This confessional text begins: 'THE LAST / Speech and Confession / OF / Margaret Anderson, who was Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday being the Twenty 2d. of April 1713. for the murdering of her own Child.'
Society's attitude to both illegitimate pregnancies and abortion are clearly expressed in this text, with most of the ultimate responsibility lying with the woman involved. Anderson's 'downfall' is linked with her education and her decision not to place herself under parental authority and advice. The father of the child and his father are both publicly named here, highlighting the very public nature of eighteenth-century atonement.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Date of publication:
1713 shelfmark: 6.314(29)
View larger image