May 5th, 2008 Mara Veraar
On this date, in 1725, Leendert Hasenbosch was sent ashore in punishment for sodomy; six months later, he sipped his last bit of turtle’s blood.
He’d made a living first as a Corporal and then a Military Bookkeeper aboard a VOC ship in the Dutch East Indies. After being convicted of sodomy, Hasenbosch’s captain left him a castaway on
The rest of the story, riddled in castaway lore, acts as a blip on the screen of cultural relativism for execution, religion and homosexuality. Being the diligent bookkeeper, Hasenborsch kept a diary during his six-month prelude to a different sort of Ascension. In January of the following year, British sailors discovered the castaway’s tent and things, including the diary (though no sign of his body was ever found).*
Much has been written about what happened in those six months between sentence and death, including three published versions with varying degrees of poetic license. The diary’s surviving passages reveal a deeply religious man tormented by his actions, begging for forgiveness while facing imminent death.
And so the diary ends. Not a hint of irony on the horizon as the sun sets on Ascension Island.
* Excerpts, claimed as the correct English transcription of the diary, taken from “An Authentick Relation” in The Harleian Miscellany
On this day..
- 1854: John Hendrickson, junk science victim - 2016
- 1432: Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola, scheming condottiero - 2015
- 1624: Antonio Homem, at the hands of the Portuguese Inquisition - 2014
- 1937: Camillo Berneri, anarchist intellectual - 2013
- 1760: Laurence Shirley, 4th Earl Ferrers - 2012
- 1720: A deserter, by fellow-deserters - 2011
- 2003: Guillermo Gaviria Correa and nine other FARC hostages - 2010
- 1708: Jack Ovet, who left no hempen widow - 2009
Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Capital Punishment,Crime,Disfavored Minorities,Essays,Guest Writers,Homosexuals,Known But To God,Language,Netherlands,Notable Jurisprudence,Occupation and Colonialism,Other Voices