This manuscript consists of a handwritten copy of the speech made by James Radcliffe, third Earl of Derwentwater, from the scaffold on February 24, 1716. Radcliffe was sentenced to death by King George I because of his participation in the conspiracy to reinstate the Stuarts. In the speech Radcliffe renounced his plea of guilt, affirmed his adherene to the Roman Catholic faith, and professed his loyalty to James III.
James Radcliffe, third Earl of Derwentwater, was born on June 28, 1689 in London. He was the eldest son of Edward Radcliffe, second Earl of Derwentwater, by Lady Mary Tudor, daughter of Charles II and the Actress Mary Davies. Radcliffe spent the greater part of his youth at the exiled court of James Edward, the Old Pretender, at St. Germaine, France. He developed a close friendship with Charles Edward the Young Pretender, often called James III by his supporters.
In 1715 Radcliffe joined in the conspircy to reinstate the Stuarts. The rebellion failed. Derwentwater surrendered and went to London to stand trial. On January 10, 1716 he appeared before the privy council. He pled guilty and begged for mercy, blaming his participation on youth and inexperience. The council denied the plea and sentenced him to death. Radcliffe was beheaded on February 24, 1716. He was one of only two peers executed during the Rising of 1715.