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Broadside entitled 'Trials and Sentences'


This account of court proceedings begins: 'Glasgow, April 18th, 1822. - The court has gone through the following cases: MATHEW WILSON, charged with stealing upon the 29th Dec. 9 silk handkerchiefs, and 15 yards of Queen's Cloth, from Francis Gemmill, Paisley, and being habit and repute a thief, pled Guilty, and was sentenced to 14 years' transportation.' It was printed by W. Carse of Glasgow.

The number of cases contained on this broadside suggests how quickly the courts in 1822 heard and determined cases compared to today. The broadside also shows how harsh the Scottish penal system was in this period. The majority of hearings result in lengthy periods of transportation for what would now be regarded as fairly minor cases of theft. Four other hearings involving theft or forgery result in the death penalty, and in the case of Daniel Rankine, this is despite the jury's recommendation for mercy on the grounds of his youth.

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: 1822   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(029)
Broadside entitled 'Trials and Sentences'
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