This report begins: 'An account of the trial and sentence, before the High Court of the Justiciary this day, Thursday, of James Sime for house-breaking & theft, who is to be executed at Edinburgh, on the 15th August next.'
According to this account, Sime broke into four different houses in Edinburgh and stole from each a number of items of clothing. Although the jury found him guilty of housebreaking and theft, they recommended him to mercy. This request was disregarded by the judge, however, and Sime was sentenced to be executed. However shocking it is to a modern-day audience, execution was the chosen punishment for many apparently petty crimes in nineteenth-century Scotland. There is no record that this execution actually took place.
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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Probable date published:
1827 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(289)
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