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History of the Gipsies
Chapter IV - Linlithgowshire Gipsies


(This and the following three chapters are illustrative of the Gipsies, in their wild state, previous to their gradual settlement and civilization, and are applicable to the same class in every part of the world. Chapter VI, on the Gipsies of Tweed-dale and Clydesdale, might have been taken the first in order, as descriptive of the tribe in its more primitive condition, but I have allowed it to remain where it stands. A description of the habits peculiar to the race will be found, more or less, in all of these chapters, where they ceo be consulted, for the better identification of the facts given.—Ed.)

THE Gipsies who frequented the banks of the Forth, and the counties northward, appear to have been more daring than those who visited some other parts of Scotland.

Within these sixty years, a large horde, of very desperate character, resided on the banks of the Avon, near the burgh of Linlithgow. At first, they quartered higher up on the Stirling side of the stream, at a place called Walkmilton but latterly they took up their abode in some old houses, on the Linlithgow side of the river, at or near the bridge of Linlithgow.

'These Gipsies displayed much sagacity in carrying on their trade, by selecting the neighbourhood of Falkirk and Linlithgow for their headquarters, as this was, perhaps, the most advantageous position in all Scotland that a Gipsy band could occupy. The district was of itself very populous, and a very considerable trade and bustle then existed at the port of Bo'ness, in the vicinity. All the intercourse between Edinburgh and Glasgow passed a few miles to the south of their quarters. The traffic, by carts, between Glasgow and the west of Scotland, and the shipping at Carron-shore, Elphingston-Pow and Airth, on the Forth, before the canal was cut, was immense; all which traffic, as well as that between Fife and the western districts; passed a few miles north of their position. The road for travellers and cattle from the Highlands, by way of 'Stirling, crossed the above-mentioned roads, and led, through Falkirk and Linlithgow, to Edinburgh, the eastern and southern counties of Scotland, and England.

The principal surnames of this Gipsy band were McDonald, Jamieson, Wilson, Gordon and Lundie. Frequently the number that would assemble together would amount to upwards of thirty souls, and it was often observed that a great many females and children were seen loitering about their common place of residence. No protection was given by them to our native vagrants, nor Were any of our common plunderers, vagabonds, or outlaws suffered to remain among, them. When at home, or traversing the country, the trade and occupation of this band Were exactly the same as those of their friends in other parts of Scotland, viz : making wool-cards, cast-iron soles for ploughs, smoothing-irons, horn spoons, and repairing articles in the tinker line. The old females told fortunes, while the women in general assisted their husbands in their work, by blowing the bellows, scraping and polishing the spoons With glass and charred Wood, and otherwise completing their articles for sale. Many of the males dealt in horses, with which they frequented fairs —that great resort of the Gipsies; and these wanderers, in general, Were considered excellent judges of horses. Numbers of them were fiddlers and pipers, and the tribe often amused themselves With feasting and dancing. (It appears that, at this period, James Wilson, town-piper, and John Livingston, hangman, of Linlithgow, were both Gipsies. [Formerly the Gipsies were exclusively employed in Hungary and Transylvania as hangmen and executioners. Grellmann.--Ed.])

Like their race generally, these Gipsies were extremely civil and obliging to their immediate neighbours, and those who lived nearest to their quarters, and had the most intercourse with them, in the ordinary affairs of life, were the least afraid of them.

(This trait in the character of the Scottish Gipsies is well illustrated in the following anecdote, which appeared in I3lackwood's Magazine. It was obtained by an individual who frequently heard the clergyman in question relate it.

