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Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Warning! To All Lovers'


This report begins: 'An Affecting Account of a young woman, a servant girl in Kirkcaldy, who put an end to her life, for the sake of a young man there, who had cruelly deceived her with a promise of Marriage; together with a Copy of an interesting LETTER she wrote to him a few minutes before she did the deed.'

The suicide of a young girl who had been seduced then abandoned by her lover is presented in this broadside as a warning to other would-be seducers. It is stated that the suicide note included in the report 'may be depended upon as genuine', but it is probable that the letter was written, or greatly revised, by the broadside author after the event. The victim was a servant girl, who is unlikely to have had the command of written English demonstrated in the letter. The publication of 'last words' attributed to a suicide victim or condemned murderer but often actually composed by an anonymous author, were common in broadsides that sought to issue moral guidance.

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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Probable period of publication: 1820-1830   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(32)
Broadside entitled 'Dreadful Warning! To All Lovers'
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