Boston, New-England: Printed by Thomas & John Fleet, 1778. Small 4to. 20pp, but lacking the half title. Untrimmed, light toning, scattered spotting, several short repairs to several blank edges and inner blank margins. Bound in attractive, modern half green morocco and marbled boards, with gilt-stamped spine title. Contemporary inscription, 'Benjamin Brown His Book.' Good+.
Bathsheba Spooner was the first woman executed in the United States after the Declaration of Independence. Her co-conspirators, three veterans of the American Revolution, included Ezra Ross of Ipswich. "Mr. Spooner was a retired lumberman, passively disposed and of simple tastes. His wife was Bathsheba, daughter of Chief-Justice Ruggles. She never knew the want of a luxury that money could buy and was haughty and imperious, and the house was divided against itself. On Ezra's return from his second enlistment, gratitude prompted him to visit his benefactress. He was youthful, had a fine physique, and stature far beyond his years; he was active, social, witty, handsome; she was artful, seductive, profligate. Mr. Spooner was in her way and he was removed. Four persons were arrested, including Mrs. Spooner and young Ezra." [Harris, Gordon: "The hanging of Ezra Ross and Bathsheba Spooner, July 2, 1778", Website of historicipswich, accessed February 4, 2019.] A historic marker, known as the "Spooner Well," marks the location of the well into which the three soldiers deposited Spooner's dead body. They, along with the pregnant Bathsheba, were all executed.
Speaking over the "mangled remains" of his murdered neighbor, Spooner says, "So premeditated, so aggravated, so horrid a murder was never perpetrated in AMERICA [italics in original], and is almost without a parallel in the known world." Acknowledging "the horrid wickedness of the human heart," Fiske manfully attempts to answer "why the just Governor of the Universe permits innocent persons thus to fall before wicked men."
FIRST EDITION. ESTC W29231 [10 locations]. Evans 15793. Not in McDade, Cohen, Marke, Harv. Law Cat. Item #35398