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Broadside entitled 'The Last Speech'


This broadside begins: 'Confession, and dying declaration of MORT COLLINS, Soldier in the 27th Regiment of foot, who was execute at Glasgow on Wednesday the 7th of November 1792, and his Body given to the doctors, for the murder of John Panton, keeper of Bridewell.'

Collins had been drinking heavily and ended up in an altercation with Panton, keeper of Glasgow's house of correction or Bridewell. Collins ran him through with his bayonet and paid for his rashness with his life. His remains were sent for dissection. It is interesting to note that up until the Anatomy Act was passed in 1832, the only bodies surgeons were legally allowed to dissect were those of executed murderers. It was seen as the ultimate humiliation of the criminal.

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.

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Date of publication: 1792   shelfmark: 6.365(081)
Broadside entitled 'The Last Speech'
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