The Dutchman

Crimes and Punishments,
page 7 of 17

He kept a tavern and was complained of for tapping after nine o’clock; and he was sued by his landlord for rent; and he had a yacht, “The Pear Tree,” which ran on trading trips to Albany, and there were two or three lawsuits in regard to that. He was also a farmer of the excise on slaughtered cattle; but, in spite of all his energy and variety of employment, he died insolvent in 1664. The last lawsuit in which Lawyer Solomon had any share was through a posthumous connection, — the burgher who furnished an anker of French wine for the notary’s funeral claimed a position as preferred creditor to the estate.

A very aggravated case of scorn and resistance of authority was that of Abel Hardenbrock against the schout de Mill. And this case shows equally the popular horror of violations of the law and the confiding trust of the justices that the word of the law was enough without any visible restraining force. Hardenbrock, who was a troublesome fellow, had behaved most vilely, shoving the schout on the breast, and wickedly “wishing the devil might break his neck,” simply because the schout went to Hardenbrock’s house to warn his wife not to annoy further Burgomaster De Peyster by unwelcome visits. Hardenbrock was accordingly seized and made a prisoner at the Stadt Huys “in the chamber of Pieter Schaefbanck, where he carried on and made a racket like one possessed and mad, notwithstanding the efforts of Heer Burgomaster Van Brught, running up to the Court room and going away next morning as if he had not been imprisoned.” It was said with amusing simplicity that this cool walking out of prison was “contrary to the customs of the law,” and a fine of twenty-five florins was imposed.

For serious words against the government, which could be regarded as treasonable, the decreed punishment was death. One Claerbout van ter Goes used such words (unfortunately they are not given in the indictment), and a judgment was recorded from each burgomaster and schepen as to what punishment would be proper. He was branded, whipped on a half-gallows, and banished, and escaped hanging only by one vote.


:: Previous Page :: Next Page ::

Books & articles appearing here are modified adaptations
from a private collection of vintage books & magazines.
Reproduction of these pages is prohibited without written permission. © Laurel O'Donnell, 1996-2006.