Description

    On a legal technicality, King George IV pardons a mother convicted of killing her infant son.

    King George IV Manuscript Document Signed "George R" at head of first page, two pages, 7.75" x 12.5", front and verso. Our Court at Carlton House, February 24, 1820. Paper seal affixed at the left margin. Countersigned "Sidmouth" as Home Secretary. Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, was Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1801-1804. He was created Viscount in 1805. George had become Prince Regent in 1811 under the Regency Act which permitted him to rule while his father was incapacitated. When George III died on January 29, 1820, just 26 days before this document was issued, his son became King George IV. Frances Clark had been "tried and convicted of the wilful Murder of George Lakeman Clark and Judgment of the same was respited for the Opinion of Our Judges: We in consideration of a Report made to Us therefore, are graciously pleased to Extend Our Grace and Mercy unto her, and to Grant her Our Free Pardon for her said Crime...to be forthwith discharged out of custody..." This document is addressed "To Our Trusty and Welbeloved Our Justices of Gaol Delivery for the Western Circuit; - The High Sheriff of the County of Devon and all others whom it may concern." From A Complete Practical Treatise on Criminal Procedure, Pleading and Evidence, In Indictable Cases by Thomas W. Waterman (New York: Banks, Gould & Co., 1853): "On the indictment of Frances Clark, for the murder of 'George Lakeman Clark, a base-born infant male child,' it appeared in evidence that the deceased child was a bastard son of the prisoner, and that she murdered it, as charged in the indictment, but that the child was christened George Lakeman, being the name of its reputed father, and that it was called George Lakeman, and not by any other name known to the witnesses, and that the prisoner called it George Lakeman; the judges held that as the child had not obtained his mother's name by reputation, he was improperly called Clark in the indictment, and as there was nothing but the name to identify him in the indictment, the conviction could not be supported." Except for a half-inch by 2" blank portion torn out at the bottom edge, the document is in fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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