Torture of a Female Prisoner in Trinidad [Trial]. Picton, Sir Thomas [1758-1815], Defendant. The Trial of Governor T. Picton, For Inflicting the Torture on Louisa Calderon, A Free Mulatto, And One of His Britannic Majesty's Subjects in the Island of Trinidad. Tried Before Lord Chief Justice Ellenborough and a Special Jury, And Found Guilty. Taken in Short-Hand During the Proceedings on the 24th of February, 1806. London: Printed by Dewick and Clerk, For B. Crosby and Co., . 126,  pp. Etched frontispiece. Includes two-page publisher advertsiement. Octavo (8-1/4" x 5-1/4"). Recent period-style quarter cloth over mqarbled boards. printed paper title panel to front board, speckled edges, endpapers renewed. Moderate toning to interior, light foxing to frontispiece, preliminaries and final leaves of text, repair to upper right-hand corner of half-title, which is lightly soiled. A handsome copy. $1,250. * Only edition. This case arose from the torture of a female prisoner in Trinidad. At question was the relative status of local Spanish law, where torture was legal, and British law, where it wasn't. Picton, an army officer, had been appointed civil and military governor of Trinidad in 1797 with instructions to administer Spanish law. Picton took an extremely harsh line on crime and civil disorder, allowed a number of executions and published a new slave code that made slave discipline the backbone of his new order. The island was pacified within a few months. In 1803 London sent two more commissioners to administer the law with superior authority and Picton resigned. When he returned to London he was arrested and charged for ordering the use of torture to extort a confession of a robbery from a free biracial 13 year-old named Luisa Calderon. Picton's first trial took place in February 1806. It resulted in a technical guilty verdict and a call for a new trial, which followed in June and exonerated Picton. The verdict said, in effect, that Picton had the right to prescribe torture under Spanish law as a military officer, but not as a colonial governor. The frontispiece shows Calderon being subjected to "picketing," which forces the victim to stand on the point of a metal spike with one foot while supported only by the wrist of the opposite arm suspended from the ceiling. This was a fairly common punishmen.
Book number 72516