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Broadside concerning James Gilchrist


This account begins: 'A particular account of the Behaviour of James Gilchrist, who was executed at the Cross of Glasgow, on Wednesday the 20th of July, 1808, pursuant to his sentence, for the cruel and barbarous murder of Margaret Brock, his wife, and his body given for dissection.' The printer was Thomas Duncan, probably the same Thomas Duncan who had printing presses in Glasgow.

For the most part, this broadside plays with the reader's emotions by stressing the doubt over Gilchrist's guilt. He continually, and eloquently, protested his innocence, saying in court, 'If I was guilty, a hundred deaths were too little for me; but, I thank the Almighty, am innocent.' Even the judge saw something in his behaviour which one couldn't ignore and admitted he was convicted on circumstantial evidence. The couple had been married for 27 years.

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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Date of publication: 1808   shelfmark: 6.365(084)
Broadside concerning James Gilchrist
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