Who was Executed at Edinburgh on Wednesday morning the
16th April, 1823, in the presence of' 30,000 spectators, for the
Murder of Mr. Wm. Howat, and her body given for dissec-
tion; with an account of her Dress, Behaviour, and Dying
Declaration on the scaffold.
Edinburgh, April 6 ?.This day Mrs. M'KINNON was Executed here pursuant to
her sentence. for the Murder of Mr Wm Howat, a writer's clerk by stabbing him
with a knife. It appeared that Mrs. M'Kinnon kept an infamous house on the South
Bridge, and that Howat, along with some companions on the evening of the 18th
of February last went to her house intoxicated and after drinking some time a
squabble took place betwixt them and some of the girls who lodged in her house.
Mrs. M'Kinnon was absent at the commencement of the affray, but she soon arrived,
and flying into a passion, said " Give me a knife and I will soon settle the b------,"
she then deliberately went to a knife-case, and snized a knife, with which she gave
Howat a mortal wound in the breast, of which he died several days after in the In-
firmary. Her trial lasted 18 hours, and excited the greatest interest, and till near
the end, she had great hopes that it would prove favourable to her, but when she
heard the verdict, she exclaimed, " Lord have mercy on me," and immediately
Mrs. M'Kinnon has conducted herself since her trial with the greatest propriety,
At first, her mental agony was so excessive, that she refused sustenance of every
kind, until the evening of the following Sunday; but since then she acquired more
fortitude and on being informed that her petition for mercy could not be complied
with, she heard final doom with the greatest composure. Early on Monday morning
She was removed from the Calton hill Jail to the Lock-up-house; she appeared very
dejected, and was supported on the arm of an old woman.
About half-past eight o'clock she left the Lock-up-House, attended by the Ma-
gistrates, officers, and the Rev. Mr. Porteous, the chaplain of the prison and seve-
ral other pions Gentlemen, and proceeded with a slow and feeble step to the head of
Libberton's W ynd, where the scaffold was erected On her arrival at the fatal spot
she appeared greatly agitated, and a general sigh of sorrow pervaded the immense
multitude who had assembled to witness her melancholy end
During the time that the awful preparations were going on, she was supported by
two of the attendants; she denied to the last as having committed the murder and
hinted that first a woman of the name of M'Donald was the perpatratior; but she died in
peace with all men; she trusted in Him who hath said, "He that sincerely repent-
eth shall be freely forgiven." The fatal cord being adjusted, a short but impressive
prayer was pronounced in which she seemed fervently to join; about five minutes
before nine o'clock this unhappy victim of passion expiated with her life, the outrage
which she had committed on the laws of God, and of her country ?an awful warning
to the dissipated of the one sex, and the vicious of the other After she had hung
the usual time , her body was taken down and conveyed to the College for dossection.
Mrs, M'Kinnon was elegantly dressed in a black silk gown, trummed with white
lace at the bottom. silk stockings, and white slippers she was betwixt 35 and 40
years of age, good looking and rather corpulent. Her father at one time was quar-
ter master of the 79th regiment of foot At a very carly age she was debauched by
an officer in the army, under very atrocious circumstances; and after that event her
family thrust her from under their roof, and totally abandoned her, to which cir-
cumstance may be attributed her after course of prefligate life
The crowd assembled on this lamentable occasion, wss unusually great at an ear-
ly hour the High Street was crowded, and all the windows tops of houses, and every
elevated place within view of the fatal spot filled with spectators, so that it is
calculated that not less than 30,000 people were present.
John Muir Printer, Glasgow.
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Date of publication:
1823 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(048)
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