``The late Mr. Leek, minister of Yetholm. happened to be riding home one evening from a visit in Northumberland, when, finding himself likely to be benighted, for sake of a near cut, he struck into a wild, solitary track, or drove-road, across the fells, by a place called the Staw. In one of the derne places through which this path led him, there stood an old deserted shepherd's house, which, of course, was reputed to be haunted. The minister, though little apt to be alarmed by such reports, was, however, somewhat startled on observing, as lie approached close to the cottage, a `grins visage' staring out past a window claith, or sort of curtain, which had been fastened up to supply the place of a door, and also several 'dusky figures.' skulking among the bourtree-bushes that had once sheltered the shepherd's garden. Without leaving hint any time for speculation, however, the knight of the curtain bolted forth upon him, and, seizing his horse by the bridle, demanded his money. Mr. Leek, though it was now dark, at once recognised the gruff voice, and the great, black, burly head of his next-door neighbour, Gleid Nickit Will, the Gipsy chief. 'Dear me, William,' said the minister, in his usual quiet manner, 'can this be you? ye're surely no serious wi' me? ye wadna sae far wrang your character for a good neighbour, for the bit trifle I ha'e to gi.'e, William!'—`Lord saif us, Mr. Leek said Will, quitting the rein, and lifting his hat, with great respect, 'Whae wad hae thought o' meeting you out owre here-away? Ye needna gripo for ony siller to me—I wadna touch a plack o' your gear, nor a hair o' your head, for a' the gowd o' Tividale. I ken ye'll no do us an ill turn for this mistak—and I'll e'en see ye safe through the chic Stave—it's no reckoned a very canny bit, mair ways nor one; but I wat ye'll no be feared for the deml, and I'll tak care o' the living.' Will accordingly gave his reverend friend a safe convoy through the haunted puss, and, notwithstanding this ugly mistake, continued ever after an inoffensive and obliging neighbour to the minister, who, on his part, observed a prudent and inviolable secrecy on the subject of this renconnter, during the life time of Gleid Nickit Will."

I understand this anecdote to apply to old Will Fart, mentioned in the Border Gipsies, under chapter VII.- Ed.)

But the farmers and others at a distance, who frequented the markets at Falkirk, and other fairs in the neighbourhood, were always a plentiful harvest for the plundering Tinklers. Their plunderings on such occasions spread a general alarm over the country. But that good humour, mirth, and jocund disposition, peculiar to many of the males of the Gipsies, seldom failed to gain the good-will of those who deigned to converse with theta with farniliarity, or treated them with kindness. They even formed strong attachments to certain individuals of the community, and afforded theta protection on all occasions, giving them tokens to present to others of their fraternity, while travelling under night. Notwithstanding the good-disposition which they always showed under these circumstances, the fiery Tinklers often fell out among themselves, on dividing, at home, the booty which they had collected at fairs, and excited feelings of horror in the minds of their astonished neighbours, when they beheld the hurricanes of wrath and fury exhibited by both sexes, and all ages, in the heat of their battles.

The children of these Gipsies attended the principal school at Linlithgow, and not an individual at the school dared to cast the slightest reflection on or speak a disrespectful word of, either them or their parent,, although their robberies were everywhere notorious, yet "always conducted in so artful a, manner that no direct evidence could ever be obtained of them. Such was the fear that the audacious conduct of these Gipsies inspired, that the magistrates of the royal burgh of Linlithgow stood in awe of them, and were deterred from discharging their magisterial duties, when any matter relative to their conduct came before their honours. The truth is, the magistrates would not interfere with them at all, but stood nearly on the same terms with them that a tribe of American Indians, who worshipped the devil—not from any respect which they had for his Satanic majesty, but from being in constant dread of his diabolical machinations. Not a justice of the peace gave the horde the least annoyance, but, on the contrary, allowed them to remain in peaceable possession of sonic old, uninhabited houses, to which they had no right whatever. Instead of endeavouring to repress the unlawful proceedings of the daring Tinklers, numbers of the most respectable individuals in Linlithgowshire deigned to play at golf and other games with the principal members of the body. The proficiency which the Gipsies displayed on such occasions was always a source of interest to the patrons and admirers of such games. At throwing the sledge-hammer, casting the putting-stone, and all other athletic exercises, not one was a match for these powerful Tinklers. They were also remarkably dexterous at handling the cudgel, at which they were constantly practising themselves.

The honourable magistrates, indeed, frequently admitted the presumptuous Tinklers to share a social bowl with them at their entertainments and dinner parties. Yet these friends and companions of the magistrates and gentlemen of Linlithgowshire were no other than the occasional tenants of kilns. or temporary occupiers of the ground floor of some ruinous, half-roofed houses, without furniture, saving a few blankets and some straw, to prevent their persons from resting upon the cold earth. But, nevertheless, these Gipsies made themselves of considerable importance, and possessed an influence over the minds of the community to an extent hardly to be credited at the present day. It was well, known that the provost of Linlithgow, who was much exposed by riding at all times through the country, in the way of his business as a brewer, had himself received from the Gipsies assurance that he would not be molested by the band, and that he was, therefore, at all times, and on all occasions, perfectly safe from being plundered. Having in this manner rendered the local authorities entirely passive, or rather neutral, from fear and interest, the audacious Gipsies prosecuted their system of plunder and robbery to an alarming extent.

