies possess written constitutions more symmetrical. But no other society has yet succeeded in uniting revolution with prescription, progress with stability, the energy of youth with the majesty of immemorial antiquity.” That the spirit of olden feudalism should sometimes be found surviving in modern laws is inevitable. Villenage is extinguished, and yet in the very character of certain classes, as well as in the operation of certain laws affecting lands and personal privileges, we see a direct connection between the submission of the bondman in the past to his hereditary master and the readiness of the poor in the present to yield to one in higher station. What struck the philosophic Emerson most, on his visit to England, was that Englishmen should maintain their old customs, repeat the ceremonies of the eleventh century, and consider in so many things that “antiquity of usage is sanction enough.” “The Middle Ages,” he said, “still lurk in the streets of London.”
The stocks and the whipping-post, which stood in front of every castle, were the commonest instruments in use for the punishment of the ceorl and villein who displeased their masters. For the ceorl, who could not quit the land on which he was born, or free himself from slavery, life was particularly hard. He could not absolve himself by money payments, like the rest of his fellow-men, if once he gave offence; while the majority could rob and murder and escape with a fine, the ceorl’s slightest defect, real or imagined, was punished with merciless rigour. Tithings and the process of compurgation came to the assistance of other criminals, but the ceorl could appeal to none, and expect neither pity nor aid. Such facts give point to Emerson’s dictum that “Castles are proud things, but ’tis safest to be outside them.” The villein was in a much happier state than the ceorl. He was free against everybody except his lord, and the criminal code accorded him the same privileges as a free man. The lord was even liable to punishment for killing or mutilating his villein, and the Mirror of Justice in the thirteenth century laid down the fact that “the villein is no serf in any sense of the word; he is a free man; his land is a free tenure.” But all this is largely comparative, and our estimate of the advantages enjoyed by the villein must depend upon whether we view it by the standards of the time, or by modern standards. At all events, while the ceorl tasted all the bitterness of his serfdom, the adjudged felon in other stations was able to obtain much leniency. The common form of oath or abjuration in King Edward’s time was this: “This heare, thou Sir Coroner, that I am a robber and a murderer, and a fellow of our Lord the King of England; and because I have done many such evils in his lande I do abjure the lande of our Lord Edward, and I shall haste me towards the port of ——, which thou hast given me, and that I shall not goe out of the highway, and if I doe, I will that I be taken as a robber and a felon. And that at such a place I will diligentlie seeke for passage, and I will tarrie there but one ebbe and flood, if I can have passage; and unlesse I can have it in such a place I will goe every day into the sea up to my knees, assaying to pass over; and unlesse I can do this within fortie days I will put myselfe again into the Church as a robber and a felon, so God me helpe and his holy judgment.” But King Richard showed no disposition to put so much trust in the honour of these gentry, and when setting out for Palestine, he made a law against peculating sailors, which was calculated to dismay them: “Whosoever is convicted of theft shall have his head shaved, melted pitch poured upon it, and the feathers from a pillow shaken over it, that he may be known; and shall be put on shore on the first land which the ship touches.” This punishment reminds us of a modern American institution.
The law of “Englishry” deserves a passing note. It dates back to the time of Canute, and was continued by the Normans. When Canute sent away the greater portion of his Danish troops, “the Witan pledged themselves that the rest should be safe in life and limb, and that any Englishman who killed any of them should suffer punishment. If the murderer could not be discovered, the township or hundred was fined.” The proud and tyrannical Normans used this law to their own advantage. A mere Englishman being a vassal, and of no importance, could be killed with impunity, but it was ordained that when a man was found killed, and evidence was not brought to prove that he was English, he should be held to be a Frenchman, so that a penalty could be imposed upon the township. This law of “Englishry” is often illustrated in old chronicles. Men were found murdered by the roadside, on heaths, and in woods; the chronicles state that “no Englishry was proved,” and the towns were accordingly amerced. The “Frankpledge” was not so feudal in character, though it was based upon the principle that “every landless man shall have a lord who shall answer for his appearance in the courts of law.” The custom prevailed before the Conquest, ten men forming a “tithing,” the members of which were answerable each for others. The present Court Leet is a survival of the system, though in a very modified form.
The feudalism which the Norman barons imposed upon Scotland, and which was unchecked by King William, so that it reproduced all the evils of the ferocious Continental system, was marked by terrible excesses. No institution was more shameful and abhorrent, or so vividly reveals the baseness to which unrestricted feudalism sank, than the horrible depravity of maiden-rights, or droits de seigneur. Beaumont and Fletcher founded upon the historic incidents their drama of “The Custom of the Country,” and though a few mild attempts have been made to throw doubt upon the facts, there is no question that these domestic tyrannies spread rapidly from Scotland to France and Germany, and took numerous odious forms. Isaac Disraeli, in his “Curiosities,” devotes a chapter to the subject, which can scarcely be dealt with in detail in a work appealing to the general reader. The shameful institution was abolished by Malcolm III., who, however, put the matter upon a business basis by ordering that it should be redeemed by a quit-rent. But the lord still considered himself privileged to manifest his authority over his vassals by thrusting his booted leg into the bed of a newly-married couple, or by sousing the bridegroom in a river. The wardships enjoyed by the feudal lords were equally absurd, one of their favourite methods of raising money being to arrange an unsuitable marriage, and on the refusal of the persons to carry out the contract, to claim the revenue of the wards’ estate as “forfeit.” The feudal lord could sell his vassals as he did his animals, and they were often bartered away with fields and houses. The value of a serf was roughly apprised as four times that of an ox, and he could also be used as “live money.”
Mr. Ruskin, in his third letter in “Fors Clavigera,” gives an account of the laws promulgated by King Richard, Cœur de Lion, whom he declared to be the truest representative of the British “Squire,” under all the significances of that name. The ideal lord was an admixture of the patriarch and the tyrant, and if we examine Richard’s legislation, and endeavour to recognise the objects he had in view, we see that with a considerable amount of selfishness he also possessed a real wish to add to the welfare of his people. He simplified and adjusted the weights and measures of the country to put an end to cheating, and he took severe measures “to prevent the extortions of the Jews.” If the people would be honest, he was quite willing to do the fighting for them; if they made good cloth, he was ready to see that they got good pay; and when they bought and sold, he was determined that each should give the other good measure. But with much power comes caprice, and the feudal lords too soon forgot the interests of their dependents in serving their own ends. The English barons never made the formal claim of the German barons to rob on the highways in their own territories, though, without asserting the right, they frequently performed the act. A case in point is that of William de Birmingham, who so late as the sixteenth century went out with a hundred men to molest and rob travellers on foot. The ordinary laws were unequal to calling them to account for these misdeeds; nothing but conquest by battle could have checked them. Besides, there were Lord Palatines whose rule in their own domains was equal to that of the sovereigns, and they could make or abrogate laws at will. These kings in petto appointed their own judges and courts, could reverse sentences, pardon at will for any crime, and indict at pleasure. Offences committed in the County Palatine were said to be “against the peace” of the lord, and not against the peace of the king, and it was with a rod of iron that these despots governed the territory allotted to them. Still there was a show of legality in this. It differed from the wanton caprice of Geoffrey of Coventry, who oppressed the inhabitants, was amenable to no law for so doing, but consented to remit the burdensome taxes if his wife would ride naked through the streets. As a specimen of the barbarous humour of these lords, the Godiva story is instructive.
At the end of King Stephen’s troublous reign, there were eleven hundred and fifteen castles in England, each of them a centre of power, at that particular time almost absolute. The wise provisions of the Conqueror had to some extent been overcome, and the feudal lords had become so unmanageable that Henry II. found himself compelled to stipulate for the destruction of a number of the strongholds. At the same time he prevented the erection of others except by royal licence, and so began to limit the oppression which had prevailed. We find, too, that in consequence of the frequent over-riding of the common law by men in authority, the monarch reserved to himself more and more of sovereign power, “by which,” says Sir Robert Filmer in his famous “Patriarcha”—answered by John Locke in the still more famous treatises on Civil Government—“he did supply the want or correct the rigour of the common law, because the positive law, being grounded upon that which happens for the most part, cannot forsee every particular which time and experience bring forth. Already sundry things do fall out,” he continues later, “both in war and peace, that require extraordinary help … so that rare matters do grow up meet to be referred to the absolute authority of the prince.” We find such a case in the time of Richard II., when, on a question of freehold, the appeal went direct to the king because “of maintenance, oppression, or other outrages the common law cannot have duly her course.”
