The Charlotte News

Sunday, January 16, 1938


Site Ed. Note: It is one of those vicissitudinous qualities of history which comes out of "More Like It", that Stanley Reed, to be confirmed shortly as the newest Justice to the Supreme Court, would be deemed in his nineteen years on the bench a far lesser force for change and progress in the law than was Hugo Black in his 34 years on the Court. Justice Reed's career would be that of a moderate and often swing vote on the Court, but never considered one of the powerful voices for change which the opinions of Black, William O. Douglas, and, to a lesser degree, Frank Murphy and Felix Frankfurter, as well as the elevated Harlan Fiske Stone, among Roosevelt's appointees, primarily shaped. Reed and Wiley Rutledge were probably the two least influential, not counting James Byrnes who only served a year, among Roosevelt's nine appointees. The most conservative among FDR's appointees, and arguably the only true conservative, was Robert Jackson; although by today's standards, even Jackson would be considered liberal; indeed, perhaps even radical.

And, aware that we are again eschewing the advice of Justice-designate Frankfurter to his Harvard law class in his latter days as a professor, that it is better to infuse nuanced meaning into language, that is that the dictionary should quote us, than to quote the dictionary, since we are not directly after definition in this instance but rather an understanding of perception of definition in others, and how that perception perhaps fit within a broader conscious or unconscious coding device to eliminate a paper trail, we offer the following, from the OED, in continuance of our note of yesterday:

ell1 (El) Forms: 1-7 eln, 2-7 elne, 3-6 ellen (3 a nellen for an ellen), (4 ellyn, 6 eline), 6 el, 5-7 elle, 6- ell. [Com. Teut.: OE. £ln, str. fem. = MDu. elne, elle (Du. el), OHG. elina (MHG. elne, mod.G. elle), ON. œln, alin (Sw. aln, Da. alen), Goth. aleina (? scribal error for *alina) cubit:- OTeut. *alinâ, whence med.L. alena, It., OSp., OPg. alna, F. aune. The OTeut. word (a compound of which is elbow n.) meant originally arm or fore-arm, and is cogn. with Gr. âkŒmg, L. ulna, of same meaning.

The diversity of meanings (see below) is common to all words denoting linear measures derived from the length of the arm; cf. cubit and L. ulna. The word ell seems to have been variously taken to represent the distance from the elbow or from the shoulder to the wrist or to the finger-tips, while in some cases a 'double ell' has superseded the original measure, and has taken its name.]

1. a. A measure of length varying in different countries. The English ell = 45 in.; the Scotch = 37·2; the Flemish = 27 in. Now only Hist. or with reference to foreign countries, the Eng. measure being obsolete.

In early use often in sing. when preceded by numerals.

c1000 Ags. Gosp.Matt. vi. 27 Hwylc eower mæ¼+¼eþencan þæthe ¼e-eacni¼e ane elne [950 Lindisf. elne an vel enne; 1160 Hatton enne elne] to hys anlicnesse. c1000 Ælfric Gloss. in Wr.-Wülcker 158 Ulna, eln. c1250 Gen. & Ex. 586 So wunderlike it wex and get Ðat fiftene elne it ouer-flet. 1297 R. Glouc. (1724) 429 False elnen & mesures he broŠte al clene adoun. a1300 Cursor M. 1675 A schippe+Seuen score ellen lang and ten. Ibid. 1838 Þe flod ouer raght seuen eln and mare. 1487 Act 3 Hen. VII, c. 7 All merchandises+used to be measured with Eln or Yard. 1502 Arnolde Chron. (1811) 204 Item a Fll ell conteyneth iii q't's of an Eng. yarde, and v. q't's of ye Fll ell makith an Eng. ell. 1520 Test. Ebor. (Surtees) V. 119 A ellen of yolow velvett. 1542 Recorde Gr. Artes (1575) 207, 3 Foote and 9 Ynches make an Elle. 1597 Shakes. Rom. & Jul. ii. iv. 88 O, here's a wit of Cheuerel, that stretches from an ynch narrow to an ell broad! 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. 57 King Davids common elne conteines threttie seven measured inches. 1625-8 N. R. tr. Camden's Hist. Eliz. ii. an. 17 (1635) 180 A monstrous Whale+whose length was+twenty of our Elnes. 1633 Earl of Manchester Al Mondo (1636) 138 Ere long two ells of earth shall serve, whom scarce a world could satisfie. 1753 Hanway Trav. (1762) I. vii. lxxxviii. 408, 102 Ells dantzig make 50 ells english. 1805 Forsyth Beauties Scotl. II. 275 The ell by which their acres have been measured (called the barony ell) contains 42 inches, whereas the common ell made use of in the country is only 38 inches. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Rev. II. i. ix. 58 Tearful women wetting whole ells of cambric in concert.

