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Broadside entitled 'Murder, &c.'


This crime report begins: 'Full, True, and Particular Account of the apprehension of three men for that most horrid Murder committed upon the Body of Helen MacKenzie, in Rosshire?a murder which has excited so much horror throughout all Scotland, that the Lord Advocate sent Mr Stoddart, Advocate, into Ross-shire, for the express purpose of trying to discover the murderers.' This sheet was published by Forbes and Owen of the 'First Stair in the Close', the High Street, Edinburgh.

Two other stories are carried on this sheet: an account of Captain Wilson's murder of the seaman John Smith on his ship 'Armenia', and the funeral of King Radama of Madagascar. These may seem like an odd selection of texts but broadside publishers reported anything of public interest knowing that they would reach a wide audience. The last story, especially, appears odd, but Britain had close diplomatic and cultural links with Madagascar, after its military involvement in establishing the state.

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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Probable date published: 1828   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(107)
Broadside entitled 'Murder, &c.'
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