This report begins: 'THE SECOND SPEECH Being an Account of the behaviour of James Day, in prison and on the Scaffold, on Wednesday the 20th of October 1790.'
The particulars of James Day's crime are left ambiguous in this report. The conviction was for murder, and the author attributes Day's downfall to 'the debauched company of loose women', but scapegoating women for men's violence was a common feature of broadside reports. The final line of the report is intriguing: 'his own account of his wandering the child leaves a suspicion of his being the actual Murderer.' Day had in fact drowned his own illegitimate child in the Clyde.
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:
1790 shelfmark: 6.365(103)
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