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Broadside entitled 'Lament of Peter Mclean, now lying under the Sentence of Death'


This lamentation begins: 'Come all kind hearted Christians, likewise my comrades dear, / Unto my lamentation I pray you lend an ear ; / I am a poor unfortunate man, I've brought myself to shame, / By straying in the ways of vice, myself I have to blame.'

Peter McLean was executed in Linlithgow on the 2nd February, 1857, for the murder of Thomas Maxwell on the road between Bathgate and Durhamtown, West Lothian. Although it is unlikely he wrote this lamentation - broadside producers frequently published highly formulaic, repentant 'last speeches' and lamentations - he was said to have made a short speech from the gallows urging people to recognise the Sabbath and avoid alcohol and bad company.

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: 1857   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(205)
Broadside entitled 'Lament of Peter Mclean, now lying under the Sentence of Death'
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