The first part of this story begins: 'MY old and faithful servant, Tommy Bodkin, has long been Thomas Bodkin, Master Tailor in Dalkeith, but removed to Edinburgh . . ' The second part of the story begins: 'We had a long and jolly night of it, but my head began spinning like a peerie, and I thought a' the room rinning round about . . .' The broadside was published by W. Smith of 3 Bristo Port, Edinburgh.
This appears to be a broadside publication of a story by David Macbeth Moir (1798-1851), that was probably originally published in Blackwood's Magazine. Moir, from Musselburgh, worked as a doctor but was also a keen writer of prose and poetry. Between 1824 and 1827 he contributed a series of stories about his fictional creation Mansie Waugh or Wauch to Blackwood's Magazine, and these were published in a single volume in 1828. This was prior to Burke's execution, and it seems that for this tale, Moir revived his popular character as a reaction to the huge interest surrounding the Burke and Hare murders.
Burke and Hare were Irish bodysnatchers and murderers, who worked around Edinburgh's Canongate area, eventually becoming local legends. They hit upon the idea of murdering solitary or vulnerable people (in an attempt not to get caught) so that they could sell the bodies for dissection. Hare turned King's Evidence and so was acquitted, but this secured the conviction of Burke, who was hanged on the 28th January 1829.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1829 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.6(025)
View larger image