BOOT, BOOTS, or BOOTIKIN. A Scottish instrument of judicial torture, formerly used to force confessions from persons accused of crimes, or answers from unwilling or suspected witnesses. Bishop Burnet, in the History of !lig Olen Time, and Sir Walter Scott, in his Old Mortality, speak of the boot as made of iron; but the Rev. Thomas Mover, in his Short J cco ant of Reotland. written from personal ob servation of the country at a time when the boot was still in use, describes it as "made of four pieces of narrow boards nailed together, of a competent length for the leg, not unlike those short eases we use to guard young trees from the rabbits!' One or both legs of the person to be tortured having been placed in this ease, wedges were inserted between the limb and the sides of the case, and these wedges were driven down by the executioner with a mall or hammer, questions being at intervals put to the sufferer, until either be gave the desired information, or fainted away, or showed such endurance as sat isned the judges that no answer could be extorted from him. The wedges were commonly placed
against the calf of the leg, but Bishop Burnet says he had heard that they were sometimes placed against the shin-bone. When the boot was first used is unknown. After 163o it is said to have fallen into disuse for about 30 years. it was fevived after the insurrection of the West land Covenanters in MI6, and continued to be nsiol throughout the reigns of Charles IL, James IL. and during the first years of William ill. In 1690 Neville Payne. an English gentleman who was supposed to have entered Scotland on a trea sonable mission, was put to this torture under a warrant superscribed by King William, and still shown in the Register House in Edinburgh. This is believed to be the last time that the boot was used. Its further use was prohibited by act of Parliament. Under the name of 'Spanish boots.' a similar instrument was used in Germany. Iron hoots, which were heated to an unbearable de gree, are shown in some museums. Consult Bing ham, Bastille (London, MSS), for the boot in France.