An Account of the Behaviour of Mrs M'Kinnon

Author(s): Anonymous


Mrs. M'Kinnon,
Who was executed at Edinburgh, on Wednesday
the 16th of April, 1823, for the inhuman
Murder of William Howat.
While under sentence of death.
Printed for the Booksellers.
An Account of the Behaviour of Mrs. M'Kinnon,
who was executed at Edinburgh, on the
16th of April, 1823, for the barbarous murder
of William Howat. Also, an advice to
her friends, while under sentence of death.
FROM the parentage and education of this
unfortunate woman, one would have expected
that her exit from this life would have
been on a bed of downs; yet, mark the wretched
pass to which her depravities have brought
her! She, whom the enemy of mankind for
many years supported as an agent, in bringing
thousands to infamy and ruin, is now caught in
her own trap, and hissed out of the world for
the murder of William Howat.
This woman, after condemnation, flattered
herself with the interest of her former lovers, but
the noble lawgiver of Britain was not to be deluded
into a crime, by the abettors of licentiousness.
From the 5th of March, she was assured
from royal authority, that there was to be no mitigation
of her sentence.
When the dead warrant was read to her, her
face changed colours, and she fainted, and lay
for a long time insensible to all around her. — By
the time she recovered, Mr. Porteous, the chaplain
of the jail, was ready to pour consolation
into her wounded spirit. She conducted herself
from that time to her last moments, suitable to
her deplorable situation.
On Monday night, she was removed from the
jail on the Calton hill to the Lock-up-house in
Libberton's wynd, where she was attended by
persons of piety, till seven on the morning of the
16th, when she was conducted into the hall;
and after an hour and twenty minutes were spent
in prayers, on her behalf, she was conducted up
Libberton's wynd, escorted by a strong party of
Police officers, and was then assisted to the place
of execution by a reverend Clergyman, who
prayed fervently with her.
Afterwards, the executioner adjusted the rope,
and went through the different duties belonging
to his office, she gave the signal, and was launched
into a world of spirits.
She was about the middle stage of life, of a
decent but bold appearance. Upwards of twenty
thousand spectators were assembled on this occasion.

Last Advice.
Three times the carline grain'd and rifted
Then to the beam her ee she lifted,
In bawdy policy weel gifted,
When she now faun,
That death nae langer wad be shifted,
She thus began:
MY loving lasses, I maun leave ye,
But dinna wi' your greeting grieve me,
Nor wi' your draunts an' droning deave me,
But bring's a gill;
For faith, my bairns, ye may believe,
'Tis 'gainst my will.
O black-eyed Bess, and mim-mou'd Meg,
O'er guid to work, or yet to beg,
Lay sunkots up for a sair leg,
For whan ye fail,
Ye'r face will not be worth a feg,
Nor yet ye'r tale.
Whene'er ye meet a fool that's fou,
That ye're a maiden gar him trow,
Seem nice, but stick to him like glew;
An' whan set down,
Drive at the jango till he spew,
Syne he'll sleep soun.
Whan he's asleep, then dive an' catch
His ready cash, his rings or watch;
An' gin he likes to light his match
At your spunk-box,
Ne'er stand to let the fumbling wretch
E'en tak the pox.
Cleek a' you can be hook or crook,
Rype ilka poutch frae neuk to neuk:
Be sure to truff his pocket-book:
Saxty pounds Scots
Is nae deaf nits; in little bouk
Lie great bank-notes.
To get amends o' whinging fools,
That's frighted for repenting-stools,
Wha aften, whan their metal cools,
Turn sweer to pay,
Gar the kirk-boxie hale the dools,
Anither day.
But dawt red coats, an' let them scoup,
Free for the fu' o' cutty stoup;
To gie them up, ye needna hope
E'er to do weel:
They'll rive ye'r brats, an' kick ye'r doup,
An' play the deil.
There's ae sair cross attends the craft,
That curst correction house, where aft
Vile hangy's taz your riggings saft
Maks black an' blae,
Enough to pit a body daft,
But what'll ye say.
Nane gathers gear withoutten care,
Ilk pleasure has o' pain a skair;
Suppose then they shou'd tirle ye bare,
An' gar ye fike,
E'en learn to thole; 'tis very fair
Ye'r nei'bour like.
Forby, my looves, count upo' losses,
Ye'r milk-white teeth an' cheeks like roses,
Whan jet-black hair an' brigs o' noses
Fa' down wi' dads,
To keep your hearts up neath sic crosses,
Set up for bawds.
We weel creesh'd loofs I hae been canty,
Whane'er the lads wad fain hae faun t'ye,
To try the auld game, Taunty Raunty,
Like coosers keen,
They took advice o' me your aunty,
If ye were clean.
Then up I took my siller ca',
An' whistl'd benn, whiles ane, whiles twa;
Round in his lug, that there was a
Poor country Kate,
As halesome as the wall o' Spaw,
But unco blate.
Sae whane'er company cam in,
An' were upo' a merry pin,
I slade awa wi' little din,
Au' left them funnin',
Their conscience judge, it was a' ane
To Lucky Kinnon.
My bennison come on guid doers,
Wha spend their cash on bawds an whores,
May they ne'er want the wale o' cures
For a sair snoot:
Foul fa' the quacks wha that fire smoors,
An' puts nae out.
My malison light ilka day
On them that drink an' dinna pay,
But tak a snack an' rin away;
May't be their hap
Never to want a gonorrœha,
Or rotten clap.
Rab! gie us in anither gill,
A mutchkin, man, let's tak our fill,
Let Hangie registrate his bill,
There'll be nae sin in't,
I'll slip awa wi' better will,
Quo' Lucky Kinnon.


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An Account of the Behaviour of Mrs M'Kinnon. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved October 2023, from

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The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


An Account of the Behaviour of Mrs M'Kinnon

Document Information

Document ID 142
Title An Account of the Behaviour of Mrs M'Kinnon
Year group 1800-1850
Genre Journalism
Year of publication 1823
Wordcount 1075

Author information: Anonymous

Author ID 496
Surname Anonymous