THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF The Behaviours, Confessions, and Last Dying Words of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 8th of February, 1720-21
ON Sunday, the 29 of January, before the Execution of Those Malefactors who were appointed for Death, out of the Ten who were condemned, I preach'd to Them, In the Former Part of the Day, from These Words,
Finally, My Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the Power of his Might. Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against Flesh and Blood, but against Principalities, against Powers, against the Rulers of the Darkness of this World, against Spiritual Wickedness in High Places. (Ephes. 6. 10, 11, 12.)
Or as we find it in the Bible Margin, against Wicked Spirits in Heavenly Places. Which Interpretation may be illustrated by an Instance in Job, where as often as the Sons of God (or the Angels) presented themselves before the Lord, Satan came with them, seemingly to present himself also to God, but in truth to accuse and calumniate the Virtuous on Earth. Chap. 1. 6th, and following Verses.
In considering the Nature of Christian Courage; we took Occasion to mention.
FIRST, The Resisting heroically the Snares and Temptations of Satan. For the Word in the Text implys, projected Methodical Schemes: As certain it is, that the Wicked Spirits think it so great and Momentous an Action to reduce Men to Ruin, that they hold Consultations and concert Measures, how best to frustrate what Christ has perform'd in our Favour.
And particularly to resist Satan; 1st, In Wordly Pleasures, which are naturally formed to allure the Heart.
2dly, In Acts of Devotion; where Satan will be readiest to intrude.
And 3dly, When He tempts Us to despair; which Despair is giving even God the Lye; who graciously declares, that when a Wicked Man turneth from his Sin, he shall save his Soul alive. (Exek. 18. 27)
SECONDLY, The 2d Branch or Species of Christian Courage, we mention'd, was, The contending earnestly for the Faith delivered unto the Saints. As St. Paul with so bold a Resolution defended his Faith; that as he spoke of Mercy, Righeteousness and Judgment, it is said that even FELIX trembled.
We should stand up and fight for God against Blasphemers, and Atheists. Herein is our, Love made perfect, that we may have Boldness, John 4. 17. Where Dr. Hammond observes, that the original Word for Boldness is, the publickly confessing Christ; which may appear from Heb. 10. 35.
THIRDLY, The 3d Species of Christian-Courage, may be, the Never suffering our selves to be threatned or compell'd to the Performance of an Evil Action: Nor are we to obey even our Sovereign, at the Expence of Affronting God. But there we must be certain that the Action is Evil; for if we doubt only, (as if a Soldier doubts whither the War he is engaging in be Lawful) in that Case, the Casuists agree, That a Man is rather to obey his Prince, than his own Scruples.
FOURTHLY, The Last Species of Christian Courage mention'd, was, The manfully sustaining Misfortunes and Calamities which come from God, with Patience and Meekness. If the best and most inoffensive Man, can no more expect to pass thro' this vale of Care and Misery, without Misery and Care; than to walk through a thorny Wood, without being discommoded and prick'd by the Thornes; then, sure these Men who hunt for Disasters, and pursue Misfortunes, cannot be surpriz'd or enraged when Accidents overtake them; and have the greatest Reason to bear with Patience and Resignation to God's Will, what they have voluntarily brought down upon themselves.
FIFTHLY, We consider'd some kinds of False-Courage.
1st. That it was a False-Courage, for Malefactors sentenced to dye, to appear wholly Careless and Unconcern'd at the great change of Nature; which rather shows Obdurateness and Insensibility, than a Manly and becoming Resolution.
2dly, That it was a False-Courage, for Malefactors assured that they shall dye, to lay violent Hands upon Themselves, to prevent the effects of the Law; and that if it was an Action fit for Socrates and Cato, and the greatest Heathens; it was yet too mean and indecent for the lowest Christian; as there is something Cowardly and Base, in cutting off our Lives, for fear of Pain and Shame. Nor would Sampson perhaps have obtain'd Licence from God, to Murder Himself, but that in his Person the Name of his God was mocked and ridiculed, and made a Jest for Dagon.
