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Broadside concerning an affray, and two murders


This crime report begins: 'A particular account of the unlucky affray that happened on Saturday evening at the head of the Canongate, Edinburgh, between two Carters, viz Alexander M'Donald and [Ge]orge Sideserf, who lost his life by a blow from M'Donald. Likewise an account of that horrid and bloody murder, committed on the body of SERJEANT JENKINS, of the Pembrokeshire Cavalry, who was most cruelly stabbed by one Buttler, a private of said regiment, in many places, of which he died in about ten minutes, in great agony.'

Three different cases are described in this broadside. The death of George Sideserf appears to have been a freak accident, caused by a single blow in a fair fight with his companion, McDonald, who was acquitted of any crime. The second is the death of an army sergeant who was stabbed repeatedly by a private in an apparently unprovoked assault. The third case is the breaking news of a murder in Forfar and subsequent absconding of the prime suspect.

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: 1790-   shelfmark: 6.365(097)
Broadside concerning an affray, and two murders
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