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Broadside concerning the execution of Andrew Stewart and Edward Kelly


This report of a double execution begins: 'An account of the Behaviour and Execution of ANDREW STEWART and EDWARD KELLY, who were both Executed at Glasgow on Wednesday Morning, in the presence of an immense multitude, for the daring crime of Street Robbery.' The publisher was John Muir of Glasgow.

This is one of two broadsides in the National Library of Scotland's collection that describe Stewart and Kelly's execution, and small discrepancies between the two reveal how the author of this broadside tried to make it appeal to the public. Whereas the other report suggests that the crowd for the execution was smaller than usual, this account describes the 'great multitude' present. Likewise, the 'some others' who were Stewart's accomplices become, in this report, 'villains so numerous that they frightened away every person'. The highly excitable tone of the broadside is signalled at the very start, when Stewart and Kelly's offence is described as the 'daring crime' of street robbery.

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: 1826   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(092)
Broadside concerning the execution of Andrew Stewart and Edward Kelly
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