b. fig. Contrasted with inch, span, etc.; esp. in proverbial phrase, give him an inch and he'll take an ell: meaning that undue advantage will be taken of a slight concession.

1562 J. Heywood Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 78 Ye liked+better an Ynche of your Wyll, Than an ell of your thrift. 1580 H. Gifford Gilloflowers (1875) 57 Whereas shee tooke an inche of liberty before, tooke an ell afterwardes. 1633 G. Herbert Temple, Ch.-porch ad fin., Lifes poore span Make not an ell by trifling in thy wo. 1643 Myst. Iniq. 40 That gave but a Yard, they took an Ell. 1653 Z. Bogan Mirth Chr. Life 305 Have a care of taking an ell, when you have but an inch allowed you. 1798 Canning Ballynahinch v, in Anti-Jacobin 9 July, Tho' they still took an ell when we gave them an inch.

c. As a fluid measure.
[Several correspondents inform us that they remember seeing the announcement 'Beer sold by the yard', on the signboards of country taverns, the reference being to the long narrow glasses about a yard high.]

1649 Lovelace Poems 99 For Elles of Beere, Flutes of Canary Thankes freest, freshest, Faire Ellinda.

†2. a. A measuring rod; = ell-wand. Phrase, to measure with the long ell, with the short ell: to measure unfairly as buyer or seller respectively.

1474 Caxton Chesse 119 In hys right hand an elle for to mesure wyth. 1580 Sidney Arcadia (1622) 62 The night measured by the short ell of sleepe. 1637 R. Monro Exped. ii. 46 Sometimes the Souldiers (the worst sort of them) measured the packes belonging to the Marchants with the long ell. a1656 Bp. Hall Soliloquies 78 Thus spake a true Idol's Priest that knew no ell, whereby to measure religion, but profit. 1768 Tucker Lt. Nat. (1852) I. 85 The mercer+upon seeing the ladies gown+can cut off her quantity by guess, without+taking his ell to measure it.

†b. Sc. King's ell: 'Orion's belt': = ell-wand 3. Obs.

a1605 Montgomerie Flyting Wks. (1821) 118 Be the hornes, the handstaff and the King's ell.

†3. long ell: a particular kind of cloth. Obs.

1725 De Foe Voy. round World (1840) 198 Baize, long ells, druggets, broadcloth. 1735 Berkeley Querist §520 Fine cloths in Somersetshire, long ells at Exeter.

†4. As a rendering of L. ulna: The larger bone of the fore-arm. Obs.

1615 Crooke Body of Man 903 The other externall branch at the middle of the Ell shooteth out a propagation from his outside. 1634 T. Johnson tr. Parey's Chirurg. vi. xxvi. 147 The Ell, or bone of the cubit+hath+two appendices.

5. Comb., as ell-broad, -long, -wide adjs.; ell coal Sc., a type of coal normally found in seams one ell or more in thickness; †ell-glass (see 1c.); †ell-ridge, an old land-measure; †ell-yard, an ell-measure. Also ell-wand.

1476 Plumpton Corr. 37 The bredth of it is *elme broade. 1696 J. F. Merchant's Wareho. 20 This being the last sort of Ellbroad Gentish that I shall treat of at present.

