History of Punishment

The Ducking Stool,
page 9 of 9

It is doubtful whether these Georgia duckings were done with a regularly constructed ducking-stool; the cart was probably run down into the water.

One of the latest, and certainly the most notorious sentences to ducking was that of Mrs. Anne Royal, of Washington, D. C., almost in our own day. This extraordinary woman had lived through an eventful career in love and adventure; she had been stolen by the Indians when a child, and kept by them fifteen years; then she was married to Captain Royall, and taught to read and write. She traveled much, and wrote several vituperatively amusing books. She settled down upon Washington society as editor of a newspaper called the “Washington Paul Pry”’ and of another, the “Huntress”; and she soon terrorized the place. No one in public office was spared, either in personal or printed abuse, if any offense or neglect was given to her. A persistent lobbyist, she was shunned like the plague by all congressmen. John Quincy Adams called her an itinerant virago. She was arraigned as a common scold before Judge William Cranch, and he sentenced her to be ducked in the Potomac River. She was, however, released with a fine, and appears to us to-day to have been insane — possibly through over-humored temper.



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