An account of the Execution of these two unfortunate Young Men,
JAMES WILSON and JOHN M'DONALD, who were Hanged
at Glasgow on Wednesday the 4th of June, 1823, for Housebreak-
ing and Theft; with an account of their Behaviour in the prison
and at the place of Execution.
THIS day, JAMES WILSON and JOHN M'DON-
ALD, two unhappy criminals comdemned at [ ]
last Circuit Court here, for the crimes of housebreak-
ing and theft, underwent the awful sentence of the law
at the usual place of execution in front of the jail.
Wilson was convicted of robbing the house of Mr.
M'Arthur, engineer, York Street, of a great quantity
of wearing apparel, and of being a common thief.
Wilson's parents (or M'Lusky, for that was his proper
name) came to this country from the North of Ireland
about 20 years ago, and settled at Lochwinnoch, where
their unfortunate son was born. His parents living a
very unhappy life for some time and at last parted,
when James was left to shift for himself, and at a very
early period of life indulged in those baneful and covetous inclinations, which know neither
moral of religious restraint, and committed numerous depredations in various parts of the
country, for which be was often punished, having been no less than three different times
whipt since January last; but all had no effect in deterring him from the commission of crime.
M'Donald was convicted of breaking into the Shop of Moses Mosely jeweller, Candle-
riggs, and stealing 18 silver watches, and a variety of other articles. On his trial he pleaded
Guilty, but the Public Prosecutor stated that as the crime had been commited by a person
habit and repute a common thief, he was under the painful necessity of letting the law take
its course. He had served about 8 years in the navy where he bore the character of an able
seaman, and an honest man. He was about 30 years of age, and belonged to the Calton.
The Magistrates entered the Court Hall soon after two o'clock, when the prisoners were
brought up, decently dressed, attended by the Rev. Dr. Gibb, and several other pious
and worthy individuals, when psalms were song a portion of scripture read, and prayers
pronounced in behalf of the dying men. They then returned their best thanks to the Ma-
gistrates, Ministers, and Mr. M'Grigor, the Jailor, for their Humanity and kindness during
their confinement About three o'clock they ascended the platform, where they again
spent a short time in prayer, and after the fatal cords were adjusted, a hand kerchief was
dropped as a signal that they were ready, and they were launched into the eternal world.
Address to the Spectators at the Execution.
Thus have two other fellow creatures paid the forfeit of their lives to the laws of their
country?their miserable death affords another awful proof of the end to which crime and
vice uniformly leads. May the present example under divine power, be a solemn warning
to many, and constrain the multitudes following, or commencing to follow similar courses,
to pause before it be too late. Let the most distant approaches to vice and crime be there-
fore shunned, " if evil men entice thee consent thou not," Those men who have this day
suffered the higest penalty of human law, would one day have shuddered alike at the crimes
they ultimately committed as at the awful punishment which, followed upon them. And
they and many others who have met a similar fate have traced their wretched end to youth-
ful Sabbath day breaking, to evil company and intemperence. If any one then be in this
path, the melancholy event speaks to them a lesson of dread import. Let him lose not a
moment in fleeing vice and seeking the sure paths of Religion and Honesty " whose ways
are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;"?and let every one recollect that all
mankind are under righteous condemnation, and that a sentence is pronounced against them
of a nature far more certain and awful than that inflicted this day---death eternal, not of the
body merely, but of the soul is decreed against all, "for all have sinned;" but will the sen-
tence, the gracious assurance of pardon be proclaimed to those who seek it in faith. To you
"now is the accepted time and now is the day of Salvation."
The men who this day suffered, had by the humane laws of their country a considerable
period afforded them to make up their peace with their God. Readers, your end may be
even worse than their's, for no such season may be afforded you, be up then, and doing
while yet it is called to day, for the night is at hand, in which no man can work, and the
Scriptures declareth "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God life Eternal through
"Jesus Christ our Lord."
. Printed by John Muir, Glasgow.
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Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(060)
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