The True ACCOUNT OF THE Behaviour and Confessions OF THE Condemned Criminals IN NEWGATE, VIZ. William Blower, Robert Frances, William Vanderburst, George Attwell, Samuel Anderson, Thomas Weal, Nathaniel Page, John Smith, John Henly, John Somerset, John Morgen, Henry Antony.
OF WHICH William Blower for High-Treason, in Clipping the Currant Coin of this Kingdom: Robert Frances, John Smith alias Morgen, and Henry Langhley alias Antony, were Executed on Friday the 24th. of July, 1685.
Together with their LAST Dying WORDS Before their Execution at TYBURN.
AT the Sessions of Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol-Delivery of Newgate, held for the City of London, and County of Middlesex, at JusticeHall in the Old-Baily, the 16th,17th,and 18th of July 1685. And in the First Year of His Majesties Regin, these Twelve Persons received sentence of Death, viz.
William Blower for High-Treason, Robert Frances, William Vanderburst, George Attwell, Samuel Anderson, Thomas Weal, Nathaniel Page, John Smith, John Henly, John Somerset, John Morgen and Henry Antony.
On the last Lords Day, being the next after Condemnation pass'd upon the aforesaid Criminals, the Ordinary read Prayers, and Preach'd to them in the Forenoon and Afternoon of the said Day. His Text was in the fifth Chapter of the Prophet Amos, and the sixt Verse, viz. Seek ye the Lord, and ye shall Live.
From which facred Scripture, the Ordinary delared, that this Duty of seeking the Lord, as the Fountain of Being and Blessedness, is the Fundamental duty of all Natural Religion, and the most comprehensive Duty and Priviledge of the positive instituted Religion of Christianity. That it comprehends the Exercise of every Grace of the Holy Spirit.
That the Sincere seeking of God, is a Voluntary and Holy Turning, and holding the Mind on him, till the Heart and Affections be enstamed with the Love of God, and a de
delight in being made like him. That it was to chose him for the Souls Pattern in an Holy State, as well as the Portion of its Felicity.
That true Seeking him, is to Glorifie him, as God in our right conceptions of his Nature and Divine Excellencies, to Love, trust in, and Obey him. To fear him for his Goodness and Mercy, as well as Power and Justice. It is not so study God, as to heap up many distinct Notions of him, which yet make no impression of Holiness on the Heart and Conversation. Without this a Man may remain a Stranger, yea an Enemy unto the Lord.
Here the Ordinary demonstrated the Sin and Misery of such who live in a constant and Habitual forgetfulness of God, because every Creature and Act of Providential Preservation, doth demonstrate that the Lord doth abundantly afford an occasion and Obligation of Solemn remembrance of him. That yet Men wander from God, because they have lost the Government of their hearts and Affections, and so settle on vain Objects
Then the Ordinary shewed wherein the extent of the duty of seeking the Lord did consist. Urged divers Agreements to perswade to it, with Rules and Directions how to perform it Sincerely.
In the close of the Afternoon Sermon, he made a particular Speech to the Condemned Criminals, that they would so seek into the Lord, that they may live in a Blessed Eternity. And shewed wherein the Life of new Creatures in Christ, consists, how it may be promoted and preserved, in the comfortable effects of it, as to the exercise of Faith and Repentance, shewing their Necessity, Excellency, and how they may be facilitated in order to Eternal Life. And then pressing them to Labour after a Blessed Fruition of God, he dismissed them, with Prayers for a Blessing on the Duty's of the Lord's Day. They were all of them very Attentive, and seedmed much Afficted with the greatness of their Sins, and I promised them that erarly next Day (God willing) I would Visit them, and confer with them about their Soul State, to prepare them for their approaching Death.
According to my promise, I visited about Nine of the Clock on Monday in the Forenoon the several Prisoners, and spent some confiderable time in Prayer, Exhortation, and took a particular Account of their course of Life, and sit dispositions for Death.
