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Prince Charles Edward Stuart
Trials and executions of the prisoners


While the issue of the contest remained doubtful, the government took no steps to punish the prisoners who had fallen into their hands at Carlisle; but after the decisive affair of Culloden, when there appeared no chance of the Jacobite party ever having it in their power to retaliate, the government resolved to vindicate the authority of the law by making examples of some of the prisoners.

As it was intended to try the prisoners at different places for the sake of convenience, an act was passed empowering his majesty to try them in any country he might select.

On the 24th and 25th of June bill of indictment were found against 36 of the prisoners taken at Carlisle, and against one David Morgan, a barrister, who had been apprehended in Stafordshire. The court then adjourned till the 3d of July, on which day the prisoners were arraigned. Three only pleaded guilty. The rest applied for a postponement of their trials on the ground that material witnesses for their defence were at a considerable distance. The court in consequence ruled that in cases where witnesses were in England the trial should be put off to the 15th of July, and where they were in Scotland, to the 25th of the same month.

The court accordingly met on the 15th of July, and proceeded with the trial of Francis Townley, Esquire, before a grand jury, at the court-house, Southwark. This unfortunate gentleman had been colonel of the Manchester regiment. He was of a respectable family in Lancashire. Obliged to retire to France in 1728, he had obtained a commission from the King of France, and had served at the siege of Philipsburgh under the Duke of Berwick, who lost his life before the walls of that place. He continued sixteen years in the French service; and after his return to England had received a commission to raise a regiment. A plea was set up by his council, that holding a commission in the French service he was entitled to the benefit of the cartel as well as any other French officer, but this was overruled, and he was found guilty. On the next and two following days eighteen other persons, chiefly officers in the said regiment, were brought to trial. Five were attainted by their own confession of high treason, twelve on a verdict of high treason of levying war against the king, and one was aquitted. These seventeen persons, along with Townley, were all condemned to death, and nine of them, including Townley, were selected for execution on the 30th. The rest were reprieved for three weeks.

Kennington common was the place destined for the execution of these unfortunate men, most of whom met their fate with fortitude and resignation. The execution was accompanied with the disgusting and barbarous details usual at that time in cases of treason.

Two singular and interesting circumstances occured at this execution. The one was the attendance of a younger brother of Lieutenant Thomas Deacon's, of the Manchester Regiment, and one of those who had obtained a reprieve. At his own request he was allowed to witness the execution of his brother in a coach under the charge of a guard. The other was one of a very affecting description. Hurried away by the impetuosity of youth, James Dawson, one of the sufferers, the son of a Lancashire gentleman, had abandoned his studies at St. John's college, Cambridge, and had joined the Jacobite standard. He and a young lady of good family and handsome fortune were warmly attached to each other, and had Dawson been acquitted, or, after condemnation, found mercy, the day of his enlargement was to have been that of their marriage. When all hopes of mercy were extinguished, the young lady resolved to witness the execution of her lover, and so firm was her resolution, that no persuasion of her friends could induce her to abandon her determination. On the morning of the execution she accordingly followed the sledges to the place of execution in a hackney coach, accompanied by a gentleman nearly related to her, and one female friend. She got near enough to see the fire kindled which was to consume that heart she knew was so much devoted to her, and to observe the other appalling prearations without committing any of those extravagances her friends has apprehended. She had even the fortitude to restrain her feelings while the executioner was pulling the cap over the eyes of her lover; but when he was thrown off she in an agony of grief drew her head into the coach, and crying out, "My dear, I follow thee, I follow thee; - sweet Jesus, receive both our souls together!" fell upon the neck of her female companion, and instantly expired.

The principal witness against Townly, Deacon, Dawson, and others, was Samuel Maddock, an ensign in the same regiment, who, to save his own life, turned king's evidence against his former comrades.

The individuals next proceeded against were persons of a higher grade. The Marquis of Tullibardine escaped the fate which awaited him, having died of a lingering indisposition in the Tower on the 9th of July; but on the 23d of that month the grand jury of the county of Surrey found bills for high treason against the Earls of Kilmarnock, and Cromarty, and Lord Balmerino. Lord-chancellor Hardwicke was appointed Lord High Steward for the trial of these peers. The indictments being certified, the house of lords fixed the 28th of July for the day of trial. Accordingly, on the day appointed the three lords proceeded from the Tower towards Westminster-hall, where the trial was conducted with great pomp and ceremony.

