Page images

their identity became in consequence completely lost. Some of the old Bibliothecaires, or Librarians, committed great havoc in this way, and confounded the confusion the more from being seldom agreed among themselves. According to Noel d'Argonne, one of them would turn the name of the French historian, Du Chesne, into SJuercetanus; then another would come and, scratching out Quercetanus, would write Duchesnius; and then a third, differing from them both, would prefer Chesnius. In the same way, the name of Castelio was made to hop, skip, and jump between Castalioneus, Castalio, and Castilonaeus.

A physician of Francis I., who gloried in the significant name of Sans-Malice, which d'Argonne calls " that beautiful name which is worthy of the terrestrial paradise," changed it into the Greek Akakia, which term Akakia one of his descendants again changed into Acathias. Christian names lawfully imposed by godfathers and godmothers, as the church ordains, were no more respected than family names. John Victor Rossi styled himself Janus Nicius Erythraeus. One of the popes conceived suspicions, and became at last seriously alarmed at hearing the unchristian Greek names assumed by the Roman academicians; to his ear they sounded like the names of traitors and conspirators.

In the Latinizations, a later age avoided much confusion by simply writing the termination us at the end of a name, with euphonic alterations of a simple kind, thus: Leibnitz, Leibnitius; Newton, Newtonus; Euler, Eulerus; Bernouilli, Bernoullius, &c. But there was a deal of skirmishing, and even some hard fighting, before the learned came to submit to this easy rule. Joseph Scaliger several times threw the terminations in us iiito confusion; with arms in his hands, he forced Rotanus and Vietus to call themselves Rota and Vieta, and if he had been permitted to pursue his conquests, by this time De Thou would be called De Tolla, and not Thuanus; and Brisson, Brisso, and not Brissonius.

The Chancellor Fronteau, who was rough all over with Hebrew and Greek, which were as thickly set upon him as quills on the back of the porcupine, was all for the terminations in o, and hated with a more than a mortal hatred the terminations in us. "He is a terrible man," says d'Argonne, "he will admit of no reconciliation; he haughtily rejected the name of Frontellus, which was offered to him; he has also refused Frontalis, and has seized upon Fronto, in imitation of Cicero, Cato, and Scipio. The aid which he expects to derive from the analogy of an infinite number of similar names in o swells his courage and renders him intrepid."

The manner in which the articles became incorporated with the name appears in Du Cange, Ducangius; La Fin, Lafinius; De la Barde, Labardaeus. We are in one instance indebted to an older form. It would have been awkward to talk of a Des-Cartist, but the Latin Cartesius has supplied us with Cartesian. M. Lanoue is both Lanua, Nua, Noseus, and Lanovius, in different places.

The boisterously fastidious Joseph Scaliger was content that in most cases the de should be given by an anus, as Vassanus for de Vassan; but the mischief of it is, that very frequently both a de and the feminine article after it occur in foreign names, and it is difficult to render these together in Latin, which has no articles. The general usage has been to bring the article into the body of the word; but then there is often an awkwardness as to the de, which, being a very grand particle, and a sign and testimonial of nobility when placed before a man's name, people would not willingly see omitted. In an unlucky moment, Father Abraham, a Flemish Jesuit, called De la Cerda, Lacerdam. The proud Spaniard, thinking himself dishonoured and deprived of his rights by the suppression of those two magical letters the de, instantly fell upon the Jesuit with inextinguishable fury, and so battered and maimed him, that thenceforward the reverend father stood as a melancholy example to warn others how careful they should be in Latinizing the name of a Spanish Don.

The obscurity and confusion introduced by the practices we have been speaking of were not confined merely means guarantee the correct spelling of any name which is not French in the preceding extracts, because they are taken from French authors, and writers of that nation, till very lately, contended which should spell foreign names worse. If all difficult researches are interesting, then what a tempting subject it would be to endeavour to find ten English words consecutively spelt right in any French author from 1750 to 1815!

