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Kay's Originals Vol. 1


260 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. Margate, Deal, and Dover, but lost sight of him altogether j and after eighteen days’ fruitless search, returned to Edinburgh. But for Brodie’s own imprudence, impelled apparently by a sort of fatuity frequently evinced by persons similarly situated, there was every chance of his finally escaping. He remained in London, it appears, until the 23d March, when he took out his passage in the name of John Dixon, on board one of the smacks bound for Leith, called the Endeavmr. After the vessel had gone down the river Thames, Brodie came on board in a small boat, about twelve o’clock at night, disguised as an old gentleman in bad health. He was accompanied by two of the owners, who stopped on board for a short time. On going out to sea, as it no doubt had been previously arranged, the Endeavour steered for Flushing instead of Leith, where Brodie was put ashore, and immediately after took a Dutch skiff for Ostend. So far so well : but, unfortunately for Brodie, there had been a Mr. Geddes, tobacconist in Mid-Calder, and his wife, fellow passengers, with whom he frequently entered into conversation. On parting he had given Geddes three letters to deliver in Edinburgh-one addressed to his brother-in-law, Matthew Sherr8, upholsterer ; another to Michael Henderson, Grassmarket ; and the t,hird to Ann Grant,’ Cant’s Close. These letters, as he might well have expected, were the means of his discovery. On landing at Leith, Geddes became acquainted with the circumstances of the robbery, and immediately suspecting that Mr. John Dixon was no other than Deacon Brodie, he opened the letters, and became doubly strengthened in his opinion ; but not having made up his mind how to proceed, Mr. Geddes did not deliver the letters to the authorities till near the end of May. Even then, however, they were the means of Brodie’s apprehension, and were afterwards put in evidence against him. Information of the circumstances was instantly despatched to Sir John Potter, British Consul at Ostend, in consequence of which Brodie was traced to Amsterdam, where, on application to Sir James Harris, then Consul, he was apprehended in an alehouse through the instrumentality of one Daly, an Irishman, on the eve of his departure to America, and lodged in the Stadthouse. A Mr. Groves, messenger, was despatched from London on the 1st of July for the prisoner, by whom he was brought to London ; and from thence to Edinburgh by Mr. Williamson, who was specially sent up to take charge of him. On the journey from London, Brodie was in excellent spirits, and told many anecdotes of his sojourn in Holland. The trial took place at the High Court of Justiciary, on the 27th August 1788, before Lords Hailes, Eskgrove, Stonefield, and Swinton.’ The Court, . ’ Brodie’s favourite mistress. She had three children to him. a The counsel for the Prosecutor were-Ilay Campbell, Esq., Lord Advocate (afterwards Lord President) ; Robert Dundas, Esq., SolicitorGeneral (aftermrds Lord Chief-Baron) ; William Tait, Esq., and Jam- Wolfe Murray, Esq. (afterwards Lord Wigletie), Depute-Advocates ; and Mr. Robert Dundas, Clerk to the Signet. For William Brodie-The Hon. Henry Erskine, Dean of Faculty ; Alexander Wight, Esq. ; Charles
Volume 8 Page 364
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