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Broadside letter containing the final words of William Scott, Glasgow, 1788


The Last SPEECH, Confession, and dying declaration of WILLIAM SCOTT, who was Executed
at the Cross of Glasgow, on Wednesday, the 3d of December, 1788, for the crime of House-break-
ing and Theft.                        

I WILLIAM SCOTT, aged twenty years, born at Ha-
milton in the county of Lanark, of honest industrious
but poor parents, whose circumstences prevented them of
bestowing on   me education as   they would   inclined and
which was necessary for me.--I was at an early period
of my life put by my parents to the weaver trade, but alas!
an unsettled disposition which soon discovered it self in me,
together with my falling in with idle & desolate company,
who in a very early period of my life made a tool of me for
their base purposes, soon carried me off from following my
trade and from the parts of virtue, which I sadly repent
this day. Was I to enumerate the many scenes I have been
connected with, and accessary to, they would far execed
the bounds that is here intended, But as it is expected that
persons in my situation will before their departure from
earth say something of their past life and transactions. I
feel a pressing inclination to do so, tho' I declare no per-
son earthly has induced or pressed me to make a Speech,
and as I, in great sincerity of heart before God, deeply re-
gret my conduct in the by past part of my life, so I, in
making this declaration, do it with truth and candure, as
in the presence of that great God, who is truth itself, &
in whose presence I am soon to appear. It is unnecessary
for me to gall the ears of the godly and honest reader, or
to please the fancy of the vain scoffer, with a repetition of
all the crimes I have been guilty of, suffice it for me to say
something anent those I am condemned to die an ignomi-
nious death for, and some nearly connected with them.
The first part of my indictment charges me with breaking
into a house at Barrowfield, possessed by William Smart,
keeper of the Tontine in Glasgow, and stealing therefrom
a quantity of wearing apparel, the property of the said
William Smart, his wife, and some of their servants; now
the truth is this, I and Thomas Wothespoon, stocking-
maker late in Ardrie, thereafter in Gorbals of Glasgow, &
present prisoner in the tolbooth of Glasgow, did really
break into that house and we did steal the said articles, &
carry them to the said Thomas Wotherspoon's house in
Gorbals. Sometime thereafter, I was taken by the said
Thomas Wotherspoon from his house in Gorbals, to house
or warehouse of William Taylor, thread manufacturer in
Glasgow, where Wotherspoon said there was a good op-
portunity of getting some good yarn, and upon our arriv-
ing at the place, Thomas Wotherspoon entered the house
by a window and I stood on the outside, and he threw out
at the window a quantity of yarn, which he and I carried
to his house in Gorbals.-Bethia Kent, wife of the said
Thomas Wotherspoon was in practice of travelling about
the country and some of her children with her on the pre-
tence of begging, but the real fact is, was to bring notice
to her husband of any thing she saw to steal, and when she
came home she gave him notice of what she saw ; in prese-
cution of this way of life she had been at the house of Little
Govan, belonging to Mr Rae, where she had seen in a
house upon the left hand at entering in, within the gate
a quantity of Cheese and Butter, of this she informed her
husband, and upon the Saturday night mentioned in the
Indictment against me and my brother John Scott, the said
Thomas Wotherspoon and I, and no person but ourselves,
set out from his house in Gorbals and went to Little Govan,
house, where we pressed up two or three spars of the rail
or pailing upon the top of the stone dyke before the house,
by which means we got into the court, and thereafter
broke or loosed out the window of the house where the
cheeses and butter were, and stole and carried off there-
from the whole cheeses and butter mentioned in the Indict-
ment, and hid them in a field of barley near Little Govan,
and some nights there after, the said Wotherspoon and I
carried them by degrees to his house in Gorbals, where
part of them, as well as part of the other articles above-
mentioned were found. Wotherspoon and I put the boat
in which part of the butter was, after taking the butter
out of it, into a concealed part of the fields, and we broke
the - in which another part of it was, and carried the
butter to Wotherspoon's house in pocks, and the crock in
which the butter appeared at my trial, was brought by
Wotherspoon's wife for the purpose of holding the latter,
the stone baton in which another part of it was, belonged
to her also, On another occasion, but before this fatal
one, Wotherspoon's wife happened to be the way of Carth-
cart, where she discovered some cheeses in a milk house in
that neighbourhood, and also that the family had been
warning some clothes, upon this information Wotherspoon
intioed me to go with him, I being drunk, be having high-
land clothes, a bonnet and tartan plaid, we set out in the
