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A Pardon is a grant of forgiveness for a crime and the penalty associated with it. It is awarded by a head of state, such as a monarch or president, or by a competent church authority.


  • Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior; for it is a prince's part to pardon.
  • If blasted hopes and ruin'd name,
    And all the venom Love lends Shame —
    The violent death, and rabble eye,
    To look upon its agony ;
    If these are not enough to win
    A pardon for Earth's deadliest sin,
    Words will not, cannot! — never dare
    Tell me it may be won by prayer !
    The coward prayer, the coward tear,
    Not from remorse wrung, but from fear!

Letitia Elizabeth Landon, The New Monthly Magazine (1831 part 2) 'The Convict'

  • It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truths announced in the Holy Scriptures, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.


The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)[edit]

Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 187-188; 197, n. 1-2.
  • If you will apply yourself to the King, you may, and there, perhaps, you may find mercy; we must, according to the duty of our places and oaths, give such judgment as the law requires.
    • Jefferies, L.C.J., Hampden's Case (1684), 9 How. St. Tr. 1126.
  • We cannot pardon. We are to say what we take the law to be: if we do not speak our real opinions, we prevaricate with God and our own consciences.
  • Mercy is in the King's breast, but is no part of our province: and therefore your application on that head must be elsewhere.
  • Where a person interposes his interest and good offices to procure a pardon, it ought to be done gratuitously and not for money.
    • Lord Eldon, C.J., Norman r. Cole (1801), 3 Esp. 253.
  • Where the King has no share, and the King's Serjeant or Attorney-General prosecute not, and the King's name is not so much as mentioned, and only by the Commons of England, which the Courts Westminster cannot punish ; it is you that have the interest in the suit, and all the Commons of England.
    • Sir Francis Wilmington, Proceedings against Thomas Earl of Danby, Grey's "Debates," Vol. VII. 167. See also 11 How. St. Tr. 786.
  • It is the duty of the Lord Chancellor's place, if he thought it not a good pardon, to inform the King of it.
    • Per Serjeant Ellis, Proceedings against Thomas Earl of Danby for high treason (1678—1685), 11 How. St. Tr. 773.
  • The regular way of of pardons is by the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General. &c. They are men of the law, and might stop it in their office, and the rest of the offices, &c . . . . To pardon before trial, when the King knows not what fact he is to pardon, is a dangerous precedent. . . . The King cannot pardon a man, an impeachment depending.
    • Serjeant Ellis, Proceedings against Thomas Earl of Danby for high treason (1678—1685), 11 How. St. Tr. 773, 774.
  • Raleigh: Oh my lord, you may use equity.
    Popham, C.J. : That is from the King; you are to have justice from us.
    • Trial of Sir Walter Haleigh (1603), 2 How. St. Tr. 16.
  • Sequi debet potentia justitiam non praecedere: Power should follow justice, not precede it.
    • 2 Inst. 454. How. St. Tr. 341.
  • May one be pardoned and retain the offence?
    • Shakespeare, " Hamlet.

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