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Broadside entitled 'Copy of a Very Interesting Letter from Botany Bay'


Following on from the title, the report continues: 'Received in Glasgow, a few days ago, from one of the Persons engaged in the unfortunate affair of Bonnymuir, giving a particular account of the situation of the whole of the people who were transported for being concerned on that unhappy occasion; with a description of that colony.' The sheet was published by John Muir of Glasgow.

This fascinating broadside describes life from the former British penal colony of Botany Bay, Australia. Addressed to his wife, the letter was written by Thomas McCulloch, who was one of the 'The Bonnymuir Prisoners'. These men were Radicals who were transported for demanding some political rights, following a controversial trial in Stirling, in 1820. The letter reveals much about the five-month voyage to Australia, plus an explanation of the situation regarding wives and sweethearts being allowed to emigrate and join their menfolk. A whole sequence of sheets telling the story of 'The Bonnymuir Prisoners' is contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection.

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: 1821   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(022)
Broadside entitled 'Copy of a Very Interesting Letter from Botany Bay'
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