1794 J. Naismith Agric. Clydesdale 36 About 16 or 17 fathoms under this, lies the *ell coal, so called, because it was first found of this thickness, but it is frequently from 4 to 6 feet thick. 1845 New Statistical Acct. Sc. V. 813 Seven other workable seams, in the following ascending order, viz. the stone-coal 2 1 / 4 feet; ell coal, 2 1 / 4 . 1931 Econ. Geol. Fife (Geol. Survey) I. 82 The Ell Coal lies 1 to 7 fms. above the Upper Eight Foot.+ Sometimes it is a single seam of 3 to 4 ft.+ The Ell is a steam coal. 1931 Times 16 Mar. 19/7 Lanarkshire.-Ell best, 15s. 6d.

1682 Way to make Rum in Harl. Misc. I. 541 The Germans commonly drink whole tankards, and *ell-glasses, at a draught.

1832 Tour German Prince III. ii. 36, I ate a good dinner, and then added to this *ell-long letter.

1756 Extract fr. MS. Let., Peter Guffin (aged 82 in 1756) was unacquainted with such an old measure of land as an *Ell Ridge, but had heard it contained 60 Luggs.

1652 J. Collinges Caveat for Prof. iv. (1653) 25 Your *ell-wide opinion. 1826 Miss Mitford Village Ser. ii. (1863) 425 A pretty quaker+did persuade me that ell-wide muslin would go as far as a yard and a half.

c1340 Gaw. & Gr. Knt. 210 Þe hede of an *elnerde þe large lenkþe hade. c1450 Myrc 713 False ellen yerdes, wetyngly other than the lawe of the lond.

The rest of the page will shortly be here.

As Advertised

We don't know how Mr. Ickes took Senator Bailey's speech Friday, but we would suggest to Mr. Ferdinand Lundberg that he is deeply indebted to the Senator. As an advertising medium for books, the floor of the United States Senate is better than Harper's, Scribner's and the Atlantic Monthly combined.

We have not read Mr. Lundberg's "America's Sixty Families," and until Senator Bailey reviewed it so lividly upon yesterday, we had not intended to. Apparently the book is filled with veriest tripe, such as that which attributes frequent bathing by the rich to a subconscious sense of guilt. We can wish that more people were less subconsciously smug; but it is books we're talking about, not bathing.

And we guess we shall have to read this Lundberg book, much as our time may be wanted, and we guess that thousands of other people all over the land feel the same way about it since Senator Bailey flung it across the Senate that day, calling it "garbage" and saying that its author was of a "diseased mind."

Next time, Senator, don't waste such unpurchasable publicity on such trash. Attack the Harvard Classics.

Modernizing Metaphors

Former Ambassador William E. Dodd appears to have mixed his history when he told his 200 friends in that echoing speech that Der Führer Hitler had killed in five years almost as many personal opponents as Charles II, King of England, slew in twenty.

Charles II (1630-1685) was the second son of Charles I (the one who lost his head). He was clever and crooked. He warred with the Netherlands. He had a pretty mistress named Nell Gwynn. But for acts of atrocities, look to James, Charles' brother and successor, the only one of the Stuarts whose intellect was on a parity with his morals. Also, he was intolerant of religion. Under him, Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys set up the "Bloody Circuit," hanged 350 Rebels, and burned Elizabeth Gaunt at Tyburn.

"This marble," said General Churchill, "is not harder than the King's heart."

But this was James, not Charles; and it was Charles with whom Dr. Dodd compared Adolf. And, after all, why not bring the analogy up to date? How, Doctor, in respect to killings, does Hitler rank with--



Chiang Kai-Shek?


The Japanese militarists?


The automobile?

When the Cat Grows Fat

One of the most astonishing frauds that has ever been detected was that of the Interior Department clerk and his non-existent CCC camp. Away in the Valley of the Shenandoah in Virginia he situated it, peopled it with quotas of fictitious young men, replacing them as their service was ended with other fictitious young men all of whom were sending money home every month to fictitious parents. For three and a half years he kept it up, forging vouchers, cashing them and destroying the copies that would have gone into the records, which were "months behind" in being posted. And all this time, Secretary Ickes' super-sleuth Glavis was tapping the telephone wires of the department officials, eavesdropping and spying on them.