After the indictments had been read, the Earls of Kilmarnock and Cromarty pleased "guilty", and threw themselves entirely upon the king's mercy. Before pleading to his indicment, Lord Balmerino stated that he was not at Carlisle at the time specified in the indictment, being eleven miles off when that city was taken, and he requested to know from his grace if it would avail him any thing to prove that fact. Lord Hardwicke said that such a circumstance might, or might not, be of use to him; but he informed him that it was contrary to form to permit him to put any questions before pleading to the indictment, by saying whether he was guilty or not guilty. His grace desiring his lordship to plead, the intrepid Balmerino apparently not understanding the meaning of that legal term, exclaimed, with great animation, "Plead! Why, I am pleading as fast as I can". The lord-high-steward, having explained the import of the phrase, the noble baron answered, "Not guilty".

The trial then proceeded. Four witnesses were examined. One of them proved that he saw Lord Balmerino ride into Carlisle on a bay horse the day after it was taken by the Highlanders; - that he saw him afterwards ride up to the market-place with his sword drawn at the head of his troop of horse, which was the second troop of Charles's body guards, and was called Elphinstone's horse. Another witness deponed that he saw his lordship ride into Manchester at the head of his troop, and that he was there when the young Chevalier was proclaimed regent. Two other witnesses proved that his lordship was called colonel of his troop, that he always acted in that station, have orders on all occasions to his officers, and that he was in great favour with Prince Charles. The evidence on the part of the crown, having been finished, the lord-high-steward asked the prisoner if he had any thing to offer in his defence, or meant to call any witnesses. His lordship replied that he had nothing to say, but to make an exception to the indictment which was incorrect in charging him with being at Carlisle at the time it was taken by the Highlanders. The peers then sesolved to take the opinion of the judges upon the point, and these were unamimously of opinion, that, as an overt act of treason and other acts of treason had been proved beyond contradiction, there was no occasion to prove explicitly every thing that was laid in the indictment; and that, of course, the prisoner's objection was not material. The peers then unanimously found Lord Balmerino guilty of high treason, after which, the other two lords were brought to the bar, and were informed by the lord-high-steward, that if neither of them had any thing to move in arrest of judgement, they must come prepared on the Wednesday following at eleven o'clock, and state their objections, otherwise sentance of death would be awarded against them. The three lords were then carried back to the Tower in coaches, and the axe, which was in the coach with Lord Balmerino, had its edge pointed towards him.

The court accordingly met again on Wednesday the 30th of July, when the lord-high-steward addressed the prisoners; and begining with Lord Kilmarnock, asked him if he had any thing to offer why judgement of death should not be passed against him. His lordship stated, that having, from a due sense of his folly, and the heinousness of his crimes, acknowledged his guilt, he meant to offer nothing in extenuation, but to throw himself entirely on the compassion of the court, that it might intercede with his majesty for his royal clemency. He then, in a somewhat humble speech, urged several reasons whu he should be treated with clemency, expressing great contrition for having, somewhat against his own inclination, joined in the "unnatural scheme". He concluded by stating, that if after what he had stated their lordships did not feel themselves called upon to employ their interest with his majesty for his royal clemency, that he would lay down his life with the utmost resignation, and that his last moments should "be employed in fervent prayer for the preservation of the illustrious house of Hanover, and the peace and prosperity of Great Britian".

