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The Last Speech and Confession of Alex Martin
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The Last Speech and Confession of Alex Martin

Historic Documents
Costanza Careddu
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The Last Speech and Confession of Alex Martin
Historic Documents
The Last Speech and Confession of Alex Martin
This broadside recalls the execution of Alex Martin at Aberdeen on 27th August 1824. It provides a brief biography of him, before providing his dying confession. Martin was executed for the crime of stouthrief, a crime he had committed in Kemnay, close to Aberdeen. This was the Scottish crime of 'overpowering or depriving by force a man of his property.' He was tried for his crime in Edinburgh at the High Court of Justiciary earlier in the year.

During Martin's confinement, he had been visited by various clergymen, with whom he had engaged in severe penitence. The broadside makes reference to Rev. Mr. Thom, Ordinary of the Prison, Rev. Dr. James Kidd (1761-1834), Rev. Mr. Pennan and Rev. Mr. Lyon. Later in the broadside, Martin also thanks Mr. George Turreff, Mr. Alex. Brown, jailor, John Gray, under-turnkey, and Mr. John Fyfe, messenger.

The broadside's account of Martin's life states that when at school, he had lost father. His mother then lost all control over him, and Martin was devoid of any sentiment of righteousness. 'Abandoned to profligacy and vice', Martin led a life of violent crime. He had previously been found to have assaulted a girl in Edinburgh.

On the day of his execution, various prayers were delivered. On the thirty-two-year-old Martin reaching the scaffold, he delivered a lengthy sermon to the crowds in attendance on the evils of 'sabbath-breaking' and bad company. The broadside reports that he did not faulter when speaking. After he finished praying, he gave the signal that he was ready. He did not die immediately, but appeared to suffer a great deal, convulsing as he hang.

In the confession itself, Martin repeatedly refers to his sin of excessive drinking. He describes a 'wicked inclination' that led him to drink, which was the cause of many of his crimes, 'which perhaps I would not have committed if I had kept sober.' Martin asks that his experience be a warning to those who excessively drink.
Aberdeen Local Studies
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