How the lords could avoid and defy the common law is proved by two curious instances in the history of the Dudleys, the family previously referred to. Lord Edward Dudley, in 1592, had a dispute with the neighbouring Lyttelton family, and raising some 150 persons, he went one night and stole all the cattle on the latter’s estate. Lyttelton obtained judgment against Dudley, who was ordered to return the cattle, but he posted his servants at the gates, and bade them cut the bailiffs to pieces. Lyttelton then armed sixty men and took the cattle back by force; Dudley armed 700 men to fetch them back and kill them. For this offence the nobleman and eighty followers were indicted, but by one means and another the proceedings were made to last four years, and then an agreement was entered into by the parties. Lord Edward’s son, Ferdinando, was the hero of the next exploit. He purchased the property of an oppressed widow, named Martha Grovenor, for £1200, but only paid £100. She sued him in the Exchequer for the remainder, and obtained judgment for the balance. No notice was taken of this. The following year the widow obtained a second decree, and this again was ignored. His lordship was next called upon for costs, and this led him to make an effort to compromise the matter. He entered into an agreement to pay all arrears and costs, but, having done so much, refused to fulfil his obligations. An execution of ejectment was then levied against his lordship. This he avoided for nine years, and it was only twelve years after negotiations had begun that the widow was able to obtain her dues.
A very brief glance at Continental feudalism and its influence upon statute law may now be given. It enables us to mark some of the differences between the English and the foreign systems, the one with its restrictions and the other all-powerful. In the eleventh century, all France and the German Empire were one vast feudal possession. The powers of the lords have been classed by the historian Hallam as follows—First, the right of coining money; second, that of waging private war; third, exemption from all public tributes except the feudal aids; fourth, freedom from legislative control; and fifth, the exclusive exercise of original judicature in their dominions. It is easy to perceive how, with these initial powers conceded, the seigneurs were enabled to make themselves the veritable masters of the kingdom. In Germany the lawlessness of the barons became as proverbial as did their cruelty towards their slaves. The whole country was divided up into territories over which the feudal chiefs reigned as absolute and despotic kings. Nor is the spirit of feudalism in that country yet extinct, for, unlike France, it has not had its bloody revolt against “aristocrats.” No one can have travelled in Germany and seen the castle towering high on crag or rock, and the diminutive houses scattered about its base, without realising at a glance how the chieftains and their serfs lived in the old days. In Germany the feudal system was seen at its strongest and its worst, and law was paralysed while the men of lust and blood were supreme in their own dominions. Austria has a similar story to tell of barbarity towards serfs, and the abrogation of law by powerful chieftains. But it is remarkable that in Russia, where the feudal spirit still most strongly survives, and is marked by many excesses utterly repugnant to the feeling and customs of the times, the earliest attempts to establish a feudal system were quelled by the princes. In this land, where a mistress might, until recently, have her maid whipped to death for dropping a teacup, or for any other trivial offence, real or imagined, where again it was taken for granted that
“A Count carbonadoes
His ignorant serfs with the knout,”
feudalism, once instituted, deepened its hold with the progress of years. While there was no law for the lower classes, save that dictated by the caprice of their masters, there were special exemptions and priveleges for the noble and wealthy. The Russian lords pay no taxes, and they retain, in almost undiminished force, that power to abuse, insult, and destroy the peasantry which was possessed by the ancienne noblesse of France before the Revolution. Mr. Morley Roberts, in one of his Russian historical sketches, relates that not long ago a noble threw a Hebrew into a dungeon for an offence, and a week later asked his jäger what had become of him. “Oh,” said the fellow with a laugh, “he made so much noise that I shot him.”
The state of Bohemia from the ninth to the fourteenth century shows to what deplorable depths a race may sink under an unrestrained and licentious feudalism. The Bohemian nobles practically abolished the marriage laws, and in addition to oppressing their dependents, frequently sold them into slavery. When St. Adalbert endeavoured to effect a reformation, he found every impediment put in his way, and his wishes openly defied. He had a horror of bloodshed, and preached the hatefulness of murder. By way of response, a man, whose wife had been put in a nunnery to save her from his brutality, was dragged out and butchered in the streets. Adalbert had to wait long before he could influence these men who, secure in their castles, could indulge their rapacity without fear of punishment. Reforms, effected in the tenth century, however, were not permanent, and in the twelfth century the nobles had succeeded in converting the local assembly, with its power of appointing judges, to their own uses. Mr. Edmund Maurice, in his history of Bohemia, relates that the nobles began to secure the judgeships for themselves, and then sold or bequeathed the offices to heirs. They thus made the appointments a means of tyranny and a source of profit, and with the money acquired purchased the lands of freemen. Others, owing to the unpopularity of the local tribunals, strengthened the power of their own feudal courts, and again reduced their dependents to abject slavery.
“The coolness,” says Mr. Maurice, “with which many of the grants of land transferred workmen of various kinds as mere appendages of fields and fishponds, is in itself a proof of the degraded position to which the peasant class had been reduced; and the fact that military service seemed one of the few means of escaping from serfdom, led the peasants to favour those wars which in the end increased their misery.” Eventually King Wenceslas, famed in ballad, and still more famed in Bohemian history, came to the rescue, and ordained “that no baron or noble of the land shall have power in the city of Brünn, or shall do any violence in it, or shall detain anyone, without the license and proclamation of the judge of the city.”
The wide survey we have taken enables a fair estimate to be made of the state of the law in Europe when the castle was the court of justice, and the baron was the judge. England alone of all Europeon countries seems to have been able to place a check upon the more flagrant abuses, and in later times of reform to have succeeded, while abolishing what was essentially evil in the system, in retaining whatever of it was of worth. Whether there be still laws too deeply impressed with feudal ideas for modern acceptance is a question for legislators to consider.
By George Neilson.
THE wayward fancies of mankind are well illustrated in the diversity of symbolic observances, some never losing their meaning, some absolutely unintelligible in their historic form, and some as much characterised by a befitting dignity, as others are by the want of it. All once were self-explanatory and possessed a measure of propriety proportioned to the state of the people amidst whom they originated. But tradition is long, centuries elapse, each modifying a ceremony, and when the procedure emerges within the knowledge of record, it has often so lost touch with its surroundings, that it is hopeless to speculate how it arose.
Symbols are drawn from and applied to every field of human activity. Of course in a general sense man expresses himself only so, and a regular alphabet is but a comparatively trifling advance on the language of signs. What we call civilization, is at bottom little more than a clear recognition of certain symbols of government. The Queen’s crown, the Judge’s ermine, the Mayor’s mace, what are they else? The sceptre is only a glorified stick, of which the policeman’s baton is a humbler shape. Each embodies the great thought that behind it stands a nation’s determination to be ruled by law.
In the history of law, symbol and the traces of symbol meet us at every turn. The middle ages teemed with them. Roman law had bequeathed not a few. Perhaps the most wondrous of them all is one that has long ceased to have any legal connection, although its mark is all-powerful over civilisation. How daring was the imagination which prompted the choice, for the heraldic badge of Christianity, of the dread emblem of capital punishment by crucifixion! In the pure domain of the law of the early and middle ages, a perfect wilderness of symbols presents itself to eyes which strive to explore the origins of institutions.
Law is ever beset by a tendency towards formalism, and in early times a severe insistence upon ceremony, no doubt, gave prominence and prescriptive sanction to symbolic acts. Law and custom after all only mean that the way things were done yesterday is the safest way of doing them to-day. The acceptance of a common form implies a very large public consent, which is equally necessary to its abrogation, once it is accepted. No small part of its value lies in its certainty, “certainty which,” Coke well says, “is the mother of quiet and repose.”
Hence the fixity and longevity of many emblematic methods of performing acts affecting status or property rights. The constitution or discharge of slavery, or the transfer of a slave from one master to another, had a variety of set forms. A freeman might deliver himself to serfage by putting a leathern thong upon his neck. When a church was the donee, the ceremony might take place at the altar, and the man present himself there with cords round his throat. “Thus he offered himself,” says an old record, “to the Almighty Lord.” A coin or two on the head was also a customary part of the process. In the manumission or liberation of the slave, these coins struck off the head served the purpose of declaring him free, as did the companion symbol of open doors, or the placing him at four cross roads, and bidding him go whither he would. Another common symbol of enfranchisement was the delivery of an arrow, thought to denote the right confined to freemen of bearing arms.
