This account begins: 'An account of the Execution of these two unfortunate men James Anderson and David Glenn at Ayr, on Friday the 12th Dec. Their bodies were brought into the College this morning for dissection.'
Both these men were tried a month before their execution at the High Court in Edinburgh, and there are other broadsides covering their cases contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection. They were convicted of the murder of the church elder, John McClure. This execution notice follows a fairly standard pattern describing their application for reprieve, their sober behaviour as death became imminent and their 'advice' to others to repent of their ways. A strong theme amongst broadsides of the time - the evils of drink - is also highlighted by this report.
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 publication:
1823 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(50)
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