Early "mis[s]"(1652) as title?
thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 30 02:16:15 UTC 2009
On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 7:59 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> At 8/28/2009 04:55 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:
> >On Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 12:58 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> > >
> > > From the "Province and Court Records of Maine", Vol. 1 (1928), page
> > > 176, dated 1652 [NS] March 8:
> > >
> > > "We present Mis Batcheller for Adultery."
> > >
> > > [No period in this. It is of course a transcription, so would need
> > > confirmation from the manuscript.]
> > >
> > > For "miss, n2", the OED's draft revision June 2009 has
> > > ...
> > > 2. "In form Miss, as a title." Earliest quotation "1667 S.
> > > PEPYS Diary 7 Mar. (1974) VIII. 101 Little Mis Davis did dance a Jigg
> > > after the end of the play."
> > >
> > > So does the Maine 1652 quotation antedate sense 2? It must be
> > > admitted, of course, that since she is presented for adultery "Mis
> > > Batcheller" was married at the time.
> >Was she? Adultery takes two.
> >Violation of the marriage bed; the voluntary sexual intercourse of a
> >person with one of the opposite sex, whether unmarried, or married to
> >another (the former case being technically designated single, the latter
> >double adultery).
> In the above the OED does not recognize the different definition in
> colonial Massachusetts law, and in the Bible. See below.
> >Where was the man? Charged separately? Not charged or otherwise not
> >mentioned, for whatever reason?
> In this case the man does not appear. Often the man could not be
> found; in some cases the man could not be identified. (A married
> woman would, reasonably, be presumed to have committed adultery if
> she was found with child.)
> In the well-known case (in 1651) in which the married Mary Batcheller
> was presented for adultery, the man was also. She was with
> child. Both were found guilty.
> >If he was married, it was adultery even if she was unmarried.
> No. In colonial Massachusetts (that is, under the first charter),
> the act was only adultery if the woman was married (or
> espoused). See, for example, _The Laws and Liberties of
> Massachusetts, 1641--1691_, ed. John Cushing, page 12 (1648 code; but
> the law was the same throughout the colonial period). And see the
> Bible, as cited in that law: Lev. 20. 19. and 18. 20. Deu. 22. 23.
> 27. [The citations here are a little mysterious, or perhaps even
> incorrect. I would point to Deuteronomy 22, verses 22-24 (King James
> >Which of the three possible combinations -- married but
> >not to each other, he married and she single, she married and he single --
> >could result in a "presentation" of "Mis Batcheller for Adultery" would
> >depend on the law at the time.
> Yes. I wrote that the time was 1652.
> But this all has nothing to do with whether the "Mis" means "Miss"
> and antedates one or the other of two senses in the OED.
I thought the question was, "Does this use of 'Mis' constitute an antedate
to Pepys's 1667 use of 'Mis(s)' as a title for an unmarried woman?" Given
the additional information you've presented here about the specifications of
law in that time and place, it seems not to. But that was not clear to me
from your previous post. (Is this, in fact, "the well-known case (in 1651)
in which the married Mary Batcheller was presented for adultery", or the
same person? And is it relevant?0
m a m
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