The sentence of the court, on having found Taylor guilty, was a fine of £400.Taylor's agent, Mr G. M. Sutherland, lawyer of Wick, proposed, in view of his client's poor circumstances, the fine be reduced to £100, but the court declined any mitigation of the sentence.
“The finding of the unreduced penalty against an asset pauper was the height of Justice’s justice, and justified the remark from the bench that they might as well fine him 400 pence. This is an attempt to take not only the breeks but also the skin off a naked Highlander.”
Imprisoned. —We believe that William Taylor, of smuggling notoriety, was lodged in Wick jail on the 7th ult. during H.M. pleasure, for non-payment of fine of £400 imposed by the Justices of the Peace Court, Wick on the 4th ult.
19 December 1878 - John o' Groat Journal - Wick, Caithness, Scotland
We learn that William Taylor, who was convicted in November last for smuggling in the parish of Latheron, was released the 7th inst., after three months…
13 March 1879 - John o' Groat Journal - Wick, Caithness, Scotland
So William Taylor spent three months in the Wick Jail and was then released.
In 1978 the John O Groat Journal in a 100 Years Ago feature published a short comment on the ‘Notorious Smuggler William Taylor’ - a bit rich calling poor old Taylor notorious. But he had got the last laugh anyway as Dawe never found the 'worm' nor the head of the still - these essentials were a 'community property', and on the occasion of William Taylor's bad fortune, the missing equipment was in use by a man of the name MacGregor in Badryrie.
An article in the Caithness.org site further discusses ‘smuggling’ in the Badryrie area and mentions both MacGregor and Mackay.
According to David Campbell, born in Rangag, and living in that place all his days, Taylor’s wife had another malting ready for him when he got home.
|To Contend With Little|
David Campbell also told that as a boy, he was quite frequently sent to a house at Bennecheilt 'on messages'. He carried a basket in which was a note and money - the note read 'one dozen eggs, or two dozen eggs' - which, translated, indicated 'one bottle or two bottles'. These tasks of his youth would have taken place in the 1890s.
The census of 1881 shows William Taylor, aged 60, living in Stemster with his wife Janet, son Alexander, two daughters, Ann and Helen and a baby grandson. Their son James and his wife Catherine McLeod – whose wedding at Halsary had been the occasion of Dawe’s interest, emigrated to New Zealand in 1886 living near to Catherine’s McLeod kin in Martinborough.
The Exciseman Outwitted.
Source: National Library of Scotland