The story recounted in the letter above is corroborated by a paragraph in "The Personal Life of David Livingstone, by William G. Blaikie (1880) -- "Mother told me stories of her youth: they seem to come back to her in her eighty-second year very vividly. Her grandfather, Gavin Hunter, could write, while most common people were ignorant of the art. A poor woman got him to write a petition to the minister of Shotts parish to augment her monthly allowance of sixpence, as she could not live on it. He was taken to Hamilton jail for this, and having a wife and three children at home, who without him would certainly starve, he thought of David's feigning madness before the Philistines, and beslabbered his beard with saliva. All who were found guilty were sent to the army in America, or the plantations. A sergeant had compassion on him, and said, 'Tell me, gudeman, if you are really out of your mind. I'll befriend you.' He confessed that he only feigned insanity, because he had a wife and three bairns at home who would starve if he were sent to the army. 'Dinna say onything mair to ony body,' said the kind-hearted sergeant. He then said to the commanding officer, 'They have given us a man clean out of his mind: I can do nothing with the like o' him,' The officer went to him and gave him three shillings, saying, 'Tak' that, gudeman, and gang awa' hame to your wife and weans, 'Ay,' said mother, 'mony a prayer went up for that sergeant, for my grandfather was an unco godly man. He had never had so much money in his life before, for his wages were only threepence a day."