From the History of the New York City Police Department
Mrs. Johanna Christiana Young, and another female, her associate from Philadelphia,
"being found guilty of grand larceny, at the Mayor's Court, are to be set on two chairs exalted on a cart, wit their
heads uncovered, and to be carted from the City Hall to that part of Broadway near the old English church, from thence down
Maiden Lane, then down the Fly to the White hall, thence to the church aforesaid, and then to the whipping-post, where each
of them is to receive thirty-nine lashes, to remain in jail for one week, and then to depart the city." Nor are these
cases of an exceptional character; such sentences were common enough in those days.
The law was no respector of sex, and females were subjected to this form of punishment
quite frequently, the following being by no means an exceptional case: "A woman was whipped at the whipping-post, and
afforded much amusement to the spectators by her resistance." The extract is taken from a newspaper of the time. Also"
"James Gain, pursuant to sentence, stood in the pillory, near the City Hall, and was most severely pelted by great numbers
of spectators; a lad was also branded in the hand." These modes of punishment (barbarous in the extreme) were derived
from Holland and England, which is also true of the forms of law, the judiciary systems, and all that pertained tot he administration
of justice. The public whipper, in early times, was a familiar functionary. In 1713 Richard Cooper was appointed to his office,
at a salary of £5. The practice of whipping and the appliances of the whipping post were introduced into all the American
colonies. In all of the New England towns the whipping post was the recognized adjunct of the courts, and flagellation was
constantly resorted to for all forms of offences, whether religious, social or political. In the State of Delaware the knout
survives, and the whipping post still stands a silent but more suggestive satire upon nineteenth century civilization.
In 1730 the celebrated Montgomerie Charter was granted to the city. this is the
second in the series of documents on which the municipal rights still rest. It ordained that there should forever be "one
Mayor, one Recorder, seven Aldermen, seven Assistants, one Sheriff, one coroner, one common Clerk, one Chamberlain, one High
Constable, sixteen Assessors, seven Collectors, sixteen Constables, and one Marshal," to compose the City Government.
The Charter appointed Edmund Peers, High Constable; John Scott, Constable for the South Ward; Christopher Nicholson, Constable
for the Dock Ward; Timothy Bontecon, Constable for the North Ward; John Abrahamson, Constable for the East Ward, and Arent
Bussing, constable for the Harlem Division of the Out Ward.
The instrument also provided that within forty days after date of its publication,
the freemen of the city should assemble, and by a plurality of voices, choose from the inhabitants of the several wards one
additional Constable for each ward, except the Out Ward, which was to have three more, two for the Bowery Division, and one
more for Harlem. It was further ordered that on the festival of St. Michael, the Archangel, every year, the freeholders of
the several wards should meet, as appointed by the Aldermen, and elect for each ward, except the Out Ward, one Alderman, one
Assistant, two Assessors, two Collectors, and four Constables. The Mayor, on the same day, it was arranged, should appoint
a High constable. The appointment of the Mayor himself, and of the Sheriff and Coroner, still rested with the governor and
Our Police Protectors
Holice and Debbie