Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]


TERMS, &c. Az.parent Time at Edinburgh. Aug. 21. Duke of Clarence born. Full Moon, Aug. 26. 25 m. past 7 after. 26. Salmon Fising in Forth and Last Quarter, Sept. 3. 48 8 after.

Tay ends. New Moon,

11. 27 -6 morn. Sept. 2. Partridge Shooting begins. First Quarter,

17. 44

10 after,


Mr Jamieson's curious communication on the Origin of the Picts,-Mr Duncan's View of the Commerce and Manufactures of Glasgow,

-a very able article on the merits of Mr Kemble as an Actor,-and a learned paper on Atmospheric Phenomena,—will appear in our next.

An interesting account of Block-Printing is in preparation.

A series of Original Letters to and from Queen Elizabeth—Also Original Letters of Burns—will appear successively, as our arrangements permit.

As soon as we have recovered from the alarm occasioned by the abrupt appearance of Satan, his

very characteristic address may find a place in our Miscellany.

Our materials will soon enable us to present our readers with a comprehensive view of the improvements which have taken place in this Metropolis from a very early period to the present time.

Printed by George Ramsay & Co.



The Scots MAGAZINE was begun in 1739, and has been continued, without interruption, during the seventy-eight years which have since elapsed. It forms now a record of Scottish Literature and History, during that long period, the value of which is so universally acknowledged, as to render all panegyric superfluous. For some time past, however, it has been strongly pressed on the Proprietors, from various quarters, that, in order more fully to adapt it to the taste of the times, a considerable enlargement of plan was become necessary, and that it ought to receive some improvements in typography and appear

The Proprietors felt some hesitation in making any change upon the plan of a work so long established; but the ample and highly respectable assurances which they have received, both of regular support, and of occasional contributions, in the event of such a change, have at length determined them to enter with spirit and zeal upon the execution of the improvements suggested.

The Proprietors, therefore, beg to intimate, that the present series closes with the Number for July ; and that the Number for August forms the first of a new series, upon a plan greatly enlarged and improved, and which will combine, with the objects hitherto treated in the Scots MAGAZINE, a variety of others, which the narrower limits of that Miscellany did not permit it to embrace.

To form a repository for the short and occasional productions of men of genius,—to draw illustrations of the manners, history, and antiquities of Scotland, from mines


yet unexhausted or unexplored,—to record the remarkable occurrences of the Republic of Letters, including an obituary of its eminent characters,—to illustrate the progress present state of the fine, as well as of the useful arts, -and to preserve a faithful journal of foreign and domestic occurrences ;—these are objects which, with many others of a nature too miscellaneous to be particularly enumerated, they confidently expect to fulfil, with a success not attained by any similar work hitherto attempted in this country.

The work will now be entitled, “ THE EDINBURGH MAGAZINE and LITERARY MISCELLANY, being a New Series of the Scots Magazine,” and will be published monthly. The Magazine bearing the former title was, in 1804, incorporated with the Scots MAGAZINE, and the two united have since been published under the title of the Scots MAGAZINE AND EDINBURGH LITERARY MISCELLANY. It will contain Six Sheets of Letter Press, and, being printed in a closer manner, will comprise in each number nearly double the present quantity of matter. The price will be Two Shillings. This moderate addition is rendered unavoidable by the enlargement of the plan and the improvement of the materials ; nor is there now any publication of the kind which is sold at a lower rate.

August 1817.





AUGUST 1817.




savage mockery of judicial inquiry. TION INTO SCOTLAND, AND THE In Scotland, where torture, continued USE MADE THERE, OF THE INSTRU- to be employed long after it was abanMENT OF TORTURE CALLED THUM- doned in England, there were two BIKENS.

modes chiefly in use, the torture of

the boots and that of the thumbiIf history were not full of the enor- kens. The exquisite picture of the mities which man has perpetrated torturing of Macbriar, in the Tales upon man, under the sanction of of my Landlord, * has made every established systems of religion and one acquainted with the cruel prolaw, it would be difficult in an en- cess employed in the torture of the lightened age, to believe, that torture boots ; and as we are enabled, through had ever been employed as an instru- the kindness of Alexander Dunlop, Esq. ment of justice. We can enter into banker in Greenock, grand-nephew of those mistaken feelings in regard to the celebrated Principal Carstares, who the nature and end of punishment, was tortured with the thumbikens which have sometimes prompted men in 1684, to present our readers with a to inflict cruel torments upon the con- figure of the instrument used upon victed perpetrators of great crimes ; that occasion ; we have collected tobut there seems to be no apology in gether a few particulars regarding its any good feeling of our nature, for origin and employment in this counthe blind and brutal expedient of ap- try. plying torture, in order to force the The thumbikens, as the name imdiscovery of such crimes. In this ports, was an instrument applied to case, there is not only a flagrant vio- the thumbs, in such a way as to enalation of every principle of justice and ble the executioner to squeeze them humanity, by the infliction of tor- violently; and this was often done ment previous to conviction, but guilt with so much force as to bruise the and innocence are made wholly to de- thumb-bones, and swell the arms of pend upon the physical strength or the sufferer up to his shoulders. The resolution of the sufferer. It is thumbikens used in torturing Princinevertheless true, however, that al- pal Carstares was an iron instrument most all countries have, at one time fastened to a table with a screw, the or other, had recourse to this bar. barous expedient; insomuch, that it • The materials of this picture are evi. would require a volume of no small dently drawn from the account given by size to describe even the instruments Wodrow of the torturing of Mitchell, in which have been employed in this the first volume of his History,