evening, and according to her direction went to Cathcast,
the house which we designed for was at the other side of
the water, however, before our going the length of it, we
broke first into Mr Dow's milk house, and then into his
dwelling house, where we were about carrying off a chest
but the servant maid having heard us and called on her
master, we were obliged to run off, Wotherspoon blamed
me for not turning back and knocking down the girl : we
then proceeded in search of the house we were designed &
searched the milk-house, we did not find the cheeses as we
expected, but took the cock out of the milk barrel and
spilled the milk, but we broke into the house and carried
therefrom a quantity of clothes, which except a very few
articles we hid in a part near at hand, and went back
thereafter and took away some of the said articles, threw
the rest over the dyke and left them.               
On another occasion Wotherspoon and I cut cut a wea-
ver's webb out of his loom in Gorbals, but by my persuasi-
on he put it back again , and I refuse that I gave the black
cleathes now in the Chamber of Glasgow to the said Tho-
mas Wotherspoon, or knew any thing of them. Many
other things we were guilty of, but is useless to go into
particulars.-It will now be asked what connections I had
with Wotherspoon, and how I came to carry on this trade
with him: I was a deserter from the 26 Reg. of foot tho'
after wards sworn in as a deserter from the 9th, & having
come to this part I staid a few days at my brother John
Scott's in the neighbourhood of Gorbals, and my brother's
wife seeing me idle, and fearing danger if I remained about
their house, would not allow me to stay there, & having
been formerly acquainted with Wotherspoon when he was
confined in the cels at Glasgow, where I also was, I took
up with him in his exploits, and I can safely say, that I
received but a small part of the booty for even in this in-
stance, Wotherspoon and his wife were not honest to me,
for they only gave me a few shillings now and then, which
I generally drank with them; indeed then gave me plen-
ty of drink, to which, alas! I was too much adicted, for
I answered their purpose best when I was half drunk.
Let none say, or so much as harbour in their mind a
suspicion that I am blaming the said Thomas Wotherspoon
or his wife for any thing they are not guilty of on account
of sheir being witnesses against me and my said brother
John Scott at our trial, no I appeal to God Almighty &
to their own consciences, when they read these lines, if I
have not told truth as a dying man and as I desire to die
in peace with all mankind without any grudge, and I
earnestly entreat to be forgiven of God and of every per-
son I have offended -The said Thomas Wotherspoon and
Bethia Kent his wife, accused the said John Scott my bro-
ther, as being guilty with me of the crimes for which I
am now to die and poor man, he is condemned also in
consequence of their evidence, tho' at present our most
Gracious Sovereign has been pleased to grant him a respite
during his pleasure. It is not time for me now to disemble
or tell falsehood, and although it may be thought natural
for me to do good to my brother if it were in my power,
yet every unprejudiced heart and mind believe me to be
serious, and that I talk as in the presence of and as I shall
answer to a great God, I do here by declare that my said
brother John Scott, was not guilty with me, nor accessary
to, nor knew of any of the crimes laid to his charge, as
along with me mentioned in the indictment, and for which
he is condemned, altho' from the nature and effect of the evidence
against him and me it was impossible for the Jury not to bring him
in guilty along with me, but I would advise Wotherspoon and his
wife seriously to consider the share they have had in this matter before
it be too late. I did in peace with all men, I freely forgive judge
and Jury, who both paid great attention to my trial, and gave a \ill\
verdict and sentence against me. I return my thanks to the Counsel
and other gentlemen employed in my defence, as they all did the
utmost of their power. I return my thanks to the Ministers and
other Christian people in this city who have attended me since I was
lost. I return my thanks to the Keeper and under Keepers of the
Tolbooth of Glasgow, particularly Mrs. Brownlie for their kindness
every person young and old to seek and fear God, and I warn them
against idleness, drinking, and keeping bad company; and I entreat
all to keep the Sabbath day holy to the Lord, as they regard their
own souls salvation O blessed Redeemer. who came into the world
to seek and to save them that are lost; I hope through thy merits the
forgiveness of my manifold sins; Into thy hands I commit my Spirit.
                                                                      WILLIAM SCOTT.

The above Speech was signed and delivered in our presence,
WILLIAM YOUNG, Under Jailor.

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Date of publication: 1788   shelfmark: APS.4.96.6
Broadside letter containing the final words of William Scott, Glasgow, 1788
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