Giving a full and satisfactory Account of their Crimes, Behaviours, Discourses in Prison, and last Words (as neer as could be taken) at the place of Execution.
Published for a Warning, to all that read it, to avoid the like wicked Courses, which brought these poor people to this shameful End.
SHame and fear are the two great bridles that refrain Hamane Nature from running into all kind of wickedness and when once it has cast them off, little good is to be expected. This may be one reason why few that came into Newgate for Thieving, though cleared and acquitted at the Sessions, or escaping with a brand Etc. repent and forsake those paths of Death; but as soon as they come abroad, fall to the same evil courses and practices again, and seldom give over till at last Judgment overtakes them, and brings them to an untimely and igominious End: For after they are once discovered to be Rogues, concluding that now they need not value Reputation, and with al flattering themselves upon their easie escape the last time, and promising themselves the like for the future, they, become professedly impudent, and venture on any mischief whatsoever without the least regard to their Credit, their Lives, or (what are still far more precious) their Immortal Souls. We make this Prologue to these unhappy wretches Tragedy, the rather for
that they were all old offenders and had enough fair warnnings given them for the Amendment of their lives, but they continually from time to time flighted those Admonitions and hated to be reformed.
At the last Sessions of Oyer and Terminer and Goal-delivery of Newgate, there were in all five persons that received Sentence of Death, three men and two women; two of the men for robbing upon the High way, and the other for having two Wives at once, who though he prayed the benefit of his Clergy, was not able to read when he came to the book, and suffered death. One of the women, who both of them were Convicts and lay in Newgate for Transportation before the last Sessions; but were now indicted and convicted again upon their own Confessions of severaI Robberies committed on divers persons, whom they lately sent for to Newgate, making Bargains for so much money to tell thern where they sold or disposed of their Plate or other Goods, and how they should come by it again.
The two men that suffered, had long made it their wicked practice to skulk up and down the Roads neer London on foot, and pillage Market-people, or who else they could handsomely meet with, whom sometimes they would strip and take away their very Cloaths; but at last, being vigorously pursued and en upon plain and undeniable Evidence they ere found Guilty; yet seemed little to regard that, but appeared as merry and unconcerned as at any other time, till Sen-
-tence of Death came to be passed against them, which (like a Cap of Thunder) did somewhat awaken them from the Lethargy of Sin and Impenitency, wherein they before had desperately lain for many years, without any sense or feeling of the sad condition they had lived in; soon after they were brought back to Newgate, and put in the Dungeon: One of them desired a Minister, whom he named, night be sent for, which was done and the next Morning he came accordingly; they had a long and serious conference together for Three Hours, the particulars whereof we know not, so as to set forth; but by his own repetition afterwards, we understand, that he exprest much trouble of Mind to the Minister; the rather, for that, as he said, he had enjoyed in his Youth the blessing of a zealous and Godly Education, though, since these good impressions were quite defaced by.vast heaps of Sin, whereunto the temptatibns of bad Company had eticed. him. A Friend coming to fee him, and pittying his condition, as being so suddenly to dye. Ah! saies he, Pitty not my Body, I am willing to die; oh that that were all! I have deserved it; But what will become of my Soul! Have you brought me any word of comfort for that.
To another, setting forth the wicked eourse of his Life, he acknowledged, that the first original of his falling into these lewd courses, was Sloath and Idleness, neglecting of his Calling, and squandring away his Time vainly, which brought him acquainted with other persons as idle as him-
self, or worse; with such Companions he used to haunt Nine-Pin Yards, and learnt to play at several Games, spending most of his time therein; though naturally, and before he was thus debauched, he confess'd that brutish Sin was very abhominable to him: And having thus committed a Rape on the Virgin Modesty of his Soul, and stifled his Conscience, he proceeded desperately to compleat himself in all the degrees of Wickedness, Swearing, Drinking, Gaming, Whoring, and the like, were become both his Recreation and his Business; and God was not in all his thoughts, when his extravagencies had reduced him to Straits and Indigencies.
