For those of you who are history buffs:
"When a soldier in the King's Own was caught 'disposing of his arms to the townspeople', he was trussed up like an animal...and given 500 lashes on his bare back - enough to kill an ordinary man. The conscience of New England was deeply shocked by this cruelty - not only by its inhumanity as we would be, but in another way. The biblical statutes of Massachusetts restricted whipping to thirty-none strokes; anything more was thought to be unscriptual and forbidden by G-d's express command. To the people of Boston, here was another Sign."
"When a young private tried to desert for the third time he was dressed in a white shroud of repentance, taken to Boston Common, and shot by firing squad while the town watched in shock and horror. In New England, corporal punishment was lawful for the violation of God's Commandments, but not for the orders of General Gage".
From Paul Revere, by David Hackett Fischer, p.67-68 (If you like David McCullough, try Fischer.)