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An Englishman's home is his castle

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 31, 2007

In Reply to: An Englishman's home is his castle posted by K McDonald on July 31, 2007

: There are few old posts here, now archived, so I can't contribute to them.

: All offered some background on the phrase 'An Englishman's home is his castle'.

: The phrase is sourced in the law, and has much to do with the English civil wars and the battle for power between King Charles I & II and the Parliament.

: Two English cases provided the foundation for the concept of the inviolability of person property to the forces of state: Semayne's Case 5 Coke's Rep. 91a, 77 Eng. Rep. 194 (K.B. 1604) and Entick v Carrington 2 Wils KB 275; 95 ER 807.

: The most well-known articulation of the principle is that of William Pitt in Parliament in 1763: "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter, the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter - all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."

: Maybe of interest to someone! It has some lovely asyndeton.

It's of interest to me. And so is "asyndeton," a word which had prviously escaped my notice. It's a rhetorical figure in which the conjunctions are omitted, as in "I came, I saw, I conquered." The sentence by Pitt is a good example; it uses dashes and a comma instead of more wordy methods to connect clauses.

I'm glad that it gets a seal of approval as a "rhetorical figure." I've been using it, but with some fear lest I be called out by someone who is a stickler for good grammar.