Manuscript With a Copy of the Death Sentence from a Notable New York City Murder Case [Manuscript]. [Trial]. [Johnson, Richard (d.1829)], Defendant. Judge Irving's Address, Previous, [to] Passage [of Sentence] of Death on Richard Johnson, For the Murder of Ursula New[man] (all) of the City of New York, March 21th 1829. [New York?, 1829?]. 13-1/4/ x 8-1/4" bifolium, text in neat hands to rectos and versos. Light browning, some wear and small chips to edges with minor loss to text, additional minor loss from an inkstain with a chip along fold. $950. * Johnson, a New York City printer, murdered his common-law wife. His motive appeared to be stress caused by her refusal to marry him and business trouble. On May 9, 1829 he had the dubious distinction, along with Catherine Cashiere, of being one the last two people publicly executed in New York. Possibly taken from a commonplace book, our anonymous manuscript begins with the text of Irving's address, which was copied from one of the several published accounts of Johnson's trial, perhaps Trial of Richard Johnson, For the Murder of Mrs. Ursula Newman (New York, 1829). The address fills most of the first leaf's recto. Below, just above the bottom margin, is a three-line recipe for "Potatoe Pudding." The theme of death returns on the verso with an essay, possibly derived from Samuel Johnson, titled "Pray on Death, which is prefaced with a quote from Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." The essay ends on the recto of the following leaf, where is it followed by a 38-line poem titled "In Memory of Hannah Bradley Died 1829." The verso of that leaf, which appears to be in a different hand, is headed by paraphases of Mark 9:48 and Revelation 18:19: "Where their Worm dieth no 7 Thine shall be weaping, Wailing and Woe." It is followed by a lengthy extract from Book I of Robert Pollok's The Course of Time, a summary of the damnation sections of the Book of Revelation. We have not been able to determine the purpose of this bifolium.
Book number 78502