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Broadside concerning the execution of Christian Sinclair for commiting murder


An Account of Christian Sinclair, Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday
last, for Murder, with her Behaviour at the Place of Execution.

THIS unfortunate old woman was found Guil-
ty of the Horrid and Cruel Murder of her
Brother's illegitimate infant daughter, by a respect-
able Jury, on Monday the 22nd day of November
last, before the High Court or Justiciary, at Edin-
burgh, and Sentenced to be executed at the west
end of the Tolbooth of that City, and her body,
after hanging the usual time to be deilvered to the
Professor of Anatomy of the university to be pub-
licly dissected. The circumstances, as proved on the
trial were, That Jean petrie, residing in kirkwall,
parish of St Ola, and country of Orkney, was diliver-
ed of a female child in august 1812, and said that
thomas Sinclair, also residing there, a married man,
and brother to Christian Sinclair, the prisoner, was
the father. The child was a stout healthy infant,
as was much remarked for its growth. About a
month after the child was born, christian Sinclair
called upon Jean Petrie, the mother and brought
a little corn; but neither of them spoke about the
father of the child ; Jean Petrie being afraid of her
life, as christian sinclair was a very passionate and
violent tempered woman. she called on Jean Petrice again, on wedeusday the 28th April last; about sevan
oclock in the evening and sat down in the house,
the child being quite well and sitting down in the
cradle at the time, she sent the child's mother out
for a bottle if Ale, and while thus absent and no-
other person being in the house, she wickedly forc-
ed quantity of arsenic which she had previously
procured evidently for that purpose, down
the infant's throat, who, when its mother returned
turned the child crying pitsously as in great pain, and
began to retch and vomit, which margaret sin-
clair immediately covered with ashes saying the
child had a filthy throat. In a very short time she
went away, and at the door returned twice, to tell
Jean Petrie, not to let any person know that she
had been there. The mother instancy called in
her nearest neighbour, Margaret Ballantyne, who
had see the child in good health and spirits, only
a quarter of an hour after Christian Sinclair had
been there, and who was much surprised at seeing
the child look so ill. Mr John Edgar, a professional
gentleman, was immediately sent for, who ordered
an emetic, and preserved the contents of the stom-
ach for examination; but, notwithstanding, the
child languished in great agony till about four
o'clock next Morning, when it died. The body
was then opened and exhibited the symtoms of
having died in consequence of a mineral poison
having been administered, which was found to be
arsenic. Margarat sinclair appears to have been

early determined on destroying this innocent babe
as she had applied first to a Marjory Scatter, resid-
ing in Kirkwall, who likewise had a child to her
brother, the said Thomas Sinclair, so far beck as
the beginning of January 1813, four months before
the deed was committed, for poison for the rats, as
she alledged, but who did not succeed. MrEric Grant,
to whom she had gone to purchase some; having
refused to give her any, without a line from some
respectable man. Happy would it have been for
this depraved and wicked woman, if she had then
given up her infernal intention, and seriously
thought on amending her conduct and manner of
living in the world ; but no! the Devil is seldom baf-
fled, when once he gets a firm hold of the human
heart. Upwards of a month after, viz. on the 7th of
February following, she again applied to William
Petrie, a cooper in Xirkwall, for rats poison, and
prevailed upon him to buy her some from the same. Mr
Grant, as if for his own use in the shop. He ac-
cordingly bought a sixpence worth of arsenic from
Mr Grant, to whom he gave a receipt for the same,
which he, in two days after, delivered to Margaret
Sinclair, tied up in a small parcel as he got it, and
which she, most unfortunately, used in Murdering
a harmless innocent infant, in the way above stated.
Thus coolly and deliberately, violating the most
sacred law of her country, as well as of the most
high God, forfeiting her natural life to pacify
the one, and endangering the salvation of her im-
mortal soul part redemption, which cannot satisfy
the other. All these circumstance were more fully
stated, and most impartially proved, at her trial,
where she appeared very hardened and unconcerned.
Even after the awful Sentence of the law was pro-
nounced, she did not seen, in the smallest degree,
sensible of her melancholy and lamentable situation,
since her confinement she was visited by seve-
ral Clergymen of the City, and Mr Porteous, the
chaplin of the Tolbooth, has been indefatigable in
his excrtions to bring her to a proper sense of duty,
and in administering spiritual comfort to her im-
mortal soul.. She Was brought to the Scaffold this
day, Wednesday 29th december 1813, supported
by a man on each side, and instantly mounted the
drop. The Executioner then placed the Rope round
her neck, and gave her a handkerchief, which she
was to use as a signal, and which she dropped be-
fore he could come off the platform. She was in-
stantly launched into eternity, about half past three
o'clock amidst a very great concourse of spectators.
After hanging the usual time her body was left
down and delivered over for dissection.

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Date of publication: 1813   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(4)
Broadside concerning the execution of Christian Sinclair for commiting murder
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