SIXTHLY, Ult. In applying the Doctrine, we advised the Persons Condemn'd, to have at least so much Christian Courage, as boldly to confess their Sins, before they suffered for Them: But that I fear'd we had had Instances of Men, of uncommon Impiety, who so much more valu'd the good Opinion of Men, than the Praise of God and Angels, that they had displeased God by a Lye, the moment that they were to appear in his Presence; and had en
deavoured to preserve the Honour of their Families, even at the expence of throwing Themselves into Hell: Whereas, 500 Years hence, both the Sinner, and his Family, and its Honour, will be as if they had never been, as to this World; but as to the next Life, such a dying Lyer will find himself chain'd and pin'd down to eternal Unhappiness; and will find that any Honour of his Family, will little avail toward abating the wretchedness of his Soul.
From the Time of their Condemnation, to the Day of their Death, the Malefactors attended the Service of God, in the Chapel, twice each Day; except Thomas Butler, who was a Roman Catholick , and therefore refused the Prayers of our Church; and Walter Herbert, about 17 Years of Age, who dy'd in the condemn'd-Hold, after he had confess'd the Fact condemn'd for, and had discover'd 2 pieces of Plate, which he had stolen before. Thomas Knight also was prevented from attending the publick Prayers, by a severe Sickness with which it pleased God to visit him, during the Time of his Condemnation.
As for the rest, they receiv'd the Sacrament thrice, before their Deaths; except Thomas Cross, who as he had no Principles of Goodness instill'd into him by Education not having learn'd to Read or Write) was morose and obstinate; nor could he be brought to consider seriously of his Duty, or to learn the Nature of the Supper of the Lord, till the Day he was to dye. Even the Sabbath preceeding the Execution, he was observ'd to smile, and to behave himself in an indecent and unbecoming Manner; thereby interrupting the other Prisoners, who were disposed to be more attentive; especially Edward Ely, against whose Behaviour no exceptions could be taken; unless they were perhaps entered too in the Notion, that they ought to bear their Misfortunes like Men, without Grief and Sorrow, and without any manner of Fear or Concern at their being so soon to dye.
1. William Bond, was condemn'd for returning Home, without lawful Cause; having been Transported, from Newgate. He said, he was thirty two Years old; Born in Spittle-Fields; that his Father was a Barber and Perriwig-Maker ; to which Trade he was himself bound Apprentice; but found it impossible for him to maintain his Wife and Children, by the little Profits he was able to raise from his Business: That he had, in his time, had a great many melancholly Hours, as he always distrusted his Trade, and quickly perceiv'd, that it would not be in his Power to procure a Maintenance from it: That no Body that had not felt the Sorrow, could guess at the dismal Uneasiness and Distraction of Mind, that tortures a Man, who has a Wife and Children he loves like himself, and finds he shall have nothing wherewith to make them Happy; but must be deaf to Them, when they urge him for Victuals and Cloaths, as the common Necessaries of Life.
He said he was Transported for stealing Books, out of Gutter-Lane: That he was indeed willing to come Home; but that they did not murder the Captain, as some had reported; but that he arrived safe in the West Indies, and dy'd in his Bed, on the Coast of Virginia.
He behav'd himself, while he lay under sentence of Death, Soberly and Decently; But, I fear, had too great Expectations of a Reprieve, even to the last: But when he found he must dye, he said he was satisfy'd; and added, that tho' the Good of the Nation made it necessary for his Fault to be punish'd with Death, yet he hoped he should find, for his suffering here, the less Punishment hereafter.
2. Dthrinton Wrathan, was condemn'd at the Sessions held the 7, 8, 9, and 10th, of December last; for breaking open the Warehouse of John Hide, Esq ; and taking thence 1080 Yards of Sail-Cloth, value 90 l.
