May 25, 1721: a “miserable African” is executed

Another ET entry by me, hot and fresh, posted minutes ago: Joseph Hanno, a freed slave in Boston, executed in 1721 for the murder of his wife. The murder itself was quite ordinary and unmemorable. However, the case proved interesting enough for an entry by Joseph’s association with the Puritan minister Cotton Mather, who preached a sermon about it.

Regarding Joseph’s statement that if hadn’t committed Sabbath-breaking he wouldn’t have committed murder…well, just now I looked up the date of Nanny’s murder and sure enough, it was a Sunday. Perhaps they got into an argument about his committing the former sin, which lead to his committing the latter one.

Another execution

This one from 1751 in England: Mary Blandy, who poisoned her father with arsenic at the behest of her boyfriend. She admitted having done this but claimed her boyfriend had told her the arsenic was a magical powder that would make her father like him and allow the couple to marry. One of those “truth is stranger than fiction” things. To this day, opinion remains divided as to whether Mary Blandy was really that much of an idiot, or whether she was a conniving murderess, or something in between.

Thoughts, anyone?

Counting this one, I actually have six Executed Today entries running this month. I’ve got one tomorrow, and on the 13th, the 15th, the 25th and the 27th. What fun!