This report begins: 'A Full and Particular Account of the Trial and Sentence of JAMES DALRYMPLE, for the Horrid and Cruel Murder of DONALD FRASER, Labourer, on Sunday the 23rd February last, on the road near Linlithgow, by Shooting him, and who is to be Executed on Wednesday the 3d June, 1840.' The sheet was published by Menzies of Edinburgh.
James Dalrymple and Donald Fraser were labourers, and Dalrymple had shot Fraser on the Linlithgow to Queensferry road, near the Burgh-muir toll-bar. The reason for the attack is not given, although it appears, from witnesses, that there was no doubt that Dalrymple was the culprit. Although found guilty, the jury strongly recommended mercy. The plea was not heard and Dalrymple was sentenced to be executed the following month. It is possible that his sentence was commuted later as there is no record of the execution.
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:
1840 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(205)
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