The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack

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Today in History: Hatfield Attempts to Assassinate George III

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 15, 2018 at 7:30 AM

On this day (May 15) in 1800, James Hatfield attempted to assassinate King George III of England out of the belief that if he himself were killed, it would help bring about the second coming of Christ. So he tried to murder the king so that he, himself, would be executed. His lawyer successfully demonstrated that eight saber wounds to the head that Hatfield had received in war six years earlier had driven him into a delusional state. Parliament passed the Criminal Lunatics Act of 1800 to make it possible to legally confine Hatfield after his acquittal. He spent the rest of his life in Bethlem Royal Hospital—except for the brief period when he escaped and tried to flee to France.

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