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Broadside entitled 'Awful Cruelty'


This report begins: 'Account of the cruel and inhuman tratment of a child, by its own Father, of the name M'Gregor, or Rogers, residing in Kirkintilloch, who kept the child in an empty barrel for some years, till he was more like one of the monkey species than a human being . . . altogether a deplorable instance of culpable neglect and savage cruelty.' The sheet was printed in Glasgow by Muir.

This is a shocking story. The boy had been neglected for a significant amount of time. He had been fed on potato skins, beaten, burnt, not to mention being kept in a barrel. Apparently his appearance was skeletal and his skin was covered with hair. Visitors contributed money to support the child after his discovery and he was taken away from his 'unnatural protectors'. At the end the broadside calls for the authorities to punish the father.

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.

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shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(059)
Broadside entitled 'Awful Cruelty'
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