I. I went to Mr. Robert Frances his Chamber, because he desired me to take a particular Care of him; And found him in a serious good Frame and composure of Mind, willing to Resign himself to the alwise ducture of God's Spirit, and his determination for Life of Death. First I Prayed with him, and then entred upon an inquiry into his Life and Conversation, precedent to the Crime of Killing Mr. Dangerfield. He was very free to give an Account of himself. He said that he was Born of Protestant Parents, and bred up in good Literature. That twenty Years since he was a Student in Christ-Church Colledge in Oxford. That afterward he went over Sea with Sir Joseph Williamson, his late Majesties Ambassador , as an Attendant on him. That for fourteen Years last past he hath been of the Society of Grays Inn, and practiced in the Law . That he did not lead any Extravagant Life, till this unhappy Crime. He acknoweledged that he saw Dangerfield in the Pillory at Westminster: And that on the Day in which he was Whip’d to Tyburn, Mr. Frances was with a Friend at a Coffee-House near to St. Andrews Church in Holbourn, and thought not to have staid there, because he was to Dine that Day with his Friend, and was in the Afternoon to have Managed a Cause for a Client at Guild-Hall, so that he was going home from the said Coffee-House; but a report coming thither that Dangerfield was in his return from Tyburn, and very near; He left his Wife in his Friends Hand, and went to meet the Coach in which Dangerfield was, only out of Curiosity (as he saith) to observe how he look'd after his being Whip'd, he said that the Coach did not stop, but he went to the side of it, and said, Have you had your Heat to Day? How is it now with you. Dangerfield, upon those Words, (he says) called him Son of a Whore, and said, what have you to do with me? Mr. Frances being asked by the Ordinary what moved him to Kill Dangerfield, he replied, that his Passion was stired up at Dangerfield's Reviling Language, and said that he only intended to Beat him with a Bamboo Cane, which was Furz'd and worn out at the end of it. But the Coach moving onwrad, the Cane Wounded Dangerfield in the Eye; but he intended only to have thrust it as his Breast. He also said that he had a short Sword, and yet used it not, because he did not design to kill Dangerfield.
Mr. Frances being told by the Ordinary, that very thrust proved Fatall, and was a very Inhumane Act toward a person in his distrets; to this Mr. Frances replied, that he never bore any Malice nor Grudge to Mr. Dangerfield, nor was he moved to that Act, by any person whatsoever, only God left him to himself, for the punishment of his former Sins, to run into this suddain Effort of passion. Mr Frances was much affected with my discourse, and wept in praying with him: he was very attentive to more then the other Criminals; so, he seemed very Penitent, and I hope that this Sentence of Death on him did awaken him, to a serious recalling to mind whatsoever former Sins he might be Guilty of, in order to make his peace with God, who is the Searcher of all Hearts, and only knows who are truly penitent.
The second Criminal who offered to give an Account of himself to the Ordinary, was William Vanderburst, he is not full 19 years of Age, he was born in Stanhop-street in St. ClementsDanes Parish. He says, he had been lifted for a Soldier but was turned off, for not providing himself of an Horse, so he toke one by Stealth, he says, that he was brought up by his Father in his Trade of Painting , but was Idle. At 14 years of Age he used Gaming with Boys at Chuckfarding on the Lords-day. Since he arrived at 16 years, he grew more Licentious, he went not to Church, but was drunk on the Sabboth days. That he did swear in his Passion, I askt him, what he thought might be the occasion of his early growth in Sin, he replied, that he neglected Prayer every Morning, and at Night, if he Prayed, he did it very coldly.
III. Nathaniel Page, Aged 23 years and upwards, he was born in Somerset-shire at WestonZoyland, he was brought up to Husbandry with his Father, afterwards, he was sent up to Fulham , to be Prentice with a Farryer there. He lived Nine year with him he said that his fellow Prentice, Thomas Weal, inticed him to break open the House of Robert Lampany, Weal consest upon his apprehension that he toke the Money, which was 4 pieces of Gold, commonly called Guinea’s and 15 l. of Money in Silver, and Page confessing that he had two punds 6s. of the foresaid Money, whereby he made himself an accessary to the Fact, they were both found Guilty. Page, told the Ordinary, that Weal broke up the House, but he knew he did so and yet did not discover him, because he had some share in the Mony, and so was Inticed to his own Ruine. He said God is Just in this, so I have been a great Sinner in Swearing and drinking to excess, that he frequently took Gods Name in Vain, crying O Lord, upon every trisling occasion. But that which most troubles him, he said, is that having not heard from his Friends for two Years last past, he rashly Swore that he would never send to them, altho he did not break his Oath;
He said he can Read and Write, and therefore his Sins are the greater, as commited against knowledge. That he Prayes Day and Night, and yet counts not himself to have an Heart to Pray enough.
