"Instrument of nature", a euphemism, 1655

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sun Dec 12 02:26:48 UTC 2010

Wee p[re]sent Richard Turtall for laciuiouse carriage toward Ann
Hudson, the wife of John Hudson, in taking hold of her coate and
inticing her by words, as alsoe by taking out his instrument of
nature that hee might prevaile to lye with her in her owne house.

1655 March 5.
Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, ed. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff
(Boston: William White, 1855), vol. 3, p. 97.

I presume this is OED "instrument" sense 4., "A part of the body
having a special function; an organ. Obs."  Especially considering
that the earliest quotation is from the wife of
Bath:  "c1386  Chaucer Wife of Bath's Prol. 149  In wyfhode I wol vse
myn Instrument As frely as my makere hath it sent."


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