Article 42 in the 42 Articles

The helmsman used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, “No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm,” had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words “and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one.“ So remonstrance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.

Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark, Preface

#42. All men shall not be saved at the length. They also are worthy of condemnation, who endeavour at this time in restore the dangerous opinion that all men, by they never so ungodly, shall at length be saved, when they have suffered pains for their sins a certain time appointed by God’s justice.

Article 42 in Thomas Cranmer’s Forty-Two Articles

As far as I understand, some Christians define eternal damnation as being separated from God for ever. (Even as an atheist I am capitalizing that first letter. I respect others’ beliefs.) That sounds like what “Rule 42” of the Bellman’s “Naval Code” (capitalized first letters as in Carroll’s Snark) says.
        Thomas Cranmer’s 42th Article about eternal damnation didn’t make it into the 39 Articles of the Anglicans, but the debate continued. The Deacon C.L. Dodgson was opposed to the dogma of eternal damnation.
        In 1994, Angus MacIntyre suggested (The Reverend Snark, Jabberwocky 23, p. 51~52): “The Baker’s 42 Boxes are the original Protestant Articles of 1553, with Thomas Cranmer’s name on each.” I learned about MacIntire’s suggestion in an article by Karen Gardiner, an Anglican priest. In June 2018 she suggested that in The Hunting of the Snark, Carroll/Dodgson addressed the Article 42 in Thomas Cranmer‘s Articles (Life, Eternity, and Everything: Hidden Eschatology in the Works of Lewis Carroll, July 2018, p.25~41 in THE CARROLLIAN, No. 31).
        My approach to a possible reference in The Hunting of the Snark to the 42 Articles was different. It started with discovering a pictorial reference in one of Henry Holiday’s Snark illustrations to Thomas Cranmer’s burning. If I look back at what came into my mind in the year 2014, it was Henry Holiday who made me curious to learn more about the articles 27, 41 and 42 and whether they might have been an issue for the Dodgson, the Deacon.


There is a reference to this blog page in Karen Gardiner’s PhD thesis A New Evaluation: The Theological Influence of F. D. Maurice on the Imaginative Works of Lewis Carroll (2022-09).

  • The version referenced on 2022-05-24 is in
  • The correct link is “”. It doesn’t end with “-​-articles/”. Luckily the web server knows where to find the right page.

2018-07-08, updated: 2023-09-18

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