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Broadside entitled 'Lamentation for George Gilchrist, Under sentence of Death in Edinburgh'

Commentary

This lamentation begins: 'Come all ye night walkers a warning take by me, / Now I have received my sentence to die most shamefully / On the third day of August, at the head of Libberton Wynd, / You will behold my wretch fate, a warning take in time.'

Gilchrist was tried along with his brother William and his accomplice James Brown for robbing the Commercial Bank of 5712 on the Glasgow-Edinburgh stage coach. The thieves broke through to the boot from the inside of the coach whilst disguised as women. They were eventually caught when they turned each other in, and after witnesses gave positive identifications. George and William were convicted but Brown turned 'crown evidence' and so escaped punishment. There was rumour at the time that the heist was planned by another famous thief, John Wilson, who was also under arrest, awaiting execution. There are many other sheets held by the National Library of Scotland which give details of this case.

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: 1831   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(109)
Broadside entitled 'Lamentation for George Gilchrist, Under sentence of Death in Edinburgh'
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