The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'The Lamentations of McFarlane, Blackwood and Young'


The lamentation begins: 'Come all you young people a warning take by us three, / We are unhappy creatures that are condemned to die, / All for that horrid murder that we have lately done. / On the body of Alexander Boyd on the twelfth day of June.' It was to be sung to the air, the 'Husband's Dream'. The text under the title informs the reader that the three accused were 'At present lying in Glasgow Jail, under the awful sentence of Death for the murder of / ALEXANDER BOYD, / In the New Vennel, Glasgow, on Sunday Morning, 12th June, 1853'.

The National Library of Scotland's collection also includes another broadside with two further lamentations regarding McFarlane, Blackwood and Young. Although they appear to have been written by the three culprits, it is very unlikely that they were. It was popular amongst broadside producers to print 'genuine' lamentations and last speeches in which the soon to be executed begged for God's forgiveness and fully repented their crimes. Such works not only provided entertainment for the readership, but were also thought to perform a valuable moral function.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1853   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(125)
Broadside entitled 'The Lamentations of McFarlane, Blackwood and Young'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland