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Broadside entitled 'Respite for William Grieve'


This report begins: 'An account of a respite for fourteen days having arrived for WILLIAM GRIEVE, who lies under sentence of Death in Edinburgh for Rape, and who was to have been executed this day (Wednesday) ; together with a copy of original VERSES on the occasion.' Printed by Francis McCartney.

Priced at one penny, this is another broadsheet that begins in prose, but then transposes into verse. A crime report, it tells of the stay of execution granted to a William Grieve, who was sentenced to death for rape. However, the emergence of fresh evidence meant that the execution in Edinburgh scheduled for the 3rd of April 1833 was postponed, while the new facts were considered. The closing verses are written by an 'ingenious poetical correspondent', who tries to imagine the emotions that Grieve must be experiencing in his almost 'condemned cell'.

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: 1833   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(44)
Broadside entitled 'Respite for William Grieve'
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