The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside concerning the life of Charles McEwan, convicted of murder


A correct account of the hardened &
deplorable behaviour of Charles
M'Ewan (now under sentence of death
in Edinburgh,), since his condemna-
tion; with a sketch of his life and

transactions in the north, since he left                                                                                                                                                   
Ireland, about ten years ago.   

The Unfortunate man, who is lying under in the Calton Jail,
attracts at present the pity and commiseration of the well-
meaning and humane part of the community, in conse-
quence, of his hardened and careless behaviour since his con-
demnation, The following brief sketch of his life was given
us by a near relation of his own.         

The prisoner is a native of Ireland, and his real name is
M'Eoch, but he took the names of Robert M'Leod, John.
M'Intyre, Charles M'Intosh,   Charles M'Kay, and Charles
M'Ewan according   as circumstances suited, but he was best
known by the latter.    He and a number of his relations left
Ireland about   10 year's back, and travelled in Scotland as
tinklers.    The prisoner pitched upon the north of Scotland
as the best country to carry on his trade.    In the shires of
Aberdeen, Inverness &c. he was soon well known, and to
many that lived in remote places,   having heard of daring
deeds committed by him, his appearance in their cottage
would throw a dampness over them.    He was the terror of
all the vagrant travellers   in   that quarter,   and it   is said
he Would help help himself at pleasure to part of their goods
if they were at a distance from the hands of justice.    This
and his readiness in giving battle to any that opposed him
got him the appelation of "the   Cock of the North."    He
has lived with various women as man and wife ; the one he
lived longest with, has 3 children.    The unfortunate woman
whom he murdered had at that time been only 3 or 4 days
co-habiting with him at that time.    After committing the
bloody deed, he became restless, which, was observed in the
various houses he sleeped in   afterwards.

During his trial he seemed quite unaffected,and after being   
taken to his cell, he was quite sullen.    A number of Pious
Gentlemen visited him, with the humane intention of en-
deavouring to awaken him to a sense of his awful situation.
Instead of receiving them with pleasure, he treated them in
the coldest manner, and told them that if had done the deed
it was a matter of his own and none of theirs    The unhappy
man continued in this state till within a Few days back, when
he is now beginning to entertain feelings better suited to his
situation.    Lately he has been daily visited by three Cathol-
ic Clergymen with whom much of his   time is   consumed;
and to their exhortations must be ascribed the change in his
behaviour.    He has become more tranquil: and social; but
continues to discover a lamentable insensibility to   the fate
which awaits him.    When in a talkative mood, he speaks
boastingly of his athletic exploits in the   Highlands; and is
femiliar with the names of all the English pugilists.    He ex-
presses great anxiety concerning the fate of the impending
battle betwixt   Spring and   Langan ; and a few days   ago,
after having been shaved, he invited the barber to spar with
him, which of course was declined.    Once a week he is visit-
ed by a near relation residing in Leith,   who has attempted
in vain to engage him in some suitable conversation.    Every
attention has been paid to his comfort, but he seems to draw
his chief temporal solace from a a tobacco-pipe, which he is
almost continually smoking.

Edinburgh, Printed for the Booksellers,

previous pageprevious          
Date of publication: 1824   shelfmark: F.3.a.14(21)
Broadside concerning the life of Charles McEwan, convicted of murder
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland