A History of the Detection, Conviction, Life and Designs of John A. Murel, the Great Western Land Pirate. Together with His System of Villainy, and a Plan of Exciting a Negro Rebellion. Augustus Q. Walton.

A History of the Detection, Conviction, Life and Designs of John A. Murel, the Great Western Land Pirate. Together with His System of Villainy, and a Plan of Exciting a Negro Rebellion...

Athens, Tn. George White, 1835. 75pp. Dbd. Title page chipped at lower corner; initial three leaves separating at lower gutter. Some dampstaining to initial leaves; light tanning and foxing throughout. Good plus. Item #1371

A scarce, rural Tennessee imprint that chronicles the criminal exploits of John Andrews Murrell; likely the second edition, issued in the same year as the first printed in Lexington, Kentucky. Murrell was a white bandit from Tennessee who led a network of hundreds of fellow criminals described as his "Mystic Clan" in operations along the Mississippi River. He was infamous for stealing enslaved people from one plantation in order to sell them to another owner. His biggest plan was to lead a national slave uprising on Christmas night, 1834, and then set himself up as leader, but he was arrested before the plan could amount to much. The present work was compiled by the author from the papers and accounts of Virgil Stewart, a one-time compatriot of Murrell. "It must be acknowledged that John A. Murell has never been surpassed in cold blooded murders, by any whose names have been recorded on the pages of history, and other villainous feats have never been surpassed by any who have preceded him. He may justly claim the honor of reducing villainy to an organized system, and he may as justly claim the most important station among adepts in crime and iniquity of the blackest kind."

A quite popular account that went through several editions during the antebellum period, but the present one is among the earliest and most obscure, with only a dozen copies located by OCLC and three copies appearing in auction records for the last fifty years.

Adams, Six-Guns 2301. American Imprints 35246. Howes W76 ("aa"). Sabin 101209.

Price: $1,250.00