A Plain Outline of Law

One of the best things about running an OCR farm is that we are never short of quality content with which to populate this blog. Below is a very astute appendix from “A Plain Outline of Law”
THE following are translations of many of the numerous Latin maxims bearing on the law, those selected being mostly taken from the collec¬tion embodied in Wharton’s useful Law Lexicon.
Reason is the soul of law ; the reason of law being changed, the law is also changed.
Reason is the formal cause of custom.

Reason can be alleged when the law is defective; but reason must be true and legal, and not apparent. Law is the rule of right, and that which is contrary to the rule of right is an injury. Law is the highest reason, which commands those things which are useful and necessary, and prohibits the contrary. Law is a sacred sanction, commanding what is honourable, and prohibiting what is contrary. The law is the safest helmet; under the shield of the law none are deceived.

The law intends what is consistent with reason.
The law speaks to all with the same mouth.
The law makes use of a fiction where equity subsists.
The law will always give a remedy.
The law dislikes delay.
The law looks forward, not backward.
The law never allows anything contrary to truth.
The law cares not for trifles.
The law is not defective in administering justice.
The law intends not anything impossible.
The law regards the order of nature.
The law aids the ignorant.
The law punishes a lie.
The law does not favour the wishes of the dainty.
The law works harm to no one, does injury to no one.
The law of necessity is the law of time and place.
The law is not to be violated by the king.
The law dispenses what use has approved.

The safety of the people is the supreme law.
The laws are silent amidst arms.
The custody of the law is stronger than that of mah.
The disposition of the law is stronger and more equitable than that
of man.

The laws consist, not in being read, but in being understood.
Simplicity is favourable to the laws; and too much subtilty in law is to be reprobated.
Allegiance is the essence of law ; it is the chain of faith.
As nature does not do anything by a leap, neither does the law.
The laws of nature are immutable.

Laws are abrogated by the same means by which they are con¬stituted. What is done contrary to law, is considered as not done. Ignorance of the fact excuses; ignorance of the law excuses not. Politics are to be adapted to the laws, and not the laws to politics. Law regards equity. Law sometimes follows equity. Equity follows the law. Where the equities are equal, the common law must prevail. Equity operates on the conscience. Equity never counteracts the laws. Equity is a correction of the law, when too general, in that part in which it is defective.

Equity is tantamount to equality.
That which is equal and good is the law of laws.
Justice is to be denied to none.
Justice is neither to be denied nor delayed.
Justice, truly preventing, is better than severely punishing.
Justice regards truth alone.
Let right be done, though the heavens should fall.
Let nothing be rashly changed.
Evidence is to be weighed, not enumerated.
An eye-witness is preferred to others.
One eye-witness is more than ten ear-witnesses.
It is the province of the law to determine what right is, and what constitutes injury.
It is the duty of the judge to declare, not to make the law.
The best interpretation is made from the context.
As judges do not answer to questions of fact, so juries do not answer to questions of law.
Juries are the judges of fact.
No one should be judge in his own cause.
Judgments are the dicta of law, and are accepted as truth.
A judge is the spokesman of the law.
A judge ought always to have equity before his eyes.
A judge cannot punish an injury done to himself.

A judge should have two salts; the salt of wisdom, lest he be insipid and the salt of conscience, lest he be diabolical.
Where there is a right, there is a remedy.
Public rights are preferred to private.
A right does not arise out of a wrong.
All things are presumed against a wrong-doer.
The king can do no wrong.
No time or place affects the king.
The king protects the law, and the law protects right.
Right cannot die.
Every man’s house- is his castle.
Silence gives consent.
Use your own rights so that you do not hurt another.
The intention is to be taken for the deed.
The will, not the consequence, is regarded in crimes.
The will of a testator is ambulatory until his death.
No one is bound to an impossibility.
No one is punished for the crime of another.
No one can do, through another, what he cannot do through him¬
No one can transfer to another a greater right than he has himself.
No one is presumed to be bad.
No one is bound to accuse himself.
No one is bound to arm his adversary against himself.
No one can take advantage of his own wrong.
No one is the heir of the living.
No one is punished except for some injury, deed, or default.
An act does not make one guilty, unless it be his intention to do it.
Neither an act of God nor of law operates as an injury.
The burden of proof lies on a plaintiff.
Let the purchaser beware.
Let the principal answer.
You ought to know with whom you bargain.
The risk of a thing sold, and not yet delivered, is the purchaser’s.
Whatever is affixed to the soil belongs to the soil
To write is to act.
That is certain which can be rendered certain—but that is more
certain which is certain on the face of it.
The mention of one person is the exclusion of another.
What is expressed makes what is silent to cease.
It is the same thing to say nothing as to Say insufficiently.
An action does not arise out of a fraud.
It is fraud to conceal fraud.
Fraud and justice never dwell together.
Fraud and deceit ought not to be beneficial to any one.
An action does not arise out of a nude contract, i,e., one made with¬
out consideration.