Notwithstanding the fear which these Gipsies inspired in the mind of the community, there were yet individuals of courage who would brave them, if circumstances rendered a meeting with them unavoidable. None, indeed, would dream of wantonly molesting them, but, if brought to the pinch, some would not shrink from encountering them, when acting under the influences of those feelings which call forth the latent courage of even the most timid and considerate of people. Such a rencounter resulted in the death of the chief of the Linlithgow band, of the name of McDonald, to whom the others of the tribe gave the title of captain.

In a dark night, a gentleman of the name of .[I-, an officer in the army, and a man of courage, while travelling on the high road, from the eastward to Stirlingshire, to visit, as was said, his sweetheart, had occasion to stop, for refreshment, at a public-house near the bridge of Linlithgow. The landlord advised him to go no further that night, owing to the road being "foul," meaning that the Tinklers had been seen lurking in the direction in which he was travelling. Foul or not foul, he would proceed; his particular engagement with the lady making him reluctant to break his promise, and turn back. He called for a gill of brandy, which he shared with the landlord, and deliberately loaded, in his presence, a brace of pistols which he carried about his person. his courage rose with the occasion, and lie declared that whoever dared to molest him should not go unpunished. He then mounted his horse and rode forward. On arriving at a place called Sandyford-burn, a man, in the dark, sprang out from the side of the road, and, laying hold of the bridle of his horse, demanded his money. The horseman being on the alert, and quite prepared for such a demand, with his spirits, moreover, elevated by his dram of brandy, instantly replied by firing one of his pistols at the robber, who fell to the ground. He, however, held fast the bridle reins in his convulsive death grasp, and the horse, being urged forward, dragged him a short distance along the ground. Hardly had the shot been fired, ere a voice, close by, was heard to exclaim, "There goes our captain," while a confused cry of vengeance was uttered on all sides, against him by whom he had fallen. But the rider, clapping his spurs to his horse, instantly galloped forward, yet made a narrow escape, for several shots were fired at him, which were heard by the landlord of the public-house which lie had just left.

The Gipsies, in this awkward predicament., carried the body of their chieftain home, and gave out to their neighbours, the country people, the following morning, {Sunday,) that he had died very suddenly of iliac passion. His lykewake was kept up in their usual manner, and great feastings and drinkings were held by them while his body lay uninterred. After several days of carousing, the remains of the robber were buried in the church-yard of Linlithgow. (Some of the Gipsies only put a paper cap on the head, and paper round the feet. of their dead; leaving all the body bare, excepting that they place upon the breast, opposite the heart, a circle made of red and blue ribbons, in form something like the shape of the variegated cockade, worn in the lilts of newly-enlisted recruits in the army. In England it was customary with the Gipsies, at one time, to burn the dead, but now they only burn the clothes, and some of the effects of the deceased.—Ed.]) His funeral was very respectable, having been attended by the magistrates of Linlitbgow, and a number of the most genteel persons in the neighbourhood. The real cause of the sudden death of the Tinkler began to spread abroad, a short time after the burial, but no enquiry was made into the matter. The individual who had done the public a service, by taking off the chief of the banditti, mentioned the circumstance afterwards to his friends, and was afraid of the band for some time thereafter ; although it was improbable that, in the dark. they were able to make out, or afterwards ascertain, the person who had made himself so obnoxious to them.

Notwithstanding this prompt and well-merited chastisement which the Gipsies received, in their leader being shot dead in his attempt at highway robbery, in the immediate vicinity of their ordinary place of rendezvous, they continued their depredations in their usual manner, but generally took care, as is their custom, to give no molestation to their nearest neighbours. The deceased captain was succeeded, in the chieftainship of the tribe, by his son, Alexander McDonald, who also assumed the title of captain. This man trod in the footsteps of his father in every respect, and exercised his hereditary profession of theft and robbery, with an activity and audacity unequalled by any among his tribe in that part of Scotland. The very name of McDonald and his gang appalled the boldest hearts of those who ventured to travel under night with money in their pockets, in certain parts of the country. His band appears to have been very numerous, as among them some held the subordinate rank of lieutenants, as if they had been organized like a regular military company. James Jamieson, his brother-in-law, was also styled captain in this notorious band of Gipsies, who were connected with similar bands in England and Ireland.

