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

Broadside entitled 'Respite of James Wemyss'




James Wemyss.

Edinburgh,   Monday, April 6, 1840.

This unhappy man, who was to have been
executed this morning, has received a respite
of his fatal sentence ior the period ten days.
Yesterday morning, at 4 o'clock, a despatch
from the Secretary of State was received at
the Post Office, addressed to the Governor
of the Jail, Mr Rose, to whom it was im-
mediately forwarded; and who, upon break-
ing the seal, found an enclosure addressed
to the Lord Provost, which contained the
respite, and which was promptly sent to his
Lordship by a special messenger. Between
nine and ten o'clock the Lord Provost, ac-
companied by the Rev. Mr Syme of Old
Greyfriars, came to the Jail, when his Lord-
ship, in presence of that gentleman and Mr
Rose, communicated the gracious purport of
the despatch to Wemyss. The unfortunate
convict, who has behaved with becoming
propriety since his condemnation, received
the news with great calmness and sobriety,
and did not seem in any way excited, but
apoeared to be thankful, on the ground,
that, whatever might be the future result,
the respite would allow him more time to
acquire knowledge, and to prepare himself
for the appalling change before him.

We understand that a petition in favour
of Wemyss, which was forwarded immedi-
ately after the trial, met with a decided
negative, and that the ground of tne present
respite was another petition, which was sign-
ed by most of the jurymen, and forwarded
to the Secretary of State on Monday last.
This petition prayed for delay, in order to
allow time for enquiry into certain particu-
lars winch hcd come to l.ght since the trial,
teoding to shew thut Wemyss's wife, who
was killed, had, by long habits of intemper-
ance, debilitated her constitution, and in-
duced a diseased condition of the brain, so
ss to make her liable to fatal 'njury from a
comparatively slight cause; and the affray
in whico she met her death, though fatal in
its consequences, ought perhaps to be regard-
ed rather as a drunken brawl, in which both
parties were blameable, than a deliberate act
of murder.

The statement which appeared in two
Edinburgh papers on Saturday, that the jury
had petitioned for a commutation of sen-
tence, we now understand was incorrect, the
petition merely praying for delay and farther
enquiry, in the mean time, which, as already
mentioned, the Secretary of State had fouud
himself at liberty to advise her Majesty to

We alse learn that a letter to the Judges
who presided at the trial of Wemyss, em-
bodying the view of the case above stated,
and earnestly entreating their Lordships'
favourable consideration of the case, in the
event of a farther enquiry being allowed, has
also been presented, signed by several re-
spectable inhabitants of Edinburgh.

Sanderson, Printer, Edinburgh.

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1840   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(359b)
Broadside entitled 'Respite of James Wemyss'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland