This execution notice begins: 'EXECUTION. / A full and particular account of the Execution and behaviour of JOHN M'KANA, alias M'KENA, and JOSEPH RICHARDSON, for the crime of uttering as genuine false and forged notes, who were EXECUTED at Dumfries, on Wednesday the 14th day of May, 1823.' It was printed by McLachlan of Dumfires, and was probably priced at one penny.
Although William Richardson, Joseph's brother, was also convicted for the same crime and condemned to die, the Magistrates received a letter from Robert Peel, Secretary of State for the Home Department, stating that his Majesty had granted William a reprieve. Joseph Richardson and John McKana (also spelt M'Canna and McKena) were offered no such reprieve, however, and were executed in front of the prison at Buccleuch Street, Dumfries. McCanna was a 39 year old Irish emigrant. He married a Lockerbie woman and worked as a roadman. The National Library of Scotland's broadside collection includes another broadside, printed by John Muir of Glasgow, which also details the execution and behaviour of the two men.
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:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(057)
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