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Broadside entitled 'Trials and Sentences'


This court account begins: 'April 23, 1823?This day the Circuit Court of the Justiciary was opened here by Lords Succoth and Gillies'. This sheet was published by John Muir of Glasgow.

The case of James Wilson and John Gilchrist's robbery of Mr MacArthur was covered on separate sheets which eventually grew into sequences, some of which are held in the National Library of Scotland's collection. Many of the convicted were sentenced to 'bridewell'. This was a new form of imprisonment and punishment, as the penal system was beginning to undergo reform. Bridewells were smaller prisons, with more organised regimes for petty criminals, idlers and troublemakers.

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: 1823   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(053)
Broadside entitled 'Trials and Sentences'
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