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Broadside entitled 'Execution of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'






A Full, True, and Particular Account of the
Execution of David Dobie and John Thom-
son, for the Murder and Robbery of Mar-
garet Paterson, near Gilmerton, on the
night of Saturday the l7th of April, 1880,
and who, in pursuance of the Sentence of
the High Court of Justiciary, were hanged
at the head of Libberton's Wynd, Edin-
burgh, on the morning of Wednesday the
18th August, 1830, and their bodies after-
wards given to Dr Monro, for public dissec-

The Execution of these two unfortunate
men took place this morning, Wednesday the
18th August, on the scaffold erected for the
purpose, at the head of Libberton's Wynd.

The enormous, unheard of Crime of which
the unhappy culprits were convicted, is set
forth, in so far as due regard to public decen-
cy permits, in the following abstract of the
Indictment on which the prisoners were
tried and found guilty : ?

That albeit, by the laws of this and every
other well governed realm, Rape; as also As
sault, more especially when committed with
intent to Ravish ; as also Murder ; as also
Robbery ; are crimes of an heinous nature, and
severely punishable : yet true it is and of ve-
rity, that you the said John Thomson and
David Dobie did, both and each, time afore
said, at or near the part of the road, &c. &c,
wickedly and feloniously attack and assault
the said Margaret Paterson, and did strike her
several severe blows with your fists, and kick
her on the head and sides, and other parts of
her body, whereby she was rendered insensi-
ble, and did?[Here again the words of the
indictment are unfit for publication. They
describe particularly the soul harrowing atro-
cities of the monsters, in forcing into the bo
dy of their already brutally maltreated and
insensible victim, three rough cornered pieces
of stone a number of small pieces of coal, a
quantity of coal dust, a quantity of hay, and
the bone of the corsets of the deceased !!!
or some other instrument unknown. And
having mentioned the dreadful lacerations and
wounds thus produced, the indictment went
on]? Of the injuries so inflicted, or of one or
other of them, the said deceased Margaret
Paterson languished till her death : LIKEAS
the said John Thomson and David Dobie did,
both and each, or one or other of you, time
aforesaid, &c. &c., wickedly and feloniously
rob the said deceased Margaret Paterson, and
did take from her by force and violence, a
small tin box, two pawn tickets for gowns,
one pledged for 8s. 6d. and the other for 4s,
the more particular description of the said
pawn tickets being to the prosecutor unknown,
8s. 6d. or thereby in silver money, a key, a
checked cotton or muslin handkerchief, a
green shawl, a coarse towel, some pieces of
card or pasteboard, and some pieces of bread
and meat being all the property or in the
lawful possession of the said deceased Marga-
ret Paterson.

The behaviour of the Prisoners in jail, since
their condemnation, has been generally peni-
tent and resigned. The following letter, said
to have been written by Dobie to his wife,
breathes a spirit perfectly becoming a man in
his awful situation.

"Dear Wife- I write these lines to you,
hoping you may receive some consolation from
them. This is the only comfort that I can be-
stow, to let you know the state of my mind ;
although my guilt does stare me in the face,
I trust God will be merciful to me a humble
penitent; although my hands are stained with
the blood of the innocent, I trust the blood of
Christ will wash me from all my guilt.

" I am quite resigned to my fate; I forgive
all mine enemies, and I trust they will also
forgive me ; I die in peace with all men. You
will not have the melancholy satisfaction of
laying my body in the dust; but I beg as a
last request that you do not grieve on that
account, as these dry bones may yet live to
future glory, where man cannot scatter.
Shew this letter to the aged father of Mar-
garet Paterson, whose hoary head we have
brought with sorrow to the grave. We sin-
cerely implore his forgivenness, which is a
poor consolation for the loss of a daughter he
held so dear, which, by our wicked hearts has
left him to bewail the loss of a child, and you
a faithless husband.

" Give my last respects to all my friends
and comrades, and to the grace of God I leave
them and you for ever.?Farewell."

The Prisoners were brought over from the
Calton Jail to the Lock-up house, exactly at
a quarter past five o'clock last night. They
were dressed in shabby blue coats, the same
as they wore during their trial, and they
looked very dejected, and pale,?the colour
having forsaken the cheeks even of Dobie.

During the night, the unhappy men spent
a considerable time in devotion, and they ex-
pressed themselves to be as resigned to their
fate, as they were apparently penitent.

At the usual hour of eight o'clock in the
morning, the dismal procession moved from
the Lock up-house to the Scaffold.


Further Particulars of their behaviour on
the Scaffold.

The Rev. Dr Lee gave out the 40th Psalm,
in which both Dobie and Thomson joined
with firm and clear voices. Thomson was the
image of perfect resignation?composed, tran-
quil, and seemingly even satisfied. Dobie was
as usual restless, and looked frequently round
him at the people. He had recovered his colour
since last night.

After the Psalm was sung, the Rev. Dr Lee
made a long and impressive prayer, fervently
imploring the divine blessing and mercy on
the assembled multitude, and more especially
on the unhappy culprits whose lives were for-
feited to the outraged laws of their country.
Some parts of the Reverend Doctor's prayer
fixed Dobie's attention, in spite of his restless-

After the conclusion of the prayer, the
wretched men were placed on the drop, The
rope was first adjusted round the neck of
Thomson, who immediately began to pray
fervently in a loud distinct voice. He was
evidently wholly engrossed in devotion.
Dobie continued to talk earnestly and with
his usual restlessness to those around him for
some time.

When the rope was at length put round
Dobie's neck,?he also began to pray loudly
and fervently, many times repeating, ' O,
Lord, have mercy on our souls !' and trembl-
ing just before this, he had asked for and
drunk about half a tumbler of water.

At length, he cried out to Thomson, ' Are
you ready '?' Yes,' was the answer, as soon
as Thomson was sufficiently roused from the
abstraction of his devotion to hear him. They
then cordially shook hands with one another,
and Dobie, who held the signal, threw it
down, and they were launched into eternity
a little before half past eight o'clock.
Both the wretched men struggled for about
four minutes.

There was an immense concourse of specta-

After hanging the usual time, the bodies of
the malefactors were cut down, to be deliver-
ed for dissection, in pursuance of their sen-

FORBES and OWEN, Printers, 115 High Street.

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Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(66)
Broadside entitled 'Execution of the Gilmerton Murderers, Dobie and Thomson'
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