He endeavoured at first to supply them by Cheats and little sharking tricks, and afterwards by pilfering small things wherever he had an opportunity; upon which he was once taken and put into Goal for stealing of a Coat, but he came off (though) Guilty) well enough for want of sufficient evidence, however, having on this occasion contracted an acquaintance with professed thieves from thence forth he became one of their party, and so continued (like a Beast of prey) robbing and spoiling honest people till they happened to be taken as a foresaid;
Thus, Christian Reader thou mayst see here the various Links of that Chain which so often draws young men unto destruction, Nemo fit repente turpiffimus; the devil has his degrees of Impiety, seve-
ral forms for his scholars to pass through before they come to be compleat graduates in hellish wickedness; I hope all that are wife will learn of the flye in the fable, which to avoid the fire resolved not to come near so much as the smoak; I mean if ye would escape such a sad and dismal end shun all the means leading thereunto; if once you can allow yourselves to live contentedly in the constant practice of any known notorious sin though you call it but a little one, yet you are betrayed to the enemy, Satan then has dominion over you, and God having forsaken you, what hopes are there of stopping your Currier till you are swept away into the pit of perdition.
The other Man Condemned prepared for Death, had the advantages of so good an Education, so he seemed not so very much afflicted, but acknowledging the Justice of the sentence he was to suffer, and that he had often deserved it for several Crimes, intreated Pardon of God for his manifold Sins, and Forgiveness from all those that not without a great desire and some flattering hopes of living longer: For when one R.W. (who had formerly been robb'd by these Two Persons of Seven middlings of Bacon, and a Horse upon the Highway) came to him since Condemnation, and desired to know how he had disposed of those things, he replied, That if he would get his pardon he would tell him where his Horse was; but the man denying that to be in his power, and the Ordinary (according to the duty of his Office) pressing it home, That it was vain to expect Remission with-
out making Restitution as far as he was able, and that it was his duty to declare, if he knew how, the person injuri'd should regain such Goods as they had justly taken from him, hereupon he took the man aside and had private discourse for some time; which 'tis supposed was to give him some light how he might get his Horse restored again as aforesaid.
The woman that suffered was Frances Watson, alias Riggs: Thieving was a Trade she was bred up in from her infancy, her Mother was notorious, several times condemned to die, and at this time under Transportation: one or two of her Brothers were hang'd, and she herself hath many times already had the mercy of the Bench, and gracious Reprieves from his Majesty: she now seemed to have some sense of her condition, protesting great resolutions of amendment, if her life might this once be spared; and she lying in Newgate for Transportation ever since the last Sessions, and sending for several persons, pretendining to tell them where their Goods was which they had stole from them, if they would give them so much money; in order to which she sent for a silver Tankard and two silver Spoons, which she had stole, and said it was a Gentlemans that was then in the Court (he having lost a Tankard and some Spoons) but those being produced in open Court, the Gentleman being asked whether those were his or no? he replied, They were not: Upon which she made herself guilty of the Felony.
Their words at the place of Execution were but few, and in general terms, after the same manner as most men in their condition, advising all to take warning by them, to avoid ill Company, to be diligent and labourious in their respective Callings, to obtain an honest Livelihood, and not to waste their time in idleness, nor take indirect courses; for that would (as they might see in their sad Examples) certainly bring them in the end to destruction.
The person suffering for his two wives behaved himself very penitently, expressing much sorrow and contrition for his past evil life, and very earnestly desired all married men to love their wives, and to have a special care not to voilate and break their marriage vows, it being a thing of a most mischievous consequence to ruine and undo honest innocent women, by the flattering pretences of marriage, when their end is only to gratify their lost, and defraud them of their estates to furnish themselves with moneys to supply their extravagancies he declared that he freely forgave his wife and her friends that presented him; And so after the usual prayers they suffered according to Sentence.