Full, True, and Particular Account of the Trial and Conviction this
day, before the High Court of Justiciary, of the Great and most
Notorious Thief John Wilson, and of his Companions Duncan
Robertson and Thomas Hamilton, for Three different Robberies
and Housebreakings, committed in Edinburgh,?together with the
full Evidence given by the Accomplice John Gibson, formerly a
respectable Merchant on the South Bridge.
HIGH COURT OF JUSTICIARY.-----JULY, 3, 1831.
John William shoemaker, Duncan Robertson, carver and gilder, and
Thomas Hamilton jeweller, were charged with three several act of
theft, aggravated by their having opened lockfast places for the accom-
plishment oft the crimes, and further aggravated by all the three priso
sers being habit and repute common thieves,? the said acts of theft
and opening of lockfast places being all committed on the evening and
the of she February last, and being as follows, via. :?
1 st. Entering the shop of Mr Vallance grocer, Laurieston, in the
back room of which two of the prisoners broke open a trunk, and
stole therefrom a forged guinea note, purporting to be a note of the
Royal Bank of Scotland.
2d Entering the shop of Mr Hogg, spirit dealer, Main Point, and
stealing from a back room, seveteen shillings, a watch, ribbon, seal,
3d. Entering the premises of Mr Finlay, spirit dealer, Bruntsfield
Links, and steailng from an apartment therein, six silk pocket hand-
kerchiefa, a pair of gold ear nings, a gold breast pin, and a gold finger
ring with a stone set it, by forcing open a lockfast drawer.
The prisoners had gone to all these different houses in succession
one after the other, between the hours of six and nine o'clock in the
evening, and on pretence of drinking a gill or two of whisky at each
place, succeeded in effecting all the three robberies in so short a space
Mrs. Vallance and her servant maid, Mrs. Hogg and her niece and
Mrs. Finlay and her maid servant, proved, amongst them, the forcing
open of the different lockfast places - the stealing therefrom of the
different articles libelled and most of those witnesses spoke to the
identity of one or other of the prisoners, as having been in their pre-
mises on the night of the commission of the crimes.
Jhon Gibson. formerly a haberdasher on the South Bridge, after-
wards an auctioner, and since convicted before the Police Court of
South Bridge., and also of having knowingly uttered base and counter-
feit money, was concerned with the prisoners in the acomplishment of
the robberies; but having been admitted at a witness for the Crown,
he was placed in the ,witness, box.
John Gibson (the accomplice) having been duly sworn and cautioned
deponed that on the night of the robberies he met the prisoner at the
South Back of Heroit's Hospital Robertson and Hamilton went into
Vallance's Wilson and the witness remaining outside. After a little,
time Wilson gave witness a shillings. desiring him to go into Vallance
shop and to buy first, one half pound of cheese and then another, and
otherwise to occupy the attention of the girl in the shop as long as
possible so as to prevent her hearing whatever night be going on in
the back room. He did so; and when Robertson and Hamilton
came out they said they had only gotten a banknote which they
produced and gave to Wilson.?They then went to Mr Kings, where
Robertson and Hamilton again went in,and where the witness again
performed the part of the drawing off the attention of the persons in the
shop while the theft libelled was accomplished -They next went to
Finlay's where all four went into the house Robertson and Hamilton
into one room and Wilson and witness into another. The robbery
there was effected by Robertson and Hamilton.? They went lastly to
the shop of Mr Bobertson, spirit dealer, Charlotte Street. Wilson and
witness went in first, and had a gill of whisky, lor which Wilson paid
sixpence. Robertson and Hamilton then joined them in this house,
upon which they called another gill, and Wilson entered in payment
of it the guinea note stolen from Vallance's but Mr Robortson the
landlord refused to take it, as be thought it a forgery. The wit.
ness then went and got change of the note at the shop of a grocer in
George Street- Witness received 4s.6d and a silk handkerchief for
bit share of the plunder.
The evidence of the accomplice, Gibson, was completely borne out
by other witnesses.
Each of the Prisoners had Counsel, who made long and eloquent
speeches in their behalf.
The Public Prosecutor restricted the libel.
At twenty minutes past six o clock, the Jury gave an unanimous
verdict of Guilty against all the prisoners, on all the three charges'
with the aggravations as libelled.
sentence was deferred ; but we shall priut it it is a Second traditoon,
together with a fall report of another important Trial which is now
going on. _______
Forbes and Owen, Printers.
Full True, and Particular Account of the apprehension of three men.
for that most horrid Murder committed upon the Body of Helen
Mackenzie, in Ross shire?a murder which has excited so much
horror throughout all Scotland, that the Lord Advocate sent Mr
Stoddart, Advocate, into Ross-shire, for the express purpose of trying
to discover the murderers.
ALSO,?A: Full, True, and Particular Account of the evidence
against Captain Wilson of the ship Armenia, for Murdering John
Smith, seaman, by most barbarous and cruel usage while at sea on
der his command.
