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Broadside entitled 'Horrid Depravity!'


This report begins: 'A melancholy Account of the Death of two Children, who were poisoned by a Man who went about selling Candy, at Portobello, near Edinburgh, on Tuesday last, in whose Possession was found valuable Articles, which he obtained from the Children in exchange for his Candy.' This sheet was re-printed by Douglas and Kent, Newcastle.

This sensational broadside tells the tragic story of two children who were accidentally poisoned by a Pied Piper and Fagin-like character, who traded Candy with children in return for whatever fancy ornaments they could lay their hands on. Asked by the magistrate to explain himself, it would seem that the candy somehow became mixed in some rat poison belonging to a rat-catcher who shared dwellings with the Candyman. Acquitted of the charge of murder, the Candyman was committed to trial for the handling of stolen goods. The strange fact that the Candyman is not named, lends a mythic quality to the story.

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 of publication: 1825-1829   shelfmark: F.3.a.13(53a)
Broadside entitled 'Horrid Depravity!'
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