This broadside begins: 'THE following VERSES, relative to the melancholy situation of the unfortunate WILLIAM POLLOCK, now under Sentence of Death in the Jail of Edinburgh, for the Murder of his own Wife . . . were composed by the author, one morning in bed, after having dreamed he had really heard the unhappy man making his Lamentation'.
William Pollock was found guilty of murdering his wife and sentenced to be hanged on the 22nd March, 1826. Although he vehemently protested his innocence throughout the trial, and continued to do so after sentence was passed, Pollock was never offered a reprieve. Two days before the execution was to take place, Pollock committed suicide in his prison cell. A large number of broadsides were published following Pollock's suicide, including this imaginary lamentation.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Likely date of publication:
1826 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(396)
View larger image