In the 18th century, a couple of hundred crimes were capital offenses in Virginia. These included rape, arson, theft, piracy, and murder. Typically, execution was swift and by hanging.
If one were lucky, reprieve meant branding with a hot iron on the fleshy part of the palm.
Even non-capital crimes yielded corporal punishment, e.g. whipping, or time in the pillory or stockade.
Imprisonment, life or otherwise, was unheard-of as a sentence. The public gaol was where suspects awaited trial.
If they were convicted, they returned to the gaol to await public hanging, three at a time, on a simple gallows.
Punishment was public, and meant to deter others from committing similar crimes.
As America’s Declaration of Independence asserts, the purpose of government is to secure people’s rights. And government at the time would severely punish those who violated the rights of others.
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …