A true account of the Behaviour and Execution of JOHN
M'CANNA and JOSEPH RICHARDSON, a farmer, who
were Hanged at Dumfries on Wednesday the 14th of May,
1823, for uttering Forged Notes on the Ship Bank of Glas-
gow. Also, an affecting account of their last interview with
their Parents, Wives, and Children, the night before their
Dumfries May 14.?At the last Circuit Court here John M'Kenna, Joseph Richard-
son, and William Richardson, (brothers) were found guilty of uttering forged notes
on the Ship Bank of Glasgow, and condemned to suffer death. It appeared that
M'Kenna and Joseph Richardson went to Dublin in August 1822, and with, the as-
sistance of a person from whom M'Kenna four years before, had purchased 500 notes
of the British Linen Company, get a plate engraved of the guinea note of Carrick,
Brown & Co. of Glasgow. In this business they were engaged two or three weeks,
and got 300 of the notes printed, which cost them for plates, engraving, signing,
paner, stamp. &c L26 15s. They then returned to Scotland where they were ap-
prehended, and 172 of the notes were found in the possession of M'Kana's wife, 163
in a turf dyke in joseph Richardson's yard; the remainder of the 300 forged notes
were uttered by the prisoners in Dumfries-shire, and the north of England.
A petition having been sent up to the fountain of mercy in favour of these un-
happy men, an answer was returned in the beginning of last week, with a respite
during his Majesty's pleasure for William Richardson only. A gentleman who ac-
companied the clergyman to the Jail, has described minutely the demeanour of all
the prisoners on receiving the answer to their petition. William Richardson who
was firm visited appeared " quite uplifted" with the communication made to him;
for a few seconds his colour went and came, but the first flutter of the heart being
soon ever, his breathing became freer, and his speech firmer; and although he ex-
pressed some regret at the fate of his companions, his mind was evidently Wholly
engrossed with the strong instinctive desire of self preservation. On the other hand
M'Kana and Joseph Richardson apparently received the news of their now irrevoc-
able doom with every feehing becoming their situation. A note, originating in a
mistake, had been handed to the latter, stating that he was the respited prisoner;
but after the warning of his agent, he confessed that he had paid little attention to
it He expressed his satisfaction that his brother's life was spared, since, to use his
own words; "the idea of two brothers going out of life in the same awful way was
painful to be thought on." As for M'Kana, he declared that he never entertained
any hope; but he felt quite resigned, and pointing to a book .which he held in his
hand, observed to the clergyman, " I find every comfort here." He was a Roman
Catholic, but a liberal and well informed one. ,
On Saturday last the distracted mother of poor Joseph visited him for the last
time, when the unhappy woman having been so overcome by her maternal feelings,
as to swoon away again and again. Tuesday he bade adieu to his sister and a young-
er brother, and look a last leave of his wife, who was all night in the cell with him.
M'Canna has left a widow and seven orphans to lament his untimely end His wife
had with her on her last visit a little sickly infant, and it was a heart rending sight
to see the father, as he reclined on the iron bed to which he was chained, warming,
this little babe in his bed clothes, and bending over it with the greatest tenderness
Their final parting was a scene truly distressing.
Both the unhappy men were unremitting in their preparations for death, and they
appeared to receive most grate fully the.attentions of the ministers Who visited them.
The scaffold was erected in front of the prison in Buccleugh Street. At an early
hour vast muititudes were pouring into the town from the surrounding country to
witness the awful scene, and long before the appointed hour the crowd was immense.
About three o'clock the prisoners ascended the scaffold, when the executioner (from
Glasgow) adjusted the fatal cord, and after a short time spent in praise and prayer,
the signal was given, and they were ushered into the world that is ' unseen & eternal,"
amongst a very general feeling of sympathy from the surrounding multitude.
Richardson was a native of Dumfries-shire, where he, along with his brother, rent-
ed a farm, and both bore ureproachable characters until their unfortunate connexion
with M'Canna, who was an Irishman.
John Muir, Printer, Glasgow.
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Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(056)
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