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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This crime report begins: 'An account of the Execution of John Thomson and David Dobie, for the Assault, Murder and Robbery of Margaret Paterson, on the 17th April last, with a copy of an affectionate Letter sent to Dobie's wife. Edinburgh, Wednesday morning, 9 o'clock, 18th August 1830.' This sheet was printed by Robertson and Thomson, Edinburgh, and cost one penny.

Illustrated with rather frightening woodcuts, this broadside tells of a murder of a young woman perpetrated by two carters from Gilmerton, John Thomson and David Dobie, and the subsequent execution of the two condemned prisoners. Highlighting the men's 'very rude and ill-behaved' manner before and after the trial, the report contrasts their loutish behaviour with the calm demeanour that resulted after they had made their peace with God. The last paragraph describes the prisoners' behaviour on the scaffold, while the final sentence closes the subject by mentioning that the bodies of the murderers are now being dissected at the college.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Date of publication: 1830   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(11)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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