The Earl of Cromarty began a most humiliating but pathetic appeal, by declaring that he had been guilty of an offence which merited the highest indignation of his majesty, their lordships, and the public; and that it was from a conviction of his guilt that he had not presumed to trouble their lordships with any defence. "Nothing remains, my lords", he continued, "but to thrown myself, my life, and fortune, upon your lordships's compasion; but of these, my lords, as to myself is the least part of my sufferings. I have involved an affectionate wife, with an unborn infant, as parties to my guilt, to share its penalties; I have involved my eldest son, whose infancy and regard for his parents hurried him down the stream of rebellion. I have involved also eight innocent children, who must feel their parent's punishment before they know his guilt. Let them, my lords, be pledges to his majesty; let them be pledges to my country for mercy; let the silent eloquence of their grief and tears; let the powerful language of innocent nature supply my want of eloquence and persuasion; let me enjoy mercy, but no longer than I deserve it; and let me no longer enjoy life than I shall use it to deface the crime I have been guilty of. Whilst I thus intercede to his majesty through the mediation of your lordships for mercy, let my remorse for my guilt as a subject; let the sorrow of my heart as a husband; let the anguish of my mind as a father, speak the rest of my misery. As your lordships are men, feel as men; but may none of you ever suffer the smallest part of my anguish. But if after all, my lords, my safety shall be found inconsistent with that of the public, and nothing but my blood can atone for my unhappy crime; if the sacrifice of my life, my fortune and my family, is judged indispensably necessary for stopping the loud demands of public justice; and if the bitter cup is not to pass from me, not mine, but thy will, O God, be done".

When the lord-high-steward addressed Lord Balmerino, he produced a paper, and desired it might be read. His grace told his lordship that he was at liberty to read it if he pleased; but his lordship replied that his voice was too low, and that he could not read it so distinctly as he could wish. One of the clerks of parliament, by order of the lord-high-steward, then read the paper, which was to this effect:- That although his majesty had been empowered by an act of parliament, made the last session, to appoint the trials for high treason to take place in any county he should appoint; yet, as the alleged act of treason was stated to have been committed at Carlisle, and prior to the passing of the said act, he ought to have been indicted at Carlisle, and not in the county of Surrey, as the act could not have a restrospect effect. His lordship prayed the court to assign him counsel to argue the point. The peers, after consideration, agreed to his petition for counsel, and at his request assigned him Messrs. Wilbraham and Forrester, and adjourned the court to the 1st of August.

The three prisoners were again brought back from the Tower. On that day the lord-high-steward asked Lord Balmerino if he was then ready by his counsel to argue the point, which he proposed to the court on the previous day. His lordship answered, that as his counsel had advised him that there was nothing in the objection sufficient to found an arrest of judgement upon, he begged to withdraw the objection, and craved their lordships' pardon for giving them so much trouble. The prisoners then all declaring that they submitted themselves to the court, Lord Lardwicke addressed them in a suitable speech, and concluded by pronouncing the following sentance: - "The judgement of the law is, and this high court doth award, that you, William, Earl of Kilmarnock; George, Earl of Cromarty; and Arthur Lord Balmerino, and every of you, return to the prison of the Tower from whence you came: from thence you must be drawn to the place of execution: when you come there, you must be hanged by the neck, but not till you are dead; for you must be cut down alive; then your bowels must be taken out and burnt before your faces; then your heads must be severed from your bodies; and your bodies must be divided each into four quarters; and these must be at the king's disposal. And God Almighty be merciful to your souls". Then the prisoners were removed from the bar, and after taking a cold collation which had been prepared for them, were carried back to the Tower in the same order and form as before.

The Earl of Kilmarnock immediately presented a petition to the king for mercy, and also another, a copy of the first, to the Prince of Wales, praying his royal highness's intercession with his majesty in his behalf; and a third to the Duke of Cumberland for a similar purpose. In this last mentioned petition he asserted his innocence of charges which had been made against him, of having advised the putting to death of the prisoners taken by the Highland army before the battle of Culloden, and of advising or approving of an alleged order for giving no quarter to his majesty's troops in that battle. In the petitions to the king and the Price of Wales, the earl declared that he had surrendered himself at the battle of Culloden, at a time when he could have easily escaped; but he afterwards admitted that the statement was untrue, and that he was induced to make it from a strong desire for life; that he had no intention of surrendering; and that, with the view of facilitating his escape, he had gone towards the body of horse which made him prisoner, thinking that it was Fitz-James's horse, with the design of mounting behind a dragoon. These petitions were entirely disregarded.

