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King's Keys

The crow-bars, hatchets, and hammers used by sheriffs' officers to force doors and locks. (Law phrase.)

“The door, framed to withstand attacks from exciseman, constables, and other personages, considered to use the king's keys ... set his efforts at defiance.” —Sir W. Scott: Redgauntlet, chap. xix.

King's Men The 78th Foot; so called from their motto, “Cuidich'r Rhi” (Help the king). It was raised by Kenneth Mackenzie, Earl of Seaforth, in 1777, and called the Seaforth. Highlanders. In 1783 it became the 72nd Foot. From 1830 to 1881 it was called the “Duke of Albany's Highlanders”; and in 1881 it was made the 2nd Battalion of the “Seaforth Highlanders (Rossshire Buffs), the Duke of Albany's.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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