The Colorful Duchess of Kingston [Trial]. Kingston, Elizabeth Chudleigh Hervey, Duchess of [1720-1788], Defendant. The Trial of Elizabeth Duchess Dowager of Kingston for Bigamy, Before the Right Honourable the House of Peers, In Westminster-Hall, In Full-Parliament, On Monday the 15th, Tuesday the 16th, Friday the 19th, Saturday the 20th, and Monday the 22d of April, 1776; On the Last of Which Days the Said Elizabeth Duchess Dowager of Kingston was Found Guilty. Published by Order of the House of Peers. London: Printed for Charles Bathurst, 1776. [iv], 176 pp. Title page preceded by imprimatur leaf. Folio (13-1/2" x 8-1/2"). Contemporary three-quarter calf over marbled boards, rebacked retaining spine, endpapers renewed. Moderate rubbing, light gatoring to spine, small chip to head of spine, corners bumped and somewhat worn, small later bookseller ticket to front pastedown, front hinge cracked, another crack in text block between p. 176, which is lightly soiled, and following leaf. Moderate toning to interior, light foxing in a few places, owner name (Horace Witner "1906 or 7") to front endleaf, 19th or 20th-century annotations in pencil to endleaves, some leaves have marks to margins in same hand, lower corner lacking from leaves I4 (pp. 35-36) and Ss2 (pp.159-160) with no loss to text. $850. * Only edition. When she determined to marry the Duke of Kingston, Elizabeth feared the scandal of divorce from her first husband, Augustus Hervey, later Earl of Bristol, who wanted a divorce, so she instituted a suit of jactitation against him. His negative response ignored, she took an oath that she was unmarried, and the court so declared her. She married the Duke of Kingston in 1769, and he died in 1770 and left her a substantial estate on the condition that she remain a widow. The duke's nephew, Mr. Evelyn Meadow, brought suit against her for bigamy shortly after the duke's death, while she was traveling in Italy. She returned to England to stand trial. Found guilty, she would have been "burned on the hand" but she claimed the privilege of her peerage which served to exempt her from corporal punishment. She continued a life of travel and adventure until her sudden death in Paris in 1788. Dictionary of National Biography IX:730. Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson 1957. English Short-Title.
Book number 78487