In the armies of France, this signified an apology for some injury done to another or satisfaction given for an offense committed against the rules of honor or military etiquette.
It was also applied to an infamous kind of punishment inflicted upon traitors, parricides, or sacrilegious persons in the following manner: The offender being delivered into a the hands of the hangman, his shirt stripped off, a rope put about his neck, and a taper in his hand; then he was led into the court, where he begged pardon of God, the court, and his country. Sometimes punishment ended there; but sometimes it was only a prelude to death, or banishment to the galleys.
Related term(s): None
Category: Government and Law
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 19-20.