a surname which appears to be the same as Ewing, though differently
spelled, and derived from Eoghan, the Gaelic for Eugenius; hence
the name of the Highland clan Eoghan, or Mac Ewen. It seems also to be the
same name as Evan, and was borne by a king of the Picts, and two kings of
the Scots. Owen is the Welsh form of the name.
The author of
the fine ballad, ‘Weel may the boatie Row,’ John Ewen, jeweller in
Aberdeen, was born in Montrose in 1741, of such poor parents that they
were unable to give him more than the most ordinary education. Having by
frugality and industry saved a few pounds, he went to Aberdeen in 1760,
and opened a small shop for the sale of hardware goods. For the first six
years he was not particularly prosperous, but on his marriage, in 1766, to
Janet, one of the two daughters of John Middleton, yarn and stocking maker
in Aberdeen, who was then dead, he became, in right of his wife, possessor
of one half of the property, chiefly heritable, of his deceased
father-in-law. Mrs. Ewen died soon after giving birth to a daughter,
Elizabeth, who married in 1787, a younger son of Graham of Morphie. Mr.
Ewen did not marry a second time, and died 21st October 1821,
leaving, after payment of various sums to the public charities of
Aberdeen, about fourteen thousand pounds to the magistrates and clergy of
Montrose, his native place, for the purpose of founding an hospital,
similar to Gordon’s Hospital in Aberdeen, for the maintenance and
education of boys. This settlement was challenged by his daughter, and
after various conflicting decisions in the court of session, was finally
set aside by the House of Lords, on appeal, on the 17th
November 1830, on the ground that the deed was void, in consequence of its
uncertainty and want of precision both as to the sum to be accumulated by
the trustees before commencing to build the hospital, and as to the number
of the boys to be educated in it when built. A full report of this lawsuit
is contained in Wilson and Shaw’s ‘Cases decided in the House of Lords on
appeal from the Courts of Scotland,’ vol. iv. pp. 346-361. In the
projected hospital he had anticipated a monument to his memory in his
native place, but he has a better and more enduring one in his immortal
song of ‘The Boatie Rows,’ which has given his name a world-wide
reputation. His grandson, Baron Grahame, Esq., inherited Morphie,
Kincardineshire, and Ballindarg, Forfarshire.
an Anglified form of the surname Ewen. Of this name was Greville Ewing, an
eminent minister of the Congregational church, son of a teacher of
mathematics at Edinburgh and author of a pamphlet against the atheistical
doctrines of Thomas Paine. Born in that city, April 27, 1767, he was
educated at the High School of his native place, and at an early age was
apprenticed to a seal engraver. On the conclusion of his apprenticeship he
commenced business on his own account, but impelled by a strong
predilection for the ministry, in the winter session of 1787-8 he entered
the university of Edinburgh, and applied himself assiduously to the usual
course of literary and theological study. In the subsequent May he became
tutor to the son of James Lockhart, Esq. of Cambusnethan, attending
college always during winter. In 1792, after passing the usual
examinations, he was, by the presbytery of Hamilton, licensed to preach
the gospel, in connexion with the Established church of Scotland, and
became very popular as a preacher. On 17th October of the
following year he was ordained assistant to Dr. Jones in Lady Glenorchy’s
church, Edinburgh. In the cause of missions he early took a deep interest,
and by his exertions and writings contributed much to excite a strong
feeling in regard to them. He was one of the small party of Christian
friends, consisting principally, besides himself, of the Rev. David Bogue,
D.D., of Gosport, the Rev. William Innes, then one of the ministers of
Stirling, afterwards of the Baptist church, Elder Street, Edinburgh, and
Robert Haldane, Esq. of Airthrey, Stirlingshire, who had formed a plan for
proceeding to India, to preach the gospel to the native population, the
expenses being to be defrayed by Mr. Haldane. Owing, however, to the
refusal of the East India Company and the government to permit their going
out, the scheme was abandoned, and Mr. Ewing and his friends, in
consequence, resolved to exert themselves for the promotion of evangelical
religion at home. A periodical, under the title of ‘The Missionary
Magazine,’ was accordingly started in July 1796, of which Mr. Ewing was
for three years the editor. It afterwards got the title of ‘The Christian
Herald,’ and under that of ‘The Scottish Congregational Magazine,’
ultimately became the recognised organ of the Congregational churches of
Scotland. After he had ceased to conduct it, he often sent communications
to its pages under the signature of “Onesimus.”
