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gree of success. Several of the vant was directed to quit the house younger clergymen act as tutors to on the following day ; but Hunter wealthy and distinguished families was continued in the family, after till a proper period arrives for their making a proper apology for the entering into orders, which they crime of which he had been guilty, never do till they obtain a bencfice. attributing it to the thoughtlessness While in this rank of life they bear of youth, and promising never to the name of chaplains; and in this offend in the same way again. station Hunter lived about two From this period he entertained years in the house of Mr. Gordon, the most inveterate hatred to all the a very eminent merchant, and one children, on whom he determined, of the bailies of Edinburgh, which in his own mind, to wreak the most is a rank equal to that of alderman diabolical vengeance. Nothing less of London.
than murder was his intention; but Mr. Gordon's family consisted of it was a considerable time after he himself, his lady, two sons, and a had formed this horrid plan before daughter, and a young woman who he had an opportunity of carrying attended Mrs. Gordon and her it into execution. Whenever it was daughter; the malefactor in ques- a fine day he was accustomed to tion, some clerks, and menial ser- walk in the fields, with his pupils, vants. To the care of Hunter was for an hour before dinner; and, in committed the education of the two these excursions, the young lady gesons; and, for a considerable time, nerally attended her brothers. At he discharged his duty in a manner the period immediately preceding highly satisfactory to the parents, the commission of the fatal act, Mr. who considered him as a youth of Gordon and his family were at their superior genius and great goodness country retreat, very near Edin. of heart. Unfortunately, a con- burgh; and, having received an innexion took place between Hunter vitation to dine in that city, he and and the young woman, which soon his lady proposed to go thither increased to a criminal degree, and about the time that Hunter usually was maintained, for a considerable took his noon.tide walk with the time, without the knowledge of the children. Mrs. Gordon was very family. One day, however, when anxious for all the children to acMr. and Mrs. Gordon were on a company them on this visit; but visit, Hunter and this girl met in this was strenuously opposed by her their chamber, as usual; but, having husband, who would consent that been so incautious as not to make only the little girl should attend their door fast, the children went them. into the room, and found them in By this circumstance Hunter's such a situation as could not admit intention of murdering all the three of any doubt of the nature of their children was frustrated; but he held intercourse. No suspicion was en. the resolution of destroying the tertained that these children would boys, while they were yet in his mention to their parents what had power. With this view he took happened, the eldest boy being not them into the fields, and sat down. quite ten years of age; but, when the as if to repose himself on the grass, children were at supper with their and was preparing his knife to put parents, they disclosed so much as a period to the lives of the children left no room to doubt of what had at the very moment they were bu. passed. Hereopon the female ser- sied in catching butterflies, and ga
thering wild flowers. Having sharp- should be taken with the binoa of ened his knife, he called the lads to the murdered person on ais ciothes, him; and, when he had reprimanded he should be prosecuted in the snethem for acquainting their father riff's court, and executed witnin and mother with the scene to which three days after the commission of they had been witnesses, said that the fact.' It was not common to he would immediately put them to exccute this sentence with rigour; death. Terrified by this threat, the but this offender's crime was of so children ran from him; but he im- aggravated a nature, that it was not mediately followed, and brought thought proper to remit any thing them back. He then placed his knee of the utmost severity of the law. on the body of the one, while he The prisoner was, therefore, comcut the throat of the other with his mitted to gaol, and chained down penknife; and then treated the se- to the floor all night; and, on the cond in the same inhuman manner. following day, the sheriff issued his
These horrid murders were com- precept for the jury to meet : and, mitted in August, 1700, within half in consequence of their verdict, Huna a mile of the castle of Edinburgh; ter was brought to his trial, when and, as the deed was perpetrated in he pleaded guilty, and added to the the middle of the day, and in the offence he had already committed open fields, it would have been very the horrid crime of declaring that wonderful indeed if the murderer he lamented only the not having had not been immediately taken murdered Mr. Gordon's daughter into custody. At the very time a as well as his sons. gentleman was walking on the Cas. The sheriff now passed sentence tle-hill of Edinburgh, who had a on the convict, which was to the tolerably perfect view of what pass. following purpose : that, 'on the ed. Alarmed by the incident, he succeeding day, he should be execalled some people, who ran with cuted on a gibbet, erected for that him to the place where the children purpose, on the spot where he had were lying dead. Hunter now ad. committed the murders; but that, vanced towards a river, with a view previous to his execution, his right to drown himself. Those who pur. hand should be cut off near the sued came up with him just as he wrist;
that then he should be drawn reached the brink of the river; and, up to the gibbet by a rope; and, his person being immediately known when he was dead, hung in chains to them, a messenger was instantly between Edinburgh and Leith: the dispatched to Mr. and Mrs. Gor- koife with which he committed the don, who were at that moment going murders being stuck thro' his hand, to dinner with their friend, to in- which should be advanced over his form them of the horrid murder of head, and fixed therewith to the top their sons. Language is too weak of the gibbet. Mr. Hunter was exto describe the effects resulting from ecuted, in strict conformity to the the communication of this dreadful above sentence, on the 22d of Au. news: the astonishment of the af. gust, 1700: but Mr. Gordon soon flicted father, the agony of the fran- afterwards petitioned the sheriff that tic mother, may possibly be con. 'the body might be removed to a ceived, though it cannot be de- more distant spot, as its hanging on scribed,
the side of the highway, through According to an old Scottish law, which he frequently passed, tendo it was decreed that if a murderer to re-excite his grief for the occasion
THE MOST NOTORIOUS CHARACTERS
WHO HAVB BBEN OONVICTED OP OUTRAQES ON
The Laws of England
SINCE THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY;
OCCASIONAL ANECDOTES AND OBSERVATIONS,
SPEECHES, CONFESSIONS, AND LAST EXCLAMATIONS OF SUFFERERS.