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Broadside regarding the last speech of George Clerk


This last speech begins: 'GEORGE CLERK'S LAST SPEECH AND DYING WORDS on the Scaffold and at Pennycuick, with his farewell Address to his beloved friend, Dundas, late Member for the City of Edinburgh ; together with his EPITAPH.' It was to be sung to the tune of 'Miller of Drone'. 'By Willison Glass' is written at the bottom of the sheet, after the epitaph.

Whilst most epitaphs remember the deceased fondly, here, Satan is called upon to make George Clerk's stay in hell as hellish as possible: 'O! Satan, turn Clerk on a speet, / . . . / That he may suffer for his crimes / Eternity of pain.' Interestingly, this last line has been scored out and has been replaced with 'of purgatory pain'. As to the last speech, it was most certainly not written by George Clerk himself. 'Castlereagh' likely refers to the politician, Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who committed suicide by cutting his throat with a penknife.

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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Probable period of publication: 1820-1830   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(037)
Broadside regarding the last speech of George Clerk
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