BRITAIN, Jonathan.

The Trial of Jonathan Britain, capitally convicted of Forgery, May the 2d, 1772, at the Guildhall in the City of Bristol, before Henry Bright, Esq; Mayor; John Dunning, Esq; Recorder; and other his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer, at the General Gaol Delivery for the said City and County.

Published: Bristol: printed by S. Farley.

Date: [ 1772 ]

15, [1]pp; 4to. A burn to top margin of pp.6-14, has affected a handful of words on pp. 9-12. BOUND IN: A Broadside dated Bristol, May 16, 1772: The Dying Speech and Confession of Jonathan Britain; his name at end with witnesses, sworn at Bristol 15th Day of May, 1772, Henry Bright, Mayor. Chipped with v. sl. loss of letters at foot, leading edge creased. Apparently issued together, the two works are in orig. sugar paper wrappers; spine worn, rear wrapper creased & holed.

ESTC T176402 recording 8 copies, not in the British Library. The broadside is an unrecorded and fragile survival. Britain forged several drafts in Bristol and Reading. As a diversion, he claimed to have been involved in setting fire to the dockyard at Portsmouth (July 1770) and requested a promise of a pardon if he surrendered himself and his accomplices; this was granted by way of an advertisement in the London Gazette. In his ‘Dying Speech’, Britain declares ‘that I know no more about the Fire at Portsmouth, than any other person whatsoever’. Britain also admits following the King but ‘I, in Fact, never meant to shoot or hurt the Person of his Majesty...True, I had a loaded pistol in my pocket...’ Britain accuses Lord Mansfield of being a traitor and Lord Faulconbridge ‘being a Catholic, of harbouring the supposed Parties concerned in Portsmouth Fire.’


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