Date Of Execution: 17 Mar 1830
Execution Place: unknown
An account of the Execution of
Robert Emond, who was executed this
morning March 17, 183O, at the Head
of Libberton's Wynd. for the Murder
of Mrs Franks and her Daughter at
Haddington, in October last.
This morning, Wednesday 17th March, Robert Emond suffered
the last sentence of the law, at the-usual place of execution, head
of Libberton's wynd.
Since this unhappy culprit's trial, he has at different times made
various confessions of his guilt, and the reasons which prompted
him to commit the horrid deeds. He seems to have had brought
himself to think that he was utterly despised by Mrs Franks and
his wife and on being opposed by them in any of his foolish specu-
lations in trade, although for his own ultimate good, was consider-
by him as resulting- from that deep-rooted apathy, as he thought,
they treated him with. Thus circumstance after circumstance only
served still more to impress upon his bewildered mind the false
ideas with which he nourished it, and at last so overpowering were
their fell effects, that, revenge now took full possession of his breast.
It would appear from his confessions, that he had no intention to
take the life of Magdalene Franks, but after having committed the
one deed, he, to avoid discovery, committed the second. His
sister repeatedly visited him in the jail; she had come to Edin-
burgh previous to the trial; her visits were in no ways made to
console her guilty brother, but rather to grapple at any effects he-
was in possession of, as she said to pay the heavy expence to which
she had been put in attending his trial, &c. His brother, a blind
man, was very much affected at meeting and parting with him.
His mother, about ten days back, came to Edinburgh, and some
affecting scenes passed between them; she seems to have had more
partiality for Emond than the rest of her family, she is about 70,
and get home in better health than was anticipated.
Different reports were spread about of Emond's attempts to
commit suicide, which, from his manner and restlessness, we have
no doubt but he would have done so, but. in addition to his being-
strongly ironed, watchmen were placed with him night and day,
and the strictest search made on the persons of any of his friends
who were admitted to him;—in fact he could not make the least
motion or move himself, but the eyes of his watchers were on him.
Indeed, one attempt was made to convey a deadly poison to him-
by a near female relation, but she was immediately detected.
Emond shewed repeatedly what mast be the awful state of a mur-
His nights were passed in broken slumbers, from which he gen-
erally awaked in hurried starts, betraying an awful state of mind
wich he felt himself quite unable to describe In the daytime beex-
hibited the same restlessness and uneasine ss, and was haunted by
the phantoms of his bleeding victims, untill his mind, overwhelmed
by midnight visions and day dreams of guilt and punishment, be-
came excited to a state bordering on frenzy, under the influence of
which he talked wildly and incoherently ; but these paroxyms were
seldom of a long continuance, as he generally found relief in tears.
and when his mind was somewhat eased, he resumed his natural
manner. He did not seem much concerned when the murder of
Mrs Franks was mentioned, but whenever the name of Magdalene
Franks was mentioned or the idea came across his mind, he was
immediately seized with the most dreadful fits of despair,, and ex-
claimed, 'The innocent blood calls for vengeance.'
He payed attention to the clergy and others who spoke to him on
religious matters, and received them with great civility, and even
dwelt upon the subjects stated, with a kind of seeming inward
pleasure. He had some. peculiar opinions of his own, which, though
absurd, he strongly dinged to.
Emond was previously brought from the Calton Jail to the Lock-
up-house. He was awakened about 6 o'clock, and spent the time
till nearly 8 preparing himself for his Awful end. When he was
told the magistrates were in readiness for him, he quietly submitt-
ed to his arms being- fastened. They moved op Libbertons a Wynd
at a few minutes past 8 ; the crowd assembled wa.s great, and a
general movement was made when be ascended the scaffold, A
short time only was spout in prayer. &c. when be mounted the drap
and on giving the signal was instantly launched into eternity.
This report begins: 'An account of the Execution of Robert Emond, who was executed this morning March 17, 1830, at the Head of Libberton's Wynd, for the Murder of Mrs Franks and her Daughter at Haddington, in October last.'
This is one in a series of broadsides kept by the National Library of Scotland which relate to this case. A week prior to his execution, Robert Emond was convicted of murdering his wife's sister and her teenage daughter. Apparently, Emond's wife and Mrs Franks had chastised him for speculating too much with the family's money, and Emond's 'bewildered mind' believed he was utterly despised by them. So, after a blazing row with his wife, he killed her sister and niece at their home.
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.