A Minister Extraordinary Taking Passage & Bound On a Foreign Mission to the Court of His Satanic Majesty! by Henry Robinson

A Minister Extraordinary Taking Passage & Bound On a Foreign Mission to the Court of His Satanic Majesty! by Henry Robinson

This colored print depicts a man, Reverend Ephraim Avery (1799-1869), being rowed across a river by demons. A young woman on the left bank is hanging by her neck from a fence with a note at her feet on a farm. On the right bank are two demons, a figure and a body in a cauldron. The scene is based on the murder in Bristol, Rhode Island of a pregnant Fall River mill girl, Sarah Maria Cornell (1802-1832), which was sensationalized in the press and resulted in a jury trial in Newport concluding with an unpopular acquittal of Avery, who was a Methodist Minister. Sarah Cornell was the daughter of Lucretia and James Cornell, but her father had abandoned the family when she was a baby, and the girl was a troubled teen, frequently in trouble for theft and “inappropriate” behavior. She worked in various mills, and became a Methodist while working in Slaterville, RI 1823-1826. While working in Lowell, Massachusetts she met Reverend Ephraim Avery, a married man. They allegedly were together at the Methodist Camp Meeting, August 1832. Cornell left several incriminating letters concerning Reverend Avery amongst her belongings, but after the autopsy confirmed her pregnancy, the original cause of death of suicide was abandoned in favor of a murder investigation. The trial resulted in very negative press for the Methodist Church, particularly after Avery was acquitted and Cornell’s body was forbidden burial in a Methodist cemetery due to her “promiscuity and fornication.” Her body was moved several times before a final burial at Oak Grove Cemetery, in Fall River, where Lizzie Borden, another high profile murder principal, is also buried.
This print was produced by Henry R. Robinson, who was a caricaturist and lithographer in New York City. He was listed as a carver and gilder from 1833-34, as a caricaturist from 1836-43 and as a lithographer and print publisher from 1843-51. Henry Robinson was known for political prints that championed the causes of the Whig Party (which later merged with the Republican Party) and satirized the opposing Democratic Party. New York state historian Peter C. Welsh has called Henry Robinson the "Printmaker to the Whig Party".
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Cornell, Sarah Maria
Avery, Ephraim K.
Robinson, Henry R.
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
lithographic process (overall production method/technique)
ink (overall material)
image: 9 in x 16 in; 22.86 cm x 40.64 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1830-1839
Political Caricatures
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Peters Prints
Domestic Furnishings
Morality & Religious Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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