The "Love Philtre" was Arsenic [Blandy, Mary (1720-1752)]. A Clergyman [Possibly William Stockwood]. A Letter from a Clergyman to Miss Mary Blandy, Now a Prisoner in Oxford Castle; With Her Answer Thereto. As also Miss Blandy's Own Narrative of the Crime for Which she is Condemned to Die. The Original Copy of this Letter in Miss Blandy's Own Handwriting, For the Satisfaction of the Public, Is Left with the Publisher. To Which is Prefixed, A Letter Occasioned by Reading Miss Blandy's Trial. London: Printed for M. Cooper, at the Globe in Pater-Noster-Row, 1752. [iv], 26 pp. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5-1/2"). Stab-stitched pamphlet in self-wrappers, untrimmed edges. Moderate toning, light foxing in a few places, light soiling to exterior, short tears to a few leaves around stab-holes, faint stain to front wrapper, "B" in early hand above title. $650. * Only edition, 1 of 2 issues by Cooper. The well-educated daughter of a prosperous lawyer, Blandy was not a typical female criminal of the era. Her unfortunate story begins with a dowry. Her father, Francis, advertised an unusually large dowry for Mary, ?10,000. This attracted many suitors, including one who captivated Mary, the Honourable Captain William Henry Cranstoun, the son of a Scottish nobleman. Mr. Blandy became angry when he learned that Cranstoun was already married and realized that he was after the dowry. Sensing danger, Cranstoun persuaded Mary to give her father an ancient "love philtre" he acquired. Cranstoun said it would make the father like him. It was actually arsenic. Mary was fooled by this ruse and administered the powders. When her father was stricken and she learned what she had done, Mary foolishly burned Cranstoun's letters and disposed of the remaining powder. Cranstoun fled to France when it was clear that Mary was going to be arrested. Mary defended herself ably, but her case was hopeless. She was sentenced to death by hanging. This was a sensational trial, and it generated a large pamphlet literature. It is also a historic trial because it was the first to consider medical evidence (derived from autopsy rather than traditional methods of observation). Blandy wrote a great deal in prison to promote her cause, including the pamphlet Miss Mary Blandy's Own Account of the Affair Between Her and Mr. Cranstoun. Her campaign failed to get her an appea.
Book number 72555