Magic and Murder on a Colonial Plantation [Trials]. [Slavery]. [British Guiana]. Willem [d.1822], Primary Defendant. Court of Criminal Justice, Colony of Berbice. Trial of a Slave in Berbice for the Crime of Obeah and Murder (...) Proceedings of the Court of Criminal Justice of the Colony Berbice, On the Trial of the Negro Willem, Alias Sara, Alias Cuffey, For the Murder of the Negress Madalon: And also, The Trials of the Negroes Primo, Mey, Kees, And Corydon, For Aiding and Abetting in Said Murder. [London]: Ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 1823. 45,  pp. Folio (12-1/2" x 8"). Stab-stitched pamphlet, neatly disbound and recently resewn, gilt and marbled edges. Light toning, light foxing in a few places, hand-written page numbers to top right corner of rectos. $2,500. * Only edition. The trial of a slave in the British colony of Berbice, part of present-day Guyana. Willem, enslaved on the Op Hoop van Beter plantation, was accused by another slave, Vigilant, of killing a woman named Madalon. This accusation triggered an investigation into the local practice of obeah, defined by Randy M. Browne as "an Afro-Caribbean complex of spiritual healing, harming, and divination." Madalon had herself been suspected of practicing obeah. Willem had been called in by other slaves to stop her, and four others were implicated in the performance of the ritual (a capital crime). Willem and his accomplices Primo and Mey were executed, and defendants Kees, Corydon and Allegro, other accomplices, were flogged and remanded to be "worked in chains" for a period of several years. OCLC locates 6 copies worldwide, 2 in law libraries (Harvard, Yale). See Browne, "The "Bad Business" of Obeah: Power, Authority, and the Politics of Slave Culture in the British Caribbean." William and Mary Quarterly 68, no. 3, July 2011: 451-480.
Book number 73657