Date Of Execution: 26 Feb 1823
Execution Place: unknown
Of that unfortunate young Man,
belonging to Glasgow, who was Executed at Edinburgh on
Wednesday morning the 26th Feb. 1823, for Housebreaking
Edinburgh, February 26.—This morning, WILLIAM M'lNTYRE was Executed
here, pursuant to his sentence, convicted of breaking into the premises of Braehouse,
in the Lothian Road, the residence of Miss Ann Butter, and stealing therefrom a
quantity of wearing apparel.
In his declaration, which was read on his trial, he stated that he was born in Pais-
ley, had been a tailor in Glasgow, and came to Edinburgh for employment; that he
had been drinking the night previous to his apprehension, and tor want of lodgings
went to sleep in a paik, where he was roused by the cry of " Stop Thief," and was
taken into custody. We understand that M'Intyre was not his proper name, and
that he had never been a tailor but wrought at the calender business in Glasgow,
till within these two or three years, when he took up with bad company, and had
been several times in Glasgow Bridewell, and had appeared at the bar of the Circuit
The Lord Justice Clerk on proceeding to pass sentence on the unhappy youth,
expressed his sorrow that in consequence ot the verdict of a most respectable Jury it
it had fallen to his lot to fulfil a melancholy duty. His Lordship said, the crime of
housabreaking had become so extremely frequent, as to lead to the supposition that
it was not regarded as a capital crime, but the example about to be made would
prove the contrary. His Lordship remarked that it was the duty of all to prepare
for the great change which awaited them, it was peculiarly so for one whose days
were numbered, and earnestly besought him riot to waste. the short time that re-
mained to him in this world, but by a thorough, sincere, and heartfelt repentance,
endeavour to obtain the forgiveness of Almighty God, through the merits of our bles-
sed Saviour. This exhortation, his Lordship said, he gave from the very bottom of
his heart, and again entreated him to prepare himself for the great event which sooner
or later awaited all mankind.
Notwithstanding his efforts to hear his final doom announced with fortitude, he
was evidently much distressed, and shed tears from the moment the verdict was re-
At about 2O minutes past eight this morning the unfortunate youth proceeded
from the Lock-up-house, at the back of the County Hall, to the place of execution
at the head of Libberton's Wy'nd, where he was attended by the Rev. Dr. Muir
and Mr. Porteons, Chaplain of the Jail. A most earnest prayer having been offered
up in his behalf, in which he joined with fervor; be then came forward to the front
of the scaffold, and shortly addressed the spectators, exhorting them to avoid bad.
company, to attend to the instructions of their parents and guardians, and to be di-
ligent in the observance of their religious duties. The exocutioned having adjusted
the rope, he gave the signal, when the fatal drop fell, and he died in an instant,
almost without a struggle.
He was a good looking lad, about 18 years of age. He appeared exceedingly
pale, and behaved with great propriety at the fatal spot; and was decently dressed
in black. The crowd was not great.
John Muir, Printer, Glasgow.
This execution notice begins: 'EXECUTION of that unfortunate young Man, WILLIAM M'INTYRE, belonging to Glasgow, who was Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday morning the 26th Feb. 1823, for Housebreaking and Theft.' It was printed by John Muir of Glasgow, and probably sold for one penny.
The National Library of Scotland's collection also contains a broadside detailing the trial and sentencing of William McIntyre. Both were printed by John Muir of Glasgow and largely contain the same information on the trial, including the Lord Justice Clerk's reaction to the verdict. This broadside, however, also gives a very brief account of McIntyre's execution at Liberton's Wynd. McIntyre's short address to the audience follows a typical style favoured by broadside producers. Whilst it is possible he uttered these words, it is also possible that they were 'placed in his mouth' by the broadside printer - religious and moral instruction from the condemned sold sheets.
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.