This broadside begins: 'An Account of one of the most Barbarous Murders ever heard of, committed by JOHN WILSON, near Dundee, on Friday last, on the Body of his own Wife, in a fit of Jealous Rage, by stabbing her in several places and cutting her throat from ear to ear, with a large Carving Knife; also an Account of the Murder of his own Infant, only eight days old, by cruelly Dashing it on the ground, and afterwards throwing it over a back Window, with the Intrepid manner in which he was seized in the act by a servant Girl.'
A particularly grisly and shocking crime is recounted in this broadside. Although jealousy is suggested as a motive in the title, there is no further mention of this within the account. Unlike many broadsides which often carried a rather pointed moral and religious lesson, this one lacks any references to repentence or religious enlightenment. The only exceptions are found in the final paragraph when Wilson kneels in an 'attitude of prayer' and is then destined to face an 'earthly tribunial' after a failed suicide attempt.
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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Probable date published:
1827 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(78)
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