This report begins: 'An Account of the Trial and Sentence of Thomas Black and John Reid two Boys, who are to be Executed at the head of Libertons Wynd Edin. On Wednesday the 10th day of Dec. next, for Housebreaking and Robbery in the Neighbourhood of Leith.' It was printed for B. Brown and sold for one penny.
The National Library of Scotland's broadside collection contains a number of other broadsides relating to this case, including several detailing Black's execution and one recounting his final words. It appears from the information on these broadsides that John Reid was granted a reprieve at the last minute. Thomas Black, on the other hand, was indeed executed for his crimes.
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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1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(287)
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