Trial and Sentence!
A True and Particular ACCOUNT of the TRIAL and SENTENCE of
JANET DOUGLAS, who is to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednes-
day the 15th Day of October next, for Child Stealing!!!
AT Edinburgh, on Monday last, the 8th day of
September, 1817, came on, before the High
Court of Justiciary, the Trial of JANET DOU-
GLAS, accused of Plagium, or Man-Stealing, The
Indictment set forth, that the pannel did, upon Mon-
day the 12th day of May last, wickedly steal and bar-
barously carry away Margaret Reach, a child betwixt
three and four years of age, the daughter of James
Reach, mason at King's stables, in the parish of St.
Cuthberts, Edinburgh, from the house of her father,
or from some place in the vicinity thereof; and being
pursued soon after the said inhuman theft was perpe-
trated, she was apprehended at the colliery of Hal-
heath, in the county of Fife, upon Wednesday the
13th day "of the said month of May, having the said
child in her custody.
To this indictment the pannel pleaded Not Guilty.
James Reach, mason at King's stables, has three
children, his daughter Margaret is betwixt three and
four years of age. On the 12th of May, being a
Monday, on coming home to dinner his wife told him
his daughter Margaret was lost. Witness went to
enquire at the Police Office; sent the town crier
through, but could get no information concerning her.
Next morning, about four oclock, rose and went to-
wards Whitehouse Toll, from thence to Leith, and
enquired at the Police Office there if they had seen a
strayed, child; got no information; returned home;
was told the child was certainly stolen ; went on the
Queensferry road ; enquired at every house, and some
women at a barn thought they saw a woman with a
child of the description he gave the day before, the
toll-man at Craigleath told him the same ; came to a
Miss Marshall's, who told him she had given a woman
with a child, who said she had come from the Cape of
Good Hope, a penny to help her over the Ferry.
Witness went to the Ferry, and found a woman and
a child had passed, but the boatman said he thought
the child was at the breast; and that he had taken
her over gratis. Witness returned to Miss Marshall's
and stated he did not think the child was his ; told
him to go a porter's lodge, where he got farther infor-
mation, and crossed the Ferry, went to a man who
had seen the woman with a child, who said she was
going to Dumferline, went to a magistrate, who or-
dered the lodgings to be searched. A man gave him
some information, and be went to Halheath, and
found the child in a house, but the woman was not.
She was out for some necessaries, and upon her return
he asked her where she had got the child, she said she
had got it at Edinburgh from her aunt. The child
had all its clother, but bonnet and slip, which it said
was in the woman's bundle, the child said that a wo-
man had taken her from Logan's entry, gave her
some sweatmeats, and said she would take her to her
grandmother. The woman said she had given her
child to her aunt to nurse, and had got this one in its
place; and if she was in Edinburgh, she would soon
clear herself. The pannel at the bar is the woman ;
he got a warrant and took her into custody. When
taken before a magistrate she acknowledged she had
stolen the child. When the child saw witness it ex-
pressed great joy, and took him round the neck and
Marion Brown, wife of the preceding witness, stat-
ed that the child left the house about half eleven o'
clock to go to a neighbour's house; she did not go
there, and every search was made for her, and wit-
ness did not see her till two days afterwards, when
her father brought her home, saying he had found her
at Halbeath Colliery ; the child was dressed in a light
frock, a green bonnet, and checked pin-afore.
Helen Brotherston, wife of John Anderson, labour-
er at Bell's mills, recollects the pannel coming to her
house on Monday, with a child, asking liberty to take
off her shoes and stockings, as it was a bad day, said
the child was her own. It. had on a light gingham
frock, and green bonnet. Woman said she was going
to Dunfermline to her father, who kept the head Inn
there. She named the child Jeany. The pannel at
the har, she is quite sure, is the woman,
Grace M'Pherson, wife of William Brown, at Brae-
head, parish of Cramond, recollects a woman with a
child coming to her house on a Monday in May, about
half past three o'clock, she wished to warm the child.
Witness asked her if she had carried the child from
the town, to which she answered she had carried it
from the Cape of Good Hope. Witness gave the
child some broth, but the woman said it could not take
broth with turnips in it. She said the chiln was three
years old, and was born on a new year's morning.
The child was not crying, but looked so pitiful that
witness asked her what ailed her; the woman said
she cried for her mammy, because, when in the Cape
of Good Hope, a woman kept her while she washed
clothes. The pannel at the bar, the witness is quite
sure, is the woman. Witness saw the child when ta
ken home on the father's back.
The Solicitor-General addressed the Jury in a very
few words; and Mr White for the pannel, in which
he endeavoured to show that there was not here a fel-
onious taken away?that pressed with extreme po.
verty and want, the pannel had taken the child for
the purpose of exciting compassion and procuring em-
ployment?that this was clearly proved by her in-
stantly proceeding to the colliery of Hallbeath and
getting into work; and he trusted that, from her
youth and ignorance, she would meet with the mercy
of the Jury.
The Lord Justice-Clerk having summed up the evi-
dence, the Jury without leaving the box, immediately
found the pannel GUILTY.
The Lord Justice-Clerk pointed out the enormity
of the crime she had committed, and sentenced her to
suffer the punishment of death in this City, on Wed-
nesday the 15th of October next.
Edinburgh: Printed for the Booksellers.?PRICE ONE PENNY.
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Date of publication:
1817 shelfmark: 6.314(33)
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