Providence: W. Marshall & Co., 1833.
First Edition. Sewn pamphlet, 33 pp. Lacking rear wrapper, otherwise complete. Heavy wear and some chipping to fore edge, light staining and foxing. Good. In December 1832, unmarried mill worker Sarah Cornell was found hanging from the frame of a haystack in Tiverton, Rhode Island. She was five months pregnant, and a note found in her belongings (“If I should be missing, enquire of the Rev. Mr. Avery of Bristol,--he will know where I am”) implicated a prominent Methodist minister. Fearing adverse publicity, both the industrialists of Fall River and the Methodist Episcopal Church engaged in energetic campaigns to obtain a favorable verdict for Avery. The trial was one of the earliest attempts by American lawyers to prove their client innocent by assassinating the moral character of a female victim. On the other side, it also underscored deep suspicion of Methodists in old New England society. Avery was acquitted after a 27-day trial that heard testimony from 196 witnesses. The controversial verdict prompted the publication of more than a dozen accounts of the case. This one was written by the deputy sheriff who located and arrested Avery after he fled to New Hampshire, fearing the angry townspeople of Fall River would take justice into their own hands. McDade 41; see also Kasserman, Fall River Outrage.