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Kay's Originals Vol. 2


Volume 9 Page 490
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES. 369 same night stopped at %learns, about nine miles distant, where the people with whom he lodged remarked his agitated manner, and observed some spots of blood on his clothes. He left Mearns about four o’clock in the morning, and proceeded to Irvine, where he intended to take shipping for Ireland. In the meantime the Magistrates of Glasgow were extremely active in despatching officers of justice in all directions in search of the murderer. He was traced to Irvine, where the officers learned that he had sailed a day or two previous for Dublin, but that the vessel would probably put into Lamlash Bay, in Arran. They could get no boat to sail, however, on account of the tempestuous weather, until Mr. Cunningham of Seabank, a respectable and active Justice of the Peace, impressed one for the purpose. Arriving in Lamlash Bay, the party found the vessel M‘Kean had sailed in; and, proceeding on shore, they discovered the object of their pursuit sitting among the other passengers, at the fire of a public-house in Lamlash. On seeing the officers he immediately surrendered himself, saying--“ I know your errand.” The cold-blooded cruelty of the deed had created a strong excitement in Glasgow ; and when the officers, Graham and Munro, arrived with their charge, the populace could not be restrained from expressing their satisfaction by loud cheering. On his examination before the Magistrates M’Kean confessed the murder, but endeavoured to palliate his guilt. He addressed the Magistrates with astonishing composure, but with great deference and respect. Buchanan’s pocket-book, containing bank notes to the amount of %118, his watch and several papers, were found upon him by the officers of justice, who, for the activity they had displayed, besides a reward of twenty guineas previously offered, received the thanks of the magistracy. M‘Kean’s trial came on at Edinburgh, on the 12th December 1796. When brought to the bar he gave in a written confession, and pleaded guilty. He had neither counsel nor agent. When offered professional assistance by the Court, previous to proceeding in the trial, he said-“No; I will have no counsel but the Almighty. I am guilty of the crime laid to my charge in all its circumstances. If the Court, as a matter of form, appoint an advocate for me, I will have none of his assistance. I am determined to plead guilty, and submit to my fate.” For the satisfaction of the Court, and the country in general, several witnesses were called in, who fully proved both the robbery and the murder. The jury accordingly returned a verdict of-guilty; and the prisoner wm sentenced to be executed at Glasgow on the 24th of January following. During the trial, the prisoner behaved with the utmost calmness and composure. He is described as having been a decent-looking man, about forty years of age, five feet six or seven inches high, dressed in a brown coat, black silk waistcoat and breeches, and more a striped green great-coat. He was very pale, and had nothing of a vicious expression in his face. On the day of his execution a vast concourse of people were assembled from all parts of the country, particularly from Lanark. The culprit met his fate with great resignation. VOL. 11. 3 B
Volume 9 Page 491
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