MASSACHUSETTS: DEATH PENALTY. FISKE, NATHAN. 1733-1799. A sermon preached at Brookfield March 6, 1778. On the day of the interment of Mr. Joshua Spooner, who was most barbarously murdered at his own gate, on the Lord's day evening preceeding, by three ruffians, who were hired for the purpose by his wife. Boston, New-England: Printed by Thomas & John Fleet, 1778.
Lot 215
MASSACHUSETTS: DEATH PENALTY.
FISKE, NATHAN. 1733-1799.
A sermon preached at Brookfield March 6, 1778. On the day of the interment of Mr. Joshua Spooner, who was most barbarously murdered at his own gate, on the Lord's day evening preceeding, by three ruffians, who were hired for the purpose by his wife. Boston, New-England: Printed by Thomas & John Fleet, 1778.
US$ 800 - 1,200
£ 600 - 900

Lot Details
MASSACHUSETTS: DEATH PENALTY.
FISKE, NATHAN. 1733-1799. A sermon preached at Brookfield March 6, 1778. On the day of the interment of Mr. Joshua Spooner, who was most barbarously murdered at his own gate, on the Lord's day evening preceeding, by three ruffians, who were hired for the purpose by his wife. Boston, New-England: Printed by Thomas & John Fleet, 1778.
4to (195 x 124 mm). [2], 5-20; lacking half-title. Early 20th-century three-quarter morocco. Some staining through out with some chipping to page edges, a few corners reinforced.
Provenance: "Benjamin Brown, his book" (contemporary inscription to final leaf); William Jason Mixter (1880-1958, ink inscription).

FIRST EDITION of Reverend Fiske's sermon which takes up the question of the just punishment for such a heinous crime. In the case that led to the first capital trial under the newly formed United States government, Bathsheba Spooner, along with her lover, Continental soldier Ezra Ross, and two escaped British POWs, murdered her husband Joshua Spooner. "So premeditated, so aggravated, so horrid a murder was never perpetrated in America, and is almost without parallel in the known world." Complicating matters, it became known that Bathsheba Spooner was pregnant, so the trial for her execution was not undertaken lightly. ESTC W29231. Evans 15793.

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