Following on from the title, the report continues: 'By the unfortunate Men, now under Sentence of Death, who are to be Executed on Wednesday the 3d of November next, for various crimes, published as a warning to the rising generation, to beware of the first beginnings of evil.' This crime report takes the form of a ballad, the first line of which reads: 'O Hope! Thou sweet celestial spring'. A note at the bottom of the sheet states that it was 'Printed for the Book Cryers'.
Unfortunately, it is not clear what specific situation the introductory text and ballad in this broadside refer to. After the grave warning in the introduction regarding the deadly judgement that High Court judges can sometimes pass on errant juvenile behaviour, the ballad takes the audience into the higher realm of the celestial judges. In short, this broadside would appear to be a hybrid of crime report and vehicle for moral instruction - written specifically for a young audience. The powerful religious language and imagery that dominates throughout the ballad, reveals much about the nature of Scottish society during this era.
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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Probable date of publication:
1815 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(003)
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