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In June of 1645, the General Court passed an act that outlined the punishment for fornication. I base this interpretation on the court records that include convictions for fornication before and during the period of contract.

The most curious piece of legislation pertaining to sexual misconduct is a 1645 enactment that outlawed wearing "visors and strang apparell to laciuious ends and purposes." The wording of the passage suggests that the practice of disguising oneself for purposes of sexual misconduct had become a problem in Plymouth -- "wheras some abuses haue formerly broken out amongst us by disguiseing"(PCR ).

The punishment for wearing a disguise for lascivious ends was a public whipping or a fine of fifty shillings for the first offence.

In the records, adultery was originally listed as a criminal offence.

It was then crossed out and added to the list of capital offences with the qualifier "to be punished" (PCR ).

While the legislation did not specify a color for the cloth letters, at least one court case did specify that they be red.

Last modified 30-Sep-2019 07:48