McDonald and his brother-in-law, Jamieson, were considered remarkably stout, handsome, and fine-looking men. By constant training at all kinds of athletic exercises, they brought themselves to perform feats of bodily strength and agility which were almost incredible. They were often elegantly dressed in the finest clothes of the first fashion, with linen to correspond. At the same time they were perfect chameleons in respect to their appearance and apparel. .McDonald was frequently observed in three or four different dresses in one market-day. At one time of the day, he was seen completely attired in the best of tartan, assuming the appearance and manners of a highland gentleman in full costume. At another time, he appeared ruffled at hands and breast, booted and spurred, on horseback, as if he had been a man of some consideration. He would again be seen in a ragged coat, with a budget and wallet on his back—a common travelling Tinkler. Both of these men often dealt in horses, and were themselves frequently mounted on the best of animals. The. Arabians and Tartars are scarcely more partial to horses than the Gipsies.

The pranks and tricks played by McDonald were numerous, and many a story is yet remembered of his extraordinary exploits. He took great pains in training and learning some of his horses various evolutions and tricks. He had, at one time, a piebald horse so efficiently trained, and so completely under his management, that it, in some respects, assisted him in his depredations. By certain signals and motions, he could, when he found it necessary, snake it clap close to the ground, like a hare in its furrow. It would crouch down in a hollow piece of ground, in a ditch, or at the side of a Tiede, so as to hide itself, when McDonald's situation was like to expose him to detection. With the assistance of one of these well trained-horses, this man, on one occasion, saved his wife, Ann Jamieson, from prison, and perhaps from the gallows. Ann was apprehended near Dunfermline for some of her unlawful practices. As the officers of the law were conducting her to prison, McDonald rode up to the party, and requested permission to speak with their prisoner, which was readily granted, as, from McDonald's appearance, the officers supposed he had something to say to the woman. He then drew her aside, under the pretence of conversing with her in private, when, in an instant, Ann, with his assistance, sprang upon the horse, behind him, and bade good-bye to the messengers, who were amazed at the sudden and unexpected escape of their prisoner. Ann was a little, handsome woman, and was considered one of the most expert of the Scottish Gipsies at conducting a plundering at a fair; and was, on that account, much respected by her tribe.

McDonald and Jamieson, like others of the superior classes of Gipsies, gave tokens of protection to their particular friends of the community generally. The butchers of Linlithgow, when they went to the country, with money to buy cattle, frequently procured these assurances from the Gipsies. The shoemakers did likewise, when they had to go to distant markets with their shoes. Linlithgow appears even to have been under the special protection of these banditti. Mr. George Hart, and Mr. William Baird, two of the most respectable merchants of Bo'ness, who had been peddlers in their early years, scrupled not to say that, when travelling through the country, they were seldom without tokens from the Gipsies. But if the Gipsies were kind to those who kept on good terms with them, they, on the other hand, vindictively tormented their enemies. They would steal sheep, and put the blood and parts of the animal about the premises of those they hated, that they might be suspected of the theft, searched and affronted by the enquiries made about the stolen property.

When McDonald and Jamieson attacked individuals on the highway, or elsewhere, and were satisfied that they had little or no money, they were just as ready to supply their wants as to rob them. The idea of plundering the wealthy, and giving the booty to the poor, gives the Gipsies great satisfaction. The standard by which this people's conduct can be measured, must be sought for among the robber tribes of Tartary, Afghanistan, or Arabia. Many of our Scottish Gipsies have, indeed, been as ready to give a purse as take one; and it cannot be said that they have lacked in the display of a certain degree of honour peculiar to themselves, as the following well-authenticated fact will illustrate. (Instances have occurred in which an Afghan has received a stranger with all the rights of hospitality, and afterwards, meeting him in the open country, has robbed him. The same person, it is supposed, who would plunder a cloak from a traveller who person one, would give a cloak to one who had none.--Hugh Murray's Asia, vol. 2, page 508.)

