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Broadside concerning the execution of John Campbell at Stirling, 1824


This report begins: 'Genuine and latest Account of the Excution of John Campbell who suffered at Stirling on Friday last, the 14th of May 1824 shewing the Lamentable manner in which he cried aloud for mercy, with an account of his affecting farewell with his aged Father ; also an account how he seized hold of rope when he was thrown off.'

Campbell, a thief, would not accept his fate peacefully and in the weeks before the execution his upsetting wails from the cells could be heard by passers by. So desperate was he to live that he grabbed the noose as the floor went from under him. This broadside was printed the same day as the execution, and perhaps the copy should have been checked more thoroughly - it promises an account of the prisoner's farewell to his father, and there isn't one!

Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.

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Date of publication: 1824   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(25)
Broadside concerning the execution of John Campbell at Stirling, 1824
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