This story begins: 'An account of the curious Trial of STEENY SLY before the Jury Court at Stirling, on Wednesday last, for stealing a kiss from Miss PEGGY PRUDENCE, as she was looking out of her window in the 2nd story of her house in the town of St. Ninian's, while he was passing by as a passenger on the top of the Royal Perth Mail Coach. With the curious evidence of the other passengers and guard, who were examined as witnesses.' The sheet was published by John Muir of Glasgow. A note underneath the introduction states that the story was sourced from 'The Glasgow Courier' of Saturday, 10th of May, 1823.
As suggested by the fictional names of the protagonists, this story was written to entertain its audience, although it could be that the writer also wanted to impart a moral message, too. The issue that lies at the centre of the controversial court case that resulted from this stolen kiss, is to determine just how much a kiss is worth, then to award damages accordingly. To answer this fascinating question, the lawyers call a number of impressive witnesses, including a political economist. After twelve hours of careful deliberation, the jury decided to accept the defendant's argument, who stated that he had not stolen the kiss, but had merely borrowed it, and would soon be returning it to its rightful owner.
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:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.1268
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