Even a short account of legal symbols would make a very large treatise. Single instances such as the ring, the staff, the glove, and the horn would each furnish material for an elaborate monograph. The theme would call for a discussion of the great war of investitures, and would touch very many points of ecclesiastical, civil, and criminal law and history. The scope of the present unambitious article is only directed to a few illustrations in relation to the transfer of land, the act of divesting the old proprietor and clothing the new with his rights. Although such symbols usually had a connexion with the subject conveyed, there are many types in which that connexion is not readily traceable. Why for example amongst the Saxons should a resignation of all interest in an estate have been made by a gesture with curved fingers? One can understand why a sod should be so often a token, but why does the glove play so large a part in Merovingian and Carolingian conveyancing? Was it, indeed, as German scholars speculate, because the donor metaphorically took it off and the donee put it on, making his the covered hand, the vestita manus, that would defend the land conveyed? How came an eleventh century magnate to attest his renunciation of justiciary rights to a monastery “by cutting off the top of the silk band by which his fur robes were fastened to his breast, and with that segment re-investing three monks therein?” In this case a portion of that silken band was carefully sewn up, as an adminicle of evidence, in the writ recording the transaction. How again came it that a claim of feudal service might be departed from by the delivery and placing of a wand (virgula) upon the altar? All these are much more personal symbols than real. They are mainly guarantees of the grantor’s good faith. They do not seem to be primarily emblems of possession. The contrast between these two classes will be best appreciated by considering types of the latter.
When a purchaser proceeded to set up fresh boundary marks, or to take a spade and dig, or when he received delivery of a sod with grass or shrubbery upon it, or lifted from the ground the charter granted by the seller with amongst other things a sod laid thereon, the act of seisin, the formal occupation is visibly completed. Of this class of symbol, the sod (cespes) is probably the best and most typical for a few words of illustration. We read of litigants laying judicial claim to land in the mall or public court by putting their spears into a sod, representative of the subject in dispute. We hear of the sods being cut in the shape of bricks, and of their being preserved as memorials, with the twigs growing in and incorporated with them. We hear of sods offered on the altar when the grant of land was being made to a church. We hear of transfer from one vassal to another being accomplished by the grantor delivering the sod to the over-lord, and the latter passing it on to the grantee.
Of all the symbols employed in connection with feoffments, however, the rod (festuca) had the widest vogue on the continent. Not that it was restricted to transactions in land; it was a more or less lineal descendant of the Roman stipulation, a contract visibly expressed by the parties breaking a straw between them. Under Charlemagne a renunciation by certain priests was made by them “holding straws in their hands and casting them from them before God and his angels.” Later this appears as a recognised method of renunciation, but with a rod substituted for the straw. In some cases the fact of renunciation is emphasised by the rod being not only thrown to the ground by the resigner, but trodden under foot when there. The rôle of the festuca was peculiarly important amongst the Frankish peoples. Galbert of Bruges, a Flemish twelfth century historian, states that the counts of Flanders gave investitures to their vassals, after receiving their fealty and homage, by a wand (virgula) held in hand, and he has a dramatic passage describing how the people of Bruges, in token of their renunciation of their feudal bond to Hacket the castellan, “picking up bits of stick exfestucated their homage and fealty,” i.e. cast the rods from them, and so doing severed all connexion with their former chief.
In England and in Scotland, this rod symbol (fustis et baculus) also played a large part. Bracton referred it specially to land without houses. Tenure by the verge, a species of copyhold, had its name, we learn from Littleton, from un petite verge, delivered by the old tenant to the steward or bailiff of the manor, who re-delivered it to the new holder. Jordan Fantosme tells us that when Brien, messenger of Ranulf Glanvil, in 1174, announced in Westminster the capture of the Scottish King at Alnwick, Henry II. rewarded him for his good news by handing him a stick (bastuncel), which vested him in ten librates of land. In Scotland the feudal resignation by a vassal to his overlord for the re-investure of a fresh owner was effected by “staff and baton” (fustis et baculus), and references to those symbols occurred in every day conveyancing until far into the present century. Indeed this picturesque ritual was, strictly speaking, not abrogated, although made unnecessary, by the Act 8 and 9 Victoria ch. 35.
The commonest conveyancing symbol for land in England was the formal delivery of turf or twig of the ground conveyed, made by a representative of the grantor, to a representative of the grantee. The most familiar in Scotland was the handing over of “earth and stone.” This latter was the normal form of seisin, and its history goes far back, not only in Scotland, but on the continent as well. A curious Saxon legend attests this. Widukind narrates that some Saxons, having landed from their ships in Thuringia, one of them, wearing a golden torque and bracelets, met a Thuringian, who asked if he would sell his ornaments. The sly Saxon entered into an odd transaction; the Thuringian gave him in exchange for his gold, a lapful of soil. The Thuringians rejoiced exceedingly over the smart bargain their countryman had made, but changed their tune when soon afterwards the Saxons claimed the land as theirs, purchased with their own gold, and by force of arms made good the demand.
Our chronicles have a good many stories about symbols. In the Norman Brevis Relatio, a sketch of the origin of William the Conqueror, is told of his grandfather, Duke Richard the Good, that once when staying at a monastery, after prayer in the morning he laid a spindle on the altar. Upon being asked what it meant, he named the manor which he had by so homely a symbol bestowed for the good of his soul. When the infant William came into the world, it was said,—and afterwards noted as prophetic—that when they laid him down upon some straw, the little hands each clutched a handful. Acquisitive tendencies were foreshadowed! The Roman de Rou tells that in 1066, when William landed in England, he stumbled and fell, an omen which for the moment disconcerted his followers, but rising with a shout, he swore by the splendour of God that with his two hands he had taken possession of the land. Prompt to catch the occasion, one of his men ran forward to a cottage, tore a handful of thatch from the roof, and passed it to his chief, with the cry, “Receive this seisin,”—quasi-ceremonial words which with William’s pious, “God be with me,” the curious may compare with the formalities of English livery in deed, as described (sec. 59), in Coke upon Littleton.
The normal symbol of seisin for a house in England, was (before the Act 7 and 8 Victoria ch., 76, superseded these archaic ceremonies), was the ring or hasp of the door, known in Scotland for houses in burghs as “hasp and staple.” In the latter country also, there were a good many special types of symbol characteristically appropriate to seisin in special kinds of property. Thus for mills “clap and hopper,” for fishings “net and coble,” for teinds (Anglice tithes) a sheaf of corn, for the patronage or advowson of a church a psalm-book and keys, attained the figurative purpose requisite. There were many others less familiar amongst them, one, a hat, worthy of a few words all to itself. Our own generation may not regard this as a particularly dignified symbol, but there is a cloud of witnesses to shew its very various applicability. The priest’s cap or biretta was sometimes employed to instal him in a chaplainry or benefice. And apart from the place of the hat in the regulations of the tilting ring, it was occasionally used in Scotland as a symbol in connection with what were known as heirship goods. But it had in the twelfth century been accorded the very loftiest use to which secular symbolism could be turned. In 1175, King William the Lion, taken prisoner the year before, relinquished the independence of Scotland, and did homage to the English King at York, as a condition of his liberation. The contemporary records are silent regarding symbolic details, but in 1301 Edward I. stated in his letter to the Pope that “in token of his fealty, William the King of Scotland, had, on the altar of St. Peter’s, at York, offered his cap (chappelus), lance, and saddle, which until this day remain and are preserved in said church.” Any incredulity which a fair-minded Scot can entertain, regarding this allegation that the freedom of his country was once symbolically surrendered in King William’s cap, will be materially lessened, and Scottish patriotism so far consoled, by the recollection that under very similar circumstances the realm of England was in 1193 given away with the bonnet (pilleus) of the captive Richard I., who, thus (as Hoveden tells us), gave investiture of his kingdom to his arch-enemy, the Emperor Henry VI. This was, however, only formal: the Emperor at once re-invested King Richard in his realm with a double crown of gold, though subject to an annual tribute of £15,000—a business transaction painfully illustrative of the Christian chivalry of the Crusades.
The annals of Scotland boast one instance of a royal symbol much more regal than either of these two. About the beginning of the year 1124, King Alexander I., restoring by charter to the Bishopric of St. Andrews an extensive tract of land, completed the grant according to Andrew of Wyntoun (vii., 5), in a truly stately fashion. He—
Gert than to the awtare bryng
Hys cumly sted off Araby
Sadelyd and brydelyd costlykly
Coveryd with a fayre mantlete
Off precyous and fyne welvet
Wyth his armwris off Turky
That pryncys than oysid generaly
And chesyd mast for thare delyte
Wyth scheld and spere off sylvyr qwhyt.
