The History of Leith

February 8, 2011

Justice on Leith Links

On the 4th of November 1754 Jn that year, John Ramsbottom and James Burgeas, deserters from General the Hon James Stuart’s regiment (latterly the 37th Foot), were escorted from Edinburgh
Castle to Leith Links to be shot. The former suffered, but the latter was pardoned His reprieve from death was only intimated to him when he had been ordered to kneel, and the firing party were drawn up with their arms m readiness. The shock so affected him that he fainted, and lay on the grass for some time motionless; but the terrible lesson would seem to have been given to him in vain, as in the Scots Magazine for the same year and month it is announced that “James Burgess, the deserter so lately pardoned when on his knees to be shot, was so far from being reformed by such a near view of death, that immediately after he was guilty of theft for which he received a thousand lashes on the parade in the Castle of Edinburgh, on November
22nd, and was drummed oat of the regiment with a rope round his neck-“*

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