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1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the release of the person abducted. Ransom money can also be paid to return a valuable object such as a stolen painting. 2) v. to pay money to an abductor to return the person held captive. (See: kidnapping, abduction)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

RANSOM, contracts, war. An agreement made between the commander of a capturing vessel with the commander of a vanquished vessel, at sea, by which the former permits the latter to depart with his vessel, and gives him a safe conduct, in consideration of a sum of money, which the commander of the vanquished vessel, in his own name, and in the name of the owners of his vessel and cargo, promises to pay at a future time named, to the other.
     2. This contract is usually made in writing in duplicate, one of which is kept by the vanquished vessel which is its safe conduct; and the other by the conquering vessel, which is properly called ransom bill.
     3. This contract, when made in good faith, and not locally prohibited, is valid, and may be enforced. Such contracts have never been prohibited in this country. 1 Kent, Com. 105. In England they are generally forbidden. Chit. Law of Nat. 90 91; Poth. Tr. du Dr. de Propr. n. 127. Vide 2 Bro. Civ. Law, 260; Wesk. 435; 7 Com. Dig. 201; Marsh. Ins. 431; 2 Dall. 15; 15 John. 6; 3 Burr. 1734. The money paid for the redemption of such property is also called the ransom.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
(21) John Crowe Ransom, The New Criticism (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1941), 275.
(87.) John Crowe Ransom, The New Criticism (New York: New Directions, 1941), x-xi.
On the surface John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate may appear less preternatural than Emerson, with their movement aligned more predictably with Christian orthodoxy.
Some years later, though, on that cold morning in Ohio as I pushed open the door to John Crowe Ransom's house in order to allow Robert Penn Warren to lead me toward the college car in which I would drive him to the Columbus airport, my feelings were more mixed.
(3) This re-evaluation of John Crowe Ransom's life and work offers an intervention in these debates by illuminating a career the individual oddities of which were representative of a crucial period in American cultural history and the particulars of which have been all but forgotten by the many teachers and students who continue to be influenced by his work.
1938a "The tense of poetry", in: John Crowe Ransom 1938, 233-260.
Warren continues this contrast in the series of poems he wrote in the metaphysical manner in the few years after "The Garden" was published--and, not inconsequentially, in the years following his John Crowe Ransom essay discussing so extensively the metaphysicals and Eliot's perceived dissociation of sensibility.
These included a number recruited after the war by John Crowe Ransom, the founder of the prestigious Kenyon Review.
More tragic were George Santayana and John Crowe Ransom, who loved the old myths almost as much as the evangelicals, but simply could not believe them anymore.
Intellectual Luddites dedicated to the preservation of what they viewed as the traditional, rural-agrarian culture of the South, the group numbered among its more famous members Allan Tate, Donald Davidson, Robert Penn Warren and John Crowe Ransom. At Vanderbilt Davidson himself became Spencer's mentor.
At the age of 13, the young Hazlitt, living in Wem, wrote to the Shrewsbury Chronicle in protest at the beginning, by a church-and-king mob, of Joseph Priestley's house and laboratory and the Unitarian Chapel in Birmingham, describing Priestley as "one o f the best, one of the wisest, and one of the greatest of men" - illustrating even at that young age a musicality of prose that is kin to the works o say, Allen Ginsberg or John Crowe Ransom.
Among the other writers it published were Robert Penn Warren, Edmund Wilson, Amy Lowell, John Crowe Ransom, Richard Aldington, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Joseph Campbell, Mary Austin, and Ben Hecht.