THE TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE BEHAVIOUR AND CONFESSIONS Of the Criminals Condemned, on Saturday the 16th. of October, 1686. At Justice-Hall in the Old. Bayly. And in the Second Year of his Majesties Reign.
Fourteen of which, received Sentence of Death, viz. John Evans, W. Richard Johnson, Edward Newgent Michael Wakeland, Richard Norgrave, John Cooley Thomas Faun, John Wright, Edmond Anthony, Ann Philmore, Richard Richardson, Joseph Hensteys and Edward Skelton.
Of which John Wright, Richard Norgrave, John Cooly, Michael Wakeland, John Clarke, alias Evans, and Anne Philmore, were in the Dead-Warrant to be Executed at TYBURN On Monday the 25th. of this Instant October, 1686. The other Condemned Criminals, are by His Majesty Graciously Repreived.
THe Ordinary cannot but stand amazed at, and deeply deplore the incorribility of such sinner, who are so habituated in a course of sinning, that no Examples of publick justice can prevail upon them to take warning, not wilfully to pervert their ways, and yet their Hearts fret against the Lord, when he finds them out, and brings them to Condign Punishment, for their Atheistical promising themselves, impurity, in the hardning of their Hearts against all former Covictions, abusing even the sparing Mercy of God and the King, which ought to have led them to Repentance and Amendment of Life.
On Saturday the 16th. of this Instant October, the foresaid Criminals were Condemned, and in the Afternoon the Ordinary visited so many of them as were willing to submit themselves to his Counsel and Prayers for them, to fit them for their approaching Death. He defined them that they would beseech the Lord, the Supreame judge of Heaven and Earth, by whose Smile Frown, Men live or die Eternally, that he would prevail upon them, to search and try their Hearts, and to call to Remembrance their former ill course of Life, for which he had justly suffered them, to run into such Notorious Crimes, which the Law of the Nation doth pass a Sentence of Death upon, and he warned them against that Advantage, which Satan would endeavour to get against them, by making them secure in a sinful State, as they had hardened their own Hearts, by the deceits of sensual Pleasures, and the prefering the fordidness of unjust gain, before the integrity of their precious Souls, to the hazarding their Eternal Destruction
After other Advice given them, they seemed not to be so affected with their dreadful State, as went to be defined. Therefore the
Ordinary prayed for them, that the Lord would remove their Stupidity, and make them to be more considerative of the Nature of their several Crimes; some having barbarously shed innocent Blood, which crys loud to Heaven for vengeance, and yet lesser sins are not inexcusable, because committed against the frequent Conviction of Conscience, and former sparing Mercy, so that they are become Guilty of great Ingratitude against God, and of and of a contemptious Self-cruelty, against their precious and immortal Souls.
The Ordinary earnestly desired them to prepare their Hearts, for the serious and sincere improvement of the Dutys of the Lords Day, because most who publickly suffer, acknowledge that the Prophanation thereof did provoke the Lord to leave them to such Crimes as bring upon them condign shame and punishment and that in all probability, this Sabbath might be the last, which they had to observe solemny on Earth, that it might be a Pledge of enjoying an Eternal Rest of heavenly Felicity. After this, they were dismist.
On the Lords Day, I Preach’d to them on the 5th. Verse of the 31ft. Psalm, into thy Hand I commit my Spirit, for thou hast Redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.
1st. The Ordinary, explicated in what Sense our Redeemer on the Cross made use of these Words, and what were the Glorious Benefits which resulted from them, as they were Christs Sacred Assurances of his Fathers Fidelity, in fulfilling the purchased Advantages, merited by his sufferings, for the glorifying of his own humane Nature, and in his, virtually of all his Confederate Saints.
2dly. Why the Soul of the Righteous-man in this place? is most properly called his Spirit, where of three Reasons were assigned.
3dly. That by Virtue of Christs Redemptory Oblation of himself, He Consecrated to his Father the Souls of his Servants. That Christ virtually Recommended their Souls to his Fathers Care and Patronage, in the Resignation and committing of his own Spirit. God the Father hath such an high Estimation of his Sainrsat Death, that they are immediately translated into the beatisick vision, and enjoyment of himself. This, and all other Priviledges in a Glorious State of Blessedness, is meant by Christs Committing the Souls of his Redeemed Saints into his Fathers Hand.
Hence was inferred, that they do not sleep in their Separation from the Body, but are rendred more sprightly, in glorifying God, and are more Happy in a perfect Assimilation to Him, which they account as the transcendent Reward of Blessedness.
2dly. Saints do account their Souls to be so precious, that they dare not intrust them to Patronage of Gods highest Favorites, but Commit them to the Lords immediate Hand, for their Protection from the last Effort of Satans Subtilty and Malice, who cannot pluck them from the inseperable Love of God in Christ.