It was a special occasion, for Bishop Robert’s appointment, which had led to the grant, was a Scottish victory over the pretensions of the See of York. There is an appeal to the imagination so strong in the scene, that, in spite of the interval of 300 years betwixt the event and this oldest record of it, one is slow to offer any criticism on the charger; more especially as the entire verity of the silver spear is corroborated by Walter Bower’s enshrining in his Scotichronicon the fact that in the fifteenth century it was doing duty as the shaft of the cross in the Cathedral. Yet the unexampled symbol, coupled with the analogy from York in 1175, compels the suggestion, that perhaps during these 300 years an original capellus have been mis-read as caballus, or mistaken for Scottish capul, and thus by the magic of mistranslation, a king’s cap may have been transmuted into an Arab steed.
Whilst of course a crown was the standard symbol of investiture for a kingdom, inferior rights of principality were often typified by other things, such as a sword, a spear, or a banner. And as feudal forms were observed in the bestowal, so were they sometimes in the taking away. England dispensed with several of her monarchs, but apparently in no case was a deposition attended by the feudal solemnities. In Scotland when, in 1296, King John Balliol was pulled out of the throne by the same hands as had placed him in it, Edward I. spared his vassal little of the indignity of the situation. Balliol, deprived of his royal ornaments, with the ermine stripped from his tabard, resigned his realm by the symbol of a white wand.
Than this Jhon tuk a quhyt wand
And gave wp in till Edwardis hand
Off this Kynryk all the rycht.
No Scottish historian has noticed the absolute legal propriety of this, and it is worth noticing. By contemporary law (Britton, ii., 22), une blaunche verge was the recognised symbol of disseisin by consent. The thirteenth century was very particular, even in small things, about its law. Disseisin, provided for by statute of 1429, in disputed successions to real property, and known to Scotland as the breaking of seisin, was symbolically affected—frangendo discum—by the curiously expressive act of breaking a dish or dishes, with fire underneath.
Trials in Superstitious Ages.
By Ernest H. Rann.
IN superstitious ages, when belief in the power of the law to adjust all quarrels, to hold the balance equally between man and man, and to accord to each one his rights, was less prevalent than it is at the present day, disputants naturally resorted to other tribunals for the settlement of their claims. A perfect system of law was impossible; what law existed was arbitrarily administered, often for the benefit of the most powerful litigant, and the claimant with only justice on his side often had the mortification of seeing a verdict given against him. During the development of a system of law-giving, when the accumulated experience of humanity had not sufficed to produce perfection, man in his darkness, his ignorance, and superstition, turned to the supernatural, and devised certain ceremonies by which the judgment of God might be evoked to demonstrate the guilt or innocence of the accused.
The antiquity of the ordeal, as it was called, cannot be measured. Such a form of trial is found to have existed in the earliest ages, and even now traces of it linger among savage tribes of the earth. In Africa especially the ordeal is well known. During his travels among the negro tribes north of the Zambesi, Dr. Livingstone encountered the curious practice of the “mauvi,” which consisted of making all the women of a tribe drink an infusion of “goho,” for the purpose of ascertaining which of them had bewitched a particular man. The accused women were drawn up in a row before the hut of the king, and the draught administered to them. Those who were unable to retain the horrible decoction, and vomited, were considered innocent of the charge: those who were purged were adjudged guilty, and put to death by burning.
The Calabar bean is also used by the natives of Africa in the form of an emulsion as an ordeal for persons accused of witchcraft, proof of innocence consisting of ability to throw off the poison by vomiting. Among the Barotse tribes the process is conducted by deputy, the testing liquid being poured down the throat of a dog or cat, and the accused person being treated according to the effect produced on the animal. Among the Dyak tribes lumps of salt are thrown into a bowl of water by the accuser and accused, and judgment is given against the owner whose lump disappears first. Another method adopted by the Dyaks is for each of the two parties to choose a mollusc, and to squeeze over it a few drops of lime-juice; the owner of the mollusc which moves first under the acid stimulant losing the case. Ratzel mentions that among the Malay tribes ordeals by fire, ducking, pulling a ring out of boiling water, or licking red-hot iron, are still frequent. Where the ordeal fails to produce the desired result, wager of battel, in reality another form of ordeal, is resorted to. Among the Tagals it is usual to light a consecrated candle, and to consider the person guilty of the crime under consideration to whom the candle flame is blown during the performance of the ceremony. The Igorrotes have a more painful method of fixing guilt. The accuser and the accused are placed together; the backs of their heads are scratched with a sharply-pointed bamboo stick, and the man who loses most blood also loses his case.
In Hawaii ordeals are administered by the priests, the suspected person being compelled to hold his hands over consecrated water, and adjudged guilty if the liquid trembles in the vessel while the priest looks at him. The Siamese have a form of ordeal which consists of making the two parties to a suit swallow consecrated purgative pills, the man who retains them for the greater length of time winning the case.
Even among the comparatively enlightened races of the peninsula of India, ordeals of the most elaborate and curious character are practised at the present time. Warren Hastings mentions that in his day no fewer than nine forms were in use among the Hindoos. The ordeal of the balance was commonly employed, and is still in force in certain districts. The beam is adjusted, and both scales made perfectly even. After the accused has been bathed in sacred water, and the deities worshipped, he is placed in the scale-pan and carefully weighed. When he is taken out the Pandits pronounce an incantation, and place round his head a piece of paper setting forth the charge against him. Six minutes later he again enters the scale, and the balance is called upon to show his fault or innocence. If he weigh more than before, he is held guilty; if less, innocent; if exactly the same, he must be weighed a third time, when, according to the Mitácsherá, a difference in his weight will be observable. Should the balance break down, the mishap would be considered as proof of the man’s guilt.
The ordeal of the balance is not altogether unknown in English history, for an incident is recorded in which Susannah Haynokes, of Aylesbury, was accused of bewitching her neighbour’s spinning-wheel, and preventing it from working properly. Susannah loudly protested her innocence, and demanded an ordeal to prove it. She was taken to the church, and weighed in a semi-nude condition against a copy of the Bible, and being able to outweigh the Scriptures, was considered to be innocent of the offence charged against her. Possibly it never occurred to the owner of the spinning-wheel that lack of oil was the cause of its refusal to go round.
Among other ordeals in use by the Hindoos is that of iron, the accused being required to lick a red-hot bar of the metal. If his tongue be burnt, he is considered guilty, if not, he is reckoned innocent, but it cannot be supposed that among tribes addicted to this practice the injury to the tongue is considered sufficient punishment for the offence with which the suspect is charged. The poison ordeal, employed also, it may be noted, by the Hovas of Madagascar, is commonly practised. A small quantity of vishanága, a poisonous root, is mixed with clarified butter, which the accused must eat from the hand of a Brahman. If the poison produce no visible effect, he is absolved; otherwise, condemned. In other cases the hooded snake called nága is placed in a deep earthen pot, from which the accused has to take a ring, seal, or coin without being bitten, when he is considered innocent. In trial by the Cósha the accused is made to drink three draughts of water in which images of the Sun, of Dévì, and other deities have been washed. If, within fourteen days, he is afflicted with any form of sickness, he is considered guilty.
For the fire ordeal an excavation is made in the ground, and filled with burning pippal wood. Into this a person must walk bare-footed without hurt in order to prove his innocence. Hot oil ordeals are also in force, when the accused has to thrust his hand into the liquid without being burned; and chewing a grain of consecrated rice, which, if it comes from the man’s mouth dry or stained with blood, is considered proof of his guilt. At other times a silver image of the Genius of Justice, called Dharma, is thrown with an image of iron or clay, called Adharma, into an earthen jar; and the accused is acquitted if he bring out the silver image, but condemned if he draw forth the iron.
