straw purchase(r)/buyer

Mon Mar 23 01:33:53 UTC 2009

        I forgot to address "straw bail" in my earlier post.  The
earliest I see is a passing reference in a New York trial court, which
New York confusingly refers to as the "Supreme Court."  Davidson v.
Hackstaff, 3 How. Pr. 11 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1846).  It seems that the term
began, and largely remains, a non-legal term, as there are only a
handful of examples in the cases, in contrast to the great many for the
other "straw" terms discussed.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of George Thompson
Sent: Sunday, March 22, 2009 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: straw purchase(r)/buyer

If 1859 is the best that the OED can do with "straw bail", here are a
couple from the early 1840s.  It was a very frequent topic for complaint
in the 1840s.

        [because of Judge Lynch, "rogues are rarely brought to trial, if
they have money enough to obtain straw bail and a habeas"]
        New York Herald, December 19, 1841, p. 1, col. 5  [A NYC judge
named Lynch; not a reference to lynching]

        [an English pickpocket named Edward Hammond, aka Simpson,
arrested "some two years since;" he had been sentenced to 5 years, but
the sentence was being appealed; he had been bailed; will one of "our
higher Judges . . . again turn a villain loose on straw bail?"]
        New-York Daily Tribune, June 30, 1843, p. 2, col. 5

I actually have a note from earlier in 1841, but without context.  It
was from the Tribune, and a search of that on Proquest might turn it up.
Also several other appearances from 1842 & 1843, from other papers, and
also without context.  I will get full context, upon request.


George A. Thompson

The American Dialect Society -

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