By Charles Hoffmann
On New Year's Eve in 1843, Rhode Island fabric producer Amasa Sprague was once shot and crushed to dying. inside of days, 3 Irish immigrant brothers have been arrested, charged with homicide, and at last delivered to trial.
Brotherly Love is a image reconstruction of the crime, its social and fiscal heritage, and the following trials. the tale finds the antagonism among native-born Yankees, who commanded nice energy, and the becoming variety of Irish Catholic immigrants, such a lot of whom labored within the fabric turbines. certainly, the commercial, political, and non secular dimensions of the clash are all obtrusive within the trials.
The authors argue persuasively that the Gordons have been sufferers of bigotry and circumstantial proof, serving as handy scapegoats to assuage a group outraged over the homicide of its wealthiest citizen. In telling the tale of this infamous case, Brotherly Love unearths the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century New England as performed out in group and court.
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Additional info for Brotherly love: murder and the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century Rhode Island
Except where noted, all illustrations are courtesy of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Page v Contents List of Illustrations vii Acknowledgments ix Preface xi Chronology xv 1 The Murder 1 2 Background to Murder 13 3 The Prosecution 31 4 The Defense 47 5 Nicholas Gordon's First Trial 75 6 The Execution of John Gordon 99 7 Nicholas Gordon's Second Trial 117 8 Who Killed Amasa Sprague? 135 Appendix 147 Notes 159 Bibliography 175 Index 179 Page vii Illustrations 1. Map by S. B. Cushing of the Cranston Print Works and vicinity 2 2.
John Gordon's petition to the Rhode Island General Assembly for reprieve and suspension of sentence until after Nicholas's second trial is rejected by a vote of 36 to 27. February 10, 1845. John Gordon petitions the governor for a stay of execution. His petition is accompanied by affidavits from William Gordon and Simon Mathewson (a juror in Nicholas Gordon's first trial). The petition is denied. February 14, 1845. John Gordon is hanged in the yard of the state prison, Providence. February 16, 1845.
Page 12 In the same state prison, also in solitary confinement awaiting trial, was Thomas Dorr, charged with treason. The great difference between them (aside from the fact that treason was a noncapital offense) was that, for all his political enemies, Dorr was a member of the governing elite, and had friends in high places, including a future governor of the state, his uncle Philip Allen. Although he would be convicted for his crime, he would eventually be pardoned when his friends came to power.