PERTH, Wednesday 17th April 1833.
JOHN Moir was then placed at the bar, accused of
Wilful Fire-raising. The Counsel set up a plea of
insanity-which he proceeded to establish by the evi-
dence of Dr John Stewart, who deponed to his having
at various times an opportunity of examining the
state of the panel's mind?that he had seen him this
morning?that he had also seen him almost every
ten days during the three last years, and he is of
opinion that the panel is not a responsible moral agent
?that he never was perfectly sane, his mind during
the whole of witness's experience of him, being in a
state of imbecility?that he has known him lie in his
bed for ten days at a time ?never knew him read, and
was perfectly incapable of carrying on a connected con-
versation. Dr Malcolm followed, and corroborated
the evidence of the preceding witness.
Lord Moncrieff then proposed that such order should
be taken with the prisoner as would prevent similar
attempts in future. To which Lord Medwyn assented ;
and the panel was removed from the bar to the jail,
there to remain until otherwise disposed of.
MARY CLARK, otherwise DONALDSON, accused of
Theft, aggravated by being habit and repute a thief.
?Pleaded guilty. After a suitable admonition from
the Bench, sentence of seven years' transportation
was pronounced against her.
PETER COUPAR, (from Dundee) charged with
House-breaking and Theft, pleaded guilty. Sen-
tence?14 years' transportation.
JANET KENNEDY or MUIR (from Dundee) ac-
cused of Theft, with the aggravation of habit and
repute, pleaded guilty. Their Lordships were of
opinion that imprisonment in this case would be fol-
lowed with no improvement, therefore they felt it
imperative on the Court to sentence the prisoner
(though aged) to 7 years' transportation.
JANET LINEMAN or ANDERSON, (Perth) accused
of Theft, with the aggravation of habit and repute,
and previous conviction, pleaded guilty. Sentence,
7 years' transportation.
MARGARET M'KINNON or M'DONALD, charged
with Theft, habit and repute, pleaded guilty. Sen-
tenced to 7 years' transportation.
WILL SYMERS or SIMMERS and GEORGE BLAIR
WALLACE (from Dundee),?two boys charged with
Theft by House-breaking, aggravated by habit and
repute, and a previous conviction.? Both pleaded guilty.
It was urged by Counsel, in alleviation, for one that
he was only nine years of age, and for the other that he
was not many years older: that they had emitted a
confession on their being apprehended which they
sentenced to 7 years' transportation.
MARGARET STIRLING, (from Dundee) charged with
theft, habit and repute, with a previous conviction,
pleaded guilty. Sentence seven years' transportation.
MARY THORNTON or DAKERS, charged with theft,
habit and repute with previous conviction. Sentence
seven years' transportation.
WILLIAM FRAZER, Perth, charged with theft from
lockfast places, habit and repute, pleaded guilty to two
acts of theft stated in the indictment, but not to ha-
bit and repute, nor stealing from lockfast places. The
aggravation libelled being passed from, in consideration
of the panel's having already been four months in jail,
the Court restricted the sentence to imprisonment for
nine months in the Perth jail, with such labour as
the establishment admits of.
After several unimportant trials for Theft, aggravat-
ed by habit and repute, CHARLES Ross, and GEORGE
KERR, or CAR from Dundee, were placed at the bar?
charged with theft, aggravated by being habit and
repute, with a previous conviction. Ross pleaded
guilty?Kerr not guilty. After a variety of witnes-
sses were examined, Lord Moncrieff summed up the
evidence, when the Jury, after a few minutes' consulta-
tion, returned a verdict of guilty. Both panels were
then sentenced to 7 years' transportation.
WILLIAM KIRK, accused of two separate acts of
Theft, aggravated by habit and repute, was put to the
bar, and having pleaded not guilty, a number of wit-
nesses were examined, whose evidence all went to cri-
minate the panel. The Jury, after some little delibera-
tion, gave in an unanimous verdict of guilty. The pri-
soner was then sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment
On hearing the sentence he exclaimed, ' I'm no gawn
to be banished yet.'
ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND, from Dunfermline,
charged with theft by housebreaking, having entered
the house of Henry Arnot, and stolen therefrom several
articles of wearing apparel. The panel pleaded not
guilty. Several witnesses were examined, who gave a
very circumstantial account of the affair, all tending
to bring the crime home to the panel. The Advo-
cate Depute then addressed the jury in behalf of the
prosecution, after which Mr H. G. Bell replied in be-
half of the panel, in a speech of great power and elo-
quence. The Jury then returned a verdict, finding the
panel guilty ; and he was then sentenced to 7 years
THURSDAY, April 18.
The Court met this day at 9 o'clock, and
proceeded to the trial of JOHN STEWART, ac-
cused of murder :?'In so far as upon the 3d
day of October, 1832, the said John Stewart
did, within or near to the house then occupied
by him, situated at or near to Cally, near Dun-
keld, in the County of Perth, attack Christian
Mackintosh, otherwise Stewart, his wife, and
did with an axe, strike her several severe blows
on the head, in consequence of which injuries
the said Christian Mackintosh, otherwise Stew-
art, immediately or soon after died, and was
thus cruelly murdered by said John Stewart.
The panel, who is a decent-looking man,
about 60 years of age, and evincing nothing
in his appearance indicating cruelty or ferocity,
heard the indictment read without any appa-
rent emotion, and calmly answered ' Not guilty.'
Upon the Jury being empanelled, a defence
was read, holding that the panel was not re-
sponsible for the death of his wife, as at that
period he was under a state of mental derange-
ment?and that if she came by her death at
his hand, it was the result of disease and not
of design. A list of witnesses in support of
this defence was also given in.