The Earl fo Cromarty, with better claims to mercy, also petitioned the king. In support of this application the countess waited upon the lords of cabinet council, and presented a petition to each of them; and, on the Sunday following sentance, she went to Kensington palace in deep mourning, accompanied by Lady Stair, to intercede with his majesty in behalf of her husband. She was a women of great strength of mind, and though far advanced in pregnancy, had hitherto displayed surprising fortitude; but on the present trying occasion she gave way to grief. She took her station in the entrance through which the king was to pass to chapel, and when he approached she fell upon her knees, seized him by the coat, and presented her supplication, fainted away at his feet. The king immediately raised her up, and taking the petition, gave it in charge of the Duke of Grafton, one of his attendants. He then desired Lady Stair to conduct her to one of the apartments. The Dukes of Hamilton and Montrose, the Earl of Stair and other courtiers, backed these petitions for the royal mercy by a personal application to the king, who granted a pardon to the earl on the 9th of August.

The high-minded Balmerino disdained to compromise his principles by suing for pardon, and when he heard that his fellow-prisoners had applied for mercy, he sarcastically remarked, that as they must have great interest at court, they might have squeezed his name in with their own. From the time of his sentance down to his execution, he showed no symptoms of fear. He never entertained any hopes of pardon, for he said he considered his case desperate, as he had been once pardoned before. When Lady Balmerino expressed her great concern for the approaching fate of her Lord, he said, "Grieve not, my dear Peggy, we must all die once, and this is but a few years very likely before my death must have happened some other way; therefore, wipe away your tears; you may marry again, and get a better husband". About a week after his sentance a gentleman went to see him, and apologising for intruding upon him when he had such a short time to live, his lordship replied, "Oh! Sir, no intrusion at all; I have done nothing to make my conscience uneasy. I shall die with a true heart, and undaunted; for I think no man fit to live who is nto fit to die; nor am I any ways concerned at what I have done". Being asked a few days before his execution in what manner he would go to the scaffold, he answered, "I will go in the regimentals which I wore when I was first taken, with a woollen shirt next to my skin, which will serve me instead of a shroud to be buried in". Being again asked why he would not have a new suit of black, he replied, "It would be thought very imprudent in a man to repair an old house when the lease of it was near expiring; and the lease of my life expires next Monday". The king could not but admire the high bearing and manly demeanour of this unfortunate nobleman; and when the friends of the other prisoners were making unceasing applications to him for mercy, he said, "Does nobody intercede for poor Balmerion? He, though a rebel, is at least an honest man". According to Walpole, Balmerino was "jolly with his pretty Peggy" almost to the very last.

On the 11th of August an order wa signed in council for the execution of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino, and on the 12th two writs passed the great seal, empowering the constable of the Tower to deliver their bodies to the sheriffs of London, for execution on Monday the 18th. The order for their execution on the 18th of August having been announced to the unfortunate noblemen by Mr Foaster, a dissenting clergyman, Lord Kilmarnock received the intelligence with all the composure of a man resigned to his fate, but at the same time with a deep feeling of concern for his future state. Balmerino, who perhaps had as strong a sense of religion as Kilmarnock, received the news with the utmost unconcern. He and his lady were sitting at dinner when the warrant arrived, and, being informed of it, her ladyship started up from the table and fainted away. His lordship raised her up, and, after she had recovered, he requested her to resume her seat at the table and finish her dinner.

On the Saturday prceeding the execution, General Williamson, at Kilmarnock's desire, as is supposed, gave him a minute detail of all the circumstances of solemnity and outward terror which would accompany it.

Balmerino was no actuated with the same feeling of curiosity as Kilmarnock was to know the circumstances which would attend his execution, but awaited his fate with the indifference of a martyr desirous of sealing his faith with his blood. The following letter, written by him on the eve of his execution, to the Chevalier de St George, strikingly exemplifies the cool intrepidity of the man, and the sterling honesty with which he adhered to his principles:-

"Sir, - You may remember that, in the year 1716, when your Majesty was in Scotland, I left a company of foot, purely with a design to serve your Majesty, and, had I not made my escape then, I should certainly have been shot for a deserter.

