This broadside begins: 'This production of Alexander Pennicuick [Pennecuik] possesses considerable humour. The last speech begins: 'QUHAN Hangie saw death drawing near, / The carle grew in ane unco fear'. Printed under the title is the note, '[From Pennicuick's MSS. Advocate's Library]'.
As the text goes on to reveal, the author of this piece, Alexander Pennecuik (d. 1730), was the nephew of Dr Alexander Pennecuik (1652-1722). Both men were well known for their humorous and topical verse, and several examples of their work can be found in the National Library of Scotland's broadside collection. Here, Pennecuik has wryly written a last speech for the eighteenth-century Edinburgh hangman, John Dalgleish. For someone who witnessed the last speeches of those he executed, it was a novel idea to imagine one of his own creation.
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 date of publication:
1727 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(039)
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