3dly. The Spirits of Saints departed in the Lord, are immediatly Blessed: And no longer subject to Fear and Hope of Joy and Grief, of Rest and Pain, but in perfect Peace and Happiness: Having shot the Gulph of Death, are perfectly purified in their very Translation into Heaven. This is effected, as they are sealed by the Consummative Impressions of the Spirit of Holiness, and by the gratuitous Application of Christs All-sufficient Merits, joyned with his All-prevailent lntercession for their immediat Admission into Heaven. Otherwise, they would not be Blessed in their Death, as a Rest from all their Labours and Sufferings; if there remained any thing which could interrupt their Peace, or be able to seperate them from the Actual Blessed and Perfect injoyment of God himself. Therefore they rest secure from all possible Fears and Sorrows, as deposited in the Hand and Custody of the Father of their Spirits. This signifies all those kind, tender, and endearing Benefits, which the Attributal perfections of God can bestow upon his Saints, in their Life and at their Death, because they sat at his Feet, as the Supreame Law-giver, To learn and obey his Preceps Deut, 33d. Chap. and the 3d. Verse.
Here was shewed what Arguments are solely in Christs Redeeming Love, to Encourage and oblige his Servants, to Commit their Souls to God at Death: Also what are those Divine Propertys in God, in respect of which, he infinitely excells the most faithful of Humane Trustees.
Also what are the Prerequisite Qualifications, which constitute a sincere Intrustment of the foul with God, so as to accept it, by inflating it, in perfect and Eternal Blessedness.
The Summary Heads of the Afternoon Sermon.
Q. What are the Concomitant Acts of the soul, in the sincere Recommendation of it self, into the Lords Protection and favourable Reception of it, at the point of Death.
Here the wonderful presumption of Hypocrites, was stated in their making use of this Recommendatory Prayer, having no interest in God, nor Conformity to him, but rather remaining false-hearted to him. Also the misery of the disappointment of false Confidences for Admission into Heavan, in many Respects.
Then was presented the Confutation of many false Pleas offered by Hypocrites to God, for his Reception of their fouls under the Agonys of Death. Such who dedicate not themselves to the Lord in Obedience, while they are secure in their prosperity, cannot at Death support themselves with the Consideration of Christs Redeeming Love: It is granted, that all men have this Common Benefit by Christs Death, that it purchased a Reprieve from descending immediatly into Hell, as the demerit of the least sin: Yet, to be kept out of Hell during a short Life, is but a slender Redemption unless the foul be inflated also, by the Spirit of
Regeneration (as forming the Answer of Good Conscience toward God) in the Grant of Eternal Life. It is very sad to consider, with what presumption Men bequeave their souls to God and Christ at Death, who were Satans Vassels, (all their Life Long.) Can such who love and practice any known sin, say at Death, Lord Jesus Receive my Spirit, when they had made a sale of it long before to the Prince of Darkness for very Vanity.
Can this Bargain of sale made to Satan be easily Reversed, when the Heart is hardened and confirmed in a state of sinnning, and least able to unravel all the works of impiety, by a late Repentance.
It is a Rule in the Civil Law, that no Vassal can dispose of any thing at Death, because he is not his own Free-man to dispose of himself: So With what Heart or Hope, can any man bequeave his soul to God, against whom he hath been more ungratefull and injurious as Satans Vassal, than cruel to himself in bartering it away, for any sensual pleasure or for did profit.
Here the Ordinary press’d the Condemned Criminals to Reconcile themselves to the Supreame Judge of Heaven and Earth. No mean person will accept of any Charge or Intrustment from a dying Enemy, much less can it be supposed that God will admit any infamous sinner to be a Co-heire with Christ; in heavenly Glory. How canst thou bequeave to the Father of Spirits a degenerate soul, laden with Guilt, defiled with sin, and alienated to Satan, unless thou make a Renunciation of thy League with thy Lusts, and enter into Communion with God purely for his own infinite excellencies, before thou be forced to flye to him for Refuge in distress. Proud sinners oppose the strength of God, but humble penitentiarys submit in time to the terms of Reconciliation with the Lord, that they may become his Favourites in Life and Death: Otherwise the Intrustment of their fouls to him, will prove but a Dream of Happiness, and the disappointment of false Confidences, will more grieve and distract them than the loss of heaven in an ordinary way of security.
Here were produced the Characters of such, who may with sincere Confidence, Commit their Souls to God at Death.
Lastly, some directions were prescribed to the Condemned, how to meet their approaching death, with a serene Conscience, and a lively Hope of Future Blessedness.
On Monday and Tuesday I Visited the Condemned, beginning and concluding my Discourses with Prayer, that God would awaken them from their Security, for I observed that they were little affected with my Preaching on the Lords Day precedent, for which I am deeply troubled, yet not altogether despondent of some Impressions to be made upon them.
Some are of a different Religion, and refused to come under my help of Prayer or Counsel; they who did submit, were very slight in their answers to my Inquires, how they had spent their Lives. Such Account which any them gave. I now set down.
