This report begins: 'An account taken from this day's Star. of the affecting behaviour and sorrowful situation of Thomas Black, who is to be Executed next Wednesday, when the respite for Reid was announced to him. Also, the sorrowful Lamentation on this awful occasion.' The report was copied from the Edinburgh Star of Friday, 5th December 1823
The tone of this report is clearly intended to provide moral instruction for its readership. The opening prose passage, describing Thomas Black's reflections on his imminent execution, stresses how keen he is to admit his sins and gain Christian forgiveness before he dies. The subsequent 'lamentation' which is almost certainly not the work of Black, but of an anonymous newspaper or broadside reporter, re-emphasises Black's contrition and warns others of following in his footsteps.
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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Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: F.3.a.14(4)
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