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Broadside regarding the execution of Mrs McLeoid


This broadside begins: 'The Last Farewel and Lamentation of Mrs McLEOID, who was execute in the Grass-Market of Edinburgh on the 8th of March 1727, for the Crime of Forgery, with her last Farewel to the World.' The first verse begins: 'All People now both far and near, / that sees my wretched State, / Lament my Case, for why I am / Oh! Most Unfortunate.' A woodcut illustration of a woman surrounded by foliage has been included at the top of this sheet.

Although it appears from this broadside that these were the last words of Mrs McLeoid, it is very unlikely that she actually wrote them. The National Library of Scotland's broadside collection contains many examples of 'genuine' last speeches and lamentations, in which the criminal prays for salvation and issues a warning to all those tempted to travel down the same path. In reality, the vast majority of these highly formulaic and sermonising speeches were created by the broadside producers themselves.

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 published: 1727   shelfmark: RB.l.106(086)
Broadside regarding the execution of Mrs McLeoid
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