To the contrary, the language of these early modern recognizances
suggests that much violence was ungendered.
A variety of interesting material is presented; however, the most obvious problem is that recognizances
, which were previously depicted as the tools of "savvy" victims strategically using the court system to their own advantage, are henceforth treated as reliable sources for reconstructing patterns in real violence.
Many historians have ignored recognizances
because they represent such a minor legal event.
To resolve more complicated conflicts, magistrates normally relied on recognizances
. This popular alternative to indictment was broadly used early in the period.to reduce tensions and compensate for wrongs in matters involving the poor laws, sex, disturbing the peace, and defamation.
He was sorry to see that the use of this unnational and deadly instrument, the importation of a foreign country, has, of late, very much increased among the peasantry of Ireland." The Limerick quarter session chairman shared this sentiment: "This habit of using the knife is most cowardly, it is certainly un-Irish and should be checked." As did Justice Harrison: "Stabbing is a brutal sort of thing and quite unnational."(41) Persons convicted of homicides in which either no weapon was used or the assailants used a rock or a stick were released on recognizance
or punished by sentences of less than six months 47 percent of the time.