This execution notice begins: 'THE LAST / SPEECH / AND / DYING WORDS / OF JOHN TREPLECOCK, / Who was execute in the Grass-market of Edinburgh, on Friday the 1st of February 1723.'
This short tract gives very little information about the criminal or the crime he committed. This text concentrates more on educating readers about the consequences of their actions. Treplecock's crime is given very little emphasis. His bad habits, however, are expounded upon as they are the path to sin and the devil. Religious attitudes at the time believed that cutting the impure body loose from the soul could save the soul.
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:
1723 shelfmark: Ry.III.c.36(093)
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