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Broadside entitled 'Horrible Shipwreck!'


This news report begins: 'A Full, true and Particular Account of the Melancholy Loss of the british Convict Ship AMPHITRITE, on the evening of Saturday last, the 31st August 1833, of Boulogne, when 108 Female Convicts, 12 Children and 13 Seamen met with a watery grave, in sight of thousands, none being saved out of 136 Souls but Three!' The broadside was published by Menzies of the Lawnmarket in Edinburgh, and the story was sourced from the Observer newspaper.

The loss of the Amphitrite had a big impact on the British public. The tone of this report reflects the sympathy and anger that was felt at such a loss of life and implies suspicion that proper safety procedures may not have been observed because the ship carried convicts rather than passengers: 'The British public demands that an inquiry be instituted into the conduct of all the parties concerned in this deplorable affair'. This was one of the first major losses of a convict ship bound for Australasia, but within two years two more vessels, the 'George III' and the 'Neva' had also sunk with major losses of life.

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.

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Date of publication: 1833   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(126)
Broadside entitled 'Horrible Shipwreck!'
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