The Complete Newgate Calendar
The following is taken from The Complete Newgate Calendar:
Beheaded for High Treason, at the age of Eighty, on 9th of April, 1747
LORD LOVAT, who in 1715 had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, in 1745 changed sides, and became a friend of the party which he had before opposed.
That this sentence was not ill deserved appears from a speech of Lord Belhaven, delivered in the last Parliament held in Edinburgh, in 1706, in which his lordship, speaking of this nobleman, then Captain Fraser, on occasion of the Scots plot, commonly called Fraser's plot, says that " he deserved, if practicable, to have been hanged five several times, in five different places, and upon five different accounts at least: as having been notoriously a traitor to the Court of St James's, a traitor to the Court of St Germain's, a traitor to the Court of Versailles and a traitor to his own country of Scotland; in being not only an avowed and restless enemy to the peace and quiet of its established government and constitution, both in Church and State, but likewise, a vile Proteus-like apostate and a seducer of others in point of religion, as the tide or wind changed; and, moreover, that (abstracted from all those, his multiplied acts of treason, abroad and at home) he deserved to be hanged as a condemned criminal, outlaw and fugitive, for the barbarous, cruel and most flagitious rape he had, with the assistance of some of his vile and abominable band of ruffians, violently committed on the body of a right honourable and virtuous lady, the widow of the late Lord Lovat, and sister of his Grace the late Duke of Atholl. Nay, so hardened was Captain Fraser, that he audaciously erected a gallows, and threatened to hang thereon one of the said lady's brothers and some other gentlemen of quality who accompanied him in going to rescue him out of that criminal's cruel hand."
When his lordship was going up the steps to the scaffold, assisted by two warders, he looked round, and, seeing so great a concourse of people, "God save us," says he, "why should there be such a bustle about taking off an old grey head, that cannot get up three steps without three bodies to support it?"
Turning about, and observing one of his friends much dejected, he clapped him on the shoulder, saying: "Cheer up thy heart, man! I am not afraid; why should you be so?" As soon as he came upon the scaffold he asked for the executioner, and presented him with ten guineas in a purse, and then, desiring to see the axe, he felt the edge and said he "believed it would do." Soon after, he rose from the chair which was placed for him and looked at the inscription on his coffin, and on sitting down again he repeated from Horace:
"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"
and afterwards from Ovid:
Nam genus et proavos, et qux non fecimus ipsi, Vix ea nostra voco."
He then desired all the people to stand off, except his two warders, who supported his lordship while he said a prayer; after which he called his solicitor and agent in Scotland, Mr W. Fraser, and, presenting his gold-headed cane, said, " I deliver you this cane in token of my sense of your faithful services, and of my committing to you all the power I have upon earth," and then embraced him. He also called for Mr James Fraser, and said: "My dear James, I am going to heaven; but you must continue to crawl a little longer in this evil world." And, taking leave of both, he delivered his hat, wig and clothes to Mr William Fraser, desiring him to see that the executioner did not touch them. He ordered his cap to be put on, and, unloosing his neckcloth and the collar of his shirt, knelt down at the block, and pulled the cloth which was to receive his head close to him. But, being placed too near the block, the executioner desired him to remove a little farther back, which with the warders' assistance was immediately done; and, his neck being properly placed, he told the executioner he would say a short prayer and then give the signal by dropping his handkerchief. In this posture he remained about half-a-minute, and then, on throwing his handkerchief on the floor, the executioner at one blow cut off his head, which was received in the cloth, and, with his body was put into the coffin and carried in a hearse back to the Tower, where it was interred near the bodies of the other lords.