"Walk the plank", 1763 (now Apr 16)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Oct 17 19:16:55 UTC 2011

Now from April, earlier than the Newport [R.I.] Mercury of May 9, 1763.

"... and among others one belonging to the Grenades, whose crew,
being English, they obliged to walk into the sea upon a plank fixed
for that purpose; this was related by one who, through good swimming,
got ashore at the Grenades; the French they [the "pirates"]
threatened to put to all the tortures imaginable, by cutting of their
noses, ears, &c, &c, &c."

South Carolina Gazette, 1763 Apr. 16, p. 1, col. 3.  [In the SCG the
preceding text is partially obscured by a white overlay, but this
portion is clear and the surrounding article agrees with the Newport
Mercury text.]

I wonder if this is the ur-instance, the first recorded instance of
pirates forcing someone to walk a plank to his death.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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