He was above 24 Years of Age; born in London, where he lived with his Father. He said he had no manner of Occasion for committing the vicious Action for which he was to suffer Death; having a good Father, who was both able and willing to allow him whatever was necessary for the Support and Convenience of Life; but having gotten into some Acquaintance, who had no notion of any Satisfactions, but what consisted in a Gay and Jovial Life. He began to grow weary of Industry and Plainness, and was induced by ill instigation, to break open the aforesaid Warehouse, which he was very well acquainted with, being near to his Father's; and thinking he could the better dispose of those Goods, as being the same which his Father dealt in. He was a single Man; appear'd serious in his Devotions; and regularly attended the Service of God; unless during the Time that he was prevented by Sickness, in the Place for Convicts.
3. William Spiggot) was indicted for four several Robberies on the High-Way, and found Guilty, with Thomas Cross otherwise Phillips, and William Burrows; the Former whereof was Executed; but the Latter received His Majesties Gracious Reprieve, Being Lunatick, and having been some Weeks in Bedlam before his Tryal.
William Spiggot was 29 Years of Age; Born in Hereford; where his Father was Ostler at the Chief Inn in the Place. He had been Married about 10 Years; Had 3 Children Living; his Eldest Daughter being (he said) 7 or 8 Years Old, but his Son about 6. He was himself put Apprentice to a Cabinet-Maker or Joyner in Hereford.
If we were to believe the Accounts that are Given of his Behaviour even when a Boy; and the many Prisons he was said at His Tryal to have been confined in, for Robberies; He must have been (was all that true) this 10 or 12 Years on the Highway. But he that affirm'd, could not be true; because he said he was not so soon out of his 'Prenticeship; but that he served 7 Years faithfully with his Master, nor could have any Opportunity of Going on the Highway during that Time; and added, that his Apprenticeship ended about 7 or 8 Years ago.
Before he was Put into the Press, I went to Him, and endeavour'd to dissuade him, from being the Author and Occasion of his own Death; and from cutting Himself off from that Space and Time which the Law allowed Him, to repent in, for his vicious Course of Life: He then told me, that if I came to take Care of his Soul, he would regard Me, but if I came about his Body, he desired to be excused, he could not hear one Word. After a while, I left him, and when I saw him again, it was in the Vault, upon the bare Ground, with the Weights (viz. 350 pounds) upon his Breast. I there pray'd by him; and at Times ask'd him, why he would destroy his Soul as well as Body, by such an obstinate Kind of Self-Murder: All his Answer was, Pray for Me; Pray for Me! In the Midst of his Groans, he sometimes lay silent, as if Insensible of Pain; then would fetch his Breath very quick and fast. Two or three Times, he complained that they had laid a cruel Weight on his Face; tho' nothing was upon his Face,
but a thin Cloth; That was however remov'd and laid more light and hollow; but he still complain'd of the prodigious Weight they had laid upon his Face; which might be occasion'd by the Blood being flush'd and forc'd up into his Face, and pressing as violently against the Veins and small Tendrills there, as if the Pressure upon them had been externally on his Face. When he had continu'd about half an Hour in the Torture, and 50 pound more of Weight had been laid on his Breast, he told the Justice of Peace who committed him, and myself, That he would Plead. Accordingly, the Weights were at once taken off, the Cords that stretch'd out his Hands and Legs were cut, and He lifted up, and held by two Men, while some Brandy was put into his Mouth to revive Him. He was very faint and almost Speechless, for two Days, But then began to recover Strength, for sometime; afterwards he again grew worse; and desired to receive the Sacrament, For he believed he should live but little longer. But before the Execution, he again recover'd Strength, and constantly attended the Prayers in the Chappel, twice a-day.
The Reasons,, as far I could learn from Him, of his enduring the Press, were, That he might preserve his Effects, for the use of his Family; That it might not be urged to his Children, that their Father was hanged; and that - Linsey should not tryumph over him, by saying he had sent him to Tyburn.
