The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'


This execution notice begins: 'A True and Particular ACCOUNT of the TRIAL and SENTENCE of JANET DOUGLAS, who is to be Executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday the 12th Day of October next, for Child Stealing!!!'. This sheet was published by the Booksellers, Edinburgh, and could have been purchased for a penny.

Janet Douglas was sentenced to hang for abducting her employer's daughter, in the hope that prospective employers would take pity on her as a single parent. There are other broadsides held in the collection at the National Library of Scotland, regarding women and the mishandling of children. It is curious to note that many of the women covered in this collection, were hanged for crimes involving children, such as abortion, infanticide and neglect.

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.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1817   shelfmark: 6.314(33)
Broadside entitled 'Trial and Sentence'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland