This crime report begins: 'A full and particular account of the trial of DONALD RANKINE who was tried at the High Court of Justicary on Monday the 3d December, and was found guilty of the crime of robbery for which he was condemned to be executed at Inverary on Friday the 18th of January 1822. Also an account of the trial of Donald McKenzie who was sentenced to fourteen years transportation.' This sheet was printed for William Cameron and sold for the sum of a one penny per sheet.
Donald Rankine had already been found guilty but was undergoing a separate sentencing due to an irregularity at the original trial. He was sentenced to execution for theft. Donald McKenzie was sentenced to transportation for the theft of gold personal effects. This type of broadside is the precursor to modern newspapers. They quickly, if not always accurately and originally, reported news and then were intended to be discarded. They had to appeal to wide audience in as overt a manner as possible to make them profitable. As a result they are often headline grabbing, with emphasis placed on the more sensational aspects of stories.
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:
1822 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(22)
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