He said, he thought himself truly penitent; and as sincerely so, as he who show'd his Sorrow by his Tears; but that it was not easily in his Power to weep; nor had he ever remembered himself to have shed a Tear; except once, since he was in the Condemned Hold, at the final parting with his little Son.
Sometimes he would say, that he wish'd he had dy'd in the Pressing, For that all sence of Pain was by the Pain taken from him, and he was fallen into a kind of Slumber. At other Times he express'd himself, that he was glad he did not cut himself off, by his Obstinacy, from that space the Law had allow'd him, for his Repentance, for the Sins of his whole Life.
On Monday, February 9, before the Execution, he receiv'd the Sacrament; and said that he desir'd not to Live, for he could be only a weak and unhealthy Man; and added that he could raise his Breath only in the lower Part of his Stomach He said he had been guilty of the greatest Sins he could commit, except Murder; that it was in vain to mention his numerous Robberies on the High-Way, being perhaps about a Hundred. He said also, that he rob'd chiefly toward Hounslow Heath; likewise towards Kingston; and sometimes on the Road to Ware; That there was besides one Tyson, and one Coltis of their Gang, but not yet taken.
The Night before his Execution, he especially complain'd, that Thomas Cross was so harden'd and reprobate, that he not only refus'd to joyn with them in Prayer, but would beat out the Candles, and rattle his Irons, so that they could not perform their Duty. On the Wednesday Morning, he again receiv'd the Sacrament in the Chapel, from whence he was immediately after, carry'd to the place of Execution.
4. Thomas Cross alias Philips, was convicted on the same Indictments upon which William Spiggot was found Guilty. He was 33 Years old, born in Bristol; never was put Apprentice, nor ever learned to Write or Read; but went to Sea very Young. He served in the War against France; was in the Dover Man of War, when Admiral Bing attack'd the Spanish Fleet in the Mediterranean; and they afterwards took 3 Spanish Ships in the Mouth of Cales.
He seem'd to glory in the Robberies he had committed, and said that Spiggot and he, once rob'd at 10 o-Clock at Night, one Hundred Passengers, whom they took out of several Waggons that follow'd in a Train; and that they set the Passengers in a Row along the Road, and robb'd and counted them. He was deaf to whatever I could say to him; and when his Fellow-Prisoners in the Condemn'd Hold, whom I had directed to read and pray with him, offered to do it, he refused to hear them; telling them it signify'd nothing, and uttering Blasphemous Expressions. Toward the Last, as the rest of the Prisoners grew more Devout, he became more wicked; interrupting them in their Duty, cursing and swearing, and beat Persons in the Place, putting himself into great Passions, no one knew why; and some refusing to attend the Chapel. Till at length the others all requested, the last Night he might be remov'd from among them; and acquainted me with the continuance of is ill-Behaviour, and that he refus'd to prepare himself for the Sacrament. To the last hour he could not be brought to have any Concern about a future State.
5. Edward Ely) Was condemned for the Murder of Lieutenant Bicknel, in Sweden. He was between 31 and 32 Years of Age; born in Bloomsbury, London. His Father being a Gentleman of a Plentiful Estate, gave his Children a liberal and genteel Education; and put Him to a Surgeon , viz. To Mr. Gibson a very noted Surgeon in
Ludgate-Street. He said he went to Sea to be Surgeons Mate , when very young; but returned Home, and continu'd in England for 9 or 10 Years together. About the Time of the of Glench-Hill, when the Marquiss of Huntley and the Lord Tullibardine were in in Scotland, He was in one of the 7 Ships that lay to oppose the Rebels, and cut them off from their Provisions, laid up in the Garrisons on the Sea Shore.
