[Guanabacoa: 1849-1850]. pp. Folio. Stitching perishing, final leaf loose. Light worming to initial leaves, slightly affecting text; occasional ink burn resulting in minor loss. Light wear at edges. Moderate tanning and foxing. Completed in several hands. Good plus. Item #2028
A fascinating, though somewhat gruesome, bureaucratic account of the execution of a Cuban "libre," or freedman, put to death in Guanabacoa during 1849 by garrote. This device was a Spanish method of execution by which a metal collar or cord would be placed around the condemned person's neck and would be tightened until he died, often with the addition of a large screw at the rear of the collar intended to crush the spinal cord.
The manuscript describes the building of the garrote and the stage for the execution of José Soto, who was condemned to die for killing his consort, Dolores Delgado. The records themselves are a collection of manuscript documents produced by municipal authorities to create an account for the construction of the necessary equipment. The first several documents convey the orders for the execution and its preparation, and the local juntas' receipt of those orders. The remainder of the manuscript provides a record of the municipal authorities preparing to carry out the sentence, hiring and paying a carpenter for building costs, consulting with local religious powers concerning the conduction of past executions, and their general efforts to comply with the will of the courts. In all, a striking record of the bureaucracy of justice for slaves and freedmen in Cuba during the mid-19th century.