Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/25

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13
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

especially between officers; and even now in Continental armies duelling is not only recognized as proper, but is, in some cases, imperative. And then, showing most curiously how in connection with the oldest part of the governing organization these oldest usages survive longest, we have, in the coronation ceremony, a champion in armor uttering by herald a challenge to all comers on behalf of the monarch.

If, from the agencies by which law is enforced, we pass to legal forms, language, documents, etc., the like tendency is everywhere conspicuous. Parchment is retained for law-deeds, though paper has replaced it for other purposes. The form of writing is an old form. Latin and Norman-French terms are still in use for legal purposes, though not otherwise in use; and even old English words, such as "seize," retain, in Law, meanings which they have lost in current speech. In the execution of documents, too, the same truth is illustrated; for the seal, which was originally the signature, continues, though the written signature now practically replaces it—nay, we retain a symbol of the symbol, as may be seen in every share-transfer, where there is a paper-wafer to represent the seal. Even still more antique usages survive in legal transactions; as in the form extant in Scotland of handing over a portion of rock when an estate is sold, which evidently answers to the ceremony among the ancient nations of sending earth and water as a sign of yielding territory.

From the working of State-departments, too, many kindred illustrations might be given. Even under the peremptory requirements of national safety, the flint-lock for muskets was but tardily replaced by the percussion-lock; and it was generations after the rifle had been commonly in use for sporting purposes before it came into more than sparing use for military purposes. Book-keeping by double entry had long been permanently established in the mercantile world before it superseded book-keeping by single entry in Government offices—its adoption dating back only to 1834, when a still more antique system of keeping accounts, by notches cut on sticks, was put an end to by the conflagration that resulted from the burning of the Exchequer tallies.

The like holds with apparel, in general and in detail. Cocked hats are yet to be seen on the heads of officers. An extinct form of dress still holds its ground as the court-dress; and the sword once habitually worn by gentlemen has become the dress-sword worn only on State-occasions. Everywhere officialism has its established uniforms, which may be traced back to old fashions that have disappeared from ordinary life. Some of these antique articles of costume we see surmounting the heads of judges; others there are which still hang round the necks of the clergy; and others which linger on the legs of bishops.

Thus, from the use of a flint-knife by the Jews for the religious ceremony of circumcision, down to the pronunciation of the terminal