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ther, never advanced* beyond this rudiment. If the Kalends of February fall on a Friday, the third day before the Kalends, expressed by the singular phrase ante diem tertium Kalendas Februari, is Wednesday. Any one might suppose that scholars, though aware of this method, had always forgotten to interpret Roman phrases by Roman usage. When Livy speaks of a lunar cycle which begins every twentieth year, this plain allusion to the famous cycle of nineteen years has never been noticed till our own day (see Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, article Calendar), and a conjectural emendation of the text had been substituted.
We might have supposed that by referring to the usage of the law, we should be able to settle the fact that the Roman method of reckoning was at one time universally used, and also that later times have either avowedly continued, or avowedly changed, the ancient practice. Instead of this however we find that there is no acknowledgment of the Roman method having once been in use, and that the struggle by which something more modern has been at last instituted, has been made without any distinct knowledge of, or at the least without any distinct reference to, the state of things which once existed.
We feel a right to take for granted, until the contrary is shown, that the original method of the Roman world must have been at one time predominant in systems of law and we find that the oldest statutes in which reckoning of terms is employed bear us out, unless indeed we are to conclude that legislation had a habit of commencing with the second day of a month or year instead of the first. Thus the statute 35 Hen. VIII. cap. 12 remits money borrowed by the king sithence [since] the first of January: surely this was meant to include all moneys borrowed on any day of that month. In 37 Hen. VIII. cap. 20, sithen and from are used interchangeably as to one date. In innumerable cases after is used with from and after, as synonymous, even in the same sentence: and in 1 Edward VI. cap. 1, "after" and "from and after" and "immediately after" the first day of May are used synonymously. The number of cases in which "after the first" of a month occurs is so great that we cannot imagine how, supposing the first day to be excluded, it escaped being a popular maxim that in law a month begins on the second day. In 35 Hen. VIII. cap. 17, there is legislation for "after" the feast of St. Michael, and
*So late as in the seventeenth century, Petavius says that the fourth year of the Julian reckoning is the fifth year from the year of confusion (which preceded that reckoning); we should say that the fourth of any enumeration is also the fourth from that which precedes the first. None but physicians of our time will understand a joke which, as the newspapers of the day on which we write this inform us, the Romans made on the French before the walls of Rome. The latter made their assaults every other day, on which the former said they had the tertian fever.
"before" the feast; and one or other of these certainly legislates for the day of the feast itself. The statute 2 Edward VI. c. 1, prescribing uniformity in the reading of the liturgy after the feast of Pentecost, also legislates for before that feast, which is included in one or the other phrase: the probability is, that some marked festival would have been chosen as the beginning of uniformity, not as the end of discordance. In 33 Hen. VIII. cap. 12, some crimes committed since and sith the feast of All Saints are punished, and the statute is "to take effect from" that feast: for other crimes, "from and after" the first day of May. But the following is almost conclusive. In 26 Hen. VIII. c. 3, the bishop must certify to the Exchequer "before the said first day of April, or at any time within four and twenty days next after the said first day of April." It cannot surely be that the first of April was excluded. By the same statute the king is to have first fruits of all clerical persons nominated to benefices "after the first day of January next coming," and all first fruits "from" that day. In a collection of statutes regulating merchandize made in the first of Richard III., c. 8 is for "after the feast of St. Michael;" cap. 11 is to "take effect at the feast of St. Michael;" and cap. 13 "from the feast of St. Michael:" these phrases appear to be synonymous. In 6 Hen. VIII. c. 4, "from the fifteenth day of Easter next coming, or after," is used in one clause synonymously with "at the said fifteenth day of Easter, or after." In this statute, and in those in which the Quindecim Pasque is mentioned, the reckoning of weeks is inclusive of both ends. The following instance is more perfect than any. By 21 Hen. VIII. c. 13, spiritual persons must alien certain profits to laymen on this side of the feast of St. Michael," and every lease to them of such profits made "after the said feast of St. Michael" is void. Will any one say that the day of the feast was left open, as by modern interpretation it should have been? We have no doubt, ourselves, that Michaelmas day was included in both, that the penalties would not have been incurred if the alienation had been deferred until that day, as well as that a lease granted on that day would have been void. We have not neglected the possible answer, that Michaelmas day might fall on a Sunday in that year: it fell on a Wednesday. These are a few instances, out of an immense number of the same kind, all tending, even without knowledge of the original mode of reckoning, first to establish the identity of meaning of
the phrases" from," "after," ""from and after, "next after;" secondly, to show that all of these included the day from which reckoning is made.
The simultaneous use of "after" and "from and after" can
be traced in later times; as in 10 and 11 Will. III. c. 10, which forbids from and after, &c., and punishes those who do it after. At this period, it would probably have been settled that the day mentioned is excluded by these words: and the more so, as in cap. 1 of the same session on or before is set in opposition to from and after. The most modern statutes exclude the day from which the reckoning is made, and thus we often see "from and after the 31st of December." But such explanation is still sometimes thought necessary as is given in 7 and 8 Vict. cap. 76, in which a provision "shall commence and take effect from the 31st day of December, 1844, and shall not extend to any thing done before the first day of January, 1845."
