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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This execution report begins: 'At Glasgow on Wednesday, the 29th October 1823, of George Laidlaw, for Robbing a Jewellers Shop of Gold and Silver articles to the amount of L.600 sterling, and Francis Cain, for Highway Robbery.' The sheet was published on the 29th of October, 1823, by John Muir of Glasgow.

This broadside describes the executions of a robber and a highwayman. In the first case, two men were actually convicted of the crime, although only one of the two, George Laidlaw, received the death sentence. Laidlaw was sentenced to death because he was considered to be the instigator and planner of the crime. With its descriptions of tollbooths and coach journeys, the second case tells us much about how people travelled at this time. In this case, it seems that only the ringleader, Francis Cain, was sentenced to death, with his accomplices being sentenced either to transportation or a stay of execution pending a recommendation to mercy.

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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Date of publication: 1823   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(064)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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