Fraudulent Sales of Soap by a Pedlar in 1863
by John Dye

The report below comprises transcribed handwritten material from the office of the Procurator Fiscal of Tobermory, currently held in the Argyll Archive at Lochgilphead.

It describes how smooth talk from a pedlar led to two gullible housewives buying "water-damaged" soap, which he said he had acquired cheap from a shipwreck.

The Court heard how James Brady made the "soap" himself and induced Flora Cameron and Mary Cameron to buy it believing it to be the genuine article.

Brady was sent to prison.

Just before Christmas 1863, James Brady called on Flora Cameron at Anaheilt and sold her two bars of soap for one shilling and eightpence, "damaged by water in a shipwreck". But in doing so, he was alleged to have wickedly, feloniously, wilfully, falsely and fraudulently misrepresented the situation

Petition, William Sproat P.F. against James Brady 1863, Falsehood, Fraud &c.

That information is lodged with the Petitioners that upon the fifteenth day of December Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Three years within the house at Anaheilt in the Parish of Ardnamurchan and Shire of Argyll, then and now or lately occupied by James Lowry, a Labourer then and now or lately residing there, James Brady, a travelling Pedlar or Hawker, residing in or near Hull in England and presently in Tobermory in the United Parishes of Kilninian and Kilmore and Shire of Argyll did wickedly and feloniously, wilfully, falsely and fraudulently represent and pretend that he had bought a large quantity of Soap damaged by water in consequence of the vessel carrying it sinking or springing a leak in the Canal(?) and having a basket containing sundry bars or pieces which he then did there wickedly and feloniously, falsely, fraudulently and wilfully represented to Mrs Flora Cameron or Lowry, wife of the said James Lowry, as being genuine soap and a portion of the soap so bought by him as aforesaid and affected the same or a portion thereof to her for sale, and did thereby, or by some other false and fraudulent representation and pretence induce the said Mrs Flora Cameron or Lowry to buy two bars or pieces of the foresaid Article represented as of genuine soap and which the said James Brady then and there delivered to her and received in payment thereof the sum of one shilling and Eight pence Sterling on the faith and representation that it was a genuine article, ….

James Brady had made the so-called "soap" himself and his story of the shipwreck was a pack of lies

…. whereas the said two bars or pieces was a spurious composition manufactured by the said James Brady, intended to represent Soap and the said James Brady did thus or otherways cheat and defraud the said Mrs Flora Cameron or Lowry of the foresaid sum of one shilling and eight pence, her property or in her lawful possession, or the property or in the lawful possession of her said husband the said James Lowry.

He was also accused of fraudulently selling four bars to Mary Cameron in Scotstown for three shillings and sixpence

Like as (2) aforesaid within the house at Scotstown in the Parish of Ardnamurchan aforesaid there and now or lately occupied by Donald Cameron, a Miner, then and now or lately residing there, the said James Brady did wickedly and feloniously, wilfully, falsely and fraudulently represent and pretend that he had bought a large quantity of Soap damaged by water in consequence of the vessel carrying it sinking or springing a leak in the Canal(?), and having a Packet containing sundry bars or pieces which he there and then wickedly and feloniously, falsely, fraudulently and wilfully represented to Mary Cameron, daughter of the said Dugald Cameron as being genuine Soap and a portion of the Soap so bought by him as aforesaid and offered the same or a portion thereof to her for sale and did thereby or by some other false and fraudulent representations and pretence induce the said Mary Cameron to buy four bars or pieces of the foresaid article represented as genuine soap and which the said James Brady then and there delivered to her and received in payment thereof the sum of three shillings and six pence Sterling on the faith and representation that it was a genuine article, whereas the said four bars or pieces was a spurious composition manufactured by the said James Brady, intended to resemble soap, and the said James Brady did thus or otherways cheat and defraud the said Mary Cameron of the foresaid sum of three shillings and six pence, her property or in her lawful possession.

He was sent to prison

James Brady was committed to the prison at Tobermory until such time as he could be conveyed to the prison at Inverary.