Date Of Execution: 28 Mar 1718
Execution Place: unknown
PATRICK M'NICOL, alias CAMPBELL,
Who was executed at Mugdock, upon the 28th of March 1718.
for the Murder of John Graham.
The foresaid Patrick M'Nicol being brought out of Prison, guarded
by a Company of Foot Soldiers, and a Troop of Dragoons, being
about Half Way to the Place of Execution, halted, and had a long Dis-
course to the Ministers in the Highland Tongue ; being come to the
Place of Execution, he read the 55th Chapter of Isaiah, and the 51st
And after Prayer, being asked by the Ministers there present, viz.
Mr. John Anderson Minister in Drymen, Mr. Livingston of Strathblain,
Mr. Robert M'Farland of Buchanan, Mr. Livingston beginning, said,
Patrick, You are now within an Hour or thereabout, by all Probability,
to appear before the great Judge of Heaven and Earth, to receive your
Sentence either of Bless or Curse : For be that consesseth bis Sins and for-
saketh them shall find Mercy ; and therefore I would have you give all the
Satisfaction you can to the Spectators, now when you are on the Brink
of Eternity, and with that you would not go down to the Grave
with a Lie in your right Hand. For more Satisfaction answer me these
Whether or not, was you in a Combination with the rest of the Priso-
ners to make your Escape ? He answered, Yes. Whether or not was
you designed to murder any in Case of Opposition ? He answered, No.
Then he asked, Whether or not did you strike at the deceas'd John Gra-
ham ? He answered, No. Then he asked, If he had any Weapon in
his Hand ? To which he answered, No; And as he should shortly an-
swer before GOD, he was free of his Death.
Then Mr. M'Farland prayed very fervently for him, that the LORD
would assist, and help him to bear up under that sharp Trial he was to
undergo. Then he went up some Steps of the Ladder, and sat down,
and prayed very earnestly in the Highland Tongue : He admoni-
shed all young Men to keep good Company, and to keep holy the
LORD's Day, which he, now to his great Gries, had too often profaned ;
and to beware of Swearing, and taking GOD's holy Name in Vain ; For
the LORD will not bold them guiltless that taketh His Name in Vain. He
desired all good Christians there present, to put up their. Petitions to
GOD on his Behalf, as long as they saw Life in him.
He forgave all them that had wronged him, particularly the Judge & Jury.
He forbade the Ministers to pray for him as a Murderer ; he gave great
Satisfaction to all Beholders, of his Well-being. When he went up the
Ladder, he defired the Executioner not to put him off, until he gave him a
Sign, which accordingly he did, and so was cast over with these Words in
his Mouth, LORD JESVS, receive my Spirit.
And when he was cut down, there were Eight of his Relations that put
his Corps in a Coffin, and carried him away in a Litter to his Father's
This execution notice begins: 'THE LAST / SPEECH / AND / CONFESSION / OF / PATRICK M'NICOL, alias CAMPBELL, / Who was executed at Mugdock, upon the 28th of March 1718. for the Murder of John Graham.'
It is not clear from this broadside what the circumstances surrounding McNicol's sentence were, although it does sound like Graham was killed whilst McNicol was attempting to escape from jail. The text is primarily concerned with McNicol's interaction with the ministers and the state of his soul before he met his Maker. Scotland was still under the influence of Calvinist and Presbyterian doctrines, and their impact upon society can be seen in documents like this. It is curious, that it was noted, that most of the conversation occurred in 'the Highland Tongue', showing an awareness of Scotland's linguistic divide at the time.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.