This crime report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the Reception of WILLIAM HARE, one of the West Port Murderers, at Dumfries, on Friday morning last, on his way to Ireland!' This report was sourced from the 'Edinburgh Evening Courant' of the 9th February 1829 and the sheet would have cost one penny to buy.
This is one article of many held in the National Library of Scotland's collection which detail the case of the bodysnatchers and murderers William Burke and William Hare. As a result it is also an article which added its opinion to the already huge nineteenth century debate on human dissection. Copying the article from a newspaper was not at all unusual, as newspaper reporters travelled further afield, but the broadside production made the story much more accessible. There were also much more ambiguous copyright laws at this time.
Burke and Hare were Irish bodysnatchers and murderers, who worked around Edinburgh's Canongate area - eventually becoming local legends. They hit upon the idea of murdering vulnerable or solitary people (in an attempt not to get caught) so that they could sell the bodies for dissection. Hare turned King's Evidence and so was acquitted, but this secured the conviction of Burke, who was hanged on the 28th January 1829.
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Probable date published:
1829 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.6(048)
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