The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside concerning the riot outside Dr. Robert Knox?s house, Edinburgh over Burke and Hare


A Full and Particular Account of the Riot which
took place in Edinburgh on Thursday last; also
of the Hoax played off on a Celebrated Doctor.
" POPULAR TUMMULT,....On Thursday, a number
of people, who had assembled about the Calton,
were observed to come up Leith Street and pass
along both the Bridges, southward, bearing an
Effigy of a certain Doctor, who has been rendered
very obnoxious to the public by recent events.
The figure was pretty well decked out in a suit of
good cloths, and the face and head bore a tolerable
resemblance to the person intended to be represent-
ed On the back was a label bearing the words
" Knox, the associate of the infamous Hare." In
passing along the South Bridge a policeman, a re-
solute fellow, attempted singly to stem the torrent
And pull the figure from those carrying it, but fail-
ed receiving some severe blows for his boldness
The crowd, which increased rapidly, proceeded on-
ward to Newington, where the figure was suspend
ed by the neck from a tree, fire being also put to
it, but which soon went out. The figure was then
torn to pieces, amidst the loud huzzas of thousands,
Up to this period no actual violence had been com-
mitted, but the appearance of the crowd was very
threatening, the whole flower-plot and railing in
front of the Doctor's house being literally packed
with people, who were shouting in a wrathful man-
ner?blending the names of the 'West Port murder- '
ers with that of the medical gentleman so often
alluded to, as connected with those horrid transac-
tions. Captain Stewart, the Superintendent of the
Police, and a superior officer of another department
of the establishment, having out-run the main body
of watchmen,-and having got admission to the
house from the rear, made a determined charge
from the front door, upon the crowd, who instant-
ly retreated to the road and commenced throwing
stones, whereby Mr Stewart and the other gentle-
men were considerably injured, but no farther riot-
ing then took place, and no property was destroy-
ed beyond a pane or two of glass broken. This
mob, which may be said to have consisted princi-
pally of boys and young lads, among whom eight
or ten bakers seemed the most active, quietly dis-
persed, but re-assembled in different parts of the
city. A crowd, mostly boys, assembled in Prince's
Street, and, armed with sticks, paraded the High
Street, but did no mischief, having encountered a
body of the police at the Tron Church, by whom
they were dispersed. Another mob collected in the
West Port, came down the Grassmarket and Cow-
gate, and went up the Horse Wynd, breaking a
number of panes of glass in the windows on the
west and south sides of the College. A third crowd
had collected about the Cowgate, where several of
the most active were apprehended. But, notwith-
standing all the efforts of the police, the mob,again
attacked the house of Dr Knox- about seven o'clock,
when a great number of windows were broken,
both in his house and those adjoining. An attempt
was also made on Surgeon Square, but a party of
police, under the direction of Mr Kerr, completely
repelled the attack. Upon the whole, the police
never appeared more vigilant or more successful in
preserving the peace, They apprehended about 20
of the most active, were to be brought before the
Sitting Magistrate."? Edinburgh Evening Conrant.

An ANATOMIST HOAXED-- A well known carter in Leith had
the misfortune to lose, when in the straw, a brood sow the other
day, to the unspeakable grief of a host of young piglings who
Had, perhaps been rather prematurely ushered into this world
of woe; and in consequence of the large sums which he had
heard were in the habit of being given for bodies, it occurred to
him that he might realize something for behoof of the growing
family by disposing of the corps of their lamented and amiable
mother. Accordingly he had the body scraped and prepared,
and forthwith repaired to Surgeon Square, with the subject care-
fully packed up in a box, and actually sold it to a certain cele-
brated lecturer for L.8, The doctor, however, had only L.5
upon him, which he gave to the body-dealer in the meantime,
and promised to pay him the balance on the morrow. This sum
the wag pocketed, and it is unnecessary to add, that he has not
visited the Square since,?being satisfied, we believe, that, he

had received ample remuneration for the body given." Observer,


Price One Penny   

previous pageprevious          
Probable date of publication: 1829   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(49)
Broadside concerning the riot outside Dr. Robert Knox?s house, Edinburgh over Burke and Hare
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland