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Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua


How Sentinels are Punished for Sleeping on Their Posts

When a town is burnt due to the negligence of the sentinels, they are punished in the following manner: the chief is seated alone on his chair with the most senior Indians sitting on a semi-circular bench and the executioner forces the guilty men to kneel down before them. Taking a club of ebony or some other hard wood filed to an edge on both sides, he puts his left foot on their backs and strikes them such a blow with both hands on the club that he almost splits their skulls in two. This same penalty is meted out to any who are accused of what is considered to be a capital offence. We were, in fact, present at two such executions.

All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).