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Elizabethan England
From 'A Description of England,' by William Harrison

written by "Harrison, William, 1534-1593"
... they be aged burgesses or magistrates of any city who in appearance are most exempt from brabling and contention. Our nobility wear commonly swords or rapiers with their daggers, as doth every common serving-man also that followeth his lord and master. Some desperate cutters we have in like sort, which carry two daggers or two rapiers in a sheath always about them, wherewith in every drunken fray they are known to work much mischief. Their swords and daggers also are of a great length, and longer than the like used in any other country, whereby each one pretendeth to have the more advantage of his enemy. But as many orders have been taken for the intolerable length of these weapons, so I see as yet small redress; but where the cause thereof doth rest, in sooth for my part, I wot not. I might here speak of the excessive staves which divers that travel by the way do carry upon their shoulders, whereof some are twelve or thirteen foot long, beside the pike of twelve inches; but, as they are commonly suspected of honest men to be thieves and robbers, or at the leastwise scarce true men which bear them, so by reason of this and the like suspicious weapons the honest traveller is now forced to ride with a case of dags at his saddlebow,[Pg 228] or with some pretty short snapper, whereby he may deal with them further off in his own self-defence before he come within the danger of these weapons. Finally, no man travelleth by the way without his sword, or some such weapon, with us, except the minister, who commonly weareth none at all, unless it be a dagger or hanger at his side. Seldom also are they or any other wayfaring men robbed, without the consent of the chamberlain, tapster, or ostler where they bait and lie, who feeling at their alighting whether their capcases or budgets be of any weight or not, by taking them down from their saddles, or otherwise see their store in drawing of their purses, do by-and-by give intimation to some one or othe...

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