IV. Thomas Weal, Aged 14 years. Born at Fulham he was put Prentice to a Blacksmith . One tempted him to leave his Service. And then to Rob Money from Robert Lampany, at Fulham. He confessed the Crime. And told the Ordinary that the Lord left him to himself to brake open the House, because he broke the Sababth, and prophaned it, in joyning with bad Company. That he was addicted to Swearing and Drunkenness; that he seldome Prayed, but now he finds he can pray because his Heart is Broken for his Sins
That he desires the Lord to make him a true Penitent, to change his Heart, and hopes if he may be spared, that he shall become a New Man, for his Faith is grounded on the promises of Gods free Grace in Christ to the Penitent; and he hopes he is such, for, when the other Condemned Criminals Sleep, he Prayers by himself alone.
V. George Attwell, of the Parish of Hanwell, Indicted for Stealing a Brown Gelding, value 3 l. from Richard Walden, May the 30th. He is now thirty Years of Age, a Married Man, and hath three Children, as he says: He was a Curryer at Stow-Gumber in Sommerset-shire. The cause of his coming to London was this, viz. He was Bound for the Payment of twenty Pounds Sterling in the Countrey, so being not able to make Payment, he fled to London, to secure himself from an Arrest: He said that he got Employment at his Trade in London, and sent down Money to his Wife in the Countrey.
Eight Weeks since a Journey-man Shoe-maker in London, met him in Holborn, and told him that he had Bought an Horse, and desired him to carry the said Horse into the Countrey to put to Grass, that he might be more in Heart.
Attwell told the Shoe-maker that he would go to Branford to seek Work there, (for he had none at present in London:) So he Rode down thither with the Horse, but getting no Work, he left the Horse at the Mag-Pye in Branford, and was apprehended for Stealing the Horse, the Shoe-maker being run away, this he pretends, but the Jury saw cause to bring him in Guilty of the Felony, because he could give very little or no Account of himself. He told the Ordinary that he did Drink to Excess, and Swear sometimes. That he Prayed sometimes in the Evening, but not in the Mornings.
VI. Henry Antony in the Parish of St. Katherines, Indicted for Breaking up the House of one Travers, on June the 23d, and stealing thence five Gold Rings, value 3 l. 5 s. 6 d. a Silk Hood, value 4 s. with other small things. The Prisoner being found in the Act, and unable to Defend himself, was brought in by the Jury Guilty.
This Henry Antony is Aged 27 Years, he was Master of two Ships , and lived without any fear of Poverty. He kept to the Church on the Lords Day, till he sell into the Company of Bad Women. He spent on them his Estate, and then committed this Felony. He confesses himself Guilty. He was lately Drunk. His Conscience he says is very much Oppress'd with the Burden of his Sins, yet he hopes in Gods Mercy, he shall escape utter Ruine. He Prayes (he faith) Day and Night. I instructed him and all the other Criminals, in the difference betwix true Faith and Repentance, from that which is not available to Salvation.
VII. John Henly, of Hackney Parish, Indicted for Stealing a Black Coloured Mare, Value 4 l. On June 26th. from Mr. Berkin, the Evidence for the King was a Collarmaker, who Affirmed that Henly brought him the Hide of the Mare which was stole. The Prisoner Confessing he had the Mare and Bought her for 3 s. The Jury found him Guilty.
This John Henly is Aged 32 years, he was Born in St. Sepulchres Parish, he was an Harness-maker ; he says he Killed the Mare, gave the Carcas to the Doggs, but Reserved the Skin to make or mend Harness. In Old-street he kept a Shop ten years; lately he wrought on his Trade in a Close Room; he confessed he went to Church, yet not minding his Duty as he ought, he sometimes was overcome with Drink, and swore too much; he says that now he Prayer, and that if he may be spared he resolves he will lead a better Life, yet the Heart is Deceitful as he Acknowledged.
VIII. Samuel Anderson, Aged 50 years, Born in Oldstreet, bred up to the Trade of a Joyner , he kept to it till he fell into bad Drunken Company; he confessed that he took one Shilling when he was Lifted for a Soldier , and 6 d. Pay, per diem: yet he withdrew himself from the Kings Service. he confessed he had been a grievous Drunkard; that from a Child he had been guilty of most Sins, Murder excepted: that he had the Plague upon him in the year 1665. yet Reformed not, nor Prayed in his Family; that he is now very weak in his Brain, having been accustomed to Excessive Drinking. He did with many Tears acknowledge his ill Life, and seemed very Penitent.
IX. John Smith, of the Parish of Stepney. The Evidence against the Prisoner, was thus, that Smith breaking into the house of one Edward Jones on June 25th. betwixt twelve and one at Night, he was Apprehended in the Cellar, before he could make an escape with the Stolen Goods. The Criminal in defence of himself, said he was in Drink, and the door being open, he went in. But the Jury not Crediting him, found him guilty of Burglary.
