"TO REAP A GOLDEN HARVEST WITHOUT THE HAZARD OF ENCOUNTERING LIVING WITNESSES OF THEIR CRIMES, IT WAS UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED TO SPARE NO LIVES AND TO BURN AND PLUNDER WITHOUT MERCY": ILLUSTRATED ACCOUNT OF THE 1831 TRIAL AND EXECUTION OF PIRATES CHARLES GIBBS AND THOMAS WANSLEY
(PIRACY TRIAL) ANONYMOUS. Confessions and Execution of the Pirates, Gibbs & Wansley. New York: Christian Brown, . Octavo, modern half red morocco; pp. . $1800.
First edition of this recounting of the 1831 trial and execution of two notorious pirates, Charles Gibbs and Thomas Wansley, with two woodcut vignette title pages and five woodcut illustrations in the text. Handsomely bound.
This pamphlet details the nature of the pirates' crimes, the manner of their execution, and the story of a visit to the condemned criminals while in prison. It contains a section entitled "Confession of Charles Gibbs the Pirate" which narrates Gibbs' early life of piracy and plunder, and a recounting of the vessels and cargoes he captured. These pirates were tried and convicted for the murder of the captain and mate of the brig Vineyard, at sea. The pamphlet contains several illustrations. The title page bears a woodcut of two men hanging from a gallows which stands near a small building and which is surrounded by a crowd of spectators. The woodcut on the verso of the title page shows two coffins. A bust portrait woodcut of Wansley appears with a poem which he composed "in Bellevue Prison, New York a few days previous to his execution." Another woodcut illustration depicts the "scene of a horrid murder," a seascape with two vessels under sail and a third under steam. Gibbs is shown in a full-length woodcut as a muscular man wearing a frock coat and leggings. An open coffin with a body lying in it appears on the final page of text. The pamphlet ends with a poem of contrition and a woodcut illustration of the two men hanging from a gallows with hands folded, as if in prayer, guarded by armed soldiers. Early owner signature on first leaf of text.
Expert paper repairs, chiefly marginal; occasional foxing. Handsome binding fine. A desirable copy.