1st. Richard Richardson, Condemned for Murthering Mr. Howard, the Tryal may be seen at large, I assured him, that it would prove a dreadful Imprecation upon himself, if he did attempt to hide or extenuate so soul a Crime; I could not bring him to any acknowledgment.
But I assured him, that the just God, never suffers any man to fall under the sentence of Death, unless it be for some secret foregoing Provocations. Therefore I charged him to search his Heart more strictly, to be ingenuous and sincere, in not concealing that Crime, or any other sin which might occasion it. I told him, that I suspected it was his Covetuousness which is the Root of all sin and mischeif.
I told him that he usurped Power, in not having a Warrant to apprehend Mr. Howard, and therefore if he lost his Life by your exercising Cruelty in your Office, without any Resistance made by Mr. Howard you ought to repent of your unwarrantable apprehending and smiting of him as Murthering of him.
He endeavoured to wave all my Arguments, to bring him to the acknowledgement of the Crime, yet confest, that God might justly leave him to fall under the said sentence of Death, for the many extravagances of his Life, particularly he named, his flighting his duty to God on the Sabath day, which held him in ignorance of the Concernments of his everlasting welfare.
He did not deny that he had been ingaged in former Quarrels, wherein he had his Skul broken about a year since.
Yet, he had been very Industrious in the Trade of a Black-Smith , but he repents that he took upon him the Office of an Hedborrow , for he thinks it occasioned much spight to him, among persons of an ill Life. I cannot give any farther account of him, only that he seems penitent, and fays, that if he die, he shall take it patiently, as submitting to Gods disposal of him, but if he may be spared, he will endeavour to amend his Life, for the neglect of which, he fears the Lord hath brought him to the sad circumstances, with which he is now encompassed.
2d. Edwerd Skelton, Condemned as accessary to the Murther of Mr. Howard, he is Repreived by the mercy of his Majesty. He confesses nothing , but rather affirms, that he doth not know, how Mr. Howard might fall by so untimely a Death, he resolves by Gods help, to walk more Circumspectly for the future, that he may redeeme that precious time which is granted to him by his Repreive.
3d. Thomas Fann, Condemned for stealing a Bay-Mare, he was one of the three who lately broke Prison. He was Borne in Huntingtonshire, aged 30 years or thereabouts, his Employment was in Husbandry , which he left and came to London to seek Employment, and bought Hair, of which he made Perriwigs , but he thrived not in this way, so growing idle,
he contracted bad acquaintance, and to supply his vain expences, committed this Felony.
He says, that he desires to repent of his Idle and prophane Speeches, and all other miscarrages of his Life, of which (he thinks) he should never have been sensible, had he not faln under this sad sentence, but if he may find sparing mercy, he hopes he shall betake himself to a better course of Life.
4th. Michael Wakeland, for setting upon a Waggoner, Binding him, and then Robbing the Waggon of Goods to a considerable value. He says he was Born at Hamstead, is Aged 25 years, that he had been a Day. Laborer , his Education had been very mean, so that he is ignoranr and stubborn, giving little signs of Penitence for his mispent time.
5th Richard Norgrave, Condemned for Joyning in the aforesaid Robbery of the Waggon, Born at Oxford, Aged 16 years, he was by Trade a Mason ; which Employment: he left, and within 12 Months past grew poor, and took to bad Company, he desires to be sensible of, and sorrowful for all his Sins , which (himself says;) have made him vile in the fight of God and Men; he acknowledges, that he cannot work a change in own Heart, that he hopes that God for Christs sake will have Mercy on him, and wishes, that he had longer time to amend his Life, which, if it cannot be obtained, be desires to submit to Gods will.
6th. John Cooley, Condemned for Joyning in the Robbery of the aforesaid Waggon, Born in Westminster, Aged 25 years, he says he was a Soldier in Ireland for some time, but he left that Employment because his Horse Died, and he was so poor, that he could not furnish himself with another, after which he fell into loose Company, that he was a breaker of the Sabbath, and guilty of other sins, for which he is justly come to condign Punishment
7th. Joseph Hensley, Condemned for picking for picking a Woman’s Pocket in Lumbard street, he was Born in Gloucester-shire, Aged 21 years, he made Glass-Bottles , and wrought a while for himself, but being given to ill Company, he became extravagant in his Conversation, he says, that he little minded the Service of God, and for not keeping to an honest Calling, he is now justly brought to Punishment.
8th. John Wright, Condemned for breaking the House of Mathew Pluck Efq. and stealing thence Goods of a considerable values he was Born in York shire, Aged, 27 years, he betook himself to Stealing, and having success in his evil Courses, he brake out of Prison, and thought to escape punishment that way, he remains very Obstinate, and without any relenting for his sinful Excreffes. so I cannot give any farther account of him, yet will not desist to pray that he may be fit to appear before the Judgment seat of Christ, where no Impetinent sinner can lie hid, nor be sheltered from the demerited wrath of God.
9th. Anne