[ocr errors]

upper part of the instrument being tion was certainly a fit quarter from squeezed down upon the thumbs by whence to derive so congenial an immeans of another screw, which the plement; but other accounts, as we executioner pressed at the command of have said, and these apparently unhis employers.

questionable, assign it a later introducThe torture of the boots occurs at an tion, and from a quarter and by means earlier period in our history than that of agents, very well fitted for the proof the thumbikens; and is mentioned duction and importation of such a in conjunction with some other tor- commodity. In the journal of the turing instruments, of which we have proceedings of the Scotch Privy-Coun. not been able to find any description cil kept by Lord Fountainhall, and in the writings of our antiquaries. partly published in that very curious Thus we read, that, in 1596, the son collection called his Decisions, he takes and daughter of Alison Balfour, who occasion to mention the origin of the was accused of witchcraft, were tor- thumbikens, in his account of the vatured before her to make her confess rious torturings inflicted in 1684, upon her crime, in the manner following: William Spence, a person who had “ Her son was put in the buits, been in the employment of the Earl where he suffered fifty-seven strokes; of Argyll. Upon the 26th of July in and her daughter, about seven years that year, this unfortunate man was old, was put in the pilniewinks. In put to the torture of the boots, “ to the same case, mention is made, force him," as Fountainhall says, besides pilniewinks, pinniewinks or reveal what he knew of the Earl's and pilliewinks, of caspitaws or caspi- other persons accessions to the late caws, and of tosots, as instruments English fanatic plot, and the associaof torture. Lord Royston, in his tion and design of rising;" but as he manuscript notes upon Mackenzie's would confess nothing at this time, Criminal Law, conjectures, that these “ he was put in General Dalyell's may have been only other names hands; and it was reported, that, by for the buits and thumbikens ; + and a hair shirt and prickings, as the witthus much seems certain, that in those ches are used, he was five nights kept times, there was some torturing device from sleep, till he was turned half applied to the fingers, which bore the distracted. Spence's resolution did ' name of pilniewinks; but it will im- not, however, forsake him, for somemediately appear, that the most au- time after he had, with due considerathentic accounts assign the introduc- tion, doubtless, of Dalyell's fitness for tion and use of the instrument known the office, been placed in the fangs of by the name of thumbikens, to a much that merciless persecutor ; but, on the later period.

7th of August, after being tried in "It has been very generally as- vain with the thumbikens, in which serted," says Dr Jamieson, “ that “his thumbs were crushed,” and bepart of the cargo of the invincible ing about to be again tortured in the Armada was a large assortment of boots, he then, says Fountainhall, bethumbikens, which, it was meant, came “ frighted, and desired time, should be employed as powerful ar- and he would tell what he knew; guments for convincing the here- whereon, they gave him some time, tics.” Ş The country of the inquisi- and sequestrated him in the Castle of

Edinburgh, as a place where he would Maclaurin's Criminal Cases, Intro. be free from any bad advice to be obduct. p. 35.

stipate in not revealing.” It is upon of Quoted by Maclaurin, Ibid. p. 36. this occasion that Fountainhall men

# See Newes from Scotland, declaring tions the origin of the thumbikens, the damnable life of Doctor Fian, a nota, stating, that this instrument was “ a ble sorcerer, who was burned at Edinburgh new invention used among the colliers in Januarie last, 1591. the learned author would, before he pub. having seen them used in Muscovy." § Dictionary, v. Thumbikens. We wish upon transgressors, and discovered by

General Dalyell and Drummond, they lishes another edition of his Dictionary, extend his researches to the pilniewinks, cas.

The account which Bishop Burnet picaws, and tosots, implements which he has wholly overlooked ; though they seem thumbikens upon the persecuted Presbyteto have been at one time as freely employ- rians. ed upon the persecuted witches, as the Decisions, Vol. I. p. 299, 300.

« PreviousContinue »