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Broadside entitled 'Horrible Confession!'


Horrible Confession !!

A Full, True, and Particular Account of the LAST
the Emigrants who lately left this country for Ameri-
ca)   who   was Executed at Brockville,   in Upper
Canada, on Monday the 3d September last, for the
Horrible, Barbarous, and Inhuman Murder of his
own Brother, by knooking him on the head with a
large Axe, and afterwards Burying him Alive, while
Cutting Timber in the Woods together.

ON Monday the 3d September 1821, JOHN MURDOCK was
executed at Brockville, in Upper Canada, for the inhuman
murder of his brother James, to get possession of his property.
On the morning of his execution, he gave a circumstantial account
of his guilt, by the following horrible confession :?

" In order that the public mind may be fully at rest, that I am
perfectly satisfied that justice has taken place in every respect, and
that I am deserving of the death I am about to suffer. I am in-
deed an awful instance, " that verily there is a God that judgeth in
the earth!" I hereby declare to my friend the Rev. William Smart,
and in presence of Almighty God, the searcher of all hearts, and
before whose dread tribunal I am just about to appear, that the fol-
lowing are the facts and circumstances connected with the atrocious
deed, for which I nave forfeited my life.

On the morning of the 15th March, my brother James came to
my house, and asked me if I would go to work with him at the
staves, I told him I would, and accordingly set out. We had not,
however, been long at work before we begun to quarrel on the sub-
ject of our affairs, when I again thought (as I often had before)
that if I had an opportunity I would take his life ! We had not saw-
ed more than half an hour when he proposed to split and bolt. He
put his axe into the end of the log; it was tight in, and he asked
me to put in mine to ease it, which I did. When he had put in his
axe again, and while he was stooping, the thought struck me, now
is the time. I instantly struck him with the head of the axe, and
brought him to the ground, I repeated the blow in the same place,
but do ot remember how often. It was however a great many times,
it was sufficient to have killed an ox. I never struck him on the
breast or back. I now proceeded to select a place to bury him,
which I did in a level place, in a kind of swamp, a few roods from
where we had been working. I made a small path with my feet
close together, so that I raised the snow on both sides. Having dug
the hole and put allthings in readiness, I took up the body of my
brother, while yet alive, and squeezed him into the hole, and bu-
ried him. Having put back the dirt, I found so far from being a
knoll, that it was hollow. So I went and gathered up some chips
to raise it. I then carefully covered the hole with snow, and filled
up the narrow path with the banks of snow made by the scraping
of my feet. I now cosidered it necessay to do something with
the blood, of which there was a great quantity. I therefore dug a
hole, scraped it together, and put it in with my hands, put back the
dirt and carefully covered it with snow. I then washed my hands,
and shirt in the snow, they being very bloody. I hid the axe and
came home, much agitated ; but I went to prayer and felt better.
My alarms and fear soon returned ; I went to prayer again, and felt
better. I always felt better if I could retire and pray. When I
came home I said it was so bad a day it was thought best not to
work, and that my brother had gone to William's for whisky.

I told different stories of his going to Ireland, &c. I also thought
of various ways of escape, by going to Ireland n.yself, &c. and
sometimes I thought it would not be discovered, and, God forgive
me, I thought of making away with the woman, the wife of my
brother. The plan was, by previously digging a pit or grave in the
wilderness, and when she should go out of her own accord, to look
for her husband, then to dispatch her at once and bury her. But
God in mercy prevented this, and I hope she will forgive me, and
that God will bless her in time and eternity, and also forgive me.

I forgive all my enemies, and may God forgive them. I wish
forgiveness of them, and I wish forgiveness of God. I wish to
die in peace with all man kind, and I hope that all good people will
pray for me. I pray that God may keep them from evil, from bad
company, covetousness and evil habits ; that they may govern their
passions and tempers ; and keep themselves in fear of God. I am
resigned to die, and feel strength and composure. I do not feel the
least afraid, but much happier than before my trial, I commend my
soul to the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, and my wife and
child to the blessing of God.    Witness my hand." his



Criminal Cell; Brockville Jail September 3, 1821."

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Date of publication: 1821   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(078)
Broadside entitled 'Horrible Confession!'
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