A gentleman, whose name is not mentioned, while travelling, under night, between Falkirk and Linlithgow, fell in, on the road, with a man whom he did not know. During the conversation Which ensued, he mentioned to the stranger that he was afraid of being attacked, for many a one, he observed, had been robbed on that road. He then urged that they should return, as the safest plan for them both. The stranger, however, replied that he had often travelled the road, yet had never been troubled by any one. After some further conversation, ha put his hand into his pocket, and gave the traveller a knife, with which he was desired to proceed without fear. (A pen-knife, a snuff-box, and a ring are some of the Gipsy pass-ports. It is what is market upon them that protects the bearer from being disturbed by others of the tribe.) The traveller now perfectly understood the relation that existed between them, and continued his journey with confidence ; but he had not proceeded far ere he was accosted by a foot-pad, to whom he produced the knife. The pad looked at it carefully, said nothing, but passed on, without giving the traveller the slightest annoyance. It is needless to say that the mysterious stranger was no other than the notorious Captain McDonald. The traveller, by his fears and the nature of his conversation, had plainly informed McDonald of his being possessed of money —a considerable quantity of which he had, indeed, with him—and had the love of booty been the Gipsy's sole and constant object, how easily could he, in this instance, have possessed himself of it. But the stranger had put himself, in a measure, under the protection of the robber, who disdained to take advantage of the confidence reposed in him.

Another instance of a Gipsy's honour, generosity, or caprice, or by whatever word the act may be expressed, occurred between McDonald and a farmer of the name of Campbell, and exhibits a singular cast of character, which has not been uncommon among the Scottish Gipsies. On this occasion, it would appear, the Gipsy had been influenced rather by a desire of enjoying the extraordinary surprise of the simple countryman, than of obtaining booty. The occurrence will also give some idea of the part which the cautious chiefs take in plundering at a fair. The particulars are derived from a Mr. David McRitchie, of whom I shall again make mention.

While Campbell was on his way to a market in Perth, he fell in with Captain McDonald. Being unacquainted with the character of his fellow-traveller, the unsuspecting man told him, among other thins, that he had just as much money in his pocket as would purchase one horse, for his four-horse plough, having other three at home. McDonald heard all this with patience till he came to a solitary part of the road, when, all at once, lie turned upon the astonished farmer, and demanded his money. The poor man, having no alternative, immediately produced his purse. But in parting, the robber desired him to call next day at a certain house in Perth, where lie would find a person who might be of some service to him. Campbell promised to do as desired, and called at the house appointed, and great was his surprise, when, on being ushered into a room, he found himself face to face with the late robber, sitting with a large bowl of smoking toddy before him. The Gipsy, in a frank and hearty manner, invited his visitor to sit down and share his toddy with him a request which he readily complied with, although bewildered with the idea of the probable fate of his purse, and the result of his personal adventure. lie had scarcely got time, however, to swallow one glass, before he was relieved of his suspense, by the Gipsy returning him every farthing of the money he had robbed him of the day before. Being now pleased with his good fortune, and the Gipsy pressing him to drink, Campbell was in no hurry to be gone, his spirits having become elevated with his good cheer, and the confidence with which his host's conduct had inspired him. But his suspicions returned upon him, as lie saw pocket-book after pocket-book brought in to his entertainer, during the time lie was enjoying his hospitality. The Gipsy chief was, in fact, but following a very important branch of his calling, and was, on that day, doing a considerable business, Having a number of youths ferreting for him in the market, and coming in and going out constantly.

But this crafty Gipsy, and his brother-in-law, Jamieson, were at last apprehended for house-breaking and robbery. Their trials took place at Edinburgh, on the 9th and 13th of August, 1770, and " the fame of being Egyptians" made part of the charge against them in the indictment ; a charge well founded, as both of them spoke the "right Egyptian Ianguage." It was the last instance, I believe, that the fact of their being " called, known, repute, and holden Egyptians," made part of the indictment against any of the tribe in Scotland, under the sanguinary statute of James VI, chap. 13, passed in 1609. So cunning are the Gipsies, however, in committing crimes, that, in this instance, the criminals, it was understood, would have escaped justice, for want of sufficient proof, had not one of their own band, of the name of Jamieson, a youth of about twenty-two years of age, turned king's evidence against his associates. The two unhappy men were then found guilty by the jury, and condemned to die. They were ordered to be executed at Linlithgow bridge, near the very spot where their band had their principal rendezvous, with the apparent object of daunting their incorrigible race.

