WHAT HE INVENTED
Criminal justice in the early English-American colonies was harsh and unforgiving. Think about it this way… INNOCENT people were forced to wear those idiotic hats with the buckles on them. Imagine what they did to criminals!
In the colony of Boston, criminals for many years were punished by being publicly shacked in irons, so colonists could throw garbage at them, taunt them and so on. (This had been a popular punishment back in England.) These were the really hardcore offenders, locked up for doing things like failing to attend church, masturbating, and sleeping too much on the Lord’s Day, then striking the person sent to wake them. You know, real SVU type shit.
Eventually, the iron shackles of Boston would wear out from overuse, and iron proved expensive to replace. (Apparently, sleeping and jerking it were just as popular then as they are now!) A carpenter named Edward Palmer was commissioned to build new stocks out of much more plentiful and inexpensive wood, and he completed them for the price of one pound, thirteen shillings and seven pence. (About $17 today. Actually, I have no idea.)
How come that one guy gets to lay down? That almost seems kind of comfy. I’ve spent whole Saturday afternoons in that position.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Sadly, for Palmer, the Boston officials thought this price was too steep. (They didn’t work this out in advance? I know it always comes to more than the contractor’s initial estimate, but still… seems an odd thing to save for after the job is done.) They charged him with extortion, fined him five pounds (fair!) and ordered that he spend an hour in his own wooden stocks.
He’s not only the president of the Boston Stock Club. He’s also a member.