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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This broadside report begins: 'A full and particular acconnt of the Execution of John Wilson and Duncan Fraser, this day 28th January, for breaking into a shop in St. Mary's Wynd, with an account of their behaviour in Jail and at the place of Execution.' This sheet was published in 1824, in Edinburgh, for the booksellers.

Wilson and Fraser were hopeful that the death sentence would be lifted, because their cellmate, who had been condemed to death for highway robbery, was given respite. It was not extended to them, however, even though their crime seems more trivial. Fraser, whose name is also spelt Frazer here, gave the following speech from the scaffold, 'Good People, take warning by our untimely end. Refain from Sabbath-breaking, and the company of bad women, drinking and swearing, which have been ruin. God be with you all.'

Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.

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Date of execution and of publication of broadside: 1824   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(16)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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