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Broadside entitled 'Execution'


This report of an execution begins: 'Account of the Execution of Elizabeth Nicklson, or Shafto, or Jeffrey, who was Executed in front of the Jail, this morning, for a Double Murder.' It was published by John Muir of Glasgow. Wear and tear on this broadside makes some words quite difficult to read.

The condemned woman was found guilty of poisoning two people in the village of Carluke, for no obvious motive other than that she owed one of them five pounds. It is believed that she might have got away with her crimes had she not insisted on suspiciously quick burials for the victims. The broadside author notes that an unsuccessful appeal against the execution was made by 'a few Quakers and other eccentric individuals'. The tone suggests that the author was a keen supporter of capital punishment. Elizabeth Jeffrey was executed on May 21, 1838 for poisoning two people in Carluke.

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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Probable date published: 1838-   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(114)
Broadside entitled 'Execution'
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