Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Peuter and Raysons

Along with their intrinsic interest, one of the enjoyable features of seventeenth-century texts is their often idiosyncratic spelling. The records of the Old Bailey relate how on 28 February 1681,
Richard Eaton received his Tryal, for Robbing a Ship lying at Deptford , and taking thence one Sea bed, with Rugs, Blankets and other Furniture, as likewise Peuter, and about sixty pounds of Raysons , being the goods of Thomas Daniel , the whole being offered to sale were stopt and he apprehended: he pleaded he bought them at Chatham, but not being able to prove it, he was found Guilty.
A less charming feature, to the modern reader, is the apparent reversal of the burden of proof. Eaton seems to have been expected to prove his own innocence!

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