This report begins: 'The following is a correct account of all the PUBLIC EXECUTIONS which have taken place in Glasgow, for the last fifty-six years, with the year and the day of the month on which they suffered, which is a very affecting Calendar, and worthy of preservation.' The sheet was printed in 1820 by W. Carse, Printer, 127 Trongate, Glasgow.
This broadside is a rather dark inventory, naming all the individuals who have been executed in Glasgow between 1765 and 1820, plus a list of their crimes. Who might have been interested in buying such a sheet, one can only imagine. For the modern audience, however, this sheet tells us much about the philosophy of the legal system and the rule of law during this era. In particular, it illustrates that the protection of property was the main concern of the authorities, as evidenced by the large number of people who were executed for crimes such as housebreaking, theft, robbery and forgery.
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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Date of publication:
1820 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(015)
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