We may congratulate our readers on being allowed to call books and men by their vernacular names. If there be any one who is insensible to the benefit thereby accruing to him, we should very much like to send him on a hunt among the book-stalls for the following scarce work (as he would find it): 'Viri celeberrimi, &c. Velocii Decani Patriciensis, vita, auctore Gualtero Novelists. Augustae, Midcccxx. Excudebat Calvisius Victor.'


Bosweix relates that Dr. Johnson, in a conversation with Mrs. Knowles, the celebrated Quaker lady, said, "Madam, we have different modes of restraining evil— stocks for the men, a Ducking-stool for Women, and a pound for beasts."

In early times it was called the cucking-stool. Brand describes it as an engine invented for the punishment of scolds and unquiet women, by ducking them in the water, after having placed them in a stool or chair fixed at the end of a long pole, by which they were immerged in some muddy or stinking pond.

Blount thought this last name a corruption of duckingstool; and another antiquary guessed that choking-stool was its etymology.—(See Brand's ' Popular Antiquities,' vol. ii. p. 442.) But in a manuscript of the ' Promptorium Parvulorum' " esyn, or Cukkyn, is interpreted by stercoris; and the etymology is corroborated by a no less ancient record than the Domesday Survey, where, at Chester, any man or woman who brewed bad ale, according to the custom of the city, had their choice either to pay a fine of four shillings or be placed in the cathedra stmoris.

Blount says this chair was in use in the Saxon times. In the Saxon dictionaries its name is Scealkinj rrol.

In Queen Elizabeth's time the ducking-stool was a universal punishment for scolds.

Cole, the antiquary, in his ' Extracts from Proceedings in the Vice-chancellor's Court at Cambridge' in that reign, quotes the following entries:

~"Jane Johnson, adjudged to the ducking-stoole for scoulding, and commuted her penance.

"Katherine Sanders, accused by the churchwardens of St. Andrewe's for a common scold and slanderer of her neighbours, adjudged to the ducking-stool."

Every great town, at that time, appears to have had at least one of these penitential chairs in ordinary use, provided at the expense of the corporation.

Lysons, in his ' Environs of London,' vol. i. p. 233, gives a bill of expenses for the making of one in 1572, from the churchwardens' and chamberlain's accompts at Kingston-upon-Thames. It is there called the cucking-stool.



£13 4

In Harwood's c History of Lichfield,' p. 383, in 1578, we find a charge "for making a cuck-stool, with appurtenances, Ss." One was erected at Shrewsbury, by order of the corporation, in 1669.—See the history of that town, quarto, 1779, p. 172.

Misson, in his ' Travels in England,' makes particular mention of the cucking-stool. He says, "This way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an arm-chair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen foot long, and parallel to each other; so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them upon a sort of axle; by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post upon the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water; they place the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat.

Cole, the antiquary already mentioned, in one of his manuscript volumes in the British Museum, says, " In my time, when I was a boy and lived with my grandmother in the great corner-house at the bridge-foot, next to Magdalen College, Cambridge, and rebuilt since by my uncle, Joseph Cock, I remember to have seen a woman ducked for scolding. The chair hung by a pulley fastened to a beam about the middle of the bridge, in which the woman was confined, and let down under the water three times, and then taken out. The bridge was then of timber, before the present stone bridge of one arch was builded. The ducking-stool was constantly hanging in its place, and on the back panel of it was engraved devils laying hold of scolds, &c. Some time after, a new chair was erected in the place of the old one, having the same devices carved on it, and well painted and ornamented. When the new bridge of stone was erected in 1754, this was taken away; and I lately saw the carved and gilt back of it nailed up by the shop of one Mr. Jackson, a whitesmith in the Butcher-row, behind the town-hall, who offered it to me, hut I did not know what to do with it. In October, 1776, I saw in the old town-hall a third ducking-stool, of plain oak, with an iron bar before it to confine the person in the

« PreviousContinue »