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Broadside entitled 'Genuine Copy'



Extracted, by permission, from the full Historical Narrative of M'KAEN's
Life and Transactions which is published by BRASH and REID, Book-

fellers Glasgow.

The Last Speech, Confession, and dying Declaration of JAMES M KAEN,

Who was Executed at the Cross of Glasgow on a new erected Gibbet, on Wednesday the 25th of January
1797, and his Body given to the Professor of Anatomy for Dissection, for the Murder and Robbery of
JAMES BUCHANAN, the Lanark Carrier.

I JAMES M'KAEN, aged 44 years, was Born in
Glasgow, of reputable parents, my father died
when I was three years old and soon after my mo-
ther made a second marriage with a Book-printer in
Glasgow, my stepfather lived but short time, and I
got my education in the time of her second widow-
hood, which was common reading and writing.

My mother made a third marriage with a journey-
man shoemaker, whom she set up as a master in Paisley.
He behaved extremely ill to her, for be wasted all of
her's he possibly could and then ran off and was ne-
ver more heard of.

When I was ten years old, I was bound an appren-
tice for seven years, to Mr. William Greenlees shoema-
ker in Glasgow, but he failing in trade my indenture
was destroyed, when I had served only two years of
the time; I was then sent by my friends to Dalkeith,
where my mother bound me an apprentice to Mr. John
Cowan, for two years more, which time I served out
all but three weeks, when I went to LANARK, I
got work there from a very good master for two years,
and then retrned to my mother at Dalkeith. She gave
me too much liberty with pocket-money which made
me fall into loose company.

When I was 16 years old, I courted a sober young
girl at Dalkeith, but having no rea[l] love to her in
my heart. I contrived a very odd scheme to get off
from her by affronting her; the particulars of which,
are set down at length in my full narrative.      

At one period of my life, being at Musselburgh
with an acquaintance who was enlisting with a party
of Frazer's Highlanders which were then raising dur-
ing the time of the American war; while they, were
drinking the Crown Bowl of Punch usually drunk on
these occasions, an attempt was made to enli[s?]t or en-
tangle a friend of mine and me who had come toge-
ther with the Recruit, and the landlord of the house
where the party were drinking wishing to second
their design of entangling us, came in and declared
" we were all the king's men together." I was so
provoked at this conduct of the landlord, that I
threw the candlestick at him with such violence, that
it cut him thro' the check bone.

I acknowledge that I have all my life been subject
to violent gusts of passion so much so, that I could
not command my temper even when receiving but
slight provocation.

Short time after my marriage with my present
wife at Dalkeith, I acknowledge that I termed a cri-
minal correspondence with a young girl in the parish
of Libberton which is three miles from Dalkeith, and
she bore a child to me, it was a girl, and I, to get rid
of the scandal of a child in adultery, made public
satisfaction in the parish church of Libberton. I
know that I have been accused of the murder of his
child; But I declare, the charge is groundless.------I
have stated all that I know of the child in my full
Narrative, to which I beg leave to refer, nor doubt-
ing but the facts there recorded, will convince any
unprejudiced person that I am innocent.

With regard to another very heavy charge brought
against me by common report, viz. That I drowned
my Mother in the great Canal I am free to declare
as a dying man, that though I was the person who
called her out, I am totally innocent. I acknowledge
that the attrocious Murder for which I justly suffer,
gives great ground to excite this rumour against me,
but am sorry it is not in my power in the compass of
this Speech, to narrate what I have said in my Vindi-
cation from this charge. I have given a full account
of all that I know respecting this unfortunate affair
of my Mother's death, in my full Historical Narra-
tive, to which I again beg leave to refer.

With regard to the attrocious deed for which I
suffer. The Murder of JAMES BUCHANAN, I
confess, that for it I stand justy condemned both by
the law of God and man; yet I deny that I intended
or premeditated to take away his life, when he en-
gered my house on the fatal night. The reason of
my preparing the Razor in the manner that it was
tyed; the way in which I had an altercation with
BUCHANAN on an old grudge 'twixt him and I ;
the dreadful Murder I committed on him in conse-
quence of a sudden and violent gust of passion, the
manner in which I perpetrated the horrid deed; the
Robbery that followed, and the dreadful train of
circumstances attending the whole; together with the
horror of my feelings in this alarming situation, &c.
&c are fully detailed in the best manner I could pos-
sibly recollect, in my large Narrative. But these va-
rious particulars are far too extensive to be set down
in the small compass of this Speech.

I am conscious, having heard so, from Very re-,
spectable authority, that there are a variety of re-
ports propagated against me: Such as that I had de-
signed the death of Mr. Alexander, a worthy Sur-
geon is this city, now deceased. That I had broiled
my Mother's favourite Cat in a pot, and committed
many other acts of cruelty, &c &c. &c. These va-
rious reports I have noticed particularly in my full
Narrative, in which I have given the most ample ac-
count of my whole life. And I declare as a dying
Man, that every report which may be circulated a-
gainst me, which is not included in the said Narra-
tive, is totally and completely groundless.                  

With regard to my trial, I confessed my crimes to
the court, of course the trial was but short ; I expe-
rienced every indulgence from the court, my Jury,
and the Judges, and I approved of their judgmemt,
for I thanked them in the Court for their decision,
after my sentence was repeated--On the 26th of
December 1796 I was transmitted back to Glasgow
according to my sentence, and was lodged again in the
Tolbooth there, where I have at all times received
every indulgence that possibly could be given, from
the honourable Magistrates, and the Keepers of their
Tolbooth.------To the worthy Clergymen of this city,
and neighbourhood, who have repeatedly visited me,
I return my most sincere thanks.                                 

I beg that no person will be so base, as insult my
innocent Wife and family, with a recital of my,
crimes, as they had no hand whatever in any of
them. Placing my hope and confidence in the me-   
rits of him who suffered without the gates of Jerusa-
lem, the just for the unjust, whose blood we are as-
sured cleanseth from all sin, and who ordered that his
blessed gospel should be preached, first of all to his
murderers. I desire to commit my departing Spirit to
God who gave it.


Tolbooth, Glasgow 17th                  

January, 1797.                     

Glasgow; printed by J. GALBRAITH.

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Date of publication: 1797   shelfmark: 6.365(092)
Broadside entitled 'Genuine Copy'
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