This Smith, is Aged 34 Years, was Born in Leicester, and was bred up with a Silk Throster in White-Chappel. He confessed that he kept not the Sabbath; that sometimes he Drank to Excess, He says that formerly he could Pray, but now he finds Sin to be such a Clog and burden to his Conscience, that he cannot Pray as he desires, yet he Mourns for his ill Life, that he hath Offended God, and begs the change of his Heart rather than to Live.
X. John Somerset of the Parish of St. Clements-Danes, being a Soldier and under his Majesties Pay, Run a Way; from his Colours which being proved, and Confessed by the Prisoner, he pretending to be Sick, was by the Jury brought in Guilty.
This Somerset is Aged 24 Years Born in the Bishoprick of Durham, and bred up to Husbandry near Durham: For nine or ten Years he was with his Father in that Imployment. Then one sent to him that he would come to London that he might enter into the Service of the Lady Pym, in Bloomsbury, as her Coach man , which he did, staying with her three Years. Some sawcy Words turn'd him out of her Ladyships Service. Afterward he was drawn away with ill Company, he confessed that he went to Prayers thrice a Week to covent Garden Church, while he was in the Lady Pyms Service, yet afterward being dismissed for his uncivil Carriage, he kept not the Sahhath, but grew a great Drunkard, and swore too much. Yet he hopes that upon his Repentance, the Lord will have Mercy on his Soul.
XI. John Morgen of the Parish of St. Leonard Shoreditch, Indicted for breaking up the House of one Filkins, June the 30th. and sealing Goods thence. The Cloaths were found upon him, and he not being able to Excuse himself, was by the Jury brought in Guilty.
This Morgan is Aged twenty Years, was Born in the North of England. He was not so Obedient to his Parents as he now wishes he had been. He went Weekly to learn the Trade of Weaving , but he left it, because he had a mind to go to Sea with his Brother. The Ordinary ask’d him if he had fallen into Bad Company? He replied, he knew none worse than himself. Had he kept close to God and his Duty, no bad Company could have made such an Impression on him, as it Did, but he left God to follow vain Courses. I asked him whether he Prophaned the Sabbath. He replied, where can you find any in this Place who keep it. He said that he Mourned for Sin, out of Love to God, and desires to die, so he may be fit, rather than to Live and increase his Provocations of God.
XII. William Blower, in the Parish of Alhallows London, Indicted for High Treason in Clipping and Deminishing the Lawful Coin of this Kingdom. He endavoured to evade the Indictment by pretending that the Room where the Clippings and Instruments for that purpose were found, was let to one Mr. Johnson, who had been a Lodger in his House, but he knew nothing of the Matter, nor where Johnson was, but the Fact was so Apparent to the Jury, that they found him Guilty of High Treason.
This Blower, is about 30 years of Age, a Chirurgeon by Profession, he was Apprenctice to Mr. Wooddard: when he was made Free; He went to Sea as Chirurgeon, in the time of the Dutch Wars. Some time since, he practiced that skill about London-Wall, where (he says,) he lived in good credit and Unblamable among his Neighbours. That he had not wronged any Man, but been very Charitable. The Ordinary told him, this Crime was a great Dishonour to the King. He Confessed it was a great Sin and Injury, and he said, that the Lord suffered this Sentence to fall upon him for the Remisness of his Life, but he was not conscious to himself, of any Gross Wickedness in his Conversation, to provoke God to suffer this distress to come upon him. But he hoped, the Lord was Reconciled to him in Christ, and would sanctify his Heart, and prepare him for his Death . I Prayed with him, and Mr. Frances, severally, at their Chambers, on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and found them and left them in a good Christian frame, willing to Live or Dye, at Gods disposal: On Monday and Tuesday I visited the rest of the Condemned Prisoners : also on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Exhorting and Praying for them, that they might be prepared for a Blessed Eternity, I hope my endeavours where prevalent upon them, as well as Acceptable to them.
Betwixt Ten and Eleven in the Morning, the Prisoners were put into the Cart at Newgate, and William Blower, into the Sledge who seemed very penitent all the way they went; when they came to Tyburn Mr. Ordinary Prayed with them, and sung part of the Twenty fifth Psalm; after which, they exhorted the Standers by to take warning by their dismal and untimely Ends, of the Effects of Sin, which had brought them to that fatal place. And then they Prayed earnestly by themselves, and desired the People to pray for them, after which they were all Execused.
This may be Printed July 23th 1685. R.L.S.
London, Printed by G.Croom, at the Blue-Ball in Thames-Street, over against Baynard's-Castle. 1685.