Immediately after the trial, a report was spread, and generally believed, that the Gipsies would attempt a rescue of the criminals on the way to execution, or even from under the gallows itself ; and it was particularly mentioned that thirty stout and desperate members of the race had undertaken to set their chieftains free. Every precaution was therefore taken, by the authorities, to prevent any such attempt being made. A large proportion of the gentlemen and farmers of the shire of Linlithgow were requested, with what arms they could procure, to attend, on foot or horseback, the execution of the desperate Tinklers. Indeed, every third man of all the fencible men of the county was called upon to appear on the occasion; while a company of pensioners, with a commissioned officer at their head, and a strong body of the military, completed the force deemed necessary for the due execution of justice. Besides guarding against the possibility of a rescue on the part of the Gipsies, it was generally understood that the steps taken by the authorities, in brining together so large a body of men, had in view the object of exhibiting to the people the ignominious death of two men who., had not only been allowed to remain among them, but, in many instances, countenanced by some of the most respectable inhabitants of the county; and that not only in out-door amusements, but even in some of the special hospitalities of daily life, while in fact they were nothing but the leaders of a band of notorious thieves and robbers.

These precautions being completed, the condemned Gipsies were bound hand and foot, and conveyed, by the sheriff of Edinburgh and a company of the military, to the boat-house bridge, on the river Almond—the boundary of the two counties—and there handed over to the sheriff of Linlithgow; under whose guard they were carried to the jail of the town of Linlithgow, and securely bound in irons, to wait their execution on the morrow. ("This morning, a little after nine o'clock, McDonald and Jamieson were transported from the Tolbooth here, (Edinburgh,) escorted by a party of the military, and attended by the sheriff-depute on horseback, with the officers of court, armed with broad-swords, amidst an innumerable crowd of spectators. They were securely pinioned to a cart, and are to be received by the sheriff-depute of Linlithgow, on the confines of this county, whither they are to be conveyed, in order to their execution to-morrow, near Linlithgow-bridge, pursuant to their sentence."—Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, vol 9, page 354.) As night approached, fires were kindled at the door of the prison, and guards posted in the avenues leading to the building, while all the entrances to the town were guarded, and all ingress and egress prohibited, as if the burgh had been in a state of siege. So strictly were these orders put in force, that many of the inhabitants of Bo'ness, who had gone to Linlithgow, to view the bustle occasioned by the assemblage of so great a number of armed men,. were forced to remain in the town over night; so alarmed were the authorities for the onset of the resolute Gipsies. It was soon perceived, by some sagacious individuals, that the fires would do more harm than good, as the light would show the prison, expose the sentinels, and guide the Gipsy bands. They were accordingly extinguished, and the guards placed in such positions as would enable them, with the most advantage, to repel any attack that might be attempted: yet the enemy that caused all this alarm and precaution was nowhere visible.

On the following morning, McDonald's wife requested permission to visit her husband before being led to execution, with what particular object can only be conjectured; a favour which was readily granted her, in the company of a magistrate. On beholding the object of her affection, she became overwhelmed with grief; she threw her arms around his neck, and embraced him most tenderly; and after giving vent to her sorrow in sobs and tears, she tore herself from him, and, turning to the magistrate, exclaimed, with a bursting heart, "Is he not a pretty man? What a pity it is to hang him !"

