BROTHERLY LOVE Murder and the Politics of Prejudice in Nineteenth-Century Rhode Island

Author: Hoffmann (Charles & Tess)
Year: 1993
Publisher: The University of Massachusetts Press
Edition Details: 1st US Edn.
Book Condition: F/Vg+
ISBN: 0870238523
Price: 10.00
Hardback. On New Year's eve in 1843, Rhode Island textile manufacturer Amasa Sprague was shot and beaten to death. Within 2 days, 3 Irish immigrant brothers - Nicholas, John, and William Gordon - were arrested and charged with murder. All 3 were eventually brought to trial. This is a graphic reconstruction of the crime, its social and economic background, and the subsequent trials. The story reveals the antagonism between native-born Yankees, who commanded great power, and the growing number of Irish-Catholic immigrants, most of whom worked in the textile mills. Indeed, the economic, political, and religious dimensions of the conflict are all evident in the trials. The authors argue persuasively that the Gordons were victims of prejudice and circumstantial evidence, serving as convenient scapegoats to appease a community outraged over the murder of its wealthiest citizen. Although William was acquitted, John was hanged in 1845. Nicholas, who was never convicted, died the next year. In telling the story of this notorious case, the authors reveal the politics of prejudice in 19th century New England as played out in community and courtroom. The book also speculates that Sprague's brother, US Senator William Sprague, may have conspired to murder him in order to gain control of the family business. Illus., Appendix, Notes, Bibliog. and Index. 184pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. Review copy with loosely inserted slip. F. in Vg+ dw.


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