Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

effect, which must not be overlooked. When characters are by the pencil of fancy too highly coloured, and the real husband, which in general happens to be the case, is not fo finished a portrait, the infatuated wife feels herself disappointed, and often cherishes a mean opinion of the man whom it is her duty to love, and render happy. This is, in a thousand instances, the cause of that discord which in this present age so noto. riously prevails in domestic life.

To check the increase of such productions, therefore, and to warn young persons against their dangerous ef fects, ought to be the duty of every moralilt. That there are novels so excellently written, as to forward the interests of virtue, cannot be denied, but in general those fascinating illusions of the imagination have a dire& tendency to injure, rather than to augment the happiness, and establish the morals of mankind.

IS

ACCOUNT

OF

The extraordinary Circumstances that attended the Execution of

John Young, at Edinburgh, on the 9th of December, 1756, for forging and uttering counterfeit Notes of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

[ocr errors]

EDINBURGH, DECEMBER 9, 1750. OHN YOUNG, late serjeant in Lord Ancram's

regiment of fuot, was executed here yesterday af. ternoon, pursuant to the sentence of the High Court of Justiciary, pronounced against him on a remit made to that court by the lords of feffion; before whom a full proof was deduced of Young's having vended false notes of the royal bank of Scotland, knowing them to be fo forged and fabricated.

This unhappy man had amused himself before trial with the hopes of being acquitted; and after sentence, with those of obtaining a pardon ; for which great in. terest was used by the officers of the army, &c. though all to no purpose'; the hurt done to public credit by such destructive practices rendering it necessary that an example thould be made to deter others from committing the like in time coming. Indeed this unfortunate man complained bitterly of his hard fate, in being made the only sacrifice to justice, while two others, rather more culpable than he, they being the very engravers and fabricators of the notes, found means to save themfelves by immediately turning evidences against him, who did not scruple to accuse them of perjury, though with wliat truth I cannot determine.

Young, however, on the day, nay, at the very time of execution, betook himself to a very unusual expedient to save his life for a time, seeing then all his hopes of pardon entirely baffled: the magistrates appointed to witness the ceremony having assembled about two o'clock, at the prison-door, accompanied by the proper officers, the guard, and an infinite multitude of spectators; they, attended by two clergymen, went up to the prisoner, and having read over to him the sentence, they asked his obječtions to the executing the same. Young answered, that he had none : but observing that the sentence appointed the execution to be performed betwixt the hours of two and four in the afternoon, that suggested a thought to him, that if he could preserve his life till past four, the magistrates could not afterwards execute him. Accordingly he desired leave to retire a short time with the two reverend ministers, for spiritual confolation, which being granted, they returned with him to the iron room, where he had been confined since under sentence; and after talking a little with them, he begged they would allow him to spend a few minutes in private devotion, which seeming reasonable, they withdrew, and he ulhered the clergymen to the outer door of his apartment, which shutting behind them, he retired to the inner room, the iron door of which he also immediately bolted.

door

Soon after the officers of justice, surprized at his delay, endeavoured to open his door, which, to their great surprize, they found bolted: then they knocked, and desired him to come out. No, said he; in this place I am refolved to defend my life to the utmost of my power.

On this the door was attempted to be forced, but it, as is said, being of iron, in vain were the most violent endeavours used for that purpose.

This extraordinary accident was immediately rumoured about. My Lord Prosoft was sent for, and accordingly appeared in person. The city clock was stopped; and surprise and expectation appeared in every face. A considerable time being spent to no purpose in forcing the door, that attempt was given over, and the only possible method of getting in was found to be by breaking up the floor of the room over the head of the prisoner, which at length was, in about two hours, effectuated ; and a passage being opened, a gun was presented to him the prisoner, in order to territy him, and compel him to open the door ; but this did pot frighten him in the least; for he said, that as he had lived, so he desired to die, like a soldier. The fellow, however, who held the gun, being a little remiss, Young making a leap up, laid hold of the muzzle, and pulled it down, threatening, upon getting possession of the piece, to choot the first man that dared to enter ; but happily the gun was unloaded, which prevented fo fatal a catastrophe. Rewards were then offered to such of the city guard as would go down and seize him; and at length, after several refusing, one fellow had the courage to go down, whom Young welcomed with a violent blow on the breast from the butt of his gun, that laid the foldier on the ground. Had Young been armed with a sword, it is likely the fate of the first

adventurer

adventurer would have topped the attempts of a second; but he having only an empty musket, and the passage being wide, three or four more jumped in at once, and at length, after a violent struggle, overpowered and bound the unhappy victim ; who still refusing to walk, the door was opened, and he dragged headlong down stairs, in a most deplorable condition. When he was brought out, he asked if it was yet four o'clock (as indeed it then was) but being answered, that he should be hanged were it past eight, he immediately composed himself to suffer that so much dreaded death. Still, however, did he refuse being accessary to his own murder (as he was pleased to term it) by walking as usual to the place of execution : he was then forced upon a cart, where the hangman fat by him, holding the end of the rope, which was immediately put about his neck, and he was in this manner dragged io the Grassmarket, amidst thousands of amazed 1pectators ; where again refusing to ascend the scaffold, he was carried up by the guard, and after about fifteen minutes, being near half an hour past four, and just almost dark, he was hanged by the neck till he was dead.

This poor man had served in the army many years, with reputation : was beloved by his officers, being never before convicted of the least offence, and was said to have been recommended to the first vacant colours in

his corps:

The extraordinary manner of his exit, the strenuous efforts to preserve his life, and the unhappy success that attended them, made him an object truly worthy of compaffion; and it is indeed doubted if so unusual a cafe has occurred in the present age.

He was a middle-aged man, very tall, and remarkably well looked.

SKETCHES SKETCHES

OF THE

HISTORY OF JOHN BULL,

FARMER AND MANUFACTURER.

JOHN

(From Keith's View of Great Britain.) OHN Bull inherited from his ancestors seven fertile

and valuable farms, and a large theep-walk, which one of his forefathers did not come by very honestly : But this affair happened so long ago, that no degree of bad character attached itself to John on that account. By a fortunate marriage he also acquired a very large farm to the northward ; about half the fize of all his other farms, but not so fertile. It was however very valuable to John, because there had always been disputes about their marches, between John's ancestors and those of his wife ; and these disputes were generally decided by club law. Hence there were many bloody heads and broken limbs on both sides, and the contending parties neglected their farms when they were engaged in these quarrels. The marriage therefore was equally favourable to both parties. But previous to his marriage he was engaged in several adventures, and after it his life was full of bustle and enterprise. It would take several volumes to give a full history of his life and opinions, but the following sketches will give some idea of his real character.

When John was young, he was too fond of hunting and of martial exercise to pay particular attention to his farm. Hence his crops of corn were very deficient, though his arable fields were extensive, and their foil was excellent. At that time he paid no regard to manufactures, but fold his wool to a company of weavers, who made it into cloth, and enriched themselves by felling their work at a very high price, owing to the fineness of John's wool. The money which he got from

thele

« ПредишнаНапред »