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December 5th 1701

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Death or servitude

Donald McDonald was found guilty of theft and sentenced to death at Perth. The sentence was commuted when the Earl of Tullibardine offered to employ the man as his servant. There were conditions attached. The man had to wear a brass collar around his neck inscribed “Donald McDonald found guilty of death for theft at Perth December 5th 1701 and gifted as a perpetual servant to John Earl of Tullibardine.” 

On the same day three others escaped hanging by accepting perpetual servitude. In one case that of Alexander Stuart, his collar was found dredged up in the Forth. It was believed that he had drowned himself.

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