Last Words of Thomas Neilson, who was Executed at Maybol
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The last Speech and Confession

And last Words of Thomas Neilson, who was Executed at Maybol, on Thursday, being the 14th of August, 1718. For Murdering one Named MíConnel, in the Parish of Girvan.

For the better Understanding of the ensuring Discourse, it will not be amise to Relate how this matter began. The Murdered, and the Murderers, dwelt in a Mealing together, in Daldouy in the Parish of Girvan, and were every way Partiners (but the Neilsonís besides were Cowpers to their Employment ) Itís Storied that the Man Murdered was a Rubust stormy sort of a Man, and able for both the Father and Son, and had many Squables in former times, for the matter of four Yearís space: and probably the Father and Son, being worsted, they only lacked an Opportunity. Accordingly they sharpened their Spades at a Smiths Booth very nicely and made them as sharp as Knives, which amuzed the Smith not a little. Then this Míconnel the Man Murdered, going to cast Pits in the Moss: this Neilson and his Son came to him and desired him to put up the part of his Faldicke conjunct with them otherwise he must Pay what skaith they should afterwards incurr.

This Míconnel came in to his Wife, and told her, she said she was very willing, but she was afraid they had some bad design on him, where at he replyed the People were not Mad, and so went along with them; where they came upon the Spot, they agreed among themselves that the Man Murdered should lift the Turf first, so as he was lifting the Turf, the Father with his Spade whipt down the side of his Head, and broke the small of his Back and Legs and Arms, he received 30 several Wounds from them, after which they departed; and as they were coming Home, Míconnels Wife met them, and enquired for her Husband, they told her he was lying yonder, GOD let him never Rise; the poor Woman said very soberly, itís a bad Prayer, and itís what I feared, and told my Dear in the morning. Yet GOD spared him a little to speak to her, says the Cowpers have gainíd the Day, and GOD have Mercy upon my Soul, and that was all he said.

When the Father and Son went Home, the Son Fled, and the Father went to Prayer, and accordingly about an Hour thereafter the Neighourhood rose & apprehended him. The Poor Woman in the mean while was sitting with the Corps in her Arms, for a large half Hour before any came to her.

When this Man was Murdered there was People at a distance, but none so near hand as could take up this Debate, however thoí the Murder could not be proven by Witnesses, it was proven by Circumstances, for in the first place they were all three seen to go out together, and all three at Work tho at distance together, and then Two were seen to come away, and one left.

Lastly these Neilsons Spades were seen to be full of Blood, and which is strange its said, the Rub as you will, none can either rub or wash off that Blood, but still it grew the brighter.

Two Nights before he was Executed, they Examined him upon the Guard, if he did it throw Envy, he said that it was not so much throw Envy, as he was compelled to it, for when this Man (quoth he) took his Mad fits he was oblidged many times to leave the place and run for it.

After he was brought forth to the place of Execution betwixt Two and Three a-clock, he was waited on by the very Revernd, the Ministers of Maybol, Carmichl, Straiton, Kirkoswal, and his own Minister of Girvan, Prayers said, Psalms sungí he was desired by the Ministers, now to give Satisfaction to the People of GOD that were there present, whereat he knelled down and Prayed, that the Almighty might Pardon that Hainous Act of Murder There the Ministers asked several Questions as whether or not he Murdered throí Envy. He keep silent, for tho he Confessed it in Prison, he did not upon the Scaffold: Also with several other Questions, whether or not he had Converse with the Devil as was reported of him, he returned no positive Answer, but entertained them with a Discourse that he was neither a Sabbath breaker nor a Drunkard more than others, which was no Answer at all to the Question, where at one of the Ministers said, Thomas, Thomas, I have done with you. So that save the Murdering of the Man he made no furder Confession.  Then he was at last thrown over the Ladder with great Difficulty; for he was loath to Die

This article contributed by Davie Law. Original document below.