Date Of Execution: 6 Jan 1721
Execution Place: unknown
T H E
NICOL MUCSHET of BOGHALL.
Who was execute in the Grass-Market of Edinburgh, on the 6th. of January, 1721. For
mudering of his Wife : With his last Dying Speech, and Farewell to the World.
AIL People how both far and near
Attend to what I say :
My good arid godly, gentle Friends
Instructed me both Night and Day,
To leave off Sin, and follow Grace.
They pray'd me Night and Day
Never to lie, nor curse nor swear,
But keep the Sabbath Day.
I lately coming to the Town,]
Did wed a loving Wife :
Till Burnbank, he councell'd me
To take away her Life.
He said, He must have fiftie Pounds
To carry on the Plot;
Which I consented for to give :
But (Oh ! )I cut her Throat.
When I had murder'd my dear Wife,
With Horror, Grief and Woe :
My Soul with hellish Fear was fill'd,
I knew not where to go.
From Place to Place I could not stay,
Nor Place of Safety found :
Her Groans and Cries me thinks I hear
Within my Ears to found.
At Length I apprehended Was,
And brought to Prison strong :
Like a poor guilty murdering Wretch,
left there to sigh and moan :
Untill the noble Lords was pleas'd
To call and panel me :
I was found guilty, and condemned
To hang upon a Tree.
When I had left my Father's House
( Being Chirurgion ) came to Town :
Burnbank, he often led me where
Vile Sin did much abound.
In wicked Harlots Company
We stay'd both Night and Day;
Which makes my murdering Heart to bleed,
Since I'm condemned to die.
When I did court my loving Wife,
She was both kind and free,
And soon to me did condescend,
That we should married be.
Soon after that we married was,
I did contrive her Fall :
To murder my dear Bosom Friend :
My loving Margaret Holl.
In black debauched Ways I spent
My Gold, whereof I'd Store :
All for to murder my dear Wife ;
Which Nature does abhorr.
I bargain'd with three Ruffians rude,
And gave them Gold all three,
For to compleat that Bloody Fact :
For which I am to die.
Burnbank, James Mucshet and his Wife,
These three did councell me:
Burnbank, he must have fiftie Pounds.
( Oh ! Wretched Cruelty! )
And then James Mucshet arid his Wife
Got Notes and Gold from me ;
To poison my young charming Wife,
For which I'm doom'd to die,
James Mucshet and his Wicked Wife,
Three Times gave Poison strong :
But finding all to no Effect,
A new Project they began;
A great large Hammer they prepar'd,
To give the fatal Blow :
To murder the young married, Wife,
When homeward she did go.
But finding all our hellish Plots
'Gainst her could never do :
We did contrive another Way,
The Truth I tell to you :
I sent a Cadie straight away
For her to come to me :
Thinking in Love, I sent for her :
( Ob ! Wreched Crueltie.)
I told her she must take a Walk,
And go along with me.
Poor Soul ! She condescended straight.
( Oh ! Horrid Villanie.)
St. Ann's Yeards, when we ent'red there,
She wept most bitterlie:
Crying, Husband don't design me. Ill,
Be mercifull to me.
In the Dukes Walk, that fatal Place,
1 threw her on the Ground,
And drew the Knife immediately,
For to give her a Wound :
Her dolefull Cries did reach the Skies,
When that she saw the Knife ;
Crying, My Love be mercifull
To me, your tender Wife.
Then I did drage her by the Hair,
Her Hand and Chinn I. cut :
Then by the Hair pull'd back her Head,
And then I cut her Throat.
Oh ! Let us all upon the Earth
Serve GOD white we have Breath:
And beg of GOD (both Night and Day)
To grant us saving Grace.
This lamentation begins: 'THE SORROWFUL LAMENTATION OF NICOL MUCSHET of BOGHALL. Who was execute in the Grass-Market of Edinburgh, on the 6th. of January, 1721. For murdering of his Wife: With his last Dying Speech, and Farewell to the World.'
The National Library of Scotland's collection also includes at least two other broadsides regarding this case. The first takes the form of a letter from the condemned prisoner's mother, Lady Boghall, and the second from a man, Alexander Pennecuik, suspected of being an accessory to the murder. Both are addressed to Nicol Mucshet (who is referred to in other broadsides as Muschet or Mushet). It is worth noting that in each, a different spelling of the prisoner's name is used - Mushet, Mushett and Mucshet. In the rush to get a story printed and out on the streets for sale, broadside printers paid little attention to such inconsistencies.
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.