Date Of Execution: 2 Oct 1833
Execution Place: unknown
A FULL & PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE
Who was Executed at Stirling on Wednesday morning,
the 2d of October, for the bloody Murder of William
Peddie, an old man, about 70 years of age, on the high
road between Beancross and Kerse toll, parish of Fal-
l-irk, on the evening of the 3d of August last, with his
Speech upon the scaffold, also a copy of his Lamenta-
ROBERT TENNANT is a young man about 24 years of age,
was a labourer, and employed in breaking stones on the Toll
Road, between Beancross and Kerse Toll, in the parish of Falkirk,
when the unfortunate circumstances of the murder took place..—
William Peddie, the deceased was about 70 years old, a labourer
also, and likewise employee on the same road, on which he was
foreman. On the forenoon of the 3d of August, the day on which
the murder was committed, Peddie was instructed to dismiss Ten-
aant from the work, by Mr. Borthwick, the superintendant of that
district of road, because that, although the deceased had before pre-
vailed on the superintendnnt to keep him on the road, it was evi-
dent that his drinking and irregularity rendered him unfit to be
longer employed, and had been at that moment, 12 o'clock noon,
lying drunk on the footpath, opposite the Toll, apparently fast
asleep. When he awoke, and this instruction was communicated
to him, the altercation commenced, which ended in the murder of
the poor old man.
About eight o'clock on Wednesday morning the Magistrates as
sembled in the Court -House, shottly after which the prisoner was
brought forward, and after a short time spent in devotional exer-
oise, and after singing a few verses of the 50th psalm, he proceed-
ed to the scaffold about 20 minutes past 8 o'clock, when after i
very impressive and ferent prayer by the Rev. A Bennie, during
which he bowed repeatedly, he was led to the drop, and after a few
seconds spent in prayer, he gave the signal, when he was launched
into eternity. He was decently dressed in black. There were about
2000 spectators present.
Ye fellow man, pray view the end,
Of those who live in crime,
they range abroad without a friend;
And die before their time,
the dreadful scaffold does unfold
A lesson to the young;
It paints in Language seldom told,
That crime will stop the tongue.
When pinioned fast, the awful view,
Does damp the prisoner's heart,
But little thought spectators take,
It leaves no lasting smart.
Farewell, my friends, we now must sever,
The thought lies heavy at my heart,
Forget my awful end for ever,
I from you now must part.
This execution notice begins: 'A FULL AND PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE EXECUTION OF Robert Tennant, / Who was Executed at Stirling on Wednesday morning, the 2d of October, for the bloody Murder of William Peddie, an old man, about 70 years of age, on high road between Beancross and Kerse toll, parish of Falkirk. On the evening of the 3d of August last, with his Speech upon the scaffold, also a copy of his Lamentation.'
Broadsides were often used as a forum for moral instruction, and since this murder resulted from Tennant's drink habit, the broadside does go on to exhort the evils of alcohol. It does, however, include a lamentation, supposedly Tennant's last words, which is a common feature on broadsides. It was an opportunity to tug at the audience's heart and ask them to look at their own behaviour. There are other reports of this case held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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.