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Secret Societies of the Middle Ages

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Author Topic: Secret Societies of the Middle Ages  (Read 2824 times)
Trena Alloway
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Posts: 2386

« Reply #195 on: February 04, 2009, 01:25:41 pm »

and smote the offenders on the legs. Whoever then had a bad conscience, and knew himself to be guilty of a capital offence, was permitted to stand up and to quit the country within a day and a night. He might even wait till he got the second blow. But if he was struck the third time, the executioner was at hand, a pastor gave him the sacrament, and away with him to the nearest tree.

"But if a person was struck but once or twice, that was a paternal warning to him to amend his life thenceforward. Hence it was called Jus Veniæ, because there was grace in it, which has been corrupted and made Vim-richt."

There were similar courts, we are told, at places named Wölpe and Rotenwald. Here the custom was for the Secret Judges, when they knew of any one having committed an offence which fell within the Fehm-jurisdiction, to give him a private friendly warning. To this end they set, during the night, a mark on his door, and at drinking-parties they managed to have the can sent past him. If these warnings took no effect the court was held.

According to an ancient law-book, the Fehm-court at Brunswick was thus regulated and holden. Certain of the most prudent and respectable citizens, named Fehmenotes, had the secret duty of watching the conduct of their fellow-citizens and giving information of it to the council. Had so many offences been committed that it seemed time to hold a Fehm-court, a day was appointed for that purpose. Some members of the council from the different districts of the town met at midnight in St. Martin's churchyard, and then called all the council together. All the gates and entrances of the town were closed; ail corners and bridges, and the boats both above and below the town, were guarded. The Fehm-clerk was then directed to begin his office, and the Fehmenotes

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