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Soldiers, Sailors, Rebels & Outlaws

William Boyd the 4th Earl of Kilmarnock

Letter from William Boyd to the Duke of Hamilton from the Tower

18th Century

This letter is one William Boyd wrote to his friend the Duke of Hamilton while incarcerated in the Tower of London awaiting his execution.  He signs it Wm. Boyd rather than 'Kilmarnock' as his title had been removed by parliament, and refers to his son as 'Lord' Boyd, rather than himself.  The request that he makes in the letter, to be allowed to see his son before he dies, was never granted.




 My Lord Duke

Mr Ross showed me this morning a letter from Lord Boyd in which he tells him that he had applied to Lord Albemarche to come up to see me before I suffered, but that it was refused him. I approve very much of your Grace’s kind proposition of mentioning this refusal in the closet and requesting that leave may still be granted; which will of consequence produce a reprieve and what may be the good effects of that, no body knows.

Plus this may prove the last and only effort to be made, and as I am fully satisfy’d of the Duke of Argyle’s kind endeavours, I must beg your Grace would in addition to all your former goodness take the trouble of going out and consulting with him tomorrow at Whitten. Your Grace will then have an opportunity of discovering his real friendship for me, by the answer he will make to the request which I humbly think your Grace may make of his attending and backing you in this, I may say, the last application.

I need not mention any arguments to your Grace for informing the utility and necessity of seeing my son before I leave this world, nor need I mention the sorrow he feels from the refusal. They will all occur to your Grace, and you can put them in their proper light, and inforce them and represent the inconvenience that will ensue, in his private affairs, from my not seeing him, as I only can inform him thoroughly of them.

The freedom I take in making this proposal to your Grace is a strong evidence of the great sense I have of the friendship you have shown me and that I shall always remain for what time I have to live.

My Lord Duke
Your Grace’s Most Obliged
And Most Obedient Humble Servant
Wm. Boyd

Place of Production:
The Tower of London
Paper & ink
Dean Castle
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
Saturday August 9th 1746
East Ayrshire Council