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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This execution report begins: 'An account of the Execution of ALEXANDER MILNE, who was Hanged at Aberdeen on Friday the 27th August, for the crimes of Stouthrief and Housebreaking. With the Speech which he made to the Magistrates in prison, and the address which he delivered to the numerous Spectators at the place of Execution.' 'Stouthrief' is a Scots law term meaning 'theft with violence (later only in a dwelling-house)'. The sheet was published in 1824 by John Muir of Glasgow.

This broadside reports the violent end of a young man called Alexander Milne, who was executed for housebreaking and using force on the houseowner during the robbery. After a brief summary of the crime, the author proceeds to describe the execution, paying great attention to the entourage of religious ministers that accompanied the condemned prisoner to the scaffold. Although, from a modern viewpoint, receiving the death sentence for housebreaking seems terribly harsh, it appears that Aberdeen was suffering numerous break-ins at this time, and had recently executed three men for a similar crime. Therefore, Milne had little hope of earning a reprieve.

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: 1824   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(076)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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