This trial report begins: 'A particular account of the Trial and Sentence of PETER HENDERSON, late Letter Stamper in the General Post Office, Edinburgh, who is to be Executed here on Wednesday the 16th July, 1828, for abstracting money from Letters.' This broadside was printed in Edinburgh and is dated the 9th June, 1828.
Also included in the National Library of Scotland's collection is a broadside featuring Peter Henderson's lamentation, in which he expresses deep regret for his crime. This particular broadside, however, details Henderson's trial and offers an interesting insight into crime and punishment in early nineteenth-century Scotland. For what would be considered by today's standards a fairly petty offence, the crime of stealing money from letters was punishable by death.
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:
1828 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(85)
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