This broadside begins: 'A particular account of the procedure of the Circuit Court of Justiciary held at Glasgow on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the 19, 20, 21st of September 1786, giving a particular account of the trial and sentence of the different criminals.' No publication dates have been included on this sheet.
This account offers a fascinating insight into crime and punishment in eighteenth-century Scotland. The penalties for offences that by today's standards would seem fairly minor were extremely severe and unforgiving. Throughout the eighteenth century, and much of the nineteenth century, the common punishment for theft and housebreaking was execution. During this particular round of the Circuit Court, Elizabeth Paul, alias Wilson, was sentenced to be hanged for stealing cloth from a Paisley bleachfield.
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 date published:
1786 shelfmark: APS.3.98.8
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