This conviction presents another instance of the mischief ensuing from drunkenness, which the law, so far from admitting as a palliation, as this unhappy man conceived, considers an aggravation of the crime.
Thomas Douglass was indicted at the Old Bailey, for the murder of William Sparks, a seaman, at a public-house in Wapping.
He was born in the county of Berwick, in Scotland, and having been educated by his parents according to the strictly religious plan prevailing in that country, he was bound apprentice to a sea-faring person at Berwick, and when he was out of his time, he entered on board a ship in the royal navy; and in this station acquired the character of an expert and valiant seaman.
Having served Queen Anne during several engagements in the Mediterranean and other seas, he returned to England with Sparks, who was his shipmate, on whom he committed the murder we have mentioned.
It appeared in the course of the evidence, that the parties had been drinking together, till they were inflamed with liquor, when the prisoner took up a knife, and stabbed the other in such a manner, that he died on the spot. The atrociousness of the offence was such, that Douglass was immediately taken into custody, and being convicted on the clearest evidence, received sentence of death.
After conviction, it was a difficult matter to make Douglass sensible of the enormity of the crime that he had committed; for he supposed that, as he was drunk when he perpetrated the fact, he ought to be considered in the same light as a man who is a lunatic. He suffered at Tyburn, on the 27th of October, 1714, and died a penitent.