This broadside begins: 'CONFESSION / Of JAMES WILSON, who was Hanged at Glasgow on Wednesday last, 4th June, 1823, giving an account of upwards of 30 different Robberies committed by him in Glasgow, Paisley, Greenock, and other parts of the country; the whole communicated by Wilson to one of the Ministers of this City, a few days before his Execution.' This account has been taken from the 'Glasgow Chronicle' and was printed as a broadside by John Muir of Glasgow.
The confession was sent to the editor of the newspaper by a minister, James Stuart, who was attending James Wilson or McLusky in prison. In his covering letter he suggests that 'it might serve to deter others'. In many of the broadsides published in Scotland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Catholicism was portrayed in a somewhat negative light. In Wilson's confession for instance he mentions his parents religious persuasion before discussing their 'unhappy and disagreeable life'. Scotland was largely Presbyterian at this time, and signs of religious intolerance were in evidence.
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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1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(058)
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