In the time of William III., it was decided that the day from which reckoning was made is included. We are perfectly aware that this decision has since been questioned: to this we pay no more regard, as an antiquarian conclusion, than we do to the decision itself, because neither those who decided nor those who questioned showed themselves aware even of the existence of the Roman method, and therefore neither admitted nor refuted that there must have been a time at which the law must have agreed with the universal practice of the learned, and, for any thing ever shown to the contrary, of the common people also. In Bellasis v. Hester (9 William III., Raymond 280,) the point in question was, what was meant by a bill being payable ten days after sight. The parties concerned had neglected to plead the special custom of merchants, which the court therefore refused to consider, and the words were left to take their common legal meaning. In the opinion of all the judges but one, the day of sight was included: that one (Justice Treby) differed on principles of logical interpretation of language. If, he said, the day of sight be included, then the first day after sight is the day of sight itself, which would be absurd. That neither the dissentient judge nor either of the others should have remembered the way in which the Romans reckoned backwards from the Kalends (not of course for any purpose of law, but with reference to the asserted reductio ad absurdum), shows how completely the origin of the mode of reckoning which the court pronounced for had been forgotten.
The various classes of decisions which have been made upon this point, as that-when reckoning is made from an act, the day of the act is included, but when from a day, that day is excluded-that the day of an act shall be reckoned or not, according as the party affected is or is not privy to the actthat a day shall be reckoned or not, according as one course or the other will best effect the intention of the party whose in
tention is to be carried into effect-are all too modern to prove any thing except this, that there has been a struggle between opponent methods.
The old statutes fully satisfy us that, in the middle ages, the time from a day and the time after a day included that day, and that in the words "from and after" we see nothing but the usual iteration of legal phraseology. The common idioms of our language would confirm this, so far as they confirm any thing. We reckon the year from the 1st of January, the week from Sunday; life dates from the day of birth. The same reasoning which has introduced what we may hold to be a more logical use of the words-but which is only so to those whose scale is fashioned upon 0, 1, 2, 3, &c., instead of 1, 2, 3, &c.—has also destroyed other similar uses of language. The term of comparison, however distinct from the things compared with it, was placed among them in speech, just as, in counting, the term of departure was included among the results of departure. Milton gave Lindley Murray and his followers occasion against him when he called Eve the fairest of her daughters, though he wrote recognised English: and such expressions as "this is the most correct of all the others," are not uncommon in old writing.
The following is a striking case in point. The description of Easter day, as given in the old prayer books, is very ancient, and it runs thus:- "Easter day is always the first Sunday
after the first full moon, which happens next after the One-andtwentieth day of March. And if the full moon happens upon a Sunday, Easter day is the Sunday after." In this paragraph there are two evidences. Unless "the first Sunday after the Full Moon" had been a phrase inclusive of the Sunday of Full Moon, the last sentence would have been useless. Again, here is also the full moon which happens next after March 21, without any qualification in the case of full moon on March 21. And all who know how Easter is reckoned know that this phrase does here include the 21st: if there be a full (calendar) moon on the 21st, it is the paschal moon. The legislators of Geo. II., in changing the style, have translated this into modern idiom; their phrase is, "which happens upon or next after the 21st day of March." The mistake of reading "full moon" instead of "fourteenth day of the moon," might open an escape from these conclusions, as suggested in the Companion' for 1846, p. 5, which would have prevented our bringing them forward, if it had not happened that they are reinforced by another part of the same set of rules: "Ascension day is forty days after Easter." Now among the applications of this rule given by its framers it is found that when Easter day
is April 22 or March 26, Ascension day is May 31 or May 4: and it cannot be said that it is forty days from April 22 to May 31, unless April 22 itself be counted; and the same of March 26 and May 4. The statute 1 Edwd. IV. cap. 2, which begins to take effect "a la quarantisme jour proschein apres le vje jour. . . . " must be supposed to have reckoned this common term, forty days, in the same way.
The reader must not understand us as supporting the position that the day from which reckoning was made was held as belonging more to time after than to time before. According to the principles of ancient counting it would have belonged to both, as now to neither. We have seen that the unit of reckoning was, from being held indivisible, regarded in the same light as the point, which equally belongs to the line it terminates, and the continuation which it commences.
In mentioning the old statutes, we have hinted our belief that if the common phrase "after the first of . . " did not include the first, there would most likely have arisen such a phrase among the people as that in law the second day of a month is the first. We lay more stress upon this than we can venture to propose to any of our readers to do, except to those who are aware how common it is in old English for that which takes the place to take the name. Thus six score got the name of a hundred, because it was common to give 120 to purchasers of 100; and a hundred and twelve pounds the name of a hundred weight for a like reason. In assaying metals, the arbitrary piece cut out to try how much in the pound was alloy, got the name of a pound, and was called the pound subtile; and this though the piece cut off were only a few grains. And such uses of language were recognised in their broadest form by statute: it was enacted that the hundred of herrings shall be six score.
With so much proof before us that no pains whatever have been taken to preserve the ancient system in ancient history, there is no occasion to shrink from an examination of the views usually entertained of the Julian and Augustan corrections of the calendar: in which it can, we think, be easily made to appear that, for want of permitting Roman words to be significative of Roman meaning, chronologists have arrived at a very unlikely view both of the Julian scheme, and of the Augustan correction.
The error which the priests committed in interpreting the reform made by Sosigenes at the command of Julius Cæsar, consisted in counting every fourth year by making the year which ends one period begin another, just as Livy did in describing the Metonic cycle as recommencing every twentieth year: that