When four aristocratic blackquards were jailed for a brutal murder, justice seemed triumphant. But these were no ordinary criminals, and justice needed eloquent help
Salem, Massachusetts, in the 1830’s, was a city of some 14,000. Merchants and sailors, shopkeepers and ship chandlers, owners and bankers and insurers, doctors and lawyers lived in its red brick and white wood houses. Neighbor and trader with more of the rest of the world than any other port of the United States, Salem in the spring of 1830 was pressing its prime. In Samuel Eliot Morison’s neat phrase, “the movement from wharf to waterfall” was beginning.