As William S. Walsh pointed out in his late nineteenth century book, Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities, “above all other men the Puritans distinguished themselves by their fantastic choice of names.” So intent were these the devoutest of Christians, “they resolved to throw off all semblance of the world or acquaintance with worldly things.”1
Walsh, musing about the curious baptismal names uniquely assigned to English and American children, pointed out French children were less vulnerable to such “absurd names” simply because, well, French law prohibited the practice. At the time it was against the law in France to name a person after a saint or other person of historical significance.
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