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Broadside entitled 'Lamentation of George Gilchrist'


This text begins: 'Now under sentence of death in Edinburgh. / If I had been contented, and carried on my trade, / I would have been much happier, and money would have made, / But I was hast'ning to be rich, and fell into a snare, Which I would tell to every one to make them all beware.' This sheet was published by J. Neil & Co.

Gilchrist, his brother William and another accomplice, James Brown, robbed the Commercial Bank of 5712, in total whilst it was being transported on the Glasgow-Edinburgh stagecoach. About 5,500 pounds of the money was recovered from the oddest places. The Gilchrist brothers had buried the money under a slab, which was surrounded by arsenic to stop the rats eating it. Brown on the other hand, hid his money in a gun barrel. Brown confessed to his part in the robbery, George was found guilty and William was returned a not proven verdict.

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: 1831   shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(110)
Broadside entitled 'Lamentation of George Gilchrist'
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