This report begins: 'Copy of a letter received this morning from an inhabitant of Lauder; containing a particular account of that dreadful Riot which took place there on Monday morning last, between a number of Irish shearers and the inhabitants.' The letter is dated September 26th, 1821.
The incident described here was apparently provoked by a family of Irish gypsy origins, who had travelled to the Borders from Glasgow to seek work during the Harvest. It is alleged that having been deprived of work by local sheep-shearers, the Doughertys drunkenly recruited assistance from other Irish shearers and attacked the townspeople of Lauder. It is impossible to know how fair this account is. Religious bigotry and the issue of Irish Home Rule made anti-Irish sentiment common in nineteenth-century Scotland, and the prejudice of the letter-writer is evident in some places, such as the snide reference to the Irish shearers as 'the Pats'.
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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1821 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(19)
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