Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,040 pages of information about Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences.
to go, upon which Gow was made second mate, and Belvin was made boatswain; an he had been as honest afterwards as before (whereas on the contrary, he was as forward and active as any of them, except that he was not in the first secret nor in the murders), he might have escaped what afterwards became so justly his due.  But as they acted together, Justice required that they should suffer together, and accordingly, Gow and Williams, Belvin, Melvin, Winter, Peterson, Rowlinson and MacCauly, received the reward of their cruelty and blood at the gallows, being all executed together on the eleventh of June.

It happened that Gow being a very strong man, and giving a kind of spring, it so strained the rope that, on some people pulling him by the legs, it broke and he fell down, after he had remained about four minutes suspended.  His fall stunned him a little, but as soon as he was taken up, he recovered himself so far as to be able to ascend the ladder a second time, which he did with very little concern, dying with the same brutal ferocity which animated all his actions while alive.  His body hangs in chains over against Greenwich, as that of Williams does over against Blackwall.

FOOTNOTES: 

  [102] The most northerly of the islands.

  [103] The word is here used in its original sense, indicating
        something acquired by seeking—­or hunting—­pour chasser.

  [104] The island of Carrick.

  [105] According to Johnson’s History of the Pirates (Chap. 
        XVIII) Gow’s real motive for returning to the Orkneys was to wed
        a girl whose parents had repulsed him on account of his poverty. 
        She was the daughter of one Mr. G——­, a well-to-do man.

  [106] One of these humane arguments, according to Johnson, op.
        cit.
, consisted in tying his thumbs together with whipcord,
        “which was done several times by the executioner and another
        officer; they drawing the cord until it broke.”

APPENDIX

Although the several histories which are related within the compass of this Appendix do not so properly fall under the general title of this work (most of them having fallen out in a period of time long before that to which I have fixed the beginning of these memoirs of the unfortunate victims to public justice) yet there are two reasons which determined me to give these narratives a place in this collection.  The first is that the wonders of Providence signalized in these transactions might hereby be recorded and preserved to posterity; and the other, that from the perusal the wicked might be deterred from pursuing their vicious courses, from the prospect of those sudden, dreadful, and unexpected strokes which the best hid criminal practices have met with from the unsearchable conduct of Divine Justice.  And as these arguments had weight enough with me to engage me to the performance of this work, so I hope they will also incline my readers to peruse them with that improvement and delight which I have ever aimed to excite in the course of my labours.

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Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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