He frequently mentioned the affectionate Friendship between the deceas'd Lieutenant and himself, before their unhappy Quarrel; That he had furnished the Lieutenant with the Necessaries of Life, like a Brother, and lent him 10 Guineas in his Pocket and his best Linen, when he took a Journey to London, to apply himself to the Lord High Admiral for Preferment. He added, that (tho' they quarrel'd about 2 Guineas) he never took any Note of Mr. Bicknel, whatever he lent him.
He said he endeavour'd duely to humble himself in the sight of God, for taking away the Life of a Man; and could a Diamond, large as the Room he was in, recal him from Death, he would most gladly give it for his Life. He complain'd very much, of the sea Life; and said he would not go on Board-a-Ship for a Place or Profit.
He said, that it was indeed the Love of Pleasure that originally occasion'd his Unhappy Death: For it was Sporting that brought him first acquainted with the Lieutenant: and they were continually, when on Shore, Hunting and Shooting together. He said their Love was so great, that they were never separate; but what Company was His, was made the Lieutenant's.
He was serious and Compos'd, and all along constant in his Duty; he desired I would sometimes pray with him in private, which I did; he not neglecting in the mean time the Service in the Chapel. Some Days before he dyed, he said he was out of Love with the World, and was well satisfyed to dye, in Expectation of Eternal Life. He received the Sacrament three times before he left the World; and told me he could perform Nothing so much to his Satisfaction.
The Night before he dy'd, I pray'd by him with 3 other Clergymen; and desired him, that Night to take leave of his Friends, which he did; and on Wednesday Morning he was wholly taken up, in making the great requisite Preparation for his Soul.
6. Thomas Butler, was convicted of a Robbery on the Highway. He said he was about 42 Years of Age; born in Ireland: That during the late Rebellion in Scotland, He was at Paris, and assisted a Person of Honour there, by making himself a Spy in the late Duke of Ormond's Family: For this he said he was allow'd for a short time after, 20 l. 2 Year from his Majesty, but by it lost all his Friends, and was discarded by his Relations. His Father, he said, was an Officer in K. James's Army: and follow'd him out of Ireland into France. That he went into Holland; but instead of improving his Fortune there, he sspent what little Money he carry'd with him.
He freely confest the Crime he was condemned for; And said that he and his Man had committed a very great Number of Robberies in Kent and Essex. That he liv'd generously upon what he got, Taking Lodgings, and appearing like a Person of Fashion, sometimes in London, and sometimes at Large Towns in the Country. He said that he rob'd a Gentleman of a Medal and a valuable Picture, which were the only things he wish'd were restored again: but the Picture was lost, and that the Medal he had presented to a Lady in Ireland.
He was suppos'd to have married severally 8 Wives; but he denyed that he ever was maried at all: perhaps he might look upon Marriages in our Church as not valid, being of a different Communion.
He shewed a great Number of Wounds in his Breast: and said (at least) that they were received in Ireland, as he would Defend his Majesties Name. He appear'd Penitential, according to his Faith, and receiv'd the Sacrament from one of his own Perswasion, before he dyed.
7. Thomas Knight, was convicted of Breaking open Mr. Deard's Shop in the Court of Requests. He had a continu'd Indisposition, for a considerable Time before he dy'd: nor could he stand the Morning before Execution; but he receiv'd the Sacrament sitting: For tho' he was almost insensible thro' Sickness, he seem'd desirous to fit his Soul for a future State.
At the Place of Execution: Thomas Phillips alias Cross continu'd very Stubborn and Obstinate; and refus'd to answer any thing that was demanded of him. But at last he said, he did not fear to dye, nor doubt his going to Heaven.
Thomas Butler at the Tree confess'd his Crime: was truely sorry for it: and forgave all his Enemies. He added, that he never committed Murder: nor ever robb'd any poor Man; but relieved them, whenever in his Power, even on the High-Way. He said, 'twas reported that a Nobleman had employ'd him to kill the Pretender, but that he never was so employ'd, adding that he dyed in the Communion of the Church of Rome .
T. PURNEY, Ordinary and Chaplain.