The history of the middle ages furnishes numerous examples of ordeals employed in the settlement of disputes, which in the absence of a strong and impartial system of law-giving, found great favour with the people of all ranks. They were peculiarly distinguished by the appellation of Judicium Dei, or judgments of God, and sometimes called vulgaris purgatio. The law of the Church sanctioned the ordeal throughout Europe for a considerable period, and faculties were freely given by the clergy for the performance of these strange ceremonials. Indeed, the whole business, as a judgment of God, was frequently conducted by the servants of the Church, always in consecrated ground, and the sacred edifice itself was occasionally requisitioned in order to add greater solemnity to the proceedings. The ordeal of fire, practised, curiously enough, by the Greeks in the time of Sophocles, was allowed only to persons of high rank. The accused was required to carry a piece of red-hot iron for some distance in his hand, or to walk nine feet, bare-footed and blind-fold, over red-hot ploughshares. The hands or feet were then immediately bound up, and inspected three days afterwards. If, on examination, no injury was visible, the accused was considered innocent; if traces of the burning remained, he was reckoned guilty, and received punishment commensurate with his offence, without any discount for the harm he had already suffered.
The most notable historic instance of this form of ordeal is that of Queen Emma, mother of Edward the Confessor. She was accused of a criminal intrigue with Alwyn, Bishop of Winchester, and condemned to the ordeal of fire, which, on this particular occasion, took the form of nine red-hot ploughshares, laid lengthwise at irregular intervals, over which she was required to walk with bandaged eyes. She passed successfully through the severe trial, and at the conclusion innocently asked when the ordeal was about to begin. The Queen’s innocence was, to the popular mind, established more substantially than would have been possible in any existing court of law. She was not the only gainer by the restoration of her reputation, for in consideration of the success which had attended her, she settled twenty-one manors on the Bishopric and Church of Winchester.
In the Eastern Empire the fire ordeal was largely used by the Emperor Theodore Lascoris for the discovery of the origin of the sickness with which he was afflicted. His majesty attributed the malady to magic, and all suspected persons were required to handle red-hot iron in order to establish their guilt or innocence, “thus joining,” as an ancient scribe exclaims, “to the most dubious crime in the world the most dubious proof of innocence.”
Fire, as we have said, was employed for persons of high rank: those of baser degree, especially bondsmen and rustics, were tried by the ordeal of boiling water. “I will go through fire and water for my friend” was a common expression in the middle ages, and, though having lost its original significance, the saying has persisted to the present time as a declaration of self-sacrifice. The accused person was required to take a stone from a pan of boiling water, to insert the hand and wrist into the liquid, and in case of the triple ordeal, to plunge the arm in up to the elbow. When cold water was employed, and in cases of witchcraft this was generally resorted to, the suspect was flung into a river or pond. If he floated without appearance of swimming, he was pronounced innocent; if he sank, he was condemned as guilty—rather a superfluous proceeding, considering that the man was in all probability already drowned.
It would be going too far to assert that in all cases these ordeals were carried out with the strictest impartiality and consideration for the ends of justice. Means were not unknown to circumvent the peculiar forms of the trial, and precautions were often taken by the clergy, as might have been done in the case of Queen Emma, to protect those whom they desired to clear of suspicion. It is a well-known fact that white-hot iron may be licked with impunity, and the Mevleheh dervishes are proficient in the trick of holding red-hot iron between their teeth. Sometimes cold iron, painted red, was employed, and at others the fire reduced in temperature at the critical moment, the suspect receiving only such injury as would heal in the three days allowed before his hand was examined. Artificial preparations were frequently employed, while the suspect had at times the option of going alone into the church, and in all cases of keeping the crowd of spectators at a distance, which made minute inspection of the proceedings impossible.
Another form of ordeal was the judicium crucis, or trial of the Cross, employed largely in criminal cases. When an accused person had declared his innocence on oath, and appealed to the judgment of the Cross, two sticks were prepared precisely like one another. The figure of the Cross was cut upon one of these sticks, and the other left blank. Each of them was wrapped in fine white wool, and laid upon the altar or the relics of the saints, after which a prayer was uttered that God might discover by unmistakable signs whether the prisoner was innocent or guilty. The priest then approached the altar, took up one of the sticks, and uncovered it. If it happened to be the stick marked with the cross, the prisoner was pronounced innocent; if it were the other, he was condemned as guilty. A different form of this ordeal was adopted when the judgment of the Cross was invoked in civil cases. The judges and all parties to the suit assembled in the church. Representatives, generally the youngest and strongest priests, were then chosen, and required to stand one on each side of a crucifix. At a given signal they stretched out their arms at full length, so as to form a cross with their body, and in this painful posture they continued to stand during divine service. The party whose representative dropped his arms first, or shifted his position, lost his cause. History records a dispute over a monastery, between the Bishop of Paris and the Abbot of St. Denis, which was settled in this manner. A crowd assembled, and arranged bets on the result, but those who supported the Bishop’s man were sadly disappointed, for he dropped his arms at an early stage, and lost the cause of his employer. The ordeal of the Cross was abolished by Louis de Debonnaire in 816, on the ground that it was irreverent in character.
Ecclesiasticism also played a prominent part in the ordeal of the corsnedd, to which persons accused of robbery had to submit. The corsnedd was a piece of bread made of unleavened barley, to which cheese made of ewe’s milk in the month of May was added. Over the whole, one ounce in weight, a form of exorcism was uttered, desiring of the Almighty that the corsnedd might cause convulsions and paleness, and find no passage, if the man were really guilty, but might turn to health and nourishment if he were innocent. The practice is strongly remindful of the trial of jealousy in use among the Israelites, by which an unfaithful woman was compelled to drink holy water containing dust of the floor of the tabernacle, the belief being that she would be stricken with illness if she were guilty. The corsnedd was given to the suspected person, who at the same time read the sacrament. Godwin, Earl of Kent, was, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, accused of murder, and forced to the ordeal of the corsnedd, when, according to ancient chroniclers, the consecrated food stuck in his throat, and caused his death. Both the expressions, “I will take the sacrament upon it,” and “May this morsel be my last,” are supposed to have been derived from this curious form of law-giving. A somewhat similar custom is in vogue in Russia at the present day. Balls of bread are made and dropped into consecrated water, the priest meanwhile reciting the formula:—“Ivan Ivanoff, if you are guilty, as this ball falls to the bottom, so your soul will fall into hell.” As a rule the culprit confesses immediately. In Ceylon, also, a similar form of ordeal is by no means unusual. A man suspected of theft is required to bring the person he holds in greatest affection before the judge, and placing a heavy stone on the head of his substitute, say, “May this stone crush thee to death if I am guilty of the offence.” The Tartar sets a wild bear and a hatchet before the tribunal, saying as he does so, “May the bear devour me, and the hatchet chop off my head, if I am guilty of the crime laid to my charge.”
Another form of ordeal which was cherished and practised with assiduity was that of the bier, founded on the belief that the body of a murdered man would show signs, by bleeding or movement, when his assassin approached. The accused had to place his hand on the naked breast of the corpse, and declare his innocence, though the slightest change in the body was considered proof of his guiltiness. This method of finding out murderers had its origin, it is believed, in Denmark, where it was in the first instance adopted by King Christian II. for the discovery of the murderer of one of his courtly followers. The belief has survived to a certain extent to the present day, for even English peasants still expect all persons present at a funeral to touch the body in proof of their bearing no ill-will towards the dead man.
Not so frequently employed, but still occasionally met with in ancient history, was the ordeal of compurgation, where the innocence of the accused was sworn to by his friends, and judgment went against the party whose kindred refused to come forward, or who failed to provide the necessary number of compurgators. It was a conflict of numerical strength, and the higher number carried the day.
Another custom, still surviving, was to tie a key in a Bible opened at Psalm L, verse 18, “When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him,” and balance the whole, the belief being that the book would turn in the hands of a guilty person.
Challenging the accuser to mortal combat was a proceeding which found much favour with the warlike spirit of the middle ages. Of course it was considered that Providence would defend the right, even if a miracle were needful, but nevertheless each party placed considerable reliance on his own strength of arm and fighting skill. These judicial combats were in ancient times practised among the Jews, and were also common in Germany in remote ages, though they do not find mention in Anglo-Saxon laws, and were apparently not in use in England until after the Norman Conquest. In Germany a bier was placed in the midst of the lists, accuser and accused stood respectively at the head and foot, and remained for some minutes in profound silence before they commenced fighting. Civil, criminal, and military cases were, in the absence of sufficient direct evidence, decided by means of the judicial combat or wager of battel. The offended party had the right to challenge his accuser to settle the dispute by force of arms, and the forms and ceremonies connected with the trial are well illustrated in the opening scenes of “King Richard II.” The combat took place in the presence of the court itself, Heaven being expected to give the victory to the innocent or injured party. It was commonly resorted to in charges of treason, as in the above-mentioned dispute between Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray, when the ceremonies were of an imposing character. As in the majority of ordeals, deputies could be chosen to perform the requisite duties, but the principals were in all cases answerable for the consequences. No commoner was allowed to challenge a peer of the realm, nor could the citizens of London, for some obscure reason,
indulge in these popular forms of legal administration. Each of the combatants professed his willingness to make good his claims, body for body—
“For what I speak
My body shall make good upon this earth,
Or my divine soul answer it in heaven.”
