This crime report begins: 'A TRUE ACCOUNT OF THAT FATAL DUEL / Which took place on Tuesday morning 26th March, 1822. between, Sir Alexander Boswell Bart. and James Stuart Esq. in Fife when Sir Alexander was mortally wounded, and died on Wednesday.'
This broadside reports only the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the death of Sir Alexander Boswell, antiquary, poet and son of James Boswell, the biographer. The end of the account comments that James Stuart was awaiting his trial. This is a typical format for broadsides - a story being reported in instalments as the action happens. This feature is one which broadsides have in common with modern newspapers. There are other stories in the National Library of Scotland's collection which cover the subsequent events.
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:
1822 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(25)
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