"When I was abroad I lived many years at my own charges before I ask'd any thing from you, being unwilling to trouble your Majesty while I had any thing of my own to live upon and when my father wrote me that he had a remission for me, which was got without my asking or knowledge, I did not accept of it till I first had your Majesty's permission. Sir, when His Royal Highness the Prince, your son, came to Edinburgh, as it was my bounden and indispendable duty, I joyn'd him, for which I am to-morrow to lose my head on a scaffold, whereat I am so far from being dismayed, that it gives me great satisfaction and peace of mind that I die in so righteous a cause. I hope, Sir, on these considerations, your Majesty will provide for my wife so as she may not want bread, which otherwise she must do, my brother having left more debt on the estate than it was worth, and having nothing in the world to give her. I am, with the most profound respect, Sir, your Majesty's most faithful and devoted subject and servant,

"Balmerino"
"Tower of London"
"17th August, 1746"

On Monday, the 18th of August, great preparations were made on Tower-hill for the execution. At ten o'clock the block was fixed on the stage, covered with black cloth, and several sacks of sawdust were provided to be strewed upon the scaffold. Soon after the two coffins were brought and placed upon the scaffold. Upon Kilmarnock's coffin was a plate with this inscription, "Gulielmus Comed de Kilmarnock, decollatus 18 Augusti, 1746, aetat. suae 43", with an earl's coronet over it, and six coronets over the six handles. The plate on Balmerino's coffin bore this inscription, "Arthurus Dominus de Balmerion, decollatus 18 Augusti, 1746, aetat. suae 58", surmounted by a baron's coronet, and with six others over the handles.

These preparations were completed about half-past ten, when the sheriffs, accompanied by their officers, went to the Tower, and, knocking at the door, demanded "The bodies of William, Earl of Kilmarnock, and Arthur, Lord Balmerino". General Williamson thereupon went to inform the prisoners that the sheriffs were in attendance. When told that he was wanted, Lord Kilmarnock, who had just been engaged in prayer with Mr Foster, betrayed no fear, but said, with great composure, "General, I am ready; I'll follow you". On leaving the Tower, Kilmarnock and Balmerino met at the foot of the stair. They embraced each other, and Balmerino said, "I am heartily sorry to have your company in this expedition". The ill-fated noblemen were then brought to the Tower-gate, and delivered over to the sheriffs. When the prisoners were leaving the Tower, the deputy-lieutenant, according to an ancient usage, cried, "God bless King George!" to which Kilmarnock assented by a bow, but Balmerino emphatically exclaimed, "God bless King James!". The prisoners were then conducted to the house fitted up for their reception, and, being put into seperate apartments, their friends were admitted to see them. When the prisoners arrived at the door of the house, some persons among the crowd were heard asking others, "Which is Lord Balmerino?". His lordship, overhearing the question, said, "I am Balmerino, gentlemen, at your service".

About eleven o'clock Lord Balmerino sent a message to Lord Kilmarnock requesting an interview, which being consented to, Balmerino was brought into Kilmarnock's apartment. The following dialogue, as reported by Mr Foster, then ensued. Balmarino - "Mr lord, I beg leave to ask your lordship one question". Kilmarnock - "To any question, my lord, that you shall think proper to ask, I believe I shall see no reason to decline giving an answer". B. "Why then, my lord, did you ever see or know of any order signed by the prince, to give no quarter at Culloden?". K. "No. my lord". B. "Nor I neither; and therefore it seems to be an invention to justify their own murders". K. "No, my lord, I do not think that inference can be drawn from it; because, while I was in Inverness, I was informed by several officers that there was such an order, signed 'George Murray'; and that it was in the duke's custody. B. "Lord George Murray! Why, then, they should not charge it upon the prince". After this conversation the prisoners tenderly saluted each other, and Balmerino, after bidding his friend in affliction an eternal and happy adieu, added, with a countenance beaming with benignity, "My dear lord, I wish I could alone pay the reckoning and suffer for us both".

