Jan 13 1812: John Mitchell

The unfortunate story of John Mitchell can be found in the article Terror of Example” Crime and Punishment in the British Army in 1812 Part One: Capital Punishment by Robert Henderson found here in the War of 1812 Website.  Henderson writes:
In the early 1800s, each British soldier was in the unenviable position of being answerable to two sets of laws.  According to the Mutiny Act, being part of the army did not exempt a soldier from the civil laws of the locality he was stationed in. [1]   In committing a crime a soldier ran the risk of both civil and military legal consequences for the same unlawful act.   Take for example the case of Private John Mitchell who in July 1811, while stationed in Quebec City, was caught with money and goods that were not his.  The stolen goods must have been substantial because the Regimental Court Martial ordered 600 lashes which were twice as many as other theft cases.  In addition all the lashes were inflicted and none were pardoned. [2]   A few months later in civil court, Mitchell was found guilty of burglary and was hanged. [3]   Officers also faced the risk of execution in civil courts for, as an example, the crime of duelling. [4]  
In this time, both military and civil punishments for crimes were designed “to deter by the terror of example.” [5]   In civil courts a guilty verdict for crimes like theft, forgery, embezzlement, treason, and murder, often ended with a trip to the gibbet (hangman’s scaffold or gallows).  Once there, usually on a Monday morning, a white cap was placed on the criminal’s head, the arms and legs were bound and the hangman tied the noose around the guilty party’s neck.   The trap- door opened and the sentenced individual was dispatched to the hereafter. [6]    Likely because of a common belief that the lifeless individual could be resuscitated shortly after being hung, the executed person was left to hang for an hour.  After this the corpse was cut down and, since 1752, was sent to the local medical academy to be dissected. In extreme cases of treason, the hangman was sometimes ordered to sever the head and display it to the crowd watching as a warning to others.   The gibbet was England’s chief deterrent for keeping order in society and became a spectacle of perverse entertainment to the curious.

In a footnote, Henderson adds more detail about Mitchell being baptized:
[3] Quebec Mercury January 13th, 1812. On the same day his sentence was reported in the newspaper, the 23 year old John Mitchell was baptized in the Anglican Cathedral.  Whether it was common to baptize condemned prisoners before their execution is unknown.   Quebec City . Anglican Cathedral Registers 1803-18. MGM-0113.

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