Arrangements were then made to carry the prisoners to the place of execution, at the bridge of Linlithgow, which lay about a mile from the town. The armed force was drawn up at the town-cross, and those who carried muskets were ordered to load them with ball cartridge, and hold themselves ready, at the word of command, upon the least appearance of an attempt at rescue, to fire upon the aggressors. rf1e whole scene presented such an alarming and warlike appearance, that the people of the town and surrounding country compared it to the bustle and military parade which. took place, twenty-five years before, when the rebel army made its appearance in the neighbourhood. The judicious arrangements adopted by the officers of the crown had the desired effect; for not the slightest symptom of disturbance, not even a movement, was observed among the Gipsies, either on the night before, or on the morning of the execution. The formidable armed bands, ready to overwhelm the presumptuous Gipsies, clearly showed them that they had not the shadow of a chance for carrying out their intended rescue. All was peace and silence throughout the immense crowd surrounding the gallows, patiently waiting the appearance of the criminals. In due time the condemned made their appearance, in a cart, accompanied by Charles and James Jamieson, two youths, sitting beside their father and uncle, busily eating rolls, and, to all appearance, totally indifferent to the fate of their relatives, and the awful circumstances surrounding them.

On ascending the platform, Jamieson's demeanour was suitable to the circumstances in which he found himself placed ; but McDonald appeared quite unconcerned. He was observed frequently to turn a quid of tobacco in his mouth, and squirt the juice of it around him ; it was even evident, from his manner, that he expected to be delivered from the gallows by his tribe ; and more especially as he had been frequently heard to say that the hemp was not grown that would hang him. He then began to look frequently and wistfully around him for the expected aid, yet none made its appearance ; and his heart began to sink within him. Indeed, the overwhelming force then surrounding him rendered a deliverance impossible. Every hope having failed him, and seeing his end at hand, 'McDonald resigned himself, with great firmness, to his fate, and exclaimed : "I base neither friends on my right hand nor on my left; I see I now must die." Jamieson, who appeared from the first never to indulge in vain expectations of being rescued, exclaimed to his fellow-sufferer: "Sandie, Sandie! it is all over with us, and I told you so long ago." McDonald then turned to the executioner, whose name was John Livingston, and dropping into his hand something, supposed to be money, undauntedly said to him: "Now, John, don't bungle your job." Both of the unhappy men were then launched into eternity. Ever afterwards, the inhabitants of Linlithgow pestered the hangman, by calling to him: "Now, John, don't bungle your job. What was it the Tinkler gave you, John ?" ("On Friday last, about three o'clock, McDonald and Jamieson were hanged, at the end of Linlithgow bridge. The latter appeared very penitent, but the former very little affected, and, as the saying is, died hard. "Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, v 19, page 416.)

McDonald's wife had stood by, a quiet spectator, among the promiscuous crowd, of the melancholy scene displayed before leer. But when she had witnessed the closing act of an eventful life—the heroism and fortitude which all she held as dear displayed in his last moments—and enjoyed the satisfaction which it had given her, nature, which the odium of her fellow-creatures, not of her blood, could not destroy, burst forth with genuine expression. The silence attending the awful tragedy was abruptly broken by the lamentable yells and heart-rending screams which she gave vent to, as she beheld her husband turned off the scaffold. Two gentlemen, who were present, informed me that she foamed at the mouth, and tore her hair out of her head, and was so completely frantic with grief and 'rage, that the spectators were afraid to go near her.

On the bodies being taken down from the scaffold, an attempt was made to restore them to life, by opening a vein, but without effect. It is said they were buried in the moor near Linlithgow, by the Gipsies, and that the magistrates, of the town ordered them to be taken up, and interred in the east end of the church-yard of Linlithgow. However that may be, the bodies were buried in the church-yard of Linlithgow; but the populace, delivered from the terror with which these daring Gipsies inspired them, treated with ignominy the remains of those whom they dared scarcely look in the face when alive. They dug them out of the place of Christian sepulture, and interred them in a solitary field in the neighbourhood. A clump of trees, I believe, marks the spot, and the gloomy pine now waves, in the -rinds of heaven, over the silent and peaceful graves of the restless and lawless Gipsies.

McDonald, it would appear, was married, first of all, to a daughter of a Gipsy of the name of Eppie Lundie, with whom he lived unhappy, and was divorced from her over a horse sacrificed for the occasion, a ceremony -which I will describe in another chapter. (This Lppie Lundie lived to the advanced age of a hundred years, and was a terror wherever she travelled. Without the least hesitation or scruple, she frequently stripped defenceless individuals of their wearing apparel, leaving them sometimes naked in the open fields.) He was more fortunate in his second matrimonial -alliance, for, in Ann Jamieson, he found a wife after his own heart in every way. Previous to his own execution, she had witnessed the violent deaths of at least six of her own nearest relatives. But, if anything could have influenced, in the slightest degree, a reformation in her own character, it would have been the melancholy scene attending his miserable end; yet, we find it had not the slightest effect upon her after career, for she continued, to the last, to follow the practices of her race, as an anecdote told of her will show.

