This execution notice begins: 'A Full and Particular account of the Execution of John Craig and James Brown, who suffer'd the last sentence of the law, in front of the New Jail of Paisley, for Breaking into the House of Mr Robertson, at Foxbar, and stealing a quantity of Property, and ill-using the inmates : also an account of their behaviour since their trial, and at the place of Execution.'
This broadside begins with a potted history of executions in Paisley, mainly those of Alexander Provan and Thomas Potts, before touching on the case of John Craig and James Brown. Both men were executed on the 29th October, 1829, at County Square, Paisley, for the crime of stouthrief, which in Scots law means robbery with violence. It is said that both men were highly repentant and begged Robertson's forgiveness. Compared with many other execution reports, which go on at great length and contain every grisly detail, this is an unusually short and straightforward account.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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