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Broadside entitled 'Sentence'


This crime report begins: 'An account of the Trial and Sentence of Charles Maclaren, Thos. Grierson, and James M'Ewan, 3 boys, the oldest only 15 years of age, and all belonging to Edinburgh, for house-breaking and robbery, in Gray Street and George's Square, and who are to be Executed in Edinburgh, on the 12th of Feb. next.' This sheet was published by Glass of Edinburgh.

These three boys were found guilty of housebreaking and stealing a vast quantity of silver and silk - the daring of youth. No details are given of their arrest and conviction, but their previous offences are emphasised. Legal code at this time gave prime protection to people's property and so their list of stolen goods coupled with their reputations went against them. This case was reported on other broadsides held in the National Library of Scotland's collection.

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: Ry.III.a.2(30)
Broadside entitled 'Sentence'
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