Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/912

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895
RANSOM—RANUNCULACEAE

Phe Tummel and the Ericht, and the principal lakes Loch Rannoch and Loch Lydoch, or Laidon (about 6 m. long, § m. wide and 924 ft. above the sea). Loch Rannoch lies E. and W., measures 92 m. long by fully 1 rn. broad, is 668 ft. above the sea, covers an area of nearly 7% sq. m., and has a greatest depth of 440 ft. It receives the Ericht and many other streams, and discharges by the Tummel, draining a total area of 243% sq. m. At the head of the lake is Rannoch Barracks, so named because it was originally built to accommodate a detachment of troops, under ensign (afterwards Sir) Hector Munro, stationed here to maintain order after the Jacobite rising of 1745. Two miles east is Carie, which was the residence of Alexander Robertson, 13th baron of Struan (1670-1749), the Tacobite and poet, who was “out” with Dundee (1689), Mar (1715) and Prince Charles Edward (1745), and yet managed to escape all punishment beyond self-imposed exile to France after the first two rebellions. Kinloch Rannoch, at the foot of the loch, is the principal place in the district, and is in communication by coach with Struan station (13 m. distant) on the Highland, and Rannoch station (6 m.) on the West Highland railway. Dugald Buchanan (1716-1768), the Gaelic poet, was schoolmaster of the village for thirteen years, and a granite obelisk has been erected to his memory.


RANSOM (from Lat. redemption, through Fr. rcmgon), the price for which a captive in war redeemed his life or his freedom, a town secured immunity from sack, and a ship was repurchased from her captors. The practice of taking ransom arose in the middle ages, and had perhaps a Connexion with the common Teutonic custom of commuting for crimes by money payments. It may, however, have no such historic descent. The desire to make profit out of the risks of battle, even when they were notably diminished by the use of armour, would account for it sufficiently. The right to ransom was recognized by law. One of the obligations of a feudal tenant was to contribute towards paying the ransom of his lord. England wastaxed for the ransom of Richard the Lion Hearted, France for King John taken at Poitiers, and Scotland for King David when he was captured at Durham. The prospect of gaining the ransom of a prisoner must have tended to diminish the ferocity of medieval war, even when it did not reduce the fighting between the knights to a form of athletic sport in which the loser paid a forfeit. Readers of Froissart will find frequent mention of this decidedly commercial aspect of the chivalrous wars of the time. He often records how victors and vanquished arranged their “ financing.” The mercenary views of the military adventurers were not disguised. Froissart repeats the story that the English “free companions ” or mercenaries, who sold their services to the king of Portugal, grumbled at the battle of Aljubarrota in 1 38 5, because he ordered their prisoners to be killed, and would not pursue the defeated French and Spaniards, whereby they lost lucrative captures. The ransom of a king belonged to the king of the enemy by whom he was taken. The actual captor was rewarded at the pleasure of his lord. King Edward III. paid over instalments of the ransom of the king of France to the Black Prince, to pay the expenses of his expedition into Spain in 1367. Occasionally, as in the notable case of Bertrand du Guesclin, the ransom of a valuable knight or leader would be paid by his own sovereign. To trade in ransoms became a form of financial speculation. Sir John Fastolf in the time of King Henry V. is said to have made a large fortune by buying prisoners, and then screwing heavy ransoms out of them by ill-usage. The humane influence of ransom was of course confined to the knights who could pay. The common men, who were too poor, were massacred. Thus Lord Grey, Queen Elizabeth's lord deputy in Ireland, spared the officers of the Spaniards and Italians he took at Smerwick, but slaughtered the common men. Among the professional soldiers of Italy in the 15th century the hope of gaining ransom tended to reduce war to a farce. They would not lose their profits by killing their opponents. The disuse of the practice was no doubt largely due to the discovery that men who were serving for this form of gain could not be trusted to fight seriously.

Instances in which towns paid to avoid being plundered are innumerable. So late as the war in the Peninsula, 1898-14, it was the belief of the English soldiers that a town taken by storm was liable to sack for three days, and they acted on their corn viction at Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and San Sebastian. It was a question whether ransoms paid by merchant ships to escape were or were not among the commercial belli. In the early 18th century the custom was that the captain of a captured vessel gave a bond or “ ransom bill, ” leaving one of his crew as a hostage or “ ransomer ” in the hands of the captor. Frequent mention is made of the taking of French privateers which had in them ten or a dozen ransomers. The owner could be sued on his bond. At the beginning of the Seven Years' War ransoming was forbidden by act of parliament. But it was afterwards at least partially recognized by Great Britain, and was generally allowed by other nations. In recent times-for instance in the Russo- Japanese War-no mention was made of ransom, and with the disappearance of privateering, which was conducted wholly for gain, it has ceased to have any place in war at sea, but the contributions levied by invading armies might still be accurately described by the name.


RANTERS, an antinomian and spiritualistic English sect in the time of the Commonwealth, who may be described as the dregs of the Seeker movement. Their central idea was pantheistic, that God is essentially in every creature, but though many of them were sincere and honest in their attempt to express the doctrine of the Divine immanence, they were in the main unable to hold the balance. They denied Church, Scripture, the current ministry and services, calling on men to hearken to Christ within them. Many of them seem to have rejected a belief in immortality and in a personal God, and in many ways they resemble the Brethren of the Free Spirit in the 14th century. Their vague pantheism landed them in moral confusion, and many of them were marked by fierce fanaticism. How far the accusation of lewdness brought against them is just is hard to say, but they seem to have been a really serious peril to the nation. They were largely recruited from the common people, and there is plenty of evidence to show that the movement was widespread. The Ranters came into contact and even rivalry with the early Quakers, who were often unjustly associated with them. The truth is that the positive message of the Friends helped to save England from being overrun with Ranterism. Samuel Fisher, a Friend, writing in 16 53, gives a calm and instructive account of the Ranters, which with other relevant information, including Richard Baxter's rather hysterical attack, may be read in Rufus M. ]ones's Studies in M ysticwl Religion (1909), xix. In the middle of the 19th century the name was often applied to the Primitive Methodists, with reference to their crude and often noisy preaching.


RANUNCULACEAE, in botany, a natural order of Dicotyledons belonging to the subclass Polypetalae, and containing 27 genera with about 500 species, which

are distributed through temperate and

cold regions but occur more especially

beyond the tropics in the northern hemisphere. It is well represented in Britain,

where II genera are native. The plants

are mostly herbs, rarely shrubby, as in

Clematis, which climbsby means of the

leaf-stalks, with alternate leaves, opposite in Clematis, generally without stipules, and flowers which show considerable

variation in the number and development

of parts but are characterized by free

hypogynous sepals and petals, numerous

free stamens, usually many free one-celled carpels (fig. 2) and small seeds containing a minute straight embryo embedded in a

copious endorsperrn. The parts of the

flower are generally arranged spirally on

From Vines's Studenls

Text Boak of Botany, by

permission of Swan, Sonnenschein

& Co..

FIG. 1.-Gynoecium

of Ranunculus: x,

receptacle with the

points of insertion

of the stamens,

whigh have been

removed-

a convex receptacle. The fruit is one-seeded, an achene (ig. 3), or a many-seeded follicle (fig. 4), rarely, as in Actaea, a berry.