Debt and contract are of no place. A debtor is not presumed to give. He who pays tardily pays too little. He who gives quickly gives twice. He who acts through another acts through himself. He who sticks to the letter sticks to the rind. Fiction yields to truth ; where there is truth, there is no fiction of

Execution is the execution of the law, according to the judgment. Custom is the best interpreter of the law. Custom is another law. A custom ought to be certain; for an uncertain custom has no

Custom and agreement overrule law. Necessity overcomes law; it derides the fetters of law. Deeds are more powerful than words. The exception proves the rule as to things not excepted. A double negative is an affirmative. False spelling or false grammar does not vitiate a grant. Remove the cause, the effect ceases. Remove the foundation, the superstructure falls. Whose it is to give, his it is to dispose of. Whose is the soil, his it is even to the sky.

The People in your PC part 1.

<I just found this old draft of an article I wrote in 2005 for a K9+ to GenX school magazine. It’s a draft as I said, and I can neither remember who it was written for, or where the rest of the article ended up. I have published here for a giggle, and also so you can cross-reference some of the names and events related in the article with the actual books in the LIbrary Browse.>  The People in your PC – (K9+ to GenX target audience) – rough draft – incomplete. 


6 Feb 05 Revision:


You’d be amazed just how many people there are in your PC, no really you would. And I’m not just taking about people like Michael Dell. Mr. Dell does not qualify, however from my perspective. I’m more interested in the people whose names we use without ever knowing who they are or what they did to merit inclusion.

 A good example of this would be Heinrich Rudolph Hertz, who we will meet later on. Ahh, so now you do get it – right? now you’re kicking yourself aren’t you! Hertz’ name is currently in use on a daily basis to quantify just how fast that shiny new computer of yours is. And globally too. Whether you are in Bombay or Brisbane, Cardiff or Caracas, you venture into any computer store, approach a salesman, tell him you want to buy a computer, and chances are the name of Hertz will enter the conversation.

 Oh, and did I mention there are lots of other people too, fascinating, brilliant, inspired people. People from all walks of life, from the nobility, to paupers. And lets not forget some of the most remarkable people of all in our PC – those whose names we don’t yet know, or names that go back thousands of years into our past. They’re all here and I do so hope this brief introduction has fueled your enthusiasm to meet the people in your PC!

 To start with then, lets begin with some of the biggies, people who have had a tremendous impact on our daily lives. Many of the people in your PC are inventors, some of them are so important that they have been immortalized by their peers and have had a Unit of Measurement named after them. Without wishing to underate things, the ability to measure or quantify something is essential to our modern society.

 Throughout history, accurate measurement of things has not always been so important as it is today. But in todays high-speed, globally networked economy, accuracy of information is all important. To be able to accurately measure something denotes a deep understanding of what that thing actually is, and the degree of accuracy to which we we can measure a thing indicates just how much, or little we know about that thing.


Lets take ‘Pi’ as an example. I was asking my 12 year-old nephew what he had learned at school one day, and he told me he had learned that the value of Pi was approximately 3.142 – thats important, so I’ll repeat it – approximately 3.142. Now, if your friend passed you an apple, and told you that you could take a bite out of that apple, but not a bite of more than 3.142 percent, then you’d probably take a pretty small bite – , and if, after he weighed the apple and found that you’d actually bitten off 4 percent of the apple, then chances are you’d agree that it was ‘near-enough’ – near enough that it didn’t make much difference

 Even though this is a rather frivolous example, I think you might begin to get the idea – namely, that the difference between 3.142 and 4 is so small that it isn’t worth bothering about. So why do we need to measure the value of Pi with such accuracy? 

 One might even ask the question – why have we all learned the value of Pi to such accuracy at all. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that my nephew used the word  ‘approximately’ – lets face it, the value of Pi is as near as damn it 3, yet even today school-kids everywhere will tell you the same thing – that the value of Pi is approximately 3.142.

 The value of Pi is probably the most accurate  long number we will ever come across – accurate that is to three decimal places. If a friend was to ask you how far it was to the nearest pub, or even how tall they were, an approximate measurement would be accurate enough.

 Pi is also one of the oldest complex numbers, it dates back to around 2000 BC, and is basically shorthand notation for ‘the circumference of a circle divided by it’s diameter’.  We’ve come a long way in our ability to measure the value of Pi, and today the value of Pi is known to more than ten billion decimal places.

