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and say, he had hnted his father these seven years; and this in his mother's presence. That the Friday before Sir James's death, Janet Johnston was a considerable time with the prisoner in his chamber. That she thought Sir James not so merry as usual the night before his death. That on the Saturday night when Sir James came home, he went to his Lidy's chamber, where he did not stay a quarter of an hour; and that his lady fell a quarrelling with him for going to another house before he came there. That the next morning when Sir James was mixed, the deponent went into his chamber to make a fire, and found the bed in better order than usual, and the candle at the bed's feet, which used to be at the head. That the deponent desiring the body might be brought up to the chambur, the prisoner answered, it should not enter there, for he had died more like a beast than a man; and that it was brought to a cellar within the close, where was very little light. That she heard the prisoner cry and lament when his father's body was found, but saw no tears. That he would have forced his father's chamber-door open, but the key bring found he entered, and took the gold and money out of his pocket, and then searched the cabinet ; that, within the hour after his father was brought from the water he got the buckles of bis shoes, and put them in his own. That a short time before Sir James died, his lady having fallen into a swoon, and afterwards telling the prisoner he was likely in a short time to lose his mother, he answered in the deponent's hearing, that his father should be dead first. That two nights after Sir James's death, the lady told this deponent that she had heard the prisoner had vowed his brother's death, and little less as to his father, upon his hearing Sir James was about to settle his estate upon his brother; and that the lady renewed the same expression to this deponent at Edinburgh, and added, what if they should put her bairn in prison.
Archibald Dunbar, mer hant, deposed, that, having met the deceased at Cutler, and being with him and some other company in a room, Sir James was discoursing of his son's undutifulness, and they heard a shot at the outer door, and soon after another; and some of the company offering to go down, Sir James dissuaded them, and said it might be his distracted son Philip; and they asking why he should fear any harın from him, he told them that as he was going to Lothian Burn, he shot two pistols at him, and that if he had not been better mounted than his son he would have killed him: and one saving there could not be ball in them, Sir James said he had too many proofs of his son's unnatural behaviour to him. I hat Sir James went not to bed, but the deponent sat up with him that night, and conveyed him to Edinburgh.
Mr. William Clark, advocate, deposed, that Sir James ordering him to draw a settlement, in order to dispose of his estate to his son John, the depenent dissuaded him from it, saying, his son Philip might be reclaimed: but Sir James answered, he had no expectations of it, for when he was at the Lend Hills there was a pistol shot at him, which he was sure came from his son Philip.
The next witness, Mr. John Bell, minister of the gospel, aged forty years, having been sworn, and also solutus, or released (apparently from some restraint against giving his testimony held to be imposed by his clerical character), was not examined, but produced the following written declaration of what he knew relating to the murder, which he declared to be the truth, as he should answer to God. It is declared, in the title, to have been emitted in answer to several interrogatories proposed by his Majesty's Advocate before the Lords of the Committee of the Council ;" and will be found to be a very curious and characteristic effusion-characteristic of the time as well as of the individual.
“ Imprimis, I declare that, at Sir James Stansfield's earnest desire, I went from this town with him to New Milns; and that by the way I discerned nothing but sound judgment and reason in Sir James, for his discourse was both rational and pertinent, and that both at supper that night, and after supper, his discourse was rational, and his carriage most civil, and was pleased to accompany me to my chamber, and sat with me there (as I supposed) until it was about ten o'clock at night, discoursing pertinently, and to good purpose.
“2. I declare that, having slept but little, I was awakened in fear by a cry (as I supposed), and being waking, I heard for a time a great din, and confused noise of several voices, and persons sometimes walking, which affrighted me (supposing them to be evil wicked spirits); and I apprehended the voices to be near the chamber door sometimes, or in the transe [passage] or stairs, and sometimes below, which put me to arise in the night, and bolt the chamber door further, and to recommend myself, by prayer, for protection and preservation, to the majesty of God; and having gone again to bed, I heard these voices continue, but more laigh [low], till within a little time they came about to the chamber window, and then I heard the voices as high as before, which increased my fear, and made me rise again to look over the window to see whether they were men or women : but the window would not come up for me, which window looked to the garden and water, whither the voices went on till I heard them no more : only towards the morning I heard walking on the stairs and in the transe above that chamber where I was lying.
« 3. I declare that I told the woman who put on my fire in my chamber that Sabbath morning, that I had rested little that night, through din I heard ; and that I was sure there were evil spirits about that house that night.
