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Broadside entitled 'Copy Letter'


This crime report begins: 'Relative to the Case of these unfortunate young Boys, CHARLES McLAREN, THOMAS GRIERSON, and JAMES McEWAN, who were lately Sentenced to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 12th February, 1823, for Housebreaking and Theft.' The bulk of information for this report was sourced from the 'Edinburgh Weekly Journal'. This sheet was printed in Edinburgh for James McLean.

The 'Edinburgh Weekly Journal' was established in Edinburgh in 1756, and continued well into the mid-nineteenth century. At this time it was based in Hanover Street, in the wealthy and fashionable area of the New Town in Edinburgh. It was common for information to be copied from other newspaper sources. Newspapers at this time did not have a wide circulation due to their high price and the dry nature of the information they contained. Cribbing reports allowed broadside publishers to topical information to an avid audience both quickly and cheaply.

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(31)
Broadside entitled 'Copy Letter'
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