This broadside begins: 'A True COPY of the Paper delivered to the Sheriff, by Captain JOHN BRUCE, who was Execute at Lancaster the 2d of October, 1716.' Unfortunately, there are no publication details included on this sheet.
In many cases, broadside producers published fictitious last speeches that were high on repentence and moral instruction. Not only did they sell well, but many broadside publishers felt an obligation to the moral well-being of their readership. The paper delivered by Captain John Bruce before his execution, however, does ring true. Executed in Lancaster, England, for his undying allegiance to James III (the Old Pretender), Bruce reaffirmed his loyalty to James and declared that he was 'not ashamed for that Cause for which I die'.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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1716 shelfmark: APS.4.96.29
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