My grandmother, who I find was born on the 6th of January, 1726, used to tell me, that when a girl at school she was taken some distance to see a frog that was exhibited as a show…”
W. Thompson, ‘Natural History of Ireland’, Vol. IV., 1856
With out context its rather difficult to see what it is. No different from this.
“you don’t take a bone saw to an interrogation.”
A Substantive point that needs no development sentence. i.e. in the case of frogs the development sentence would be, the well known scientific thesis “you can’t teach my grandmother to suck eggs.”
This ‘killer point’ was deployed in an exceptional heated debate on the nature and status of the Irish frog. Was it a native of Ireland or an invasive species?
A nativist v. anti- nativist argument in 19th century natural history.
Heated as Ireland’s long relationship with conquest and colonization had sustained the frog as symbol of horror/ creature of miracle. It contains a particular perception of time past/ present/ future are not distinct from each other as qualities of time. Each is discovered in the other.
Its time scale is mythical.
As a creature of ill omen, a venomous object. Snakes, frogs, toads which traditionally were all subject to the same form of reproductive origin (spontaneous generation) they were the same kind of thing ‘venomous creatures.’ These creatures had been cast out of Ireland by Saint Patrick. They could not reproduce in Irish soil ( the frog becomes central to this idea of the miraculous during the counter-reformation) .
W. Thompson’s grandmothers surprise at seeing a frog displayed as an object of wonder, is demonstrable proof that the frog is not a native of Ireland. As it has no deep historical relationship, it is an object of no account, worthless for a subject that requires historical depth.
Difficulty to retrospectively see what it is, emphasis on people and places.
Qualities I am looking for in relation to the imp
“Emphasis on people and places……..” fragment from a much longer descriptive sentence. General historical observation on some specific characteristics associated with early modern society and the witch-hunt in particular.