Difference between larceny & felony in the 19th century

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carolegif | 16:10 Mon 24th Jan 2011 | History
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I have been looking on the Ancestry site at the criminal records and found a few ancestors (luckily not direct lline) who have been naughty boys and girls! Some were charged with larceny and one with a felony, but I thought they were the same.
As they lived in the country I wondered if it was poaching or catching game illegally as they only seem to get 2 & 3 months, some were acquitted.
Two assaulted a Police Officer and got 3 months and 1 acquittal. it is fascinating!
Other people on the page were sentenced to death for stealing and burglary!



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A felony is a general term for a serious crime, larceny is theft.

Interesting stuff though!
Question Author
thanks, but it can't have been that serious or it would have been more than 3 months. perhaps it was drink related!!
If this was at Quarter Session Courts it would depend on the charge the court clerk had drawn up, because the charge then dictated the sentence and the evidence and wight of the witness syayements would give the clerk an idea of which charge to bring.
The crime of larceny was abolished with the introduction of the Theft Act in 1968. At the same time the difference between felony and misdemeanour was also abolished. At one time a felony rendered the culprit liable to capital punishment.
That's right, Mike - the Bloody Code - horse stealing was definitely a capital offence even in the early 1800s.
Carole, in King's Lynn the jury of twelve good men voted to execute two 11-year-old kids who got hung for being wild 'uns.
The good old days......hmmm
Question Author
Still didn't stop children from being wild though did it? Argument against capital punishment there somewhere!
My G.G.Uncle was convicted of Larceny in 1856 he was whipped and imprisoned for 4 months.Didn`t learn his lesson though as in 1857 he had another conviction this time for burglary and Felony, and in 1858 was transported to Australia on the`EDWIN FOX` this time for 20yrs.He never returned after his sentence and died there in 1925.I guess Felony was worse than Larceny.

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