Tag Archives: love

The Lawyer’s Valentine

Archival Moment

February 15, 1881

Love your lawyer!

Love your lawyer!

It is unfortunate but when it comes to matters of the heart the perception is that lawyers are not inclined to be romantic.  It has been said that they have difficulty establishing an ‘emotional connection’. They are in large part driven by logic. Love, of course, does not tend to be logical.

On Valentine’s Day, February 1881, a St. John’s lawyer sent a poem by the American poet, John B. Saxe to the St. John’s newspaper the Evening Telegram determined to make the public aware that there were some in his profession that were deeply romantic. They just had/have their own language to express their romantic intentions.  The poem reads:

The Lawyer’s Valentine

I’m notified, fair neighbour mind,

By one of our profession,

That this, the term of Valentine,

Is Cupid’s Special Session.

Permit me, therefore, to Report

Myself, on this occasion,

Quite ready to proceed to Court,

and file my declaration.

I’ve an attachment for you, too;

A legal and a strong one;

O, yield onto the Process, do;

Nor let it be a long one.

No scowling bailiff lurks behind;

He’d be a precious noddy,

Who failing to arrest the Mind,

Should go and take the Body!

For though a form like yours might throw,

A sculptor in distraction;

I couldn’t serve a Capias, no;

I’d scorn so base an Action!

Oh, do not tell me off your youth,

And turn aware demurely,

For thought your very young in truth,

You’re not an infant surely!

The Case is everything me;

My heart is loves own tissue;

Don’t plead a Dilatory Plea;

Let’s have the General Issue!

Or since you’ve really no Defence,

Why not, this present Session,

Omitting all absurd defence

Give Judgement by Confession.

So, shall you be my lawful wife?

And I your faithful lover,

Be Tenant of your heart for Life.

With no Remainder over!

(Take some time to send this ‘Archival Moment’  to your lawyer. Perhaps your lawyer is your Valentine!)

Recommended Archival Collection:  At the Rooms Provincial Archives see the Valentine cards of Marion Adams. During the First World War (1914 – 1918) , Marion Adams of St. John’s  received Valentine cards  from two suitors.

Source of Poem: The Lawyer’s Valentine, by John G. Saxe originally appeared in the New York Times, on February 18, 1860.

 

Firing guns at weddings

Archival Moment

February 10, 1882

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives VA 104-22.1; Royal salute or feu de joie for a wedding party at Harrington Harbour. International Grenfell Association photograph collection. Note the men with the guns in the background.

Photo Credit: The Rooms Provincial Archives VA 104-22.1; Royal salute or feu de joie for a wedding party at Harrington Harbour. International Grenfell Association photograph collection. Note the men with the guns in the background.

There is a long established tradition in Newfoundland that encourages the “discharging of fire arms” for the purpose of creating a noise especially to celebrate a marriage. As the bride and groom leave the church the men of the town stand about discharging their guns in celebration.

On February 10, 1882 the Editor of the local paper the Twillingate Sun, Jabez P. THOMPSON, spoke out against the custom suggesting that rather than discharging their guns, pistols and firearms that they would be better served to buy present for the newly married. He wrote:

“It has been suggested that if persons are anxious to manifest esteem for their newly married friends, could it not be done in a more tangible way by presenting them with a valuable present, which the cost of the powder so used would be likely to procure. We would recommend such a plan.”

Francis BERTEAU, Stipendiary Magistrate in Twillingate was another who was not fan of discharging guns at weddings. The Magistrates objection was prompted by the fact that a case was before him in his court, a short time before, the cause of the complaint being that the plaintiff’s horse had taken fright by the firing of guns while passing the public streets.

The Editor argued:

“Magistrate BERTEAU has given caution against the unnecessary discharging of fire arms, as prevention to any serious accident that might accrue by a persistency in such a dangerous practice.”

The government of the day was also keen to stop the practice, in January 1882 a new law was passed that read:

“Any person firing any Gun, Pistol or other Fire-arms in any City, Town, or Settlement in this Island for the purpose of creating a noise or disturbance, or without some necessity or reasonable excuse for so doing, shall for every such offence pay a penalty not exceeding Twenty Dollars.”

The new law was to fall on deaf ears; the tradition of firing guns at weddings continued and remains a tradition in many communities throughout the province. Those who fired the guns always found “some necessity or reasonable excuse.”

The tradition of ‘firing the guns’ at a wedding continues in communities long the Cape Shore. Do you know of other communities?

The ‘firing of the guns’ is not to be confused with a ‘gunshot wedding’!

Recommended Archival Collection: Planning on doing some family research. The Rooms Provincial Archives is home to the largest collection of Parish Marriage Registers in the province.

Recommended Reading: Getting Married in Newfoundland and Labrador: http://www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/birth/getting_married/