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

Broadside concerning the trial and sentence of Reverend Joseph Robertson and William Pearson


A Particular Account of the Trial and Sen,
tence of the Rev, Joseph Robertson, and
W. Pearson, accused of Falshood, Fraud &
Forgery, and of celebrating unlawful mar-
riages, on Wednesday March 18, 1818.

ON Wednesday came on the trial
of the Rev. Joseph Robertson,
minister of the gospel in Edinburgh
and William Pearson, spirit-dealer
in Canongate, accused of falsehood,
fraud, and forgery, and of celebrat-
ing unlawful marriages.

The pannels, as we stated on a
former day, had pleaded not guilty,
and having again adhered to that
plea, a Jnry was chosen, and the
trial proceeded. Alexander Ross
sesson clerk of North Leith ; knows
Mr. Robertson, he never but once
applied to the witness for a certifi-
cate of proclomation of bam and
that was about three years ago.
And being shown a certificate in
name of Mooney a soldier in the
88th regiment, and a Girl named
Mr. Pherson, he declares it to be a
forgery and the name Alexander
Ross, at the bottom of it not to be
the witness's hand writing : and a
certificate in favour of a soldier of
the 88th, named Fitzgerald, and a

girl named Urquhart, shown to him;

he also declares to be a forgery.

Alexander Ross, jun. son of the
preceding witness, also declared,
that the two certificates are not the
writing of his father.

Sarah Urquhart, late servant to
Mr. Grant of Rothiemurchus Wit,
ness was married in October last
to Edward Fitzgerald, a private in
the 88th Regiment, by the Rev,
Mr. Robertson, She and her hus-
band, with Mooney and Margere:
M 'Pherson, called upon Mr R. on
on a Sunday, about 11 o'clock, and
told him they wanted to be married,
he said he would do nothing then
        as he was going to church, but told
them to come back at one o'clock.
They returned at that hour, and
Mr R. shewed them into a little
room, and said he would send his
maid servant along with the men to
a place where they would get
lines. The men went away for the
lines, and came lack, saving they
had been refused them. Mr R.
then desired them to go to one Pear-
son's and perhaps he might get lines
tor them. They accordingly went
down to Pearson's; and the men
went into the house, and Pearson
went with them to endeavour to get
marriage lines. They went along
the South Bridge, but the men
came back, saying they had been
refused lines there already. They
went down to Pearson's, and shortly
after Mr R. came and said he did
not know What to do with them.
Pearson said to him he dared to say he might
marry them, for be might recollect that they
had got a thing of that kind done before,
and had got the lines after, and had sent
them after the parties. Mr R. said he
thought he recollected that they had done
that ; and Pearson and Mr R. then walk-
ed into another room, leaving the witness and
the other three by themselves. Pearson

came back, and asked 7s 6d. from each cou-
ple to get the marriage lines. The men
had not so much money, but Pearson said,
the parson could not think of doing it unite
they got the money ; and said that if they
would be quick and get it, he would remain
as he was not in a hurry. Witness and the o-

ther girl went for the money , and were not

many minutes absent; when they came back

Mr R.was sitting with the two men, and

writing the little lines he gave them. Fits-

gerald gave 7s 6d for each of the lines, and
5s 10 Mr R. who put it in his pocket, giv-
ing the 15s to Pearson to get the lines, Pear-
son said that if they would call at either his
house or Mr Robertson's, any day after
Monday, the lines would be ready for them.
They were then married, and Mr. R. gave
witness a line, certifying that she and Fits-
gerald were married before witnesses. On
Tuesday or Wednesday after the marriage,
the other girl, M 'Pherson, went for the lines
but Mr R. said they could not get them un-
less the whole four were present, and the men
were at Perth. M ' Pherson wrote to the
men, who answered and told her to go to
Mr R. and demand the lines or the money.
Witness and M 'Pherson then went to Mr R.
and showed him the letter and he told them
to go to Pearson, which they did, and
said he was afraid they could not get them
but desired them to call upon him to-mor-
row, when he would try and get them ; they
called again at Pearson's next day, and he
said he had got them, and desired them to
go to Mr R.'s. and he would follow. They
went to Mr R.'s and he said he was very
happy they had got; the lines, and Pearson
immediately came in. Mr R. then took the
lines, and wrote something on them.
Pearson said that they were indebted to him.
for the trouble he had had, but Mr R. said
he had better give them something than take

any thing from them.

    Edward Fitzgerald, Private in the 88th

regiment, gave similar evidence as to the

marriage betwixt him and the preceding

witness.   When he went first to Mr R. he
asked him if he had a line from his officer,

and he said no; he desired him to come

back at one o'clock, when he sent his ser-
vant maid along with witness and Moony
to one Paisley, the Session clerk, who re-
fused to give the lines, because witness had

no line from his commanding officer. Upon

returning to Mr R. he said he did not
know what to do with them, as it was most-
ly beyond his power to marry them. He
then gave witness a line to Pearson, and
said he might be apt to get the lines for
them. Pearson said he would do every
thing in his power to get Mr R. to marry
them, and desired the whole four to come
down to his house at four o'clock, and Mr
R. would be there. After four o'clock the
whole went to Pearson's, and he and Mr

R. went into a room, and had some conver

sation. Pearson then came and asked if
they were ready, witness answered they were,
and Mr R. then came into the room. Mr
R. then desired them them to leave 7s 6d.
a piece for the lines, and 2s 6d a piece for
the marriage, The two women then went
away for the money, and parties were


       Margaret Macpherson corroborated, in

every particular, the testimony of Sarah

Urquhart , and John Monney , private in

the 88th , gave similar evidence to that of


   After some remarks from the Lords Suc-
coth and Reston. Lord Gillies addressed
the prisoners on the nature of their crime.
He then sentenced both prisoners to three

months confinement in the Jail of Canongate

and Mr Robertson thereafter to be banish-
ed Scotland for life, in terms of the statuto
and Pearson for the period of fourteen years
with the usual certifications.

Edinburgh: Printed for R. Lindsay,


previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1818   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(5)
Broadside concerning the trial and sentence of Reverend Joseph Robertson and William Pearson
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland