Re: JOHN CHISWELL SUICIDE
I strongly recommend you read "Robert Bolling and the Bailment of Colonel Chiswell" by J.A. Leo Lemay, originally printed in the journal Early American Literature, Vol. VI, No. 2, Fall 1971.I don't know if the journal is still active.It was (or is) published by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01002.
Lemay's account does not dwell on the crime itself or the manner of Chiswell's apparent suicide.He focuses instead on the "major crisis in colonial Virginia" precipitated by the refusal of Robert Bolling and others to allow the aristocracy to sweep the alleged murder under the carpet.The decision of a grand jury not to permit the prosecution of Bolling and others for libel "ended the era of a supervised press in colonial Virginia."
As quoted by Lemay, the Rev. Jonathan Boucher summed up the Chiswell matter as follows: Chiswell "had in a strange fit of aristocratic insolence . . . run his sword through the body of a Mr. Routledge and killed him.For this he was taken up, but bailed in a very extraordinary manner; and in a still more extraordinary manner was found dead, it was never known how, the night before the trial was to come on."