efforts cramped in the Establishment, and being prosecuted before the
church courts, for pursuing a course incompatible with the established
notions of propriety and order, he resolved to quit the national church,
and on 29th November 1798, a day appointed for a general
thanksgiving, he preached his last sermon in connexion with the
Establishment, and shortly after went on an itinerancy to various parts of
Perthshire. In July 1799 he commenced his ministry in Glasgow as pastor of
a Congregational church, which met in the ‘Tabernacle,’ Jamaica Street,
the use of which had been kindly allowed them by Mr. Haldane, to whom it
belonged. In this building Mr. Ewing preached, for several years, to
crowded congregations. In consequence, however, of an unfortunate
misunderstanding with Mr. Haldane, he and his people removed, in 1811, to
a neat and commodious place of worship erected for h im in Nile Street,
and there he continued to exercise his pastoral duties for the remainder
of his life. He had been appointed professor or tutor in the Glasgow
Theological Academy by the Congregational Union, an office in which he was
associated with Dr. Wardlaw, the venerable pastor of the Congregational
church, George Street, Glasgow. The department of study presided over by
Mr. Ewing was that of Biblical Criticism and Church History. In 1821 he
received from the college of Princetown, New Jersey, the degree of D.D.,
but as he disapproved of all religious titles, he declined to be addressed
Mr. Ewing was
three times married. His first wife, the sister of his friend Mr. Innes,
died soon after their marriage. His second wife, whose maiden name was
Jamieson, also died soon. His third wife was a daughter of Sir John
Maxwell of Pollok, baronet. In the summer of 1828, she and her husband and
a party of friends went on an excursion to the Falls of the Clyde, when
the carriage being overturned, the whole party were precipitated down a
steep declivity, and Mrs. Ewing received injuries which caused her death
in a few days after. From the shock of this sudden calamity Mr. Ewing
never fully recovered, and his health began gradually to decline. He
continued, however, of officiate, both as a minister and a professor, for
several years afterwards, until his growing infirmities compelled him to
resign the latter office, and only occasionally to engage in the duties of
the former. At length a stroke of apoplexy destroyed his physical powers,
though it did not impair his mental faculties, and on 2d August 1841, “he
fell asleep,” so gently, that, says Dr. Wardlaw, who preached his funeral
sermon, “it could hardly be called death – it was the imperceptible
cessation of life, a breathing out of his spirit == delightful emblem of
his entering into peace.” By his second marriage he had one child, a
daughter, who published an interesting memoir of her father, and who
became the wife of the Rev. Dr. Matheson of London.
A Defence of
Missions from Christian Societies to the Heathen world. A Sermon preached
before the Edinburgh Missionary Society. Edin. 1797.
The Duty of
Christians to Civil Government. A Sermon. Edin. 1799.
A Defence of
Itinerant and Field Preaching. A Sermon. Edin. 1799, 8vo. Second edition,
on some passages of a pamphlet, entitled ‘Lay Preaching Indefensible,’ &c.
Remarks in Reply
to the Same. Glasgow, 1800.
The Rudiments of
the Greek Language shortly Illustrated; and a Compendious Lexicon. 1801.
Remarks on a
Sermon concerning the call and qualifications of Missionaries. Glasgow,
The Ignorance of
the Heathen and the Conduct of God towards them. A Sermon preached before
the London Missionary Society. 1803.
A Lecture on
part of the Fifteenth Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. 1804.
An Exposure of
some things contained in ‘A Vindication of Presbyterian Church
towards a statement of the doctrine of Scripture on some disputed points,
respecting the Constitution, Government, &c. of the Church of Christ.
Education for the Ministry of the Gospel. Glasgow, 1808.
Documents respecting the Connexions which have subsisted between Robert
Haldane, Esq. and Greville Ewing. 1809.
Essays to the
Jews. London, 1809, 2 vols.
Encouragement due from Christians to Preachers of the Gospel. A Sermon.
on the day of the Funeral of the Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales.
The Testimony of
God against Massacre and Rapine. A Sermon. 1820.
delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. Archibald Jack. 1820.
The Duty of
Abstaining from Debt. A Sermon. 1821.
Baptism, 1823. 2d edition, enlarged, Glasgow, 1824.
The Sympathy of
Christ. A Sermon, 1823.
Address to the
Rev. William Orme, on his settlement at Camberwell, London, 1824. 3d
to the Apocrypha Question. 1826.
Elements of the
Greek Language and a Greek and English Lexicon, for the use of those who
wish to make themselves acquainted with the New Testament in the original,
as also containing all the words which occur in the Septuagint and
apocrypha, as well as the Testament. 2d edition royal 8vo, 1812; much
Memoir of Mrs.
Barbara Ewing. 1829.
Fathers and Mothers of the Children of the Church. A Sermon. 1831.
A Funeral Sermon
on William M. Gavin, Esq. 1832.
preached on the occasion of the death of Mr. John Aikman. 1834.