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General Court Martial of John Bayard
King's Remittance of Verdict

Horse Guards 24th July 1778.

I have had the honor of laying before the King the proceedings of a General Court Martial held at New York on Monday the 23d March last and continued by Adjournments ‘till the 29th of April following for the trial of Lieutenant Colonel John BAYARD of the King’s Orange Rangers Charged with having wounded Lieutenant BIRD of the same Regiment, of which wound he died, the determination of which Court Martial is expressed in manner following;

“Saturday March 28th 1778.

“The Court met according to Adjournment & having compared the fair Proceedings “with the foul Copy, and considered the Evidences, the following Questions were put by the Judge “Advocate.

"First Question on the fact.

        “Is the Prisoner Guilty of the fact laid to his Charge Vizt. Wounding Lieut. BIRD of “which wound he died?

        “The Court is of opinion on the above Question. The Prisoner Lieut. Col. BAYARD is “Guilty of wounding Lieut. BIRD of which wound he died.

“Second Question.

        “Is he Guilty of Murder or Manslaughter?

        “The Court is of opinion, the Prisoner Is Guilty of Manslaughter only.

“Third Question.

        “As the Law makes a distinction in Manslaughter, Viz. Voluntary Manslaughter in “heat of Passion, and Manslaughter Se defendendo. Under which of these Predicaments does he “fall?

        “The Court is of Opinion the Prisoner Lieut. Col. Jno. BAYARD is Guilty of Voluntary “Manslaughter in heat of Passion. Therefore do Adjudge the Prisoner Lieut. Col. Jno. BAYARD to be “suspended for three Months.

                                       "John VAUGHAN
                                       "M: Genl. President

   "Dep. Judge Advocate

                       "To be revised
                            "W HOWE

"New York Tuesday April 28th

“The Court met according to Order to revise their Proceedings—Adjourn’d at three “o’Clock to the following day.

“Wednesday April 29th 1778.

“The Court met according to Adjournment and having duly revised the Sentence “they had given, are of opinion that according to Circumstances, the distinction of the Law being “thoroughly considered, they could not have acted otherwise. Yet laying those distinctions aside, and “acting entirely as a Military Court; they are of opinion the Prisoner Lieut. Col. BAYARD, is Guilty of “wounding Lieut. Col. BIRD, of which wound He died. And do therefore Sentence him to be “Cashier’d as Lieut. Colonel of the Orange Rangers.

                                       "John VAUGHAN
                                       "M: Genl. President

And I am thereupon Commanded to Signify to your Excellency, that although the Prisoner Lieutenant Colonel John BAYARD was not expressly arraigned upon a Charge of Murther, yet as the Court Martial appears throughout the Trial to have that point particularly in view and has actually declared him not Guilty of Murther, but of Manslaughter only, the King considers this declaration of the Court, as a compleat Acquittal of the Prisoner from the Crime of Murther, and His Majesty is pleased to confirm the said Acquittal, which seems to be warranted by the Evidence.

The King does not think fit to ratify the opinion of the Court, by which the Prisoner is found Guilty of manslaughter (a distinction peculiar to the Common Law of England) nor the Judgment of the Court, whereby the Prisoner is Sentenced to be Cashiered; but is graciously pleased absolutely to remit the same, and to Order, that the Prisoner Lieutenant Colonel John BAYARD be released from his Arrest.

                             I have the honor to be,
                                       Your Excellency’s most Obedient
                                            and most humble Servant
                                                 Charles GOULD

His Excellency Sir Henry CLINTON &ca &ca &ca

Great Britain, Public Record Office, War Office, Class 71, Volume 54, pages 175–176.

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