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  • (verb) - A prisoner is said to stand mute when, being arraigned for treason or felony, he either makes no answer, or answers foreign to the purpose. Anciently, a mute was taken back to prison, placed in a dark dungeon, naked, on his back, on the bare ground, and a great weight of iron placed on his body . . . By statute 12 George III, judgment is awarded against mutes, in the same manner as if they were convicted or confessed. A man refusing to plead was condemned and executed . . . on a charge of burglary, at Wells, 1792.

    --Joseph Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, 1841

    January 17, 2018