Lord Kilmarnock appeared to be most anxious to impress upon the minds of those who were with him the sincerity of his repentance for the crime for which he was about to suffer. He declared himself fully statisifed witht he legality of King George's title to the crown, and stated that his attachment to the reigning family, which had suffered a slight interruption, was then as strong as ever. He spent a considerable time in devotion with Mr Foster, till he got a hint from the sheriffs that the time was far advanced, his rank as an earl giving him a melancholy priority on the scaffold. After Mr Foster had said a short prayer, his lordship took a tender farewell of the persons who attended him, and, prceeded by the sheriffs, left the room followed by his friends. Notwithstanding the great trouble he had taken, in accordance with the wish of Mr Foster, to familiarise his mind with the outward apparatus of death, he was appalled when he stepped upon the scafford at beholding the deadful scene around him, and, turning round about to one of the clergymen, said, "Home, this is terrible!". He was attired is a suit of black clothes, and, though his countenance was composed, he had a melancholy air about him, which indicated great mental suffering. Many of the spectators near the scaffold were so much affected by his appearance that they could not refrain from tears, and even the executioner was so overcome that he was obliged to drink several glasses of spirits to enable him to perform his dreadful duty.

Mr Foster, who had accompanied his lordship to the scaffold, remained on it a short time in earnest converstation, and having quited it, the executioner came forward and asked his lordship's forgiveness inexecuting the very painful task he had to perform. The unhappy nobleman informed the executioner that he readily forgave him, and presented him a purse containing give guineas, desired him the have courage. His lordship then took off his upper clothes, turned down the neck of his shirt under his vest, and undoing his long dressed har from the bag which contained it, tied it round his head in a damask cloth in the form of a cap. He then informed the executioner that he would drop a hankerchief as a signal for the stroke about two minutes after he had laid his head down upon the block. Either to support himself, or as a more convenient posture for devotion, he laid his hands upon the block. On observing this the executioner begged his lordship to let his hands fall down, lest they should be mangled or break the blow. Being told that the neck of his waistcoat was in the way, he rose up, and with the help of Colonel Vraufurd, one of his friends, had it taken off. The neck being now made completely bare to his shoulders, the earl again knelt down as before. This occurence did not in the least discompose him, and Mr Home's servant, who held the cloth to receive his head, hear him, after laying down his head the second time, put the executioner in mind that in two minutes he would give the signal. He spent this short time in fervent devotion. Then, fixing his neck upon the block, he gave the fatal signal; his body remained without the least motion till the stroke of the axe, which at the first blow almost severed the head from the body. A small piece of skin which still united them was cut through by another stroke. The head, which was received into a scarlet cloth, was not exposed, in consequence, it is said, of the earl's own request, but along with the body, was deposited in the coffin, which was delivered to his friends, and placed by them in the hearse. The scaffold was then strewed over with fresh sawdust, and the executioner, who was dressed in white, changed such of his clothes as were stained by blood.

The first act of this bloody tragedy being now over, the under-sheriff went to Balmerino's apartments to give him notice that his time was come. "I suppose", said his lordship on seeing this functionary enter, "my Lord Kilmarnock is no more". Being answered in the affirmative, he asked the under-sheriff how the executioner had performed his duty, and upon receiving the account, he said, "then it was well done, and now, gentlemen, (continued the inflexible Balmerino, turning to his friends), I will detain you no longer, for I desire not to protract my life". During the time spent in Kilmarnock's execution Balmerino had conversed cheerfully with his friends, and twice refreshed himself with a bit of bread and a glass of wine, desiring the company to drink him "a degree to heaven". Saluting each of his friends in the most affectionate manner, he bade them all adieu, and leaving them bathed in tears, he hastened to the scaffold, which he mounted with a firm step.

The strong feeling of pity with which the spectators had beheld the handsome though emaciated figure of the gentle Kilmarnock gave place to sensations of another kind, when they beheld the bold and strongly-built personage who now stood on the stage before them. Attired in the same regimentals of blue turned up with red which he had worn at the battle of Culloden, and treading the scaffold with a firm step and an undaunted air, he gloried in the cause for which he suffered, and forced the assembled multitude to pay an unwilling tribute of admiration to his greatness of soul. His friends, on beholding the apparatus of death, expressed great concern; but his lordship reproved their anxiety. His lordship walked round the scaffold, and bowed to the people. He then went to the coffin, and reading the inscription, said it was correct. With great composure he examined the block, which he called "pillow of rest". He then put on his spectacles, and, pulling a paper from his pocket, read it to the few persons about him, in which he declared his firm attachment to the house of Stuart, and stated that the only fault he had every committed deserving his present fate, and for which he expressed his sincere regret, was in having served in the armies of the enemies of that house, Queen Anne and George I. He complained that he had not been well used by the lieutenat of the Tower, but that having received the sacrament the day before, and read several of the Psalms of David, he had forgiven him, and said that he now died in charity with all men.

