I Am Murdered George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing That Shocked a New Nation

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-01-09
  • Publisher: Wiley
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"A good story, well told, of a sliver of life in Richmond, a small, elite-driven capital city in the young nation's most influential state."-Publishers WeeklyGeorge Wythe clung to the mahogany banister as he inched down the staircase of his comfortable Richmond, Virginia, home. Doubled over in agony, he stumbled to the kitchen in search of help. There he found his maid, Lydia Broadnax, and his young proteg_, Michael Brown, who were also writhing in distress. Hours later, when help arrived, Wythe was quick to tell anyone who would listen, "I am murdered." Over the next two weeks, as Wythe suffered a long and painful death, insults would be added to his mortal injury.I Am Murdered tells the bizarre true story of Wythe's death and the subsequent trial of his grandnephew and namesake, George Wythe Sweeney, for the crime-unquestionably the most sensational and talked-about court case of the era. Hinging on hit-and-miss forensics, the unreliability of medical autopsies, the prevalence of poisoning, race relations, slavery, and the law, Sweeney's trial serves as a window into early nineteenth- century America. Its particular focus is on Richmond, part elegant state capital and part chaotic boomtown riddled with vice, opportunism, and crime.As Wythe lay dying, his doctors insisted that he had not been poisoned, and Sweeney had the nerve to beg him for bail money. In I Am Murdered, this signer of the Declaration of Independence, mentor to Thomas Jefferson, and "Father of American Jurisprudence" finally gets the justice he deserved.

Author Biography

Bruce Chadwick is a historian of the American Revolution and colonial era whose books include George Washington's War, The General and Mrs. Washington, and The First American Army. He has also appeared on the History Channel.

Table of Contents

The Murder
"I Am Murdered"p. 3
The Funeralp. 17
Homicide: The Investigation, Part Ip. 24
Williamsburg: George Wythe and Thomas Jeffersonp. 40
Jefferson and Wythe Remake Virginiap. 63
Richmond: Boomtown and the Decadent Nightlife of George Wythe Sweeneyp. 82
The Dying George Wythe Changes His Willp. 104
Moving Day: A Second Life in Richmond and the Return of George Wythep. 108
The Investigation
The Arrestp. 123
The Investigation, Part IIp. 126
For the Defense: William Wirtp. 132
For the Defense: Edmund Randolphp. 148
Mourning at the Executive Mansionp. 161
The Trial
The Forensics Nightmare, Part I: Arsenic, the Poison of Choicep. 167
The Forensics Nightmare, Part II: The Autopsyp. 195
Lydia Broadnax: The Eyewitnessp. 216
The Black and White Legal Codesp. 228
Washington, October 1806p. 235
Epiloguep. 237
Acknowledgmentsp. 241
Notesp. 243
Bibliographyp. 263
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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