This broadside begins: 'LETTER / Directed to Magdalene Munro, North Berwick, from Robert Emond, present prisoner in the Calton Jail, on suspicion of the Murder Mrs Franks and her Daughter.' The letter is dated the 18th November 1829.
Robert Emond was eventually executed for the murder of his wife's sister, Mrs Franks, and her 14-year-old daughter. As this letter was written before Emond's trial, however, he had no knowledge of the fate that awaited him. He is writing to his wife, Magdalene Munro, to reassure her of his innocence and pray that on the day of the trial God will be his advocate. Interestingly, Emond compares his own notoriety with that of Burke and Hare. The trial of William Burke had taken place only one year prior to this letter. Broadsides detailing the trial and execution of Emond are also contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection.
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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1829 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.2(92)
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