« 4. I declare that, about an hour after day, Philip came to my chamber, and asked if Sir James came to that chamber this morning, and told me that he had been seeking him upon the banks of the water ; unto which I replied, I have not seen your father—but what mean ye by the banks of the water? Whereupon Philip, without answering, went down stairs immediately, and within a little time I followed, to see what he meaned; and having gone without the gate, and up the causey that leads to the manufactory, one came running, and said, they had found Sir James lying in the water: whereupon I was stricken with such astonishment, fear, and trembling, that I could go no further, but returned trembling to the chamber; and, having sitten down on the bedside, I said to an honest man who accompanied me, This is the saddest day that ever I saw—my affrightment in the night was terrifying to me, but this is more grievous. And, having gone to an honest man's house, where I took horse that morning, I said, If the majesty of God did ever permit the devil and his instruments to do an honest man wrong, then Sir James Stansfield has received wrong this last night, which the Lord will discover in his good time.
« 5. I declare that, after my return from Moreham that Sabbath evening, Philip told me that he had advertised several friends at Edinburgh, and that he was expecting the Commissary amongst others that night : whereupon I commended what he had done, in sending for such intelligent persons, and that for two reasons, (1.) because it was necessary his father's body should be sighted ; (2) because they could advise him about his burial. Philip answered, that he was seen by these that took him out of the water. But I replied, that was not enough, for the murder committed was either a violent murder, or a distracted murder; and having described what a distracted murder was (upon Philip's relating some distemper his father had been in some years formerly), I said, that I conceived no person could come to such a high act of frenzy, to do such a thing, but it would be known on him many hours, yea, some days before ; but I could testify that Sir James was in his right reason at ten o'clock; wherefore I inclined to think it was a violent murder committed by wicked spirits ; and so advised that the corpse might be sighted by the nearest physicians and friends, and the honest men living in that town. Nevertheless, they went and buried Sir James that night, without either acquainting me or several honest persons who lived in the place. Mr. John Bell depones his above-written declaration is truth, as he shall answer to God.”
Evil spirits, in this worthy clergyman's notion, it will be seen, were existences quite as substantial as any of flesh and blood ; and, indeed, this was in that age the almost universal faith of his countrymen How undoubting was the conviction in which he rested that the noise he heard was made by supernatural agents, notwithstanding a momentary impression that they might possibly be men or women, may be inferred from his conduct in never attempting to alarm the household, which he would certainly have done if he had believed that the nocturnal disturbers were of his own species. He contents himself with a recourse to prayer, as the only available weapon in the circumstances. Touching the minutiæ of form, we may remark, that this declaration of Mr. Bell's is subscribed both by himself and by the Earl of Linlithgow, the presiding judge ; whereas, in other cases, the depositions are only subscribed by Linlithgow, when the witness cannot write himself.
The report of the evidence for the prosecution proceeds as follows:
Sir Robert Sinclair, of Steinstoun, deposed, that Sir James Stansfield, being at the deponent's house, told the deponent that he regretted that his son Philip had mis-spent his time and money; and when he came home from London, he was ashamed to tell how he came on him in his chamber at London.
James Murehead, chirurgeon, deposed, that after he and James Craufurd, chirurgeon, had opened the corpse about the neck, and sewed it up again, and removed the foul linen, and put on again the clean linens, in doing whereof they were obliged to shake the body to and fro, and move the head back and forward, the deponent desired that the friends might lift the body, and put it in the coffin, and that the pannel, having come and lift up the head, he did let it fall upon the table suddenly, and that it made a considerable noise at falling, and that the pannel retired back quickly, rubbing his hands on his breast, and crying, o God! O God ! and some such other words; and that the dcponent, being astonished thereat, looked to the corpse, and, as the pannel did take away his hand from it, did see it darting out blood through the linen froin the left side of the neck, which the pannel touched ; and that the deponent was amazed at the sight, partly through the darting out of the blood, and partly through the apprehension he had of the murder. He saw nobody touch the left side of the defunct's head, the time it bled, but the pannel. As soon as the deponent recovered out of his amazement, he cried to the boy to give the pannel some treacle water, which he did ; but he did not see Philip, the pannel, return again to the body of his father. When the deponent and the other chirurgeon were putting on the clean linens, and stirring and moving the head and craig [throat], he saw no blood at all.
Besides this testimony to the supernatural fact of the bleeding of the dead body at the touch of the murderer, Murehead had previously, in .conjunction with another Edinburgh surgeon, Mr. James Craufurd, made a somewhat more professional report of their inspection of the corpse in Moreham Church, on Friday the 30th of November, after it had been disinterred.
The College of Physicians at Edinburgh, having, at the desire of his Majesty's advocate, considered the said report of the surgeons, delivered their opinions, that there were sufficient grounds to believe the said Sir James Stansfield was strangled and not drowned.