Neither sorcery nor witchcraft had to be employed, and the battel was to continue until the shades of evening had fallen, and the stars appeared. If the accused were killed, his blood was attainted, but if he were only vanquished, he was immediately condemned to an ignominious death by hanging, providing he accepted his fate without demur. The defeated party, however, might crave his life, in which case he was allowed to live as a recreant, on condition that he retracted unreservedly the false statements that he had sworn.
At the Durham Assizes, on August 6, 1638, a wager of battel was offered and accepted, for deciding the rights to land at Thickley, between Ralph Claxton, demandant, and Richard Lilburne, tenant. According to an old chronicle, “the defendant appeared at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, by his attorney, and brought in his champion, George Cheney, in full array, with his stave and sandbag, who threw down his gauntlet on the floor of the court, with five small pieces of coin in it. The tenant then introduced his champion, William Peverell, armed in the same manner, who also threw down his gage.” But the champions, instead of being allowed to fight, were ordered to appear at the Court of Pleas in the following month. Legal arguments followed, and the trial by battel was eventually postponed indefinitely.
In criminal trials no deputies were allowed, and the parties were compelled to settle their quarrel in person, unless one of them was a woman, an infant, or a man over the age of sixty, or was afflicted with lameness or blindness. In the case of any of these disqualifications, trial by jury could be claimed and insisted upon. One of the most remarkable wagers of battel occurred in 1817. A young woman named Mary Ashford, living at Erdington, near Birmingham, was supposed to have been murdered early one morning when returning from a dance. Suspicion fell on Abraham Thornton, a partner of the previous night, who was tried for the crime and acquitted. Evidence for another trial was collected, and Thornton was appealed by William Ashford, the direct heir male of the murdered woman. But when the proceedings commenced, Thornton’s counsel took refuge under a very old Act, by which no man could be tried on a second charge of murder, on which he had been acquitted, except by wager of battel before the king, between the heir-at-law of the person murdered and the accused. The appellant, Mary Ashford’s brother, declined the combat on the ground of physical inferiority, and Thornton was discharged. Immediately afterwards the antiquated law was removed from the Statute Book.
This marked the end of trials by ordeal as recognised by law. The process of extermination had long been in progress, but popular opinion was against reform, and certain of these curious customs survived. Although the clergy had at first taken part in these ceremonials, and presided over them in church, they came in time to discountenance them. The canon law declared against ordeals as being the work of the Devil, and a decree to this effect was issued in the eighteenth canon of the fourth Lateran Council in November, 1215. Upon this authority it was thought proper, says Blackstone (as had been done in Denmark a century ago), “to disuse and abolish these trials entirely in our courts of justice by an Act of Parliament, Henry III., according to Sir Edward Coke, or rather by an order of the King in Council.” The actual date of the abolition of ordeals by fire and water was 1261. On the Continent these forms of trial had been abolished by civil and ecclesiastical law much earlier, although in 1498 an attempt was made to test the doctrine of Savonarola by means of a challenge from one of his disciples to a Franciscan friar to walk through a pile of burning wood. Old customs die hard, and the incident is a curious and interesting instance of the persistence of a popular form of trial even among the members of a party by which it had been condemned.
The Bible Law.
By S. BURGESS, m.a.
AT the very outset of any treatment of so delicate a subject as that indicated by the title of this chapter, we are met by no small difficulty. This consists in the danger of committing unintentional errors of irreverence, and thus offending the prejudices of those who are more or less pledged to their belief in the verbal inspiration of every Bible chapter and verse. With this risk before us, we can only trust to our own sense of a rational view of a subject so full of capabilities of misconstruction. Those of us who can remember the outburst of righteous indignation at the publication of the “Essays and Reviews” and of “Ecce Homo,” feel surprise at the quiet indifference with which views expressed in them are now received. This does not at all, or necessarily, mean that men’s faith is colder, or that the spirit of reverent religious feelings has died away. The advance of accurate scientific investigation may have upset the faith of some, and given a subject for outbursts of intolerant pulpit denunciations, but we must think that there are signs plainly discernible of a quiet acceptation of modern discovery by the majority of thoughtful and devout believers in the inspiration of Holy Scripture. These remarks will be found not unneedful as we pursue the examination of this particular branch of Biblical study, namely, the Law as it is found in the Bible, and this will be seen at once when it is laid down as an absolutely necessary condition of our investigation that this same Law can plainly be divided into two distinct portions—that which is of Divine, and that which is of human origin. The bare statement of this fact will offend certain prejudices. The Divine “Fiat” stamps with as marvellous and undoubted clearness, certain portions, as other parts are marked by the progress of human intelligence, the needs of human society, and the force of the human will.
The very fact of the existence of Law entails the necessity of Penalty, and this may be spiritual or corporal. The former depends on the acknowledgment of the rule over us of a Superior Being. The latter is a necessary accompaniment of all and every human life, believing or unbelieving. So in the Bible Law we can easily distinguish between the penalty affixed to the breaking of the first of the Ten Commandments, and that which followed on the breaking of the sixth. On the authority of Hebrew scholars, we are told that the use of the Hebrew Article shows that The Law refers to the expressed will of God. If this rule be invariable, it would be of great value, and especially so in the use of the Greek Article.
The writers of the Psalms gave forth an intense reflection of the old Law; always presuming, as they of course did, that it emanated from the Deity.
Now let us be allowed to start with the assumption that the Mosaic is the earliest form of tabulated Law. A most excellent book has just been published, “The History of Babylonia,” by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. It is a cheap little book, but full of information upon which one feels able to rely. We find there that the Moral Law of Babylonia represents the spirit of Bible Law so accurately that it would be absurd to set up any theory of an independent basis.
We must make a date somewhere, and therefore we cannot do better than choose a date that can be fairly tested, and safely on this side of mythical eras,—and that is about 1500 b.c. This must appear a very safe and modest date to fall back upon. The Babylonians want us to go back 432,000 years, but to accept this assertion requires more faith than most of us possess.
For our present purpose there is nothing gained by comparing the Mosaic Law with that discovered with such infinite care and learning in the Babylonian records. The utmost that can be said is that we have startling coincidences, and an intensely interesting subject opened out. But there is no single grain of information, and that is what we are just now in search of. We feel quite distrustful of documents, especially stone ones, which give the lifetime of Alorus as extending to 36,000 years. That was before the Deluge. The Wandering Jew sinks into insignificance, and is a mere puling infant by the side of such figures as these, because the son of Alorus reigned for 46,800 years. However short the “year” was, the period of life was quite lengthy. If a year was our week, the last named patriarch was about 1,000 years old.
This is a departure somewhat from the Law as it is in our Bibles. But it will be an interesting study for some kind student to compare that Law with the echoes thereof found in Asiatic literature, even far away on the eastern shores of China. The mystery still unsolved is, “How did it get there?”
With the greatest diffidence we make the statement that the first notion of Law was in connection with sacrifice. The time may come when this can be refuted. But at present, leaving out of the question natural and unwritten Law, we find no bond but this. Sacrifice comes to us as a Law from a Superior Being. Heathen nations have recognized the efficacy of sacrifice and offerings.
Man without Law was an impossibility. No living thing can exist without some Law. Thus we look back to the first records of created living things for some Law. Science sheds a great, broad, and even scaring, light on the Law prevailing over inanimate nature. The seas and the fields obey it. But for us to make a record of Law as it made its beginning, is a task too great, and it is indeed then we feel that “fools may rush in” where better souls have had to languish in doubt.
Let us take the Law in the Bible as we can read it, and how few care to read it! There was a man once who had read the whole of the first five books through twice. Thinking there might be something to gain from such abnormal study, we propounded a few questions on this very subject. The result was a senseless repetition of verses from Leviticus. And yet, to tell the honest truth, there is very little left us to do but to quote. There is a little assistance we can give, and most thankful we are to have it in our power to do so. Let us all the time remember that the Bible Law is the sole foundation of every Law, Human and Divine, as far as we can discover. If it can be proved that the Babylonian record with its 40,000 year old kings is to be relied on, then by all means let us accept it.