ISABELLA STEWART, daughter of the panel,
was next called. Lord Medwyn made the wit-
ness aware that she had the privilege, from her
consanguinity to the panel, to decline giving
any evidence, but if she was disposed to give
she was bound to tell the whole truth.
Mr Crawford, Counsel or the panel, said she
Was citedi n exculpation, and therefore he could
not advise her to decline giving evidence.
Examined by the Depute-Advocate? Was
residing at Cally with her father last October ;
was at a loch near the house washing one day
in the beginning of that month; her sister was
with her ; returned about a quarter past nine
after being more than half an hour absent from
the house ; her father was not in the house when
they went out to wash ; met him at the door on
her return, and he asked ' Where the devil had
they been ?' He took hold of witness, drew a
knife from bis pocket and opened it ; did not
say any thing exactly at that time, nor till a
minute or two after ; witness did not try to go
into the house, but her sister did ; panel let wit-
ness go then, and tried to get hold of her sister,
took hold of witness a second time by the
throat, having the knife still in his hand.?
Witness asked what was the matter, but he did not tell
her. Witness thought he was angry with her for
going to the loch with the washing. Witness did not
go into the house, but ran towards the garden with
her sister. Her father took hold of her a third time,
and said he wanted to kill her. Said 'd?n you. it is
you I want.' Witness got free and went down to
Spoutwells, but not knowing at the time what had
happened. They then asked him again what was the
matter?upon which he answered that he had killed
their mother, and he would kill them too. This was
immediately before going to Spoutwells, where she
found her brother Daniel, who with a man named
John Rattray, on hearing them crying, went on to
Cally. Did not go back herself till some time after.
Saw nobody about the house but her father when she
came back at first from the loch. Had left mother
in bed apparently well when they went to the loch.
Mary Stewart, youngest daughter of the panel; and
Daniel Stewart, his son, gave similar evidence.
JOHN RATTRAY, gardener, Dunkeld, knows
Daniel Stewart, the last witness, and his sisters ;
recollects of the latter coming to their brother's
house between 9 and 10 of the morning of 3d
October; went to panel's house with Daniel ;
saw nobody there but a woman lying dead ;
knew it to be the body of panel's wife; saw a
large cut or gash on the forehead ; left the house
without shutting the doors; met Dr Kilgour, and
returned to the house along with him ; found
every thing in the same state ; saw an axe in
the house; knew panel by sight, and spoke to
him occasionally, but had no intimate acquain-
tance of him.
ALEXANDER MUIR KILGOUR, surgeon Dunkeld,
was taken to panel's house by his son on the
morning of 3d October; saw the deadbody of a
woman in the kitchen; felt the body, very little
heat in it; the body must have been dead more
than half an hour; did not know Mrs Stewart
personally. [Here the doctor read a report
which he along with some other members
of the profession had made on the case.?
The wounds were described as very severe.] Identi-
fied the axe pointed out by Rattray, and thinks it the
instrument which had inflicted the wounds ; has oc-.
casionally seen the panel, and at one time attended
him professionally. he thinks about ten or twelve years
ago ; attended him then on account of iflammatory
symptoms ; at that time he appeared in sound mind.
Cross-examined?The wounds were sufficient to
cause instant death ; there was no appearance of any
struggle ; witness' attention was not called to the
state of panel's mind.
Captain C. H. Ross?Has for some-time had the
general charge of the woods about Dunkeld ; panel
was in witness's employ, in charge of that part of the
woods nearest Dunkeld ; he had fair wages, and was
perfectly capable of discharging his duty; witness
saw him every morning, and sometimes through the
day ; panel's conduct was always quite correct, but
there was an apparent obtuseness or dullness about
him, and he did not seem to comprehend witness's or-
ders sometimes,but they were always correctly executed.
Dr Ma'colm, physician in Perth, identified the re-
port on the state of Mrs Stewart's body, which report
he had subscribed along with Dr Kilgour, &c. ; the
death must have been almost instantaneous ; is a phy-
sician to Murray's Royal Asylum ; had seen the pa-
nel on the 4th and 5th October, again on the 1st of
April, and frequently since; from his own observa-
tions, and what he had heard in evidence to-day, he
conceived himself competent to give an opinion on
the state of his mind ; thought him perfectly sane
when he first saw him, anid is of the same opinion
still; does not hold an attempt to commit suicide an
infallible proof of insanity
John Stewart panel's eldest son?his father was
subject to low spirits at times. One morning n
1815, his ather went out early, and not having re-
turned by five o'clock search was made, when he was
found in a seed-room covered with blood.For some time
he was tied and witness was not allowed to see him.
About a month after, he was confined sometime in
Dunkeld. He was frequently subject to low spirits
after, and the Sunday before his mother's death he
appeared much worse.
A number of other witnesses gave evidence
to prove that the panel had formerly attempted
to commit suicide,?that he was subject to
epiliptic fits,?and that he was insane.
After a patient investigation of all the cir-
cumstances of the case, the criminal was sen-
tenced to be executed on Tuesday the 14th
May next. His Lordship, in announcing the
sentence, implored him to make his peace with
Heaven, as he had no hope of mercy on earth.
The trial lasted from nine in the morning,
till eleven at night, and produced great excite-
ment in the neighbourhood, from the horrid
circumstances attendant on the murder.
Stewart was brought into Perth for the mur-
der, at the time that Chisholm was receiving sen-
tence of death last Circuit, for a similar crime,
for whom a plea of insanity, it will he recol-
rcted, was also attempted to be established.
No one's life would be safe were the murderers
allowed to escape, merely by pretending mad-
View Commentary | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1833 shelfmark: F.3.a.13(87)
View larger image