This execution report begins: 'Account of the Execution of FRANCIS CAIN & GEORGE LAIDLAW, for two different crimes, and who suffered at Glasgow, on Wednesday the 29th October, 1823, with their Behaviour since their condemnation and at the Scaffold.' Printed on the same day as the execution, this sheet was published by William Carse of Glasgow, who is listed as working from various addresses in Glasgow between 1820 and 1836.
This broadside tells of the violent end that befell Francis Cain and George Laidlaw, who were executed for carrying out a highway robbery and breaking into a jeweller's shop. The tone of this sheet is confessional, with a strong emphasis on redemption through embracing religion. It is also interesting to note the young ages of the two condemned men - a point highlighted by the writer of the sheet. The National Library of Scotland's collection contains other sheets describing the trials and executions of these two men, and it is interesting to contrast the approach to these events taken by different Glasgow publishers.
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(065)
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