“Acting at the instigation of the devil” was the designation used in english indictments of the early modern period for those heavy criminals as murderers, high traitors, rapists, robbers and burglars who, on conviction, would have faced capital punishment. Although criminals of the above- mentioned kind have at all times haunted the immagination of society , up to now, no sytematical and representative analysis of the subject of capital punishment in the pre- 1718 period, the date of the passage of the so called Transportation Act, has been published. Drawing on the archival resources of one of England`s largest and most heavily populated Assize, the so called Western Circuit, Markus Eder, author of the well received Crime and Punishment in the Royal Navy of the Seven Years` War, 1755-1763 (Aldershot, 2004), unfolds before the reader`s eyes the story of the incidence, nature and punishment of capital crimes during the period 1670-1730. What emerges is the most fully and most representative study on the nature and handling of capital crime in early Modern England.
Table of contents: I. Introduction I.1 Questions and arguments 3, I.2 The socio-economic patterns of the Western Circuit 6, I.3 Relevant Capital Statutes of the period 8 II. The Patterns of Crime and Punishment II.1 Crimes against private Persons or their Property 28, II.2 Crimes against the state 64, II.3 Crimes against God and Religion 70 III.Regional and periodical variability in the Patterns of Crime and Punishment III.1 Regional Variability 83, III.2 Periodical Variability 103 IV.The Policies of Mercy IV.1 Overall pardoning patterns of the period 1670-1730 115, IV.2. Interdependencies between kind of crime and mercy 124, IV.3 Inter-dependencies between gender and mercy 135 , IV.4 Interdependencies between circumstances of crime and mercy 142 V.Conclusion 156, Select bibliography 164, Index 167, A Note on the Data 174
At the Instigation of the Devil
Capital Punishment and the Assize
Publication date: 26/10/2010
Use of Capital punishment in early modern England
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