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Broadside entitled 'Execution!'



A Full and Particular Account of the Execution of JOHN WIL-
SON and DUNCAN FRASER, who were Executed at the
Head of Libberton Wynd, Edinburgh, on Wednesday morning
the 28th January, 1824, for Honsebreaking and Theft; with
a particular Account of their Behaviour since their Condemna-
tion and at the place of Execution.

THESE unfortunate young men, JOHN WILSON and DUNCAN FRA-
SER, were tried at Edinburgh, before the High Court of Justiciary, and
a respectable Jury, on Monday the 22d of December last, for Housebreaking
and Theft, aggravated by being habit and repute common Thieves. They were
charged with breaking into the Shop of Mr James Smyth, Tailor and Broker in
St. Mary's Wynd, Edinburgh, on the 8th of October last, and stealing therefrom
a great many articles of Wearing Apparel. To which charge they both pled
Guilty, though repeatedly cautioned by the Lord Advocate, as to the perilous
situation in which they stood, and the serious nature of the charge, upon which
a capital sentence must inevitably follow, it not being his intention to restrict
the libel to an arbitrary punishment. They adhered to their confession of
Guilty, however, which was recorded, and they were duly convicted in terms

The Lord .Justice Clerk, in pronouncing judgment said it was distress
observe, that she offence of housebreaking and theft should be persevered in by
persons arrived at the prisoners' age of maturity and discretion, notwithstand-
ing the examples which had been very recently made, in this very city, of indi-
viduals who had forfeited their lives to the violated laws of their country. It
was still more distressing to observe, that the prisoners belonged to a class of
offenders who laboured under the repute of being habitual thieves, and of hav-
ing been previously convicted of theft. Would to God that they had taken
warning from the example of their first conviction, and that the court had been
spared the pain of inflicting?that the prisoners had been thus happily rescued
from the dreadful necessity of suffering....and that their distressed relatives and
connexions had been saved the affliction of witnessing....the disgraceful punish-
ment of their guilt. His Lordship, under a very evident oppression of feeling,
proceeded. to state that he had that morning seen a letter from the father of the
prisoner, Wilson, which appeared to have been written under all the agony of
mind which a parent might be expected to feel on contemplating the present
disgraceful situation of his son. (This unfortunate lad's parent, we understand,
is now in a mad house of this city, having lost his reason on bearing the con-
demnation of his son.) His Lordship, after recommending the prisoners to
apply, without loss of time, to spiritual counsel and assistance, then read the
sentence of the Court, ordaining the prisoners to be Executed on Wednesday
the 28th January next, between the hours of eight and ten morning.

Accordingly, they were early on Tuesday removed to the Lock-up-House,
where they were waited on by several of their nearest relatious, and the separa-
tion from some of them was most appalling to the most hardened feelings. The
Clergy of the city, as well as the Chaplain of the Jail, and other good Christians
in town, were most attentive and most earnest for their religious instruction
and edification, which they repeatedly and sincerely rcknowledged.

They slept little or none on Tuesday evening, and the Clergyman and offi-
ciating Magistrates waited on them in the Hall of the Lock-up-House, a little
before Eight o'clock on Wednesday morning, when they joined most fervently
in the devotional supplications put up on that occasion. After which, their arms
were pinioned, and the melancholy procession moved up, in a slow and solemn
manner, to the head of Libberton Wynd, attended by a strong detachment of
Police Officers. They appeared on the scaffold, decently dressed, about half-
past eight o'clock, where a psalm was sung, in which they joined, and a most

impressive prayer put up for them to the throne of mercy, by one of the Cler-

gymen present ; during which they appeared most devout and attentive to what
was so eloquently urged in their behalf. Having taken a solemn farewell of
those around them, they mounted the fatal drop, with a little assistance, where
they appeared most fervent in prayerr, while the ropes were adjusting round
the beam. All things being prepared, and having taking farewell of each other,
they dropt the signal, and were launched into eternity about 9 o'clock.

Edinburgh, Printed for Alexander Turnbull. Price One Peany.

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Date of publication: 1824   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(52)
Broadside entitled 'Execution!'
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