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What are these 19th century terms?
September 2, 2009 11:50 AM   Subscribe

I am working on republishing a 19th century memoir but I have come across a few terms I don't understand. Please help me figure out if they are typos in the original manuscript or real terms.

Here's they are. I've bolded each term I don't understand. The memoir is written by an Irish priest, Father John Joseph Hogan, who became the first bishop of Kansas City.

In 1496 the English statute, 1o King Henry VII, known as the Poyning Law, from its promoter Edward Poyning, an Englishman, Lord Deputy for Ireland, enacted that Englishmen should govern Ireland...

At nightfall the good ship Berlin rounded the Holyhead Capes, was the next morning out of the Irish Sea and into St. George’s Channel; thence south-westward, out of the cold fogs and mists of northern Europe, she cleaved the waves onward to the Azore Islands, which she reached on the eighth day of the voyage, Thursday, 16th November; 1,500 miles from Liverpool, at average rate of sailing 7f miles per hour.

From Abaco, leaving the islands of Andros and New Providence on the left, we sailed towards the Florida Reefs, by which we coasted until we were to southward of Key West, which was on Monday morning, December i ith. The course we had sailed from Abaco to Key West was necessarily very oblique, as it lay between and around islands and along the great curve of the Florida coast. The distance sailed was about 300 miles. Time, from 6 P. M. Friday to 10 A. M. Monday, 40 hours; average sailing per hour, 7j miles.
posted by clockworkjoe to Writing & Language (22 answers total)
 
There's one more term.

In the early hours of the night of December firth, as we were sailing westward of Key West, a sailor was sent aloft into the rigging, having orders to look out northwest to starboard for a lighthouse, which he was to report as soon as seen.
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:52 AM on September 2, 2009


Assuming the mss is handwritten, it might help to see a scan of the relevant passages; but in the case of the last one, simple math would suggest the "j" is a stylized "5" of some sort (300/40 = 75).
posted by aught at 11:55 AM on September 2, 2009


After giving it some thought, I am thinking the first one is probably ""the English statute, to King Henry VII... from its promoter Edward Poyning...".
posted by aught at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2009


I lost a decimal place in the comment about "7j" since 300/40 is of course "7.5". It's also possible the "j" is a fancy "1/2" character. Again, seeing the original would help.
posted by aught at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2009


It is a printed memoir. It's called "Fifty Years Ago".
posted by clockworkjoe at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2009


For the first one, I did a google search for "Poyning Law" and the first result was this Wikipedia page, followed by the phrase (10 Hen.7 c.22). So it should be "10", not "1o".
posted by muddgirl at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2009


Here's the official text of the law. You can see "10 Henry 7" there, too.
posted by muddgirl at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2009


The item about Poyning's Law may be either a typographical error or, more likely, a deliberate typographical convention, but the 1o is 10.

I did my MA thesis using Victorian transcriptions of the Rolls as primary source material. This is not the first time I've seen this usage.
posted by immlass at 12:07 PM on September 2, 2009


It's a boring guess, but I'd say maybe the date in your last question is "December fifth". Would depend on the handwriting whether or not r-->f is a reasonable confusion.

Also, if Thursday 16 November is in the same year as Monday December i ith, that would be Monday, December 11. See, for example, 2006.
posted by aimedwander at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2009


OCR errors?

from the wikipedia page for Poyning's Law:
Poynings' Law[1] (10 Hen.7 c.22) is an Act of the Parliament of Ireland
which I read as the 10th act of parliament under the reign of Henry the VII?

sailing 7f miles per hour.
18 miles (knots?) per hour? cursive f looks like an 8, old-timey 1's look like 7's -- 1500 miles / (8 days*24 hours)

December i ith
Dec. 11th

average sailing per hour, 7j miles.
doing the math on that one makes 7.5 mph.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2009


The "10" is the year of Henry VII's reign. Wikipedia.
posted by zamboni at 12:11 PM on September 2, 2009


Well. The book itself is in Google books and you can see the relevant passages
here, here, here and here.
posted by aught at 12:11 PM on September 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The relevant bit being: "Acts before 1962 are referenced using 'Year of reign', 'Monarch', c., 'Chapter number' — e.g. 16 Charles II c. 2 — to define a chapter of the appropriate statute book."
posted by zamboni at 12:13 PM on September 2, 2009


Aught's got a double-up there- here's the Poyning link.
posted by zamboni at 12:16 PM on September 2, 2009


sailing 7f miles per hour.
18 miles (knots?) per hour? cursive f looks like an 8, old-timey 1's look like 7's -- 1500 miles / (8 days*24 hours)


the book says 7 2/3 mph. I thought 18 was a little high for a sailing ship.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:21 PM on September 2, 2009


Most of these seem an issue of handwriting conventions, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to point out the astonishing OUP Historical Thesaurus, which a library might have when it's published.
posted by idb at 12:39 PM on September 2, 2009


Definitely OCR errors, if you use aught's links you can switch between the scan and the plain text versions and see the errors magically appear.
posted by ecurtz at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2009


Yeah, they looked a lot like OCR errors to me (especially "11" becoming "i i" and "10" becoming "1o"). This is why we never trust bare OCR outputs! I'd compare every word to the original image if I were republishing this.
posted by muddgirl at 12:45 PM on September 2, 2009


pretty good scan if the op could only find 4 OCR errors, usually there are wayyy more
posted by Think_Long at 12:48 PM on September 2, 2009


In the early hours of the night of December firth, as we were sailing westward of Key West, a sailor was sent aloft into the rigging, having orders to look out northwest to starboard for a lighthouse, which he was to report as soon as seen.

First. f -> s is/was fairly common enough for Terry Pratchett to make fun of it.
posted by Comrade_robot at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2009


First. f -> s is/was fairly common enough for Terry Pratchett to make fun of it.

Well, if we look at the actual book, we can see that this one is an OCR error for "11th". December 11th.

The long s to which Comrade_robot is referring was pretty much gone from English usage by the mid-19th century.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:11 PM on September 2, 2009


Thanks! The copy we're using actually does have 7f miles per hour and so on. Must be a later printing of it.
posted by clockworkjoe at 10:42 PM on September 2, 2009


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