An Account of the Trial and Sentence
of Thomas Black, and John Reid
two Boys, who are to be Executed at
the head of Libertons Wynd Edin.
on Wednesday the 10th day of Dec.
next, for House breaking and Robbery
in the Neighbourhood of Leith.
Tuesday, 4th November, 1823. This day came on before the
High Court of Justiciary the Trial of John Reid, and Thomas
Black, accused of having, on the night of the 24th of June, 1823,
broke into the house of Mr Alexander White, merchant in Leith,
at Summerfield, in the parish of South Leith, and stolen therefrom
thirteen tea spoons, six toddy ladles, a sauce spoon and a divider,
all of silver; also a plated gravy spoon, a plated fish knife, plated
wine funnel, a blue coat, an olive surtout, two black pairs of silk
stockings, a night cap, and a musical snuff box, the property of
Mr Alex. White ; also a blue coat ann toilonette vest, the proper-
ty of William White, residing in the above-mentioned house; and
for being habit and repute thieves.
The Prisoners pled Not Guilty, and their declarations were
There was a list of 18 witnesses against the prisoners. From
the evidence of the witnesses who were examined, among whom
Mr White, Margaret Bremner, and Cathrine Farquhar, his two
house servants, were the principal, we have collected the following
particulars. On the evening of the 24th day of June, the house
was broke into, and the above articles carried off; the witnesses
identified part of the articles in the court. Some days previous
to that en which the robbery was committed, one of the witnesses
observed the prisoners lingering about the house and seemingly
taking a narrow inspection of the premises; she observed this to
her neighbour, and next day they both saw the prisoners walking
in the same manner. The pannels entered the house by a window
in the second story, to which they climbed up by the assistance of
a pailing. The officers of Police apprehended the prisoners in the
house of a Mrs Pirric, along with part of the articles; this Mrs
Pir:ie was also a witness on the trial.
After hearing counsel on both sides, the Lord Justice Clerk
summed up the evidence in the most clear and distinct manner ;
he made the observation, that had Mr Whyte awoke and endea-
voured to seize the prisoners, they would in all probability have
become the perpetrators of the still more horrid crime of murder
rather than be taken into custody at the time.
The Jury retired for about half an hour, and returned a verdict
of Guilty, but on acconnt of their youth, recommended them
The prisoners are both very young men, Black appeared to be
about 17, and Reid abont 15 years of age. They appeared very
indifferent during the examination of the witnesses, and the
solemn exhortation they received from the Lotd Justice Clerk
seemed to affect them very much. Black sat with his hat on
during the trial, which is very unusual.
The Lord Justice Clerk then addressed the prisoners at consid-
erable length in the most feeling manner, warning them not to
rely on mercy, but prepare themselves for that awful end to which
their own acts had brought them. He then sentenced them to be
Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday 10th December next.
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1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(287)
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