Criminal Pardons, 1770

Warrants and Letters relating to Criminals

Between 1615 and 1776, English courts sent almost 55,000 convicts to the American colonies. Of these, approximately 20,000 and 22,000 were sent to Virginia and Maryland respectively.

The penalties for breaking the law in England at the time were harsh: horse-stealing, sheep-stealing (or killing them), cow-stealing, hunting fallow deer, picking pockets, shoplifting, robbery, highway robbery, housebreaking, forgery, burglary, rioting, returning to England before the end of a sentence of transportation, and murder, could all bring a sentence of death. For many convicted criminals the sentence was commuted to transportation to the colonies for 7 or 14 years, or for life.

You may use this to search for pardons, remissions and commutations for criminals in England in the year 1770.

Search terms may be name, crime, sentence, or place of trial/confinement.

Roberts, Richard Arthur, Ed., Calendar of Home Office Papers of the Reign of George III, 1770-1772, Preserved in the Public Record Office (Nendeln, Lichtenstein: Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1967) First Published London: HMSO, 1881.

More information about transported criminals can be found in:
Emigrants in Chains
and:
The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
and:
English Convicts in Colonial America, 1617-1775

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