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Monthly Archives: September 2011

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: bower

bower – a prison. Sources Farmer, John S. and W. E. Henley. A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English. Abridged from Slang and Its Analogues. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1912. Matsell, George W. Vocabulum: Or, the Rogue’s Lexicon.. New York: George W. Matsell, 1859. Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of the Underworld. New York: Bonanza […]

Early American Criminals: Joseph Andrews in the News

As soon as Joseph Andrews read the newspaper article in the St. Christopher’s Gazette, which reproduced the deposition William Harris gave to the authorities, he knew he had to leave the Caribbean island of St. Eustatia immediately. The decision was a wise one, because as soon as Governor John De Windt read the same story […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: boot-leg and boot-leg plan

boot-leg – 1. coffee or, more precisely, alleged coffee, served in prison; 2. illicit liquor (a witty play on the former definition). boot-leg plan – a set up based on trickery or evasion, in reference to the saying, “the boot is on the other leg,” i.e., not as someone would normally understand something. Use of […]

Early American Criminals: The Last Stand of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard

The merchants and planters in and around Bath, North Carolina had had enough of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard. The pirate had been living–and carousing–in town, and had been pillaging ships up and down the inlets and rivers of the colony. But the citizens knew that they could not complain to Governor Charles Eden of North […]