This report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the execution of JOHN HILL and WILLIAM PORTER, who were executed at Glasgow, yesterday, Wednesday the 12th May 1830, for Assaulting and Robbing William Marshall, an old man of 76 years of age, on the 19th Decem- last ; with their Behaviour since the condemnation and at the place of Execution.' It was published in Edinburgh for Felix O'Neill.
Because John Hill and William Porter were very young, a petition was started in favour of leniancy, which was even signed by some members of the jury. However, the crime was deemed too serious to allow mercy. The items they stole - shoes, glasses, an old handkerchief and 7 shillings - seem paltry today but the 'Bloody Code', designed to protect property rights and make examples of those not respecting them, was in force. At the time a man could be hung for stealing as little as 5 shillings.
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:
1830 shelfmark: F.3.a.14(49)
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