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Mayflower, Day by Day - Wednesday, 20 October 1621

20 Oct 2021 3:37 AM | Soule (Administrator)


Another sexual crime prosecuted with some frequency was adultery. Death was the official penalty for adultery only in New Haven, although there is no record of it ever being inflicted; elsewhere adulterers received lesser punishments. For example, a married woman in Plymouth who committed “uncleanness” with an Indian was only whipped at a cart's tail and required to wear a badge, while there is no record of the outcome of two other Plymouth cases — the first, in which a man was accused of “lascivious carriage” in grabbing a married woman's clothes and “enticing her by words, as also by taking out his instrument of nature that he might prevail to lie with her in her own house,” and the second, in which a woman was presented for the “sin of fornication with her father in law.”

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