This crime report begins: 'Some Account of JOHN SHERRY, who was Executed in [front] of the New Jail of Glasgow, on Wednesday the 1st of No[vem]ber, 1815, pursuant to his Sentence, for Highway Robbery, [on] the road leading from Glasgow to Paisley, on the 19th May'. The broadside was published by T. Duncan of 159 Saltmarket, Glasgow.
Broadside reports of executions varied in the details they chose to focus on. In some cases the process of the execution was described in minute details; others, like this, gave a potted biography of the condemned man or woman, and described the circumstances surrounding their crimes. The author of this broadside appears to be quite sympathetic towards Sherry, emphasising his piety, regrets and good manners after his arrest. Highwaymen were generally better regarded than murderers by the public.
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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1815 shelfmark: APS.3.82.23
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