Book #72459
The Genuine Trial of John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Spinster. Trials, John Swan, Elizabeth Jeffreys.

The Genuine Trial of John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Spinster...

Sex + Greed + Murder = A Death Sentence [Trials]. Swan, John, Defendant. Jeffreys, Elizabeth, Defendant. The Genuine Trial of John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Spinster, For the Murder of Her Late Uncle Mr. Joseph Jeffreys of Walthamstow in Essex, At the Assizes Held at Chelmsford for the County of Essex, On Wednesday, March 11, 1752, Before the Honourable Mr. Justice Wright. London: Printed for C. Corbett, [1752]. [ii], 17, 20-24 pp. Text in parallel columns. Quarto (9" x 7"). Disbound stab-stitched pamphlet, fore-edge untrimmed. Light browning, some soiling to exterior, and margins of a few interior leaves, early owner signature (Henry Edwards) to title page, a few inkspots to verso of final leaf. $950. * First edition. As related here, this was a titillating and wicked story of sex, greed, murder and capital punishment. Jeffreys had been sent at the age of five to live with her uncle, Joseph Jeffreys, where she was raised as a daughter and heir to his considerable estate. At the age of 22 she began an affair with Swan, one of her uncle's servants, which eventually led to murder. The pair plotted the crime and Swan carried it out. After her conviction as an accessory, Jeffreys claimed to have been "debauched" on several occasions by her uncle when she was 15, by whom she had twice become pregnant, miscarrying once, and aborting the second pregnancy with drugs provided by the uncle. Moreover, she said he had threatened to disinherit her, ironically for "immoral behavior," if she refused to have sex with him. In all, the murder was an attempt to escape a sexual predator and begin a new life. The jury and judge were not impressed. She and Swan were eventually executed before "an innumerable multitude of spectators." Our pamphlet account was reprinted in Dublin in 1752 and reissued later by Corbett with the title The Trial at Large of John Swan and Elizabeth Jeffreys, Spinster.... Both versions are rare. OCLC locates 4 copies of the first edition, 1 in North America (Huntington Library). English Short-Title Catalogue T129115.

Price: $950.00

Book number 72459

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