James I's warrant releasing Sir Walter Raleigh from the Tower


James I's (1566-1625) and Sir Walter Raleigh (1552?-1618)
Warrant under the Great Seal, for Sir Walter Raleigh's release from the Tower
January 30, 1617
Folger MS L.b.358

Within four months of James I's accession in 1603, Sir Walter Raleigh, a devoted courtier under Elizabeth I, was accused of high treason and sentenced to death. Although his death sentence was lifted the day before his execution, he spent the next thirteen years imprisoned in the Tower of London. This royal warrant, dated January 30, 1617, is the order for Raleigh's release. Soon after, Raleigh led fourteen ships and 900 men on a disastrous gold-seeking expedition to Guiana. Since Raleigh's conviction of treason had never been removed, upon his return he was escorted back to the Tower and executed.

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This page updated June 27, 2002