Citation Macleod E (2019) The English and Scottish Trials of the 1790s Compared. In: Davis M, MacLeod E & Pentland G (eds.) Political Trials in in an Age of Revolutions: Britain and the North Atlantic 1793-1848. Palgrave Histories of Policing, Punishment and Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 79-107. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-98959-4_4
Abstract Historians have tended to compare the English and Scottish state trials of the 1790s only superficially, concluding that the Scottish courts treated radical reformers much more harshly than the English courts did. However, that assessment relies on virtually equating trials in Edinburgh for the lesser crime of sedition with the trials in London for the capital charge of high treason. This chapter compares various elements of both sets of trials, and suggests that examining the similarities between these trials sheds as much light on the state side of the prosecutions as does dwelling on the headline contrasts.