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Broadside entitled 'Copy of a very interesting Letter from Botany-bay'


This account continues: 'Received in Glasgow, a few days ago, from one of the Persons engaged in the unfortunate affair of Bonnymuir, giving a particular account of the situation of the whole of the people who were transported for being concerned on that unhappy occasion; with a description of that Colony.'

This letter was sent by Thomas McCulloch from Sydney, Australia, on the 21 October 1821 to his unnamed wife in Glasgow. McCulloch was one of the nineteen men sentenced to transportation for attempting an armed insurrection at Bonnymuir, near Bonnybridge. They were part of a larger movement of 'radicals' who were campaigning for political representation and rights amongst the more skilled labourers, such as weavers and smiths. This letter was a further attempt at political agitation, with its descriptions of a 'better land' and reminders of the men who lost their liberty for political freedom.

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 published: 1822   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(20)
Broadside entitled 'Copy of a very interesting Letter from Botany-bay'
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