Date Of Execution: 29 Oct 1829
Execution Place: unknown
Craig & Brown.
A Full and Particular account of the Execution of John
Craig and James Brown, who suffer'd the last sentence
of the Law, in front of the New Jail of Paisley, for
Breaking into the House of Mr. Robertson, at Foxbar,
and stealing a quantity of Property, and ill-using the in-
mates : also an account of their behaviour since their tri-
al, and at the place of Execution.
An Execution in Paisley is a circumstance of very rare occurrence,
and may consequently be supposed to excite a much deeper degree of in-
terest, than in those places where they are regularly witnessed from time
to time with little space between. In 1765, Provan was executed at the
Gallowgreen of Paisley, for the murder his wife under circumstance of
deep and aggravated atrocity ; since that time down to the present, a
period of 64 years, there has been in this town only one of these me-
lancholy and awful lessoos to erring humanity, This was the final exit
of Thomas Pott who was executed at the cross, (the former place of exe
ecution having been appropriated to other purposes) in 1797 for
housebreaking and theft, this man, with an accomplice, were tried
for the robbery of Gryffe Castle, in the neighbourhood of Paisley,
when Potts was found guilty condemned and executed as above mention-
ed, since which the Gallows on which Potts ended his career would have .
remained unemployed, had it not been required by the town of Gree-
nock for a similar purpose, from whence it has been removed for the
execution of these two unfortunate men, James Brown and John Craig,
who have this day in pursuance of their sentence suffered the awful pe-
nalty of the law. These two men we understand are natives of Ireland,
but have for some years been resident in Johnstone; when the affair for
which they suffer'd was concocted and which place they left shortly after
its perpetration in order to evade the hands of Justice. They were how-
ever both seized and brought to this country, and tried at the last assizes
where they were condemned for the crime of breaking into the house of
Mr. Robertson of Foxbar. On trial it appeared that these two unfortu-
nate men along with a person of the name of Stewart (who was outlawed
on the day of trial,) had forcibly obtained entrance to Mr. Robertson
who is an old man upwards of 70 living with only his sister a Lady of
nearly the same age.
Since they were brought from Glasgow these unfortunate men have
been regularly visited by Clergymen and other religious persons, and
have evinced a deep feeling of contrition for their crimes, giving every
evidence of a repentance not to be repeated of, In course of this fore-
noon they were brought into the Hall and after some pious conversation
and prayers they were brought out to the Scaffold, dressed in a very be-
coming and respectable manner, from their appearance they were ear-
nestly supplicating the almighty for pardon, and in presence of a most
immense multitude they were launched into eternity.
Owing to Glasgow Fast happening on this day the concourse of people flocking into this
town, during the early part of forenoon, was enormous, while the influx from the towns and
villages in the west was no less numerous, presenting as a whole, one of the most immens
crowds even seen in this place, on any former occassion.
PRICE ONE PENNY.
This execution notice begins: 'A Full and Particular account of the Execution of John Craig and James Brown, who suffer'd the last sentence of the law, in front of the New Jail of Paisley, for Breaking into the House of Mr Robertson, at Foxbar, and stealing a quantity of Property, and ill-using the inmates : also an account of their behaviour since their trial, and at the place of Execution.'
This broadside begins with a potted history of executions in Paisley, mainly those of Alexander Provan and Thomas Potts, before touching on the case of John Craig and James Brown. Both men were executed on the 29th October, 1829, at County Square, Paisley, for the crime of stouthrief, which in Scots law means robbery with violence. It is said that both men were highly repentant and begged Robertson's forgiveness. Compared with many other execution reports, which go on at great length and contain every grisly detail, this is an unusually short and straightforward account.
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.