 My point is, that increasingly accurate measurements indicate the technological sophistication of a society. Lets imagine for a minute that the world ended today, and that the only thing left to indicate that the human race had ever existed was  a huge monument with the value of Pi – accurate to a million decimal places—inscribed on it’s surface. An alien race, visiting earth a thousand years into the future would be able to deduce how sophisticated our society was simply from looking at the monument.

 And now back to some of those people in your PC, and particularly to the people who have units of measurement named after them. Particularly units of electrical measurement, because without electricity we wouldn’t have computers at all now would we!

 The actual term ELECTRICITY was coined by William Gilbert (1544-1603), an English scientist and physician. Gilbert studied medicine at Cambridge University, and eventually became Court Physician to Queen Elizabeth I. Back in the heady days of the  of the sixteenth century when ‘England ruled the waves’, and accurate navigation at sea was paramount. Gilberts most important work was in the field of magnetism and by extension the compass. Gilbert was the first to recognise that the earth itself was a magnet, with a north and south pole, just like any other magnet.

 So why don’t we say that William Gilbert discovered electricity? and why is it that your PC doesn’t run on 120 or 240 Gilberts? – Simply put, a discovery, just like an invention is a one-off – something can only be discovered once, and since electricity – in the form of lightning has been around since before man, then it’s likely that man discovered electricity in the form of lightning quite by accident, probably when a nameless and unfortunate caveman was struck by a bolt of lightning while wandering about outside his cave wondering what those strange flashes from the sky were all about.

 Remember too, that we only know about discoveries once they are recorded in writing. Since mankind has only been using written languages for a few thousand years, it follows then that the phenomena of electricity has only been written about for that time.

 In other words, once you have discovered anything, be it a new Quantum Theory, a new element, or a phenonenom like electricity you had to experiment with it to make it do something useful. 

 The first known written records  we have that deal with the phenomena of electricity date back to a Greek named Thales of the Ionian city of Miletus. In 600BC, Thales wrote of his experimentation with a piece of amber, and described how stroking it against his clothing caused the amber to display unusual and unlooked for characteristics – what we nowadays call static electricity. It is worth noting here also that just because somebody else has already discovered  a thing doesn’t lessen the wonder you can see on a childs face at a birthday party as one of his party balloons is rubbed on his head, and then when released, the balloon floats upwards to the ceiling and then stays put – magic !

 In the Greek language, the word for amber is electron, and it is in recognition of this fact that William Gilbert, over two thousand years later first used the word electricity, and electricities offspring – electronics.

 No, we measure electricity in VOLTS because of  an Italian called Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta. Volta was born in Como, Lombardy on February 18th 1745. Though he was noble-born, young Alessandro was not expected do make much of his life, due in part to his families lessening importance in the Italian court, but primarily because he was considered a ‘slow-starter’, and did not start to speak until he was four, and it was only at the age of seven, when his father died, that the family noticed that he had ‘caught up’ and was now as smart as the other children of his age. By the age of fourteen however, he had already made up his mind that he wanted to be a physicist.

 The young Volta became more and more fascinated by the Wonder of the Age’ – electricity, so much so, that he even wrote poetry devoted to the phenomena. In 1774 he was appointed professor of physics at the Como high school, and in 1778, while studying marsh gas he became to first person to isolate methane – known nowadays as ‘natural gas’ 

 Although this was an important discovery, it is Voltas creation in 1800 of the‘voltaic pile’ – the first battery that  pinned Voltas name to the unit for electricity for eternity.  So, you might well ask, if the Voltaic Pile was the first practical method of creating electricity, what were the ‘impractical’ methods. (check for others), but most of the electrical pioneers used to device called a Leyden Jar. 

 The name ‘Leyden’ is derived from Leiden in the Netherlands, where the inventor of the leyden jar – one Pieter van Musschenbroek lived. Another name for the Leyden Jar was the Condensor – so called because the scientists of the day believed thought of electricity as a fluid that could be condensed from the ‘Ether’, presumably in the same way that water could be condensed from steam.

 Incidentally, The term condensor was still in common use up to a couple of decades ago, indeed, you can still find some vintage car buffs still using the term even today – the ability of the condensor, and the Leyden Jar too to produce a whopping great jolt of electricity in a very short space of time made the condensor very useful in early automotive ignition circuits.

 In Volta’s time however, the Leyden Jar was more commonly used to demonstrate various electrical  phenomena, and these early ‘electricians’ as they were called were in high demand at fete’s and garden shows throughout Europe where they would quite literally ‘shock’ the crowds by killing all manner or birds and animals when the Leyden Jar was discharged.

 This really must have been quite a spectacle, and one cannot help but wonder if the term ‘electrician’ wasn’t coined through the amalgum of Electricity and Magician.

part 1 end…