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Broadside entitled 'Narrow Escape of a Gentleman from Murder'


This broadside contains two reports. The first begins: 'A strange and comical account of Three Gentlemen who left Edinburgh, and sailed in the ECLIPSE Steam Packet for Belfast, and having large sums of money in their possession, they proposed to sleep in one room; when scarcely asleep one of them imagined he saw a man . . .' The report is not dated, but its original source is given as 'yesterday's "Edinburgh Star."' Also included is an account of a 'DREADFUL RIOT' taken from 'a Belfast Paper'.

The larger of the two reports here is a tale of a traveller who raised the alarm thinking he was being robbed, and was then mistaken for the robber by his companions. The second is more interesting hstorically. It describes a fight at Maghera, Northern Ireland, between Orangemen and Ribbandmen. Ribbandmen, or Ribbonmen, were members of an Irish secret society that grew up in the late eighteenth century in opposition to the Protestant Orange orders. The name came from a green ribbon worn by members. The society was declared illegal in 1871, and this broadside probably predates that.

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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Probable period of publication: 1820-1830   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(084)
Broadside entitled 'Narrow Escape of a Gentleman from Murder'
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