Trial and Execution of a Teen-Age Arsonist in Salem, Massachusetts [Trial]. Clark, Stephen Merrill [1804-1821], Defendant. Account of the Short Life and Ignominious Death of Stephen Merrill Clark, Who was Executed at Salem on Thursday the Tenth Day of May, 1821 at the Early Age of 16 Years and 9 Months, For the Crime of Arson. Salem: Published by T.C. Cushing, 1821. 16 pp. Octavo (9-1/4" x 5-3/4"). Stab-stitched pamphlet in self-wrappers, untrimmed edges. Light browning and faint dampstaining, small early bookseller description affixed to verso of title page. $950. * Only edition. In 1820 Clark burned down a stable and an adjacent building. There was no loss of life, but he was tried for a capital crime, found guilty and sentenced to death. The jury recommended commutation to no avail. He was sixteen years of age when he committed the crime, seventeen when executed. His case helped to advance a successful movement to reduce the number of capital crimes. By 1852 murder was the only capital offense. OCLC locates 13 copies, 3 in law libraries (Harvard, Social Law, Yale). Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 12137.
Book number 71824