LIKEWISE,?An Account of the Extraordinary Funeral of Radama,
The Late Murder in Ross shire. ? Three Men .Apprehendad ?So anxious
have the officers of the Crown in Edinburgh been that every possible,
inquiry should be made into the murder of Helon Mackenzie, that J.
F. Stoddart, Esq advocate, has been sent to Ross shire to superintend
On Monday, this gentleman, accompanied by the Shoriff and Pro-
curator Fiscal, proceeded to Invergordon, where they still continue
taking precognitions. During the examination of some of the wit-
tnesses, circumstances were elicited which induced the authorities to,
order two men (one of them the deceased's nephew), residing at Bar-
baraville, near the Church of Kimuir. to be apprehended. In their
progress to Barbaraville, the officers observed a man run oft on seeing
them approach?they instantly pursued, and, with some difficulty,
succeeded in securing him; he proved to be the nephew of the decease.
ed?The officers then took into custody the two men, and also a shot-
maker, who resides about a hundred yards from the house which poor
Helen occupied. On Thursday they were taken in the mail coach
from Invergordon to Tain, and lodged in jail there, where they are
While on the coach, the prisoners were not permitted to bold any
communication with each other; one of them was placed in the forepart
of the coach, one behind, and the third inside. The shoemaker, Helen's
neighbour observed to a person sifting close by him, ' I am happy
that I have been apprehended, that the ease may be sifted ; for, as I
I am entirely innocent, and I know I will soon be set at liberty ; but
as for that man inside (meaning the deceased's nephew) he is the
murderer he has not been sober since A knife, the handle of
which is covered with blood, and a petticoat have been found, which it
One of the prisoners, on his first examination, we understand, stated
that he received no part of the deceased's property, but his wife con-
tradicted this, and mentioned that he had, some days after the murder,
taken L 14 out of Helen's house, and gave as a reason for doing so
that he was afraid others who have a better legal tittle to cash would
have carried it off. Some of the prisoners, it has been observed, have
had more money since the murder than they could honestly have come
by. A man and a woman, who were ordered to be taken into cus-
tody, left the district some weeks ago, hut are now, we learn, in Aber
deenshire, and will be brought back.
Murder at Sea.?On Friday an inquest was held in the Vestry of
St John's Church, Horseleydown, on the body of John Smith, aged
19 years, whose death, it was alleged, was caused by a series of the
most inhuman barbarities inflicted by Daniel Wilson, the Captain of
the Armenia trading vessel, during a voyage from Belfast to St.
Michael's, and from thence to London. The Jury viewed the body
which bore marks of contusion and laceration, particularly about the
loins. On quitting St Michael'., the Captain beat the deceased daily
about a week after they sailed from St. Michael's, the Captain beat him
with the stick of the vine staff, which is two inches and a half thick,
for taking some oranges ; the deceased was so ill, he could not do his
duty, and the Captain knocked him down and kicked him as be lay
on the ground
On one occasion he beat the deceased with an outall (a thick rope)
till his face streamed with blood, and his nose was slit open. The de-
ceased was sent to the fore top crosstress for fifteen. hours at a time
without his jacket, and his allowance kept from him. Four days be-
fore he died the Captain went into the forecastle; and beat the deceas.
ed about the head with quart pot, and nearly a quart of blood came
from him- The deceased was often lashed to the main shrouds, and
the boys were ordered by the Captain to flog him, and when they
did not obey they were flogged. The deceased from continual nl-.
usage became deranged, and expired two days before the vessel ar-
rived at Gravesend. The Jury returned a verdict of.' Wilful Murder
against Daniel Wilson, the Captain of the Armenia.
The Funeral of Radama, King of Madagascar, which took place on
the 13th of August, 1828, appears, from the account of the mission-
aries in that pland, to have vied in splendour and extravagance with
the most costly of European entombments . They estimate the ex-
pense at L. 60,000 sterling, including the case of 20,000 oxen, worth
Ave Spanish dollars each, killed and distributed among the people
during the days of preparation for, and at the ceremony, The large
and massy coffin which received the royal remains was of beaten sil-
ver ; it was about eight feet long, and three and a half deep, formed
of plates strongly rivetted together with nails of the same metal, all
made from Spanish dollars, of which twelve thousand were employed
at the construction. Ten thousand more in specie were placed in-
side by way of bed for the corpse to recline on. Eighty rich suits of
uniform, of British manufacture, a golden helmet, gorget, epaulettes',
and spurs, with a variety of valuable and highly ornamented arms,
watches, rings, and trinkets, a splendid service of silver plate, and
magnificent cup of solid gold, said la have been a present from the
King of England, are enumerated strong the valuable enclosed in the
Extravagant as these people are in the expense they incur their
funerals, this appears to have tar exceeded all preceding ceremonies
the same kind m that respect, which may be accounted for by the fact
of no sovereign in that country having ever died possessed of one-fifth
of the riches of Radama.
FORBES & OWEN Printers No.118,High Street First stair in the Close.
View Commentary | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1831 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(106)
View larger image