Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/638

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to a liking for human flesh than, happily—grace to the refinements of time—they are now. In the "Annuaire du Département de l'Aisne" (1812) are full details of the sentence pronounced on a hog (June 14, 1494) by the Mayor of St. Martin de Laon, for having défacié and strangled a child in its cradle. The sentence concludes thus: "We, in detestation and horror of this crime, and in order to make an example and satisfy justice, have declared judged, sentenced, pronounced, and appointed, that the said hog, being detained a prisoner and confined in the said abbey, shall be, by the executioner, hung and strangled on a gibbet near and adjoining the gallows in the jurisdiction of the said monks (of St. Martin de Laon), being near their copyhold of Avin. In witness of which we have sealed this present with our seal." This was done on the 14th day of June, in the year 1494, and sealed with red wax, and upon the back is written, "Sentence on a hog executed by justice, brought into the copyhold of Clermont, and strangled on a gibbet at Avin."

In 1497 a sow was condemned to be beaten to death for having eaten the chin of a child belonging to the village of Charonne. The sentence declared that the flesh of the sow should be thrown to the dogs, and that the owner of the animal and his wife should make a pilgrimage to Notre Dame de Pontoise, where, being the day of Pentecost, they should cry "Mercy!" after which they were to bring back a certificate. The execution of these animals was public and solemn; sometimes they were clothed like men. In 1386 the judge at Falaise condemned a sow to be mutilated in the leg and head, and afterward to be hung, for having torn the face and arm and then killed a child. This was a Draconian method of punishment. This sow was executed in the public square, clothed in a man's dress. The execution cost ten sous, six deniers tournois, besides a new glove for the executioner.

Bulls shared with swine the same mode of trial and punishment; horses, also, guilty of homicide had a similar ordeal. The registers of Dijon record that in 1389 one was condemned to death for having killed a man.

In the "Mémoires de la Société Royale Académique de Savoie" is a singular account of the law proceedings, instituted in 1587, against a species of beetle that made great ravages in the vineyards of St. Julien, near St. Julien de Maurienne. In 1545 these insects had made an irruption into this territory. Two lawyers had been selected, one by the inhabitants, and the other to defend the animals, and, wonderful to relate, the beetles suddenly disappeared, and the lawsuit was accordingly abandoned. It was, however, resumed forty-two years afterward, in 1587, when they reappeared and committed great ravages. The court addressed a complaint to the vicar-general of the Bishop of Maurienne, who named a judge, and also a lawyer to plead for the insects, and published an order prescribing processions, prayers, etc. After several legal discussions the inhabitants of St. Julien were in-