Lord Admiral Nelson Testified as a Character Witness [Trial]. Despard, Edward Marcus [1751-1803], Primary Defendant. The Trial of Colonel Despard and His Associates, For High Treason, And a Conspiracy, &c. &c. Before Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough and the Other Commissioners, At the New Sessions-House, In the County of Surry [sic], Great Britain, 1803. Published from the London Morning Chronicle. New York: Printed by George F. Hopkins, at Washington's-Head, no. 118, Pearl-Street, 1803. 56 pp. Octavo (9-1/4" x 5-1/2"). Stab-stitched pamphlet in self-wrappers, untrimmed edges. Light browning, title page detached, lightly soiled and moderately edgeworn with loss to corners, early owner signature to head, moderate edgewear and light soiling to final leaf, light foxing to a few leaves. $500. * Only American edition. After a brilliant military career in the West Indies, where his achievements impressed Lieutenant, later Lord Admiral, Nelson, Colonel Despard was recalled from his command and dismissed on frivolous charges. He tried to clear his name and seek compensation, but his complaints led to imprisonment without trial for two years. Financially ruined and bitter, he came to resent the establishment. He joined the radical London Corresponding Society and revolutionary United Irishman and took part in a plot to organize uprisings in London and Ireland, the latter with support from French revolutionaries. After the plot was foiled Despard and six others were convicted of treason. A highlight during the trial was Lord Admiral Nelson's testimony as a character witness on Despard's behalf. Despard and his co-conspirators share the dubious distinction of being the last men in Great Britain sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. However, the king commuted their sentences to death by hanging followed by decapitation. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 14127.
Book number 70890