This report begins: 'An Account of the Trial and Sentence of D. M'INNES, master, and P. M'BRIDE, pilot, of the Comet Steam-Boat, before the High Court of Admiralty, on Wednesday the 21st December 1825.' It was printed in Edinburgh for William Cameron and priced at one penny.
McInnes and McBride were accused of culpable homicide after their steamboat collided with another vessel on its journey from Inverness to Glasgow. Over sixty people appear to have died as a result of the accident. After the evidence was heard at their trial, the jury found McInnes guilty and McBride not guilty. At a time when people were being executed for petty crimes, such as housebreaking and theft, it is surprising that McInnes, after being found guilty, was only sentenced to three months' imprisonment. There are other broadsides in the Library's collections relating to this accident.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
1825 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(297)
View larger image