At the North Queensferry was a very respectable inn, kept by a Mr. McRitchie, which was much frequented and patronized by the Gipsies. On such occasions they did not visit the house in whole families or hordes, fluttering in rags, but as well-dressed individuals, arriving from different directions, as if by chance. In this house they were always treated with consideration and kindness, for other reasons than that of the liberal custom which they brought to it, and, as a natural consequence, the landlord and his family became great favourites with them. One of the members of the family, David McRitchie, my informant, happened one day to purchase a horse, at a fair in Dunfermline, but in feeling for his pocket-book, to pay for the animal, he found, to his surprise and grief, that book and money were gone. The person from whom he bought the horse commenced at once to abuse him as an impostor, for he not only would not believe his tale, but would not trust him for a moment. Under these distressing circumstances, he sought out Ann Jamieson, or Annie McDonald, after her husband's name, for lie knew well enough where his money had gone to, and the sovereign influence which Ann exercised over her tribe. Being well acquainted with her, from having often met her in his father's house, lie went up to her, and putting his hand gently on her shoulder, in a kind and familiar manner, and with a long face, told her of his misfortune, and begged her friendly assistance to help him out of the difficulty, laying much stress on the horse-dealer charging him with an attempt to impose on him. "Some 'o' my laddies will hae seen it, Davie; I'll enquire," was her immediate reply. She then took him to a public-house, called for brandy, saw him seated, and desired him to drink. Taking the marks of the pocket-book, she entered time fair, and, after various doublings and windings among the crowd, proceeded to her temporary depot of stolen goods. In about half an hour she returned, with the book and all its contents. The cash, bills, and papers which it contained, were in the same parts of the book in which the owner had placed them. This affair was transacted in as cool and business-like a manner as if Annie and her "laddies" had been following any of the honest callings in ordinary life. Indeed, no example, however severe, no punishment, however awful, seems to have had any beneficial effect upon the minds of these Gipsies, or their friends who frequented the surrounding parts of the country, for they continued to follow the ways. of their race, in spite of the sanguinary laws of the country. A continuation of their history, up to a period, is little better than a melancholy narrative of a series of imprisonments, banishments, and executions.

Anti Jamieson's two nephews, Charles and James Jamieson, who rode alongside of their father and uncle to the place of their execution, eating; rolls, as if nothing unusual was about to befall them, and who had witnessed their miserable end, in 1770, were themselves executed in 1786 for robbing the Kinross mail. It was their intention to have committed the deed upon the highway, for, the night before the robbery, their mother, Euphan Graham, to prevent detection, insisted upon the post-boy being, put to death, to which bloody proposition her sons would not consent. It was then agreed that they should secure their prize in the stable yard of an inn in the town, where the post-boy usually stopped. The two highwaymen were traced to a small house near Stirling, in which they made a desperate resistance. One of them attempted to ascend the chimney, to effect his escape; but, failing in that, they attacked the officers, and tore at them with their teeth, after having struck furiously at them with a knife. But they were overpowered, and secured in irons. Two females were in their company at the time, on whom some of the money was found, most artfully concealed about their persons. So illiterate were these two men that, in crossing the Forth at Kincardine, they presented a twenty-pound note, to be changed, instead of a twenty-shilling one. According to Baron I3ume, the trial of these two Gipsies took place on the 18th December, 1786. They were assisted in the robbery by other members of their band, including women and children. Their mother was said to have been transported for the part which she took in the affair; while another member of the gang was below the age at which criminals can be tried and punished in this country. The two brothers, before they committed the crime, measured themselves in a room in Kinross, kept by a Mary Barclay, and marked their heights on the wall. The one stood six feet two inches, and the other five feet four inches. (Perhaps the author intended to say, six feet two inches, and sax feet four inches. Still, it might have been as stated in the MS.; for with Gipsies of mixed blood, the individual, if he tales after the Gipsy, is apt to be short and thick-set. The mixture of the two people produces a strong race of men.—Ed.)


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