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Broadside entitled 'Forty Whiteboys Sentenced to Death!!'


This broadside begins: 'An Account of the Proceedings of the Special Commission at Cork for the Trials of the Whiteboys, when nearly FORTY unfortunate Human Beings received the awful sentence of Death; several of whom, were ordered for Execution on Monday last 25th day of Feb., 1822, and their bodies to be given for Dissection.' It was published by John Muir of Glasgow, and probably cost one penny.

This broadside recounts the trial of forty 'Whiteboys' who stood trial in Cork. Formed in Tipperary in 1761, 'Whiteboys' - who acquired their name from the white linen shirts they wore - were strongly opposed to changes that were occurring in Irish agriculture at this time. Believing in direct action, they took extreme measures often sabotaging farmland and targeting those in authority. The movement became so widespread that the Whiteboy Act was passed in 1765 in an attempt to curb their activities.

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: 1822   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(026)
Broadside entitled 'Forty Whiteboys Sentenced to Death!!'
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