This report begins: 'A Full True and Particular Account of the Suicide committed by William Pollock, in the Jail of Edinburgh, yesterday morning, the 20th March 1826, who was condemned to be Executed here tomorrow (Wednesday the 22d current) for the Murder of his own Wife; together with a copy of his LETTER to Mr Young, Governor of the Jail, &c.' The broadside was priced at one penny and was published by J. Cumming of Edinburgh.
Broadside reports of suicides were often used by authors or editors as an opportunity for moralising, and it was not uncommon for the reports to include lengthy 'suicide notes' which were in fact more likely the work of the broadside's author. In this case, however, although Pollock's actions are described in detail, there is a complete absence of sermonising or judging of the victim in the reporting. Moreover, the brief extracts of suicide notes that are included read like they could quite plausibly be the work of Pollock.
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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Date of publication:
1826 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(65)
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