In England it is not a crime to desire to call a baby Francis. But in England many hold that liberty runs to license. In certain well ordered tracts of Germany it is penal to call a baby by that inflammatory style. The prohibiting law was passed in the year 11, which sounds as if time at least were on its side. But it appears that really the law was passed in Paris in revolutionary times to prevent people naming their infants Robespierre, which was justly regarded as a menace to social order. These parts of Germany groaned at the time under the heel of France and have not yet plucked up courage to repeal the enactment. It only allows names that are in the calendar or in ancient history. A resident Englishman has lately been fined 3 marks for wanting to name his infant Francis. He played Sir Francis Drake as ancient history, but the court of appeals could not conscientiously go further than Franciskus, and the gentleman has been fined for not registering the name until his appeal was decided. It was hard, but worse remains behind. The father's own name is Francis, and if he is not very careful he will find himself in the dock for being in possession of contraband. — Pall Mall Gazette.
Thursday, August 7, 2008