An account of the different Murders to which John Stewart
and his female associate has made confession to since
their condemnation, making Eleven in all, with the
names of the places where some of them were committed
with the manner they took to Murder their victims, and
then rob them.
Taken from the Edinburgh Scotsman, and Caledonian Mercury.
Stewart and his female associate, who received sentence of death on
Tuesday, for the Murder of Robert Lamont, on board the Toward Cas-
tle steam boat, on the river Clyde, in the month of December last, ap-
pear to be monsters of iniquity worthy of being classed with the incar-
nate demons of the West Port. Even before his trial, Stewart admitted
to some persons who had access to him that he done (murdered) seven
persons besides Lamont, by administering to them what he called in his
infamous slang, the doctor, that is by poisoning them with laudanum. and
since his conviction. he has Confessed to three more murders, making
eleven in all. Now if this be true which we are inclined to believe
it is, it exhibits a woeful picture of the inafficacy of our criminal law,
and of the fearful amount of chances of escspe, which it affords even to
the most hardened and daring offenders; for by this statement, ten
mortal murders were committed not only with impunity, but without
the fact of their having been committed at all, being known or even
suspected by those whose duty it is to detect and punish crimes.
Is it any answer to say, "Oh, it is. quite true that any man may commit eleven murders like
Stewart, or sixteen like Burke, but it is quite certain he will be at last detected and hanged
Our very ground of complaint is founded upon the fact of these monsters not being detected
sooner, and this will never happen until we have the sense, or it would be more correct to
say the humanity, to borrow from our neighbours their invaluable institution of a Coroner's
Inquest, which might easily be adapted to and engrafted upon our own institutions.
We know from good authority, that eight other murders, committed by the same or similar
means, have been traced home to him, in a manner that leaves no doubt of his guilt, and in
the list is included one which it may be remembered was perpetrated several years ago, in
an unfinished buildiug near Maitland street. The presumption is too, that this is but an
imperfect catalogue of his most atrocious acts; and if he administered the deleterious drug,
" the doctor," as he called it in so many cases with fatal effect, we may readily believe that
he gave it in many others in smaller proportions, where his object was merely to produce a
temporary stupefaction. The dispute and scuffle betwixt Stewart and his wife, when he made
an attempt as if he meant to drink the poisoned ale, and she wrung it from him, calling him
a blackguard, and saying he would fill himself drunk?with his assuming an appear ance of
intoxication afterward were just in the style of Burke and Here when they got up a sham
quarrel, preparatory to the imoulation of their victim. It is to be hoped that the facts of the
other murders we have alluded to will be published; although it should serve no other pur-
pose than to impress upon persons of the lower and middle ranks, the danger to which men
are exposed by their passion for intoxicating liquours.
Carmichael & Graham, Printer,Trongate.
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Probable date published:
1829 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(107a)
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