Cover image for Designs against Charleston : the trial record of the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822
Designs against Charleston : the trial record of the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822
Pearson, Edward A.
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 387 pages ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F279.C49 N418 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Using both primary and secondary sources, this text provides a comprehensive account of the Vesey conspiracy of 1822. It contains the complete, verbatim transcripts of the trials, as well as an introductory essay describing the events and context of South Carolina in 1822.

Author Notes

Edward A. Pearson is assistant professor of history at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Divided into two large parts, this volume is devoted to a slave conspiracy that was never fulfilled. Nearly half the work brilliantly evokes the environment in which the head conspirator, Denmark Vesey, lived. Pearson believes the Atlantic world, embracing the French and Haitian revolutions, African practices, and Vesey's life as a seaman in the multinational Caribbean, influenced the conspirator's ideology. Taken to Charleston by his owner and in time becoming free, Vesey gathered support for a conspiracy to destroy the city. The plot was discovered, and the ringleader and more than a hundred participants were arrested and put to trial. Thirty-five blacks were executed; others were sentenced to transportation. The misleadingly edited trial transcript forms virtually half the work. Pearson provides helpful notes to the text. The shock of the conspiracy sank deep; the South Carolina legislature enacted a series of laws restricting the lives of blacks, slave and free. Pearson's research is far-reaching, his placement of the work in the Atlantic world is valuable, and his literary style pleasing. No other similar volume on the conspiracy is like it. Three appendixes. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. A. Rawley; University of Nebraska--Lincoln

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xv
Editorial Notep. xvii
Introduction. Culture and Conspiracy in Denmark Vesey's Charlestonp. 1
Transcript of the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy Trialp. 165
Appendix 1. A Conspiratorial Chronologyp. 283
Appendix 2. The Conspirators and Witnessesp. 297
Appendix 3. Additional Documentsp. 314
Bibliographyp. 357
Indexp. 379