"monachie": not in OED

Fri Aug 11 20:25:00 UTC 2000

        I was contentedly reading "Reports of Criminal Law Cases, with Notes
and References. . . .", by Jacob D. Wheeler, volume II, Albany:
Gould, Banks & Gould/N. Y.: Banks, Gould & Co., 1851, when I came
upon an unfamiliar word, which proved to be not in the OED nor the

        Peter Bogert, a cartman, testified as a witness to a fatal affray
that had arisen on Chamber Street, New York, in 1823.  Bogert's
testimony is summarized, not given verbatim.  He said that Ward was
driving a cart "upon a walk"; Robinson was crossing the street, on
foot.  No contact was made, but Robinson, evidently feeling his
personal space was being violated by Ward's horse, grabbed its bridle
and pulled its head.  "When Robinson thus took hold of the horse's
bridle, Ward laid hold of his monachie, and threw it at him.
[Monachie is said to be a Dutch word, and was explained to mean a
fore rung of the cart, to which the lines were occasionally made
fast, about three feet long, three inches by two and a half in
thickness, at the bottom, and lessening almost to a point at the top,
usually made of oak or hickory.]"  (p. 124)  The last sentence is in
[] in the original.  Another witness is quoted as testifying: "Heard
Ward only say, in reply to a suggestion of witness that a cartman had
struck deceased with the rung of his cart, that 'it was not with his
rung, but with his monachie.'"  (p. 127)

        I am naturally not familiar with the construction of horse-carts,
and I don't understand where the monachie would be attached to the
cart.  Has it other names in other parts of the country?  Can anyone
offer a Dutch etymology?

        Not to leave you folks in suspense: Ward eventually whacked Robinson
on the head with the monachie; Robinson was not knocked out, refused
assistance, and walked away, but died the next day.  There was
evidence that Robinson was drunk, other evidence that Ward was "a
mild and worthy young man", and so he was acquitted of manslaughter.


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