Calling at lasy for the executioner, that functionary stepped forward to ask his forgiveness, but Balmerino interrupted him, and said, "Friend, you need not ask my forgiveness; the execution of your duty is commendable". Then presenting him with three guineas, his lordship added, "Friend, I never had much money; this is all I have, I wish it was more for your sake, and I am sorry I can add nothing else to it but my coat and waistcoat". These he instantly took off, and laid them down on the coffin. He then put on the flannel waistcoat which he had provided, and a tartan cap on his head, to signify, as he said, that he died a Scotchman; and going to the block, placed his head upon it in order to show the executioner the signal for the blow, which was by dropping his arms. Returning then to his friends, he took an affectionate farewell of them, and, surveying the vast numbers of spectators, said, "I am afraid there are some who may think my behaviour bold; but", addressing a gentleman near him, he added, "remember, Sir, what I tell you; it arises from a confidence in God, and a clear conscience".

Observing at this moment the executioner with the axe in his hand, he went up, and, taking it from him, felt the edge. On returning the fatal instrument, Balmerino showed him where to stike the blow, and encouraged him to do it with resolution, "for in that, friend", said he, "will consist your mercy". His lordship, then, with a countenance beaming with joy, knelt down at the block, and extending his arms, said the following prayer:- "O Lord, reward my friends, forgive my enemies, bless the prince and the duke, an dreceive my soul". He then instantly dropt his arms. The executioner, taken unawares by the suddeness of the signal, hurriedly raised the axe, and missing his aim, struck the ill-fated lord between the shoulders, a blow which, it has been said, deprived the unfortunate nobleman of sensation; but it has been averred by some of the spectators, that Balmerino turned his head a little round upon the block, gnashed his teeth, and have the executioner a ghastly stare. Taking immediately a better aim, the executioner gave a second blow, which almost severed the head from the body, and deprived the noble victim of life. The body having fallen from the block, it was instantly replaced, and the executioner, once more raising the fatal weapon, finished the task. The head was received in a piece of red cloth, and deposited along with the body in the coffin, and being put into a hearse, was carried to the chapel of the Tower, and buried with that of Lord Kilmarnock, near the remains of Lord Tullibardine. Mr Humphreys, curate of the chapel, read the funeral services, and when he came to the words, "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes", two gentlemen, friends of the deceased, took up the spades and performed the office of grave-diggers.

For a time the unhappy fate of the two lords almost exclusively engaged the attention of the public; and in private circles, as well as in the periodicals of the day, the conduct and bearing of the unfortunate noblemen were viewed and commented upon according to the partialities and feelings of the parties. By the whigs, and generally by all persons of a real or affected seriousness of mind, Kilmarnock was regarded as a perfect model of the dying Christian, who, though he had been guilty of base ingratitude to the government, and had told a falsehood at his trial, had fully atoned for his offences by his contrition; whilst his companion in suffering was looked upon as an incorrigible rebel, who had braved death with an unbecoming levity. The Jacobites, however, and even some of the friends of the revolution settlement, whilst they could not but admire the calm resignation of Kilmarnock, heartily despised the cringing pusullanimity which he displayed to soften the resentment of the government. Balmerino was viewed by them in a very different light. Whilst the Jacobites looked upon him as an illustrious martyr, who had added a lustre to their cause by his inflexible intrepidity and the open avowal of his sentiments, the other section of his admirers applauded his courage, and paid a just tribute to his honesty. The more dispassionate judgement of posterity has done ample justice to the rectitude and magnanimity of this unfortunate nobleman.


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