The next witness called was Umphray (or Humphrey) Spurway, who is described as an Englishman, of the age of fifty years, and who appears to have been the proprietor or manager of the cloth manufactory. It is, perhaps, on account of his having been a native of another kingdom that this witness, as well as the clergy man, is stated to have been solutus, or released from some restraint, before giving his evidence. He deposed to the truth and verity of the following declaration now given in by him, “ which,” says the record, “ is all written and subscribed with his own hand, and consists of two leaves of paper, written on all sides :"
“ I, Umphray Spurway, of New Milns, clothier, being summoned to appear before the Lords of his Majesty's Privy Council in Edinburgh, the 6th of December, 1687, to declare my knowledge of what I had seen and heard, relating to the death of Sir James Stansfield of New Milns, did then and there declare before the said Lords, as hereafter followeth ; and, after declaring what I had to say, was commanded to commit to writing my said declaration, under my own hand, which I, the aforesaid Umphray Spurway, do hereby humbly offer to the above-said Lords of his Majesty's Council, subscribing the same with my own hand.
“ About six weeks before the death of Sir James Stansfield, after night, I went to pay my respects to Sir James, as I usually did when he was at New Milns, at which time I found him not so free for discourse, nor so pleasant as at other times: insomuch that I used that freedom with him, to quere the reason why his honour was so melancholy. Who, with a great sigh, ringing his hands together, with tears trickling down his cheeks, said, Mr. Spurway, I have great cause for it; I have borne my own burden, without complaining to others, but I have a very wicked family, and it is very sad that a man should be destroyed by his own bowels; but let me be never so sparing in my expense, both at home and abroad, yet they at home of my family consume me- condescending on some particulars, of some extravagant sums of money, monthly brought in to him, that his family had expended, besides what he allowed for them, which was very sufficient; but that which grieved him most was, that his youngest son, whom he had some comfortable hopes of, and upon whom he had settled his estate, his just debts being first paid, and that to the knowledge of his son ; but now he was frustrated of his hopes of that son too; for his eldest son had debauched his youngest son, who had several times of late come in drunk, as the other; this he declared to me with very great grief of heart. But the Saturday's night after Sir James and a minister, one Mr. Bell, came to New Milns from Edinburgh, I came in at the house of one James Marr, where I saw Sir James and Mr. Bell sitting by the fire, before he had been at his own house, which I wondered at, having never known the like done by him before; but since I have had my thoughts that he had a fear upon him (good gentleman) of going to his own house; but, having sat some time with him, he desired Mr. Marr to send one of his people at his house, to know if they had kindled a fire for him ; and upon the return the messenger gave this answer, May it please your honour, your fire is kindled for you ; upon which Sir James and the minister arose, and took their leave of Mr. Marr; and I also accompanied Sir James and the minister half the way towards his home, and so took my leave of him, wishing his honour a good night. But the next morning, being sabbath-day, after the light well appeared, one Agnes Bruce came at my chamber door and knocked. I went and opened the door. Says she, Sir, Sir James is gone out of his lodging-room this morning, and we have sought all the rooms of the house for him, but cannot find him. She goes off-I immediately followed her; and when I came out of my door I met with Mr. Philip Stansfield and James Dick. Mr. Stansfield declares to me, Lord, Mr. Spurway, what should be the cause of this man's discontent, that he should thus leave his lodgings and walk out? To which I replied, Sir, do you wonder the cause of his discontent, who never gave him content, but had been the cause of grieving him, from one to the other of them, ever since I knew the family? But he turned his back upon me, and made no reply at all. However, I went at Sir James's house, but could not procure the keys of neither of the gardens, and I sent abroad of Sir James's servants, and of my own, some on horseback and some on foot, to inquire after him: and at last 3 servant of mine, one William Bowman, found him in the river. I went at the place, and saw him lying about two yards or eight feet from the brink of the river, lying upon his belly, just at the top of the water, as it were floating, only his coat and waistcoat loose about him, and a shirt on him that I saw. I saw the place at the brink of the river, where some one had stood, all beaten to mash with feet, and the ground very open and mellow, although a very hard frosty morning; so I gave orders to some to get a ladder, and to set one end into the river, as near the hinder part of Sir James as they could, and the other end of the ladder to fall at the top of the brae [bank], which was very steep, and so they might get him out easily ; so I came away from the place, and desired Mr. Marr to see the body landed, declaring that I would go home, and write to Mr. George Hume, merchant of Edinburgh, of the sad sight which I had seen, desiring him to communicate the same to my Lord Advovate, with desire to know by the messenger his lordship’s pleasure, what of advice or direction he would be pleased to give concerning it, and it should be followed: but the messenger that I sent, after he had delivered my letter to Mr. Hume, and order given by Commissary Dalrymple how to proceed further with the body of Sir James, which order was directed to myself