The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Trial & Sentences'


Trial & Sentence

Of Samuel Maxwell, James Donelly, Robt. Muir and Alex. Hamilton,
convicted of Breaking into, and Robbing the dwelling house of
Alex. Arniel, farmer at Caplin, in the parish of Neilston, on the I2th
or I3th November, 1819.


This day the High Court of Justiciary met, when
the above prisoners were placed at the bar, who seve-
rally pleaded Not Guilty. The first witness called, was
Mr. Arneil, who stated, that about midnight of the
12th November, 1819, he was roused out of bed by a
loud noise at the door, apparently proceeding from the
effects of some persons pressing against it; that there
were a number of voices demanding admittance in a tu-
multuous manner, and threatening death with the most
awful imprecations, if he refused to let them in; he ac-
cordingly opened the door, and three men, with their
faces covered with red handkerchiefs, one carrying a
light, and had holes cut that their eyes were visible; that
they hurried him along into a narrow passage, and two
of them stood over him, while the others were ransack-
ing the house; that they commanded him to go to bed,
which, through fear, he complied with, and saw one
take down a gold watch and put it into his pocket; they
shortly after went away, but witness was in such confu-
sion, that he was unable to say that any of the prisoners
were the persons. Hamilton had come some days be-
fore on pretence of purchasing potatoes, but went away
without making any bargain; had seen Maxwell in his
house as a travelling packman.

Jane M'William knew the prisoners; heard of the
robbery of Mr. Arneil's, to which, and on the night
previous they in company of Daniel Grant (who was
executed at Glasgow) and James Dollins, came to her
mother's house, and that they came for a sword; they
all seemed connected, but cannot say Donnelly was in
the room at the time, is certain of the others; that she
gave them the sword herself; beard them speaking
among themselves, as if they were hesitating whether
they should go or not; Hamilton said he had been there
and it would do well; another said it was too far, and
received for answer, it was only the length af Barrhead;
they left the house about ten o'clock; thinks she heard
them mention Arniel's name; witness stated that she had
been examined at the Circuit Court of Glasgow, in the
case of Grant and others, for breaking into the house
of Mrs. Watt, and that the sword then mentioned by
her was the same now referred to; that it never came
into the possession of her family since that; Grant came
and asked for it on the night of Mrs. Watt's robbery,
but it was then still in possession of Maxwell, &c.; be-
fore going out to Arniel's house she beard one of them

say, " what did he think of it," to which ha made an-
swer, " that it was really a rich booty to be expected;''
identified the prisoner's as having seen them in her mo-
ther's, and that she did not think it proper at the time
to inform the police.

James Dollins, an accomplice, was, after an admoni-
tion from the Lord Justice Clerk, examined, and stated
that he knew all the panne's. that he was present at the
housebreaking at Mr. Arniel's, which took place in the
same week in which M' Kinlay was executed at Glas-
gow, that there were present, besides himself, Samue
Maxwell, Daniel Grant, James Donnelly, Robert Mai
and another named Hamilton, besides a stranger; that
Grant, Donnelly and Maxwell had handkerchiefs about
their heads, and that they went round about the village
of Barrhead, because some of them was known; Grant
was armed with a sword and knife, Maxwell had a pis-
tol; the sword was procured from Jane M'William; it
was arranged that the three who had their faces cover-
ed should go in first, and should give a cough as a signal
for the others to come in: that witness and the stranger
stood at the door; saw Grant and Donnelly in the room
in which there was a light, Maxwell bad a watch, which
appeared to be gold, Donnelly had a bundle, Grant car-
ried the sword; when they left the house they heard
some noise, and thought they were followed; they took
over the muir until they came to Johnston road, when
three of them went away; Maxwell gave them 3, one
each, and said they should have a full share when the
whole was divided, which he thought would be one or
two more; that they came to Bridgend and went into a
house; Maxwell and Donnelly took the watch and went
out and sold it, witness got 2 for his share of the
booty, which was paid by Maxwell next; witness iden-
tified the sword.

Several ether witnesses corroborated the above evi-
dence, and the Jury returned a verdict finding the
charge against Muir and Donelly Not Proven; and
Maxwell and Hamilton Guilty, when they were sen-
tenced to be HANGED at Edinburgh on the 17th day
of January next. Maxwell cenfessed his guilt, but de-
clared that none of his fellow prisoners bad any thing
to do with the robbery, and hoped that Hamilton's
life would be spared. Hamilton was recommended to
mercy by the Jury, and wept bitterly on hearing the
sentence pronounced.

Printed by John Muir, Glasgow.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1820   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(016)
Broadside entitled 'Trial & Sentences'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland