Fire and Sword
Letters of fire and sword. If a criminal resisted the
law and refused to answer his citation, it was accounted treason in the
Scottish courts; and “letters of fire and sword” were sent to the
sheriff, authorising him to use either or both these instruments to
apprehend the contumacious party.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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