————————;'Twas Nature's blunder,
In that so far an outward form should hold,
And wear within a soul so black.
In the following Biography, which will develope, perhaps the most extraordinary circumstances that ever attached to and in one woman, combined to blacken the features of the female character, and to give a form and colour to criminal depravity from which modest virtue and common decency shrink abashed with shame, and at which appalled humanity shudders in blood-freezing horror, a rigid adherence to facts as they occurred will be supported throughout with undevious veracity.
RACHEL CUNNINGHAM, (designated, in allusion to the enormity of her depraved pursuits, "the American Milwood
,") who is the subject of this Memoir, was born at Philadelphia, in the Province of Pensylvania
; her family, though not opulent, was highly respectable, her father being a medical professor of considerable celebrity and practice. In her early years, she evinced an uncommon liveliness and energy of spirit, exhibited an artfulness of disposition that was only equalled by her fascinating vivacity in displaying it,