ID: 25392
A true and faithful narrative of the life and actions of John Oneby, Esq;

TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE,, A true and faithful narrative of the life and actions of John Oneby, Esq; commonly called Major Oneby; who was to have been executed last Monday at Tyburn, for the murder of William Gower, Esq; Giving an account of his birth, parentage and education. Of his killing Count Truxy a Saxon officer in Flanders; Lieut. Toolley in Jamaica, and the murder of himself in Newgate: with the copy of a letter he wrote to a gentleman an hour before he committed that violent action; and of an amazing wicked declaration he made a few days before it, of an undertaker's letter to him about his burial; and his behaviour thereupon. Also, of a remarkable instance of generosity in one of his fellow-prisoners. With many other surprizing particulars. London, printed for J. Roberts, at the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane. n.d. [1727?].

8vo., (2) + 30pp., recent marbled boards lettered on spine. A very good copy.

First edition: very scarce (copies only at BL + NLS in B.Isles).

Oneby was found guilty of the murder of William Gower during an argument at the gaming-table in The Castle Tavern, Drury Lane. His appeal against the verdict was heard by Lord Chief Justice Raymond (1673-1733) and became important in establishing a distinction between manslaughter and murder. The verdict was upheld and the prisoner committed suicide with a large knife. Raymond's entry in ODNB reads, in part: "Certainly he helped to develop the law's distinction between murder and manslaughter. In 1727, giving judgment on a special verdict found against Major John Oneby for killing a man after a gambling argument, Raymond determined that an 'act of deliberation' on the part of the protagonist which occurred after the first quarrel showed that he was not deprived of his reason and therefore was guilty of murder." [David Lemmings].