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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This report begins: 'A Full and Particular ACCOUNT of the Execution of DAVID HAGGART, who was Hanged at Edinburgh, this morning Wednesday 18th of July 1821, for the murder of THOMAS MORRIN, under Jailor at Dumfries, on the 10th of October last, and his Body given to the Professor of Anatomy for Dissection, together with his Behaviour at the place of Exeecution.' The name of the publisher is not included.

A career criminal, David Haggart was executed for murdering the jailor at Dumfries Jail during an escape. This broadside is especially interesting because of what it reveals about the stranglehold that Calvinism had on Scottish society at this time. For terrible though the sentence is, the judge emphasises that this is nothing compared to the everlasting punishment he will receive in a higher court - unless he repents now. It appears that Haggart heeded this hellfire warning, as the rest of the broadside focuses on his improved behaviour in 'the condemned cell' and on the scaffold.

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: 1821   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(17)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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