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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

And are to be received by the sheriff depute of Linlithgow


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 bringing 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.[92] 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.

[92] "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 384.

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