The Appearance of Truth: The Story of Elizabeth Canning and Eighteenth-Century Narrative

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On 1 January 1753 Elizabeth Canning, an eighteen-year-old maidservant, disappeared somewhere between her uncle's and her mother's home. Nearly a month later she reappeared at her mother's door; she was half-naked, emaciated, unable even to swallow. Elizabeth's neighbors rallied around her with medical and legal support, and when they pieced together her story of assault, kidnapping, and detention, they pursued her assailants. Susannah Wells, an Enfield woman, was soon identified as the owner of the house where ...
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1994 Hardcover First Edition New in Very Good+ dust jacket 0874134943. New unread book in bright dust jacket with half-inch corner tear.; 9.06 X 6.46 X 0.94 inches; 278 pages.

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1994 Hardcover First Edition New in Near Fine dust jacket 0874134943. New unread book in bright dust jacket with slight shelfwear.; 9.06 X 6.46 X 0.94 inches; 278 pages.

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Overview

On 1 January 1753 Elizabeth Canning, an eighteen-year-old maidservant, disappeared somewhere between her uncle's and her mother's home. Nearly a month later she reappeared at her mother's door; she was half-naked, emaciated, unable even to swallow. Elizabeth's neighbors rallied around her with medical and legal support, and when they pieced together her story of assault, kidnapping, and detention, they pursued her assailants. Susannah Wells, an Enfield woman, was soon identified as the owner of the house where Canning said she had been held; Canning identified Mary Squires, a gypsy woman resident in Wells's house, as the person who had stripped her of her stays and thrust her into the derelict attic from which she had eventually escaped. Eighteenth-century criminal proceedings were swift: Squires was sentenced to hang within a month of being charged, and Wells was branded and imprisoned. Lord Mayor Sir Crisp Gascoyne of London had presided at their trial, but he was dissatisfied with the verdict. He began to collect evidence that would provide an alibi for Mary Squires. Other prominent figures were drawn into the complexities of the case, among them the novelist and magistrate Henry Fielding, who saw Canning as a figure of injured innocence, as well as Dr. John Hill, an enemy of Fielding and a journalist, who presented her as a scheming sexual adventuress. Public controversy over the case grew rapidly inflamed. Although Wells remained in jail, Squires was pardoned, and Canning was charged with and ultimately convicted of perjury. Her trial, one of the longest in the eighteenth century, presented evidence placing Mary Squires in Enfield, where Canning said she was, and in Dorsetshire, at the same time. The case was ultimately decided not on the contradictory alibi evidence but by the judge's instructions to the jury to convict. Canning was sentenced to transportation, and she ultimately lived out the remainder of her life in Wethersfield, Connecticut, leaving th
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874134940
  • Publisher: University of Delaware Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1994
  • Pages: 278
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7
A Note on Style and Documentation 9
1 Elizabeth Canning's Story 13
2 The Crime, First Version: Assault and Theft 24
Elizabeth Canning and Her Family 24
The Disappearance 28
Enfield Wash 33
Captivity and Escape 40
The Friends of Elizabeth Canning 50
The Prosecution and Trial of Mary Squires and Susannah Wells 64
3 The Crime, Second Version: Perjury 87
Sir Crisp Gascoyne and Mary Squires's Alibi 87
Sir Crisp Gascoyne, Virtue Hall, and the Goldsmiths 98
Canning's Supporters 108
Legal Maneuverings 122
The Trial of Elizabeth Canning: Prosecution 134
The Trial of Elizabeth Canning: Defense 147
Verdicts and Aftermaths 158
4 Writing Canning's Story 176
Contemporaries 176
Victorians 195
The Twentieth Century - I 205
The Twentieth Century - II 213
The Franchise Affair 225
Trends and Themes in Accounts of the Canning Case 233
5 Telling the Truth and Telling a Story: The Canning Case and Eighteenth-Century Narrative in Context 240
Epilogue: Solving the Canning Case 256
Appendix 263
Notes 265
Works Cited 268
Index 273
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