This execution notice begins: 'A full and particular Account of the Trial and Sentence of THOMAS URQUHART, and DAVID his son, who both received Sentence, to be hanged at Edinburgh, the 18th of October, 1797.'
Thomas and his son David, who was thought to be about 16, were charged with stealing, falsehood and forgery. Over a period of three years they had been stealing the notes and gold contained in the mail, which Thomas supervised. Thomas denied the accusations but David pled guilty. Despite this both men, after examination, were found guilty and sentenced to hang. This may seem severe, but the law in Scotland at this time placed more emphasis on protecting property than anything else. It is not known if the sentence was carried out.
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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Date of publication:
1797 shelfmark: APS.4.84.22
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