David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Thu Sep 24 16:35:55 UTC 2009

From:    "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>

> The earliest law in Massachusetts against "nightwalking" that I've
> found is from 1652, an addition to an act governing the
> watch.  Records of the Governor and Company, vol. 3 (I believe!), page 282:

> The constables are ordered to direct their watches that "they duely
> examine all nightwalkers after ten of the clocke in the night, unles
> they be knowne to be peaceable inhabitants, to inquire whither they
> are goeinge,& what theire busines is; & in case of not giving
> rationall satisfaction to the watchmen or constable, then the
> constable forthwith to secure them till the morninge, & then the
> constable to carry such person or persons before the next magistrate
> or commissionere, or three men, who shall in this case have power, as
> the commissionors have, to give satisfaction for theire being abroade
> at that tyme of night; & if the said watchmen shall find any
> inhabitant or straunger after ten of the clocke at night behaveing
> themselves in any way *deboyst, or that giveth not a reasonable
> ground to the cunstable or watchmen, or shalbe in drinke, to secure
> them by committment, or otherwise, till the law be
> satisfyed."  [Abbreviations expanded and u -> v.]

This is more idle curiosity than anything else, but was the "shalbe"
here a compound (contraction?) of "shall be", a transcription error, or
something else?


David Bowie                        
    Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
    house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
    chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list