[Cooperstown?]: 1805. iv, 5-24 pp. Sidestitched, untrimmed [chipping along untrimmed edges, portions of a couple of letters affected], scattered foxing, couple of holes in blank portion of title leaf. Closed blank inner margin tears. Good.
This is the rare printing of a particularly gruesome murder. "Arnold was a schoolmaster in Cooperstown, New York, where his niece Betsy boarded with him. Because she could not pronounce the word 'gig,' he beat her severely, as a result of which she died. Arnold fled to Pittsburgh but was captured and returned" [McDade]. The great Chief Justice James Kent presided at Arnold's jury trial. This is the rarest of several pamphlets recording the sensational trial. It begins with the indictment and the impaneling of the jury. Witnesses described the brutality of the beatings.
The arguments of counsel are followed by Chief Justice Kent's charge to the jury. "His honor recapitulated the testimony of the several witnesses, and observed that, after duly weighing and carefully comparing the same, and considering the time expended in the transaction, an hour and a half, and the seven intervals, affording time and opportunity for reflection, and that the barbarous severity of the scourging, had occasioned the death of the child, he was inclined to consider it murder-- his honor, however, wished, and enjoined it on, the Jurors to judge for themselves, as he had no wish that they should be influenced or biassed by his opinion."
The verdict of course was guilty of murder. After all, as the Chief said, "she died, because she did not pronounce the word gig or jig, as he thought proper -- he had whipped her seven times, and was an hour and an half employed in the horrid transaction..."
Cohen 12291 [Cohen listing only 23 pages]. McDade Numbers 24-30 do not record this imprint; nor does American Imprints [see AI 7883, 9083]. 163 Eberstadt 347 records a Newark 1806. Not located at the online sites of AAS, NYPL, NYHS as of July 2021. Item #37731