Charles Cowan (1801–1889) was a Scottish politician and paper-maker.
He was the son of Alexander Cowan, and followed his father into the paper-making industry; he would later write the article on this for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In May 1819, he was sent to learn the papermaking trade at St Mary Cray, Kent, where he worked at either Lay's or Hall's mill on the River Cray.
In the general election of June 1847, he ran as a Radical free-trade candidate in Edinburgh, defeating the incumbent Whig Thomas Babington Macaulay. His initial election was declared null and void due to his being a party to a government contract, but he was re-elected in a second election that December. He was re-elected in the 1852 election in second place on the ballot, and returned unopposed in the 1857 election. He did not stand in 1859, and retired from politics.
- Six generations of Cowans at the Valleyfield Mills, Penicuik Community Arts Association
- Oliver & Boyd's new Edinburgh almanac and national repository for the year 1850 Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1850
- Ian Machin, 'Cowan, Charles (1801–1889)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Thomas Babington Macaulay
|Member of Parliament for Edinburgh
1847 – 1859
With: William Gibson-Craig to 1852
Thomas Babington Macaulay 1852–1856
Adam Black from 1856
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