This broadside begins: 'The Last Speech and Dying Words, OF THE CROSS of EDINBURGH Which was hang'd drawn and quarter'd, on Monday the 15th March, 1756, for the horrid Crime of being an Incumbrance to the Street.' The last speech begins: 'You sons of Scotia, mourn and weep, / Express your grief with sorrow deep'.
This broadside parodies the last speeches that were often uttered by people before their execution. It is written as if from the point of view of the 'Cross of Edinburgh', more commonly known as the Mercat Cross, and offers an interesting insight into the events that occurred in its vicinity. The Mercat Cross is situated close to St Giles Cathedral and was traditionally the chosen location for public announcements, gatherings and executions. Although it was removed in 1756 and taken to Drum House, Prime Minister Gladstone (1809-1898), who was also the MP for Midlothian, was instrumental in returning the Cross to its original location in 1885.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1756 shelfmark: APS.4.83.4
View larger image