The last words of S. Tully, who was executed at South Boston, for piracy, December 10th, 1812.
In 1812 a spectacular hanging was staged in South Boston for two men, Samuel Tully (1770-1812) and John Dalton, sentenced to be executed for piracy and murder. For a detailed account, see A Copy of a Letter from Samuel Tully.
Joseph White produced this follow-up broadside, The Last Words of S. Tully, using four of the verses from his pre-hanging broadside, On Samuel Tully and John Dalton, adding two verses telling what happened, and adding an account of the day’s events. His prose version of the marshal’s speech is in different words from that on Coverly’s large broadside. Perhaps both men were on the spot and later reconstructed the speech from hasty notes. This is a blow-by-blow description of the events at the scaffold. Tully is unable to read his “last words” and asks a deputy marshal to read it. In the document Tully admits his guilt on the theft, but denies being responsible for the murder. Since the headline on the broadside states that Tully was executed for piracy, that may be the “theft” he takes responsibility for in his statement, in contradiction of his letter to his father published on A Copy of a Letter from Samuel Tully. He then thanks the people of Boston for their support and “good advice” and hopes they will take a lesson from his suffering.
A paragraph follows in which the marshal informs the crowd that Dalton has received a temporary reprieve. A final line states that Tully was born in New York State, and was then forty-two years old, also contradicting the Heathcoate alias from A Copy of a Letter from Samuel Tully. Across the bottom of the broadside is the rewriting of the lyric On Samuel Tully and John Dalton, after the event. The verses are in a new order: 1, 2, 11, 9, and 5. With verse 5, only the first line remains. The rest is new. Tully dies; Dalton is eventually reprieved.
“The last words of S. Tully, who was executed at South Boston, for piracy, December 10th, 1812.,” Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project, accessed June 10, 2023, https://www.americanantiquarian.org/thomasballads/items/show/331.