Monday, August 03, 2009

Being Al Jolson Was a Capital Crime

The England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892, at offer examples of the 222 offenses that led to the gallows.

Going out at night with a blackened face or impersonating a Chelsea Pensioner wouldn't appear to be crimes to rank alongside murder or treason.

But for one savage century they were among hundreds of offences that all carried the death penalty.

The penal code of the time became known as the Bloody Code and until now evidence of its grim toll on the criminal classes of the 19th century has been shut away in ageing registers in the National Archives. [Link]

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