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Broadside concerning the execution of Robert McKinlay, William Buchanan, Robert Hunter Guthrie and Alexander Forbes, Glasgow, 1819


A Full and Particular Account of Robert McKinlay, William
Buchanan, Robert Hunter Guthrie, and Alexander Forbes,
who were Executed at Glasgow, on Wednesday the 3d No
vember, 1819, for housebreaking and theft.

This day were executed, pursutant to their sen-
tences, Robert M'Kinlay, Wm. Buchanan, Robert
Hunter Guthrie, and Alexander Forbes, convicted
of housebreaking and theft.

Robert McKinlay and William Buchanan, con-
victed, at the last Circuit Court, of breaking into
Bothwell Castle, on the 5th May last, the residence
of the Right Honourable Lord Douglas, and steal-
ing therefrom a gold watch, a silver sneff-box, a
silver spoon, a silver candlestick, a silver bread-
toaster and several articles of wearing apparel.
'There were several charges against McKinlay at
the time of his apprehension, for housebreaking
and robbery; one for breaking into a Gentleman's
house in Moore Place, breaking into Dr. Speirs'
house in Greenock, a shop at Linlithgow, Dal-
beth House, a Cotton Mill at Bridgeton, and Both-
well Castle. The last act which he committed,
and for which he this day surrendered up his life,
was perpetrated, in the most daring manner. From
the evidence of a Gentleman who slept in the
Castle on the night of the robbery, it was supposed
that they Lad entered the house by forcing up a
window, and actually entered the room where his
Lordship was asleep, and carried off the above
valuable articles.   In the address book at the gate
they described themselves, the one as coming from
London, the other from Birmingham. The officers
of Justice were immediately on the look-out,
when Cameron, the Police Officer, apprehended
Buchanan on the 10th May; and he soon after,
along with Calder, apprehended McKinlay in the
Green asleep, when they found his Lordship's
neckcloth about his neck, and some of the other
articles in his possession.

M Kinlay was a native of Glasgow, about 24 years
of age, by trade a cotton-spinner, but had long
given up the sober pursuits of industry, for the
more dangerous way of living by preying on the
property of the public.

Buchanan was also a native of this city, and was
only about 20 years of age; he had never been bred
to any regular employment, being of a very unset-
tled disposition, and much addicted to pilfering.
He had before been twelve months in Bridewell
for stealing yarn off a barrow on the streets. His
Lordship used his inrluence to get their lives sav-
ed, but without effect.

Robert Hunter Guthrie and Alexander Forbes,
convicted of breaking into the house of Alexander
McLaren, Kilmarnock, on the 12th May last, and
stealing therefrom a silver watch, five shirts, two
pairs of shoes, a light Marstiles vest, beef ham
jelly, cakes, two pieces muslin, 16 spindles yarn
&c. In two days after, they were met by Robert
Brown (late of the horse patrole) near Barrhead,
Renfrewshire, when he immediately gave chace,
and with the assistance of a ploughman, apprehend-
ed them, when he found some the stolen articles
in their possession. Upon Brown's evidence, and
that of several other witnesses they were found
guilty, and on receiving sentence of death, Guthrie
immediately said, "My Lord, the sentence is very
hard-I had nothing to do with the tundles-I
bought the hat and paid for it, as my fellow pri-
soner knows." Although the above unhappy
criminals were both young men, neither of them
being above 22 years of age, yet their names have
long been enrolled in the criminal records of their
country. Guthrie at the Spring Circuit of 1818,
was tried for breaking into a store-room in Paisley,
but the libel was found not proven, and he was
immediately liberated; at the following Circuit he
was again charged with breaking into a soap-work   
in Paisley and stealing a considerable quantity of
soap, but he was remitted by the Court back to the
Sheriff of Renfrewshire, when after trial he was
sentenced to be banished the County. He was a
native of Paisley, and by trade a wright.

Forbes was a native of this city, of honost indus-
trious parents, to whom he has been the cause of
much pain by his misconduct. He was by trade a
calcuderer, but he had long neglected his business,
and went about committing depredations on the
public. He has often been in the hands of the
Police and suffered various imprisonments. In
1817 he was con/ill/ed in Paisley Jail on a charge of
robbery, but he, along with others found means to
break the prison, and escaped. He soon after was
observed in the Gallowgate by a person who was
on the search for him, who immediately pursued,
but he leaped into the burn at the Spoutmouth, and
running up a close dealing to the High Street,
effected his escape in Wallace Court. He now,
along with his unfortunate companion went about
the country committing various depredations until
unerring Justice overtook them, and put an end to
their crimes with their lives. Considerable exer-
tion was made to have their sentence com/ill/ed,
but failed.

The melancholy scene we have this day witness-
ed must have the effect of touching with anguish,
the heart of every friend of humanity__every lover
of our species; four young men, (a sight never be-
fore witnessed in Glasgow) suffering   ignominiously,
shamefully, and ingloriously on the scaffold, for
breaking the laws of their country, whom, had the
ability they evidently possessed, been directed
aright, might have been in honour in themselves,
a happiness to their families, and made them useful
members of society. The praise-worthy humanity
displayed at the last Spring Circuit has not had
the benevolent effect intended by the law author-
ities, hut it is to be hoped that the just, tho' heart-
rending spectacle of this day, will make a lasting
impression on the minds of the spectators, and have
a proper effect on all these unthinking persons who
prey on the property of their neighbours, for they
may rest assured, thas however fortunate they may
be for a time, the powerful arm of the law will imm-
ediately reach, and punish them according to their

Printed for John Muir.            

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Date of publication: 1819   shelfmark: APS.4.200.02
Broadside concerning the execution of Robert McKinlay, William Buchanan, Robert Hunter Guthrie and Alexander Forbes, Glasgow, 1819
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