We start with the sacrifice as the “companion” of the Law. No one can feel hurt by this. It is no good to any of us to ask whether Abel’s sacrifice was according to revealed Law or anterior to it. It is plain that sacrifice came to be the great medium of the Law between man and the great prevailing Law. With this allowed, all the rest is easier to grasp. The early Law among the first people seemed to have no force but in its connection with some higher Power. This Power has been now deputed to earthly sources.
The writers of the Psalms represent to us a perfect intercourse with the Deity. The question then arises, “On what grounds was this intercourse conducted?” The answer seems clearly to be on the conditions of the Laws of sacrifice. Now, by comparing the elaborate list of these contained in Smith’s “Dictionary of the Bible” with a very careful one in “Notes on the Hebrew Psalms,” by W. R. Burgess (1879), we can make out a clear and very useful resumé. Leaving out the great sin offerings for the whole people and for the priests, we have the following sin offerings:—
- For any sin of ignorance. Lev. iv. A most elaborate ceremonial of sacrifice and blood sprinkling. We should like to know when the “plea of ignorance” was done away with altogether, as we believe it has no force at all in modern Law.
- For refusal to bear witness on oath. Lev. v. This is of very great interest in the light of recent legislation as to affirmation. We have come across many people, it is needless to add grossly ignorant, who have entirely lost sight of the obvious emphasis on the word “False” in the 9th Commandment, placing the whole force on the fact of “Witness.”
- The Laws as to defilement. These, we presume, have left no trace on modern Law.
- The breach of a rash oath, the keeping of which would involve sin. Lev. v., 4. This opens a most interesting subject, but we have not space to enter upon it. From the days of Jephthah and his oath with regard to his daughter until this day, the question has been full of difficulties, and is divided amongst, perhaps, equal advocates for the two opposed views of it.
- Sacrilege in ignorance, fraud, suppressio veri, and perjury, were punished by enforced compensation, and the addition of a fifth part of the value concerned in the matter to the priest, or to the person wronged.
- Illtreatment of betrothed slaves. Lev. xix., 20. This is only curious, but at the same time
has a connection with late enactments in criminal Law.
- The Law as to the powers of a father is extraordinary. When one considers the relation now existing and defined by our Law, the revolution is beyond all measure out of reasonable proportion. For a curse, a blow, or even wilful disobedience, the penalty was death!
- The Law of usury is difficult, but the chief points are well known. The main principle of the Law prevails to this day. Let us only notice the striking fact that usury could not be exacted upon the Jews themselves. Does this not offer a fine comment on the grievous usury so cruelly enforced in after years by these people upon the Gentile races?
- Debt. All debts were released at the seventh year. So there was a year of limitation.
- Tithe. This Law has been so frequently and ably set forth, that it is entirely one’s own fault if it needs any comment.
- Poor Laws. These are conspicuous by their absence. There was a legal right of gleanings, a second tithe to be given in charity, and wages were to be paid day by day. (Deut. xxiv.)
A few rather important forms of legislation must be placed here as addenda. We notice the entirely despotic power of the husband over the wife, and all belonging to her. Compare our useful but very late enactment as to married women’s property, apart from her almost complete irresponsibility.
The slander against a wife’s virginity is punished by a fine only, but the fact of its truth, and therefore no longer a slander, is punished by the death of the woman. This is a most striking proof of the lower room in social judgment awarded to the female Israelite. We notice also that the power of the master over his servant was absolute, but that the master suffered a penalty if his servant or slave died under castigation! Ex. xxi. If he was maimed, he was by this fact allowed his freedom. The rule as to Hebrew slaves is very interesting. It is too long to be quoted here, but it can be easily mastered by a reference to Ex. xxi., Deut. xv., Lev. xxv.
We notice that there is no protection legally allowed to strangers, and so we find kindness and protection enjoined as a sacred duty.
We believe that the old list of “Prohibited Degrees,” which we saw placed in churches in our infancy, and is still to be seen, is in all respects enforced by our present Law. But we are not quite sure of this. We can only remember the vague sense of mystery underlying the clause, which was always put in the largest type:—
“A MAN MAY NOT MARRY HIS GRANDMOTHER.”
Another most interesting Law must be carefully noticed, and if possible, more deeply studied. In cases of accidental homicide, there was mostly an “avenger of blood” to be looked for. To escape this untoward follower, cities of refuge or sanctuaries were named, and in these the poor wretch was safe until the death of the high priest.
As to the legal penalty of adultery, are we quite sure that, according to results, we have greatly improved upon the old Bible Law? Under this the punishment was death of both offenders. Was it the fear lest the population of the world should be so very seriously lessened that gradually brought this Law to less than a penal one, so that at this day a Royal “Commission” is placed on the offence in the shape of the absolute freedom of the offenders to seek for another opportunity?
Just a few words more as to those who interpreted the Law. These were the Priests and the Levites. The “Judges,” as we read of them in the book of that name, had, with the exception of Samuel, mostly to do with the settlement of political disputes, and the leading out of the people to victory or defeat, as the case might be. But in later times the power of the Sanhedrim was undoubtedly great.
The king’s power was legally limited. But so it is, and has been, in all ages and in all dominions in theory! Yet we find Rehoboam expelled by Jereboam, and the latter as despotic as the former, just as we find a firm will in Cromwell after the despotism of Charles, in what had been then for centuries the most “Constitutionally” governed country in the world!
By William E. A. Axon, f.r.s.l.
IN all ages men have attributed a special sanctity to certain localities, usually those devoted to the purposes of worship, and this sentiment has in many lands been utilised in the interests of mercy by exempting those within the precincts from arrest for some, or even all, crimes and offences. In the earlier stages of development, the punishment of crime was not regarded as a duty of the community, but as an obligation, or privilege of the injured or of those nearest to him in blood or social relationship. Thus the son of a murdered man had the right to murder the murderer. The general principle of the earlier forms of justice is the lex talionis, but the infliction of the penalty was mostly in the discretion of the avenger. He might be afraid to attempt to slay a strong or powerful homicide, and be willing to pardon the offence for a money consideration. A criminal who took refuge in a sacred place secured at least a breathing time in which his friends might effect a compromise with his adversary. Greece had its famous asyla, but the custom of our own country was probably influenced from Hebrew rather than classical sources. In the narrative of the death of Joab, the hesitation of Benaiah shows that it was unusual to slay one who had taken hold of the horns of the altar. The six Cities of Refuge were appointed as places of safety for involuntary homicides, where they were protected from the avenger of blood. Amongst our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, the Church exerted a moderating influence. Every consecrated church had the right to shelter the fugitive from justice for seven days, and when the building was needed, he might be placed in a house provided for that purpose by the church, which was not to have more doors than the church itself. If the criminal was dragged forth from his refuge, the violators of the sanctuary were fined in varying degrees according to the rank of the ecclesiastical edifice. In addition to the inherent right of each church, special privileges were conferred on certain places by the exercise of the royal prerogative. In 1378, it was decided that the property of fraudulent debtors who had taken sanctuary should be liable for the satisfaction of the claims of their creditors. In 1486, Pope Innocent VIII. issued a bull relating to English sanctuaries, by which it was provided that when the refugee left his asylum, he lost his right of protection, even though he subsequently returned to the sanctuary. At the same time, the king was empowered to appoint keepers to look after those who having been accused of treason, had taken sanctuary.
Great changes were made in the law during the reign of Henry VIII. Traitors were wholly exempted from the privilege; those abjuring the realm were not actually banished, but were to remain throughout life in the sanctuary, and if they left it and committed any offence, they might then be brought to trial. All inmates were to wear a badge twenty inches in length and breadth, were forbidden the use of weapons, and were not to leave their lodgings between sunrise and sunset. In 1538, the right of sanctuary was further restricted, and Wells, Manchester, Northampton, York, Derby, and Launceston were declared sanctuaries. Manchester found this privilege to be of such doubtful value that two years later it was transferred to Chester, and afterwards to Stafford. In the reign of James I., the right of sanctuary was abolished almost everywhere. The Palatine Counties had their special sanctuaries. In Cheshire, Hoole Heath, Overmarsh, and Rudheath were such places of refuge. The abbey of Vale Royal had also a grant. But generally the County Palatine of Chester was a place of resort for those who had come into conflict with the law in other parts of the kingdom, and it was not until the reign of Charles II. that the king’s writ ran in the palatinates and other privileged places. Many privileged places in London, Westminster, and Southwark were brought within the regular jurisdiction in the reign of William III. and George II.
