Old Bailey Proceedings supplementary material. GEORGE BARRINGTON.
15th January 1783
Reference Numbero17830115-1
SentenceImprisonment > hard labour

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GEORGE BARRINGTON was put to the bar, being charged on oath of James Boyick , for not fulfilling the conditions of his Majesty's pardon, granted to him the said George on the 30th of April 1782 , when he addressed the court to the following purport: - My Lord, I trust your Lordship will bear with me a few minutes. I was sentenced to five years hard labour on the Thames: The sentence was, I believe a very rare and severe one; after four years was past, colds that I had repeatedly caught had ulcerated my lungs, and labour often exceeding my strength by day, and putrified air by night, had greatly reduced, and wasted my frame: the surgeons finding that the usual medicines were not sufficient, applied to the superintendant, and obtained a milk and vegetable diet for me; this was a regimen never allowed there, but like extreme unction to those that were at the point of death: growing worse and worse, I petitioned for a remission of my sentence: In consequence of this I was shortly after freely liberated; and whatever reports may have been propogated to my disadvantage, I have done nothing since that day, that a man need be ashamed of: But, my Lord, I have learned that a man whose character has once been blemished, will always be suspected: I was merely for a name apprehended, and some time afterwards I understood that detainers were lodged against me for not fulfilling the conditions of my pardon; I will appeal to the court, whether it was not contrary to every principle of justice, equity, and law, when a very severe sentence was nearly expired, to saddle me with the condition of being transported for ever; of being a fugative for ever from my native country, which would of itself have been considered as a very severe sentence. My Lord, knowing that I had asserted nothing but facts, I subpoened Mr. Campbell, and the surgeons attending the hulks; the surgeons were to speak to the state of my health that I was in a deep decline, and Mr. Campbell, that he might speak to my behaviour. My Lord, no man who has any thing to fear will subpoena his prosecutor, and Mr. Campbell was mine; for these reasons my Lord, I humbly trust that neither prejudices, nor falsehood, nor plausible pretences, nor uncharitable reports, will deprive me of that candor and justice, which so eminently distinguish your Lordship: I trust you will consider my long-sufferings, that my constitution is destroyed by those sufferings; I trust you will consider my behaviour, and the state I now am in, labouring under a nervous fever and shortness of breath.

Court. In point of law, I can do little more then explain to you the situation in which you now stand: upon what grounds his Majesty thought fit to grant you that pardon at all or granting it to annex the conditions, it is not my business to enquire; no doubt his Majesty was actuated by his usual wisdom and goodness; probably it was thought from the offences of which you had before been convicted, that you were an unsafe person to be trusted at large within this kingdom, where you might have formed bad connections, and that it was better for yourself and the publick, that you should leave it, but whatever the motives were, his Majesty's pardon now appears, that pardon is the only excuse that you can have for not being at this moment on board the hulks, to which you were sentenced; the consequence of

your being any where there would be, that this court would be bound by act of parliament, and have no dishonourary power to sentence you to for double the term: you have much of the severity of transporting yourself out of this kingdom, and not returning during your life; but you should observe, that the sentence of banishment, which is the condition of that pardon, of simple banishment; is a much milder sentence than transportation; because, by transportation the place of destination is fixed, and the subject has not a right to go to any other part of the world; nor to that part of the world of his own liberty; but his person is transferred in a state of servitude and slavery during that term; and the property of his service and labour is assigned to the persons who contract with the court: not so with the condition of your pardon; that is only a condition to remove yourself from that society, which you have so grievously offended, and not to return to it again: but whatever might be the motives of his Majesty a pardon is produced as the reason of your being at large; by the condition of which, you were to leave the kingdom within ten days, and never to return; these ten days are expired, and we are in this kingdom; you have therefore broken that condition; it does not follow from any sentence of the court, but it follows from the act and operation of the law itself; which is, that if the condition of his Majesty's pardon is broken, the person to whom that pardon is granted, remains in the same situation that he would have been if that pardon had not been granted; that I conceive to be the clear law: the only enquiry that the court can make, is, what situation you were in at the time of his Majesty's pardon; in that situation you are now; it is a situation of having a certain time to serve on board the lighters; if your ill health is such now, as to render it dangerous for you to serve the time, that will be a reason for your being detained, till you can be with safety removed; or it may be a ground for a further extension of his Majesty's mercy: but at present the consequence of the law must follow; which consequence is, that you remain in the same situation that you were in at the time of his Majesty's pardon; having then a term to serve on board the lighter; that term you have to remain there; and you must now be detained in custody for that purpose; and remanded under your former sentence .

Prisoner. My Lord, my disease is of such a nature, it is not in the power of medicine to relieve me if I go down to that place; and certain death must be the consequence.

Court. It will be some short time before you can at any rate be removed; if you are in a state that renders that removal unsafe, you will not be removed; but you must represent your situation to his Majesty, for the power rests with the King alone.


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