And the moral? That young men occasionally go crooked, and that usually they are caught up with? That is obvious. But there is another which has more force contemporaneously, and it is that any organization which grows to such vast proportions that a mere departmental clerk can support at its expense a whole camp full of non-existent persons without being caught in the act for three and a half years--is too vast for its own good. It is bound to lose touch with proportion, and to be unable to see over its great belly to the rat holes beneath.

More Like It

The favorable things we know about Stanley Reed, Solicitor General whom President Roosevelt has nominated for the Supreme Court vacancy, are that--

He is Kentucky born;

He is well-educated in the law, even unto topping off his schooling in the Sorbonne;

He is, in the opinion of his associates, smart;

He is young as Supreme Court Justices go, being but 53;

He has no entangling alliances.

The unfavorable things we know about him are nil.

And it may be that as the nomination of Hugo Black was bad to begin with and grew worse as his background emerged into the light of public scrutiny, the nomination of Stanley Reed, which is good to begin with, will grow steadily more acceptable. At any rate, let us hope so.

Site Ed. Note: The vaunted affair to which the piece refers is of course that to Charles Foster Kane. Whether she liked jigsaw puzzles or not, however, we do not know.

Weep No More, My Ladies

He was only a hard rock miner of the Nevada hills, but he adored Marion Davies. Forty miles over rough desert roads he would drive to see her latest movie, back again, that night dreaming of the beloved he had never known and humming snatches of songs that had come from lips which he never dared hope to kiss. And when he died, he left her his entire property, which was not considerable but was not inconsiderable, either, by other than Hollywood standards.

And it is sad, of course, and yet it is not so sad. Old James Branch Cabell has written many a pretty and somewhat naughty story on the delight of falling in love with a vision. They all have an unique attribute, which is perfection, like that lovely Melior for the touch of whose little finger Florian would have torn his heart out and cast it at her feet. But when finally Florian schemed and plotted his way into the presence of his heart's desire--and what was better, when finally he married the heavenly creature--he discovered to his everlasting chagrin that he had duped himself, that she spoke in banalities, that she wanted comfort more than anything in the world, including Florian, and that her shining hair was not spider-spun, after all, but was largely the work of an artful ladies' maid.

But this old fellow of the Nevada hill country, had no such crashing reality to jar his illusions, no inkling that his evening star was always careful to pose so that the camera caught her best features, and probably no knowledge that she was already a principal in one of the most brazen affairs of this age. He died still a-dreaming.

Note to the Bar

Today's News columns will show that there is going to be no dearth of candidates for the two judgeships that must be filled in the election this Fall. For judge of County Recorder's Court, a free-for-all is in prospect, whereas there will be at least two or more contenders for the place on the Superior Court bench that Judge Harding is vacating after a long and honorable career.

The men and women who make up the voters of this county have only slight knowledge of these candidates as individuals, and when it comes to their standing as lawyers, and their qualifications for jurist, the great mass of voters are completely in the dark. In supplying this knowledge, the Mecklenburg Bar Association could be of inestimable service.

We do not mean that the association should pitch into local politics, though given a choice between an outstanding lawyer and a shyster it ought not to hesitate, but merely that it should certify as to the suitability, professionally and personally, of those who are suitable. By not certifying to any others, it would testify eloquently to their unfitness, and while that might bring the offended parties down on the association's neck, it would doubtless weather the storm and have made, meanwhile, a contribution to the integrity and the efficiency of the court system.

Business As Usual

Ham Fish has gone down from New York to Jersey City and added his name to those who have come out in support of Mayor Frank (I am the Works) Hague's policy anent the CIO. Wherefore we expect imminently to hear that the Dutch have landed at Amsterdam.

Mayor Hague, as everybody knows, takes the position that the CIO is made up of Communists, and that in order to protect Americanism against the Red Peril therein embodied, it is necessary to suspend the rights of free speech and free assembly guaranteed to all and sundry, including Communists, under the first section of that Bill of Rights which is an integral part of the Constitution of the United States. In other words, it is Mayor (I am the Works) Hague's position that in order to protect Americanism it is necessary to begin by destroying precisely those rights in which the essence of Americanism resides.

And that, to the iota, is exactly what the Hon. Ham has been arguing and laboring for in the Congress of the United States for the last twenty years.

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