We have an instructive picture of the working of the sanctuary system in the case of Manchester. The Act of 32 Hen. VIII., c. 8, abolished the right of refuge in all places except, and the exception is a considerable one—churches, hospitals, and churchyards. Perhaps a more important exception was that sanctuary was to be denied to those guilty of murder, rape, highway robbery, burglary, house-burning, or sacrilege. Whilst abolishing many sanctuaries, certain additional places were named as cities of refuge for minor offenders. One of these was Manchester. A year later the town petitioned to be relieved from this distinction. The inhabitants set forth that Manchester had a great trade in the bleaching of linen yarn, and in the making of linen and woollen cloths and dressing of cotton, and that the influx of dissolute persons to the sanctuary had caused serious damage to the prospects of the town, which, having no mayor, sheriff, or bailiff, and no jail, was badly circumstanced for dealing with these lawless invaders. The request was granted, and the sanctuary removed from Manchester to Chester. But the city of the Deva found it desirable to obtain relief, and a further removal was made to Stafford.
The fridstool at Hexham still remains, although nearly everything else of the Saxon foundation has perished. This “chair of peace” was the central point of the sanctuary, which extended a mile around. A Durham example of the working of the law may be cited.
“Memorandum: That on the 13th day of the month of May, a.d. 1464, one Colson, of Wolsyngham, Durham, who had been detected in a theft, and therefore put and detained in gaol, at length contrived to escape, and fled to the Cathedral Church of Durham, in order to avail himself of its immunities, and whilst he was there standing near the bier of St. Cuthbert, prayed, that a Coroner might be assigned to him. Upon John Raket, Coroner of the Ward of Chester in Strata (sic) coming to him, the same Colson confessed the felony, making upon the spot the corporeal oath that he abjured the realm of England, and would withdraw from it as soon as he could conveniently, and would never return thither, and which oath he took at the bier of St. Cuthbert in the presence of Master George Cornworth, Sacristan of the Cathedral Church of Durham; Ralph Bows, Knight and Sheriff of Durham; John Raket (the Coroner); Robert Thrylkett, Deputy Sheriff; Hugh Holand, and Nicholas Dixson, and of many others; by reason of which renunciation and oath all the dress of the said Colson belonged to the said Sacristan and his office; wherefore the said Colston was enjoined to take off to his shirt all his garments, and deliver them to the aforesaid Sacristan, and he did so, placing them all into his possession, the Sacristan gave up and delivered to him again, gratuitously, all his dress that he had up to this occasion been clothed in; and after that Colstone withdrew from the Church, and was handed over to the nearest constable by the aforesaid sheriff, and so on from constables to constables, holding a white cross made of wood as a fugitive, and so he was to be conducted to the nearest seaport to take vessel as one never to return. This was done on the day, month, and year aforesaid.”
The system was one that led to gross abuse. It was held that the right did not extend to others than those whose offences entailed forfeiture of life and limb, but in practice knavish debtors, fraudulent executors, etc., availed themselves of the protection. There was plenty of scope for dispute as to jurisdiction. In 1427, the Abbot of Beaulieu was required to give proof of his right to shelter William Wawe, who is described as a heretic, traitor, common highwayman and public robber. “Wille Wawe was hanged,” is the sum of the matter as recorded by Stowe. Between 1478 and 1539, at Durham, 283 persons took refuge who were, as principals or accessories, accused of homicide. There were sixteen debtors, four horse-stealers, nine cattle-stealers, and four house-breakers. One had been charged with rape, and seven with theft. One had been backward in his accounts, one had harboured a thief, and one had failed to prosecute. Sir John Holland, in revenge for the death of his esquire, killed the son and heir of Hugh, second Earl of Stafford, and then took sanctuary at Beverley. The murderer, in this case, was the half-brother of Richard II., but it was with great difficulty that the king was induced to grant a pardon.
The church of St. John of Beverley had a charter from Athelstan, and near the altar was the Fridstool, or chair of peace, “to which what criminal soever flies hath full protection.” The privilege extended for a radius of about a mile round the minster, and the limits were marked by stone crosses. Infraction of the right of sanctuary was punishable by severe penalties, and to take a refugee from the Fridstool was to incur both secular and ecclesiastical penalties, the latter extending to excommunication.
The widow of Edward IV. fled with her younger children for safety to the sanctuary of Westminster after her eldest son had fallen into the keeping of the Duke of Gloucester. Sir Thomas More reports the discussion in the Council of the Protector, and the arguments used by Cardinal Bourchier, which induced the queen to give up the Duke of York. The boy king, who was never crowned, and his brother were murdered in the Tower. It is noteworthy that this unfortunate monarch was born in the sanctuary of Westminster when his father was in exile. Skelton, the poet, died in this same sanctuary.
The privileges of the sanctuary were not always respected. When Geoffrey, Archbishop of York, took refuge in St. Martin’s Priory, Dover, he was dragged from the altar in his pontifical robes by order of the bishop of Ely, who was then Chancellor of the Kingdom. But this arbitrary proceeding was not the least of the causes of the downfall of William of Longchamp. When William Longbeard, who had been condemned to death, took sanctuary at St. Mary-le-Bow, Hubert de Burgh ordered the church tower to be set on fire to compel him to come forth. Longbeard abandoned his place of refuge, and was dragged to Tyburn, and there hanged. But although de Burgh was Archbishop of Canterbury and Justiciary of the Kingdom, and the Church was his own peculiar, his violation of sanctuary led to the loss of his great secular dignity. Later, when he had himself to seek refuge, a great debate arose as to his having been forcibly taken from a sanctuary, and he was restored to its protection, and escaped to Wales.
Whilst the same rights of sanctuary existed in Ireland and in Wales, they were apparently not made use of to any great extent. In Scotland, the churches of Wedale, near Galashiels, and of Lesmahagow, near Lanark, were the most famous of the religious sanctuaries. The latter had also a royal charter from David I. These sanctuaries ended with the Reformation. The abbey of Holyrood and its precincts, which include Arthur’s Seat and the Queen’s Park, gave protection to debtors until, by the abolition of imprisonment for debt, its privileges ceased to have any meaning. One of those who thus sought refuge at Holyrood during a part of his career was Thomas de Quincey.
Sanctuaries probably served a useful purpose in ages when the law was harsh and indiscriminate in its punishment of offenders. The limited protection afforded by the Church sanctuaries at least gave an opportunity for the first heat of revengeful feeling to subside, and the greater sanctuaries protected not merely vulgar offenders, but those whom the stormy tide of politics had placed at the mercy of their enemies. As the law became stronger, and the course of justice more certain, the need for these refuges ended, and those that continued were public nuisances, and mere centres of crime and anarchy, such as Scott has described for us in his picture of Alsatia. We may be thankful that sanctuaries are now merely objects of antiquarian interest and speculation.
High-Throughput Identification and Classification Algorithm for Leukemia Population Statistics
Early detection of leukemia and reduced risk to human health can result from interdisciplinary integration of image analysis with clinical experimental results. Image analysis relies on efficient and reliable processing algorithms to make quantitative judgments on image data. This article presents the design and implementation of an efficient and high-throughput leukemia cell count and cluster classification algorithm to automatically quantify leukemia population statistics in the field of view. The algorithm is divided into two stages: (1) the cell identification stage and (2) the cell classification and inspection stage. The cell identification stage accurately segments background and noise from foreground pixels. A boundary box is generated enclosing the foreground pixels identifying all isolated cells and cell clusters. The cell classification and inspection stage uses one-dimensional intensity profiles that behave as signature plots to segregate isolated cells from cell clusters and evaluate total count within each cluster. The designed algorithm is tested with a variety of leukemia cell images that vary in image acquisition conditions, image sizes, cell sizes, intensity distributions, and image quality. The proposed algorithm demonstrates good potential in processing both ideal and nonideal images with an average accuracy of 91% and average processing time of 3 s. The performance of the proposed algorithm in comparison to recently published algorithms and commercial image analysis tool further ascertains its robustness.
Brinda Prasad and Wael Badawy, “High-Throughput Identification and Classification Algorithm for Leukemia Population Statistics,” The Journal of Imaging Science and Technology 52(3), 2008.
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