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Broadside entitled 'Execution of James Campbell for Housebreaking and Theft'




GLASGOW, 16th MAY, 1831.

This Morning JAMES CAMPBELL underwent the last sentence of the law, pur
suant to his sentence at the last Circuit Court, for breaking into the cellar-store of
Messrs. Watson, M'Night & Co., situated in George Street on the 23d February
last, and stealing therefrom four boxes and a basket full of cotton yarn. It appeared
from the evidence that this unfortunate young man, along with Thomas Fisher who
was sentenced to be executed with him, but who has since got his punishment com-
mitted to transportation for life, and other two, who were dismissed, had gone to the
evening of the day above mentioned and wrenched off a padlock which covered the
locP, and then opened the door with a false key, when Campbell and Fisher were
detected in the very act of carrying out the fourth box, and putting it on a barrow.
When observed by the porters of the celler they immediately ran away, but were
closely pursued and apprehended a short distance from the place.

Campbell, who appears to be about 37 years of age, is a native of Glasgow, and de-
scended from very respectable patents, who gave him a liberal education?(his mo-
ther is still alive)?and it is a very singular and remarkable circumstance that he has
been twice under sentence of death in this city, frist in September 1822, for house
breaking and theft. An application was afterwards made to Government for a com-
mutation of his sentence, which was granted, on condition of his being transported
for life. The moment he received the intimation of it he fell down upon his house
and offered up a solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God, with a servent acknowledg
ment of his sense of the morev thus in prospect for him and of his obligations to
those gentlemen who had interested themselves in his favour, and expressed his de-
termination in the event of his life being spared of making reparation to his God and,
his country for the sins of his past life. But ah ! how soon the religious impressions
which were at that time administered to him by the many religious persons who at-
tended have been effaced from his heart, which, was at that that time considered to
be susceptible of receiving lasting impressions of the goodness of God to man, and
the Way of salvation through Jesus Christ.

He was never sent out of the country, having been kept on board the hulks for the
last eight years, Where, it is said, he acted in the capacity of teacher; and, by his good
behaviour, eventually received his Majesty's pardon, when he returned to Glasgow,
and having renewed an intimacy with some of his old companions, and others of a
similar description, began afresh to commit depredations which, in 1822, he had re-
solved and re- resolved never to harbour a thought of for a single moment. Camp-
bell has a brother at present lying in our Jail, who had a very narrow escape at the
last Circuit from a similar fate, had it not been owing to the leniency of the Advc-
cate-Depute in restricting the libel, and he was sentenced to transportation for life.
He has been assiduously attended by the the Rev. Dr. Muir of St. James's, the
Rev. Mr. Fisher, Chaplain to the Jail, and a number of other pious individuals, to all
whose instructions he listened with the most marked attention.

At the usual time in the morning. the prisoner was brought into the Hall, and
shortly afterwards proceeded to the scaffold, where a short time being spent in prayer
by Mr. Muir, in which the prisoner joined, and the executioner having adjusted the
rope, he gave the signal, and this world closed upon him ever.   The crowd was
very great.   

Reader-Thus has terminated in ignominy, not withstanding his repeated warn-
ings and former very narrow escape, the days of one who, but for his crimes, might
have spent many years of happiness. Thus has one more been cut off in the mid-day
of life, by the strong hand of justice. How true, even in a limited sense, is the Scrip,
ture, When it saith, " the wages of sin it death."    Reader, whatever be thy condi-
tion, the sad spectacle before you ought not to be without in lesson.    Are you pur-
suing like courses with him who has just now paid the forfeit of his crime?   Are you
living on the fruits of dishonesty?   Are you spending your days in Idleness and your
nights in debauchery? Do you despise the ways of honesty and the paths of industry
Do you shun the counsel of the godly; and the pattern of the virtuous ? And do you
seek to hide your own individual crimes in the congregation of the wicked ?    If you
are one of this character, the victim now before you speaks, and should you neglect
the dread admonition, he event of this day shall yet rise up   against you in judg-
ment. Fly ungodliness shun evil company as shou wouldst do contagion; be in
dustrions, honest and sober; seek instruction from your Bible ; directions from the
counsels of the godly, and beg for grace and mercy by earnest and repeated prayer.

Reader?You may flatter yourself like the Pharase of Scripture, that you are
not like the unhappy felon ; but how many are there, while they do not openly vio-
late human law, yet are living without God and hope in the world. Do you never,
deceive your neighbour to promote your gain? Do you never cover your deceit with
falsehood? Do you never take the name of your God in vain ? Do you never break
the holy Sabbath? Do you never yield to debauchery, and indulge, in idle and vicions
conversation? Reader, know then, that the progress of crime is " as the letting is
of water." The victim who now expired before you, could remember the time,
when he would have shrunk from the commission of such crimes as those for which
he suffered.. How many who have suffered on the same scaffold, and others who are
yet their followers in crimes, could date their ruin from Sabbaths violated?from the
cou[ ] of parents, disregarded- and from sobriety neglected.                              

Reader?If thou be one who has chosen the good part, let the sad spectacle
redouble your vigour, with God's blessnig go forward in the work of tenderness,
and may you, in the hands of the mighty ruler of all things, be honoured instrument
of plucking, many life brands from the burning

The following is an interesting description of the manner in which criminal.
were wont to be executed in Glasgow. at the ownhead. The unceremonious, quick,
morning despatch, is certainly no improvement on the solemn and affecting ceremo-
nial adopted by our forefathers:-"The criminal was led out from the old prison at
the Cross, arrayed in a loose dress of white linen, with trimming of black. His
arms being pinioned, he took his station at the end of a cart, on which lay extended
the Coffin, of shell, in which, his body was About to be deposited. He had an open
Bible in his hand, and was usually attended by one or two clergymen, who cacouraged
him is his devotions by the way and aded him in his preparations for eternity. The
Magistrates of the city. prece and by the the Town officers with thier halberts, and ac-
companied by a strong milita yguard formed the procession. On its arrival at the
Bell of the Brae it stood still when occasionally a verse or two of a psalm were sung,
the malefactor himself giving out the line, and the multitude raising their hats from
their heads in token,of sympathy, while every window adjacent was crowded with
spectators. This affecting ceremony was sometimes performed in front of the Alms
House in Kirk street, where the tremulous notes of the criminal were intermingied
with the plaintive intonations of the passing bell; and the whole catastrophe was
summed up by psalm and a prayer, and frequently a last speech, at the place of
excution since 1814 till this period, there have been executed in front of the
nev prison no less than 50 individuals!!                        

                                                                     John Muir, printer.

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Date of publication: 1831   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(112)
Broadside entitled 'Execution of James Campbell for Housebreaking and Theft'
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