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Broadside: 'A True and Correct Account of that MOST WONDERFUL CHILD'


This account begins: 'A True and Correct Account of that MOST WONDERFUL CHILD, Only 11 months old, which weighs between 9 and 10 stone, with a description of his length, thickness, and appearance, what diet he takes, &c. he was born at Cambasnethan, 15 miles from Glasgow.' With the child being born in April 1820, and his age being 11 months, this broadside was most likely published in 1821. It was priced at one penny.

In the first paragraph of this account, the child is described as 'one of the greatest curiosities that ever appeared in the human world'. Details of his appearance are provided, along with the reactions of those who have seen him. The final paragraph eulogises on the wonderous work of God and the sanctity of all life, no matter what shape or form it takes. Despite the sentiments of the final paragraph, people would have been drawn to this story precisely because of the boy's alleged size. Inscribed opposite this broadside is a note transcribed from the Edinburgh Evening Courant, stating that the boy in question, James Weir, had died aged 17 months.

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 date published: 1821   shelfmark: L.C.1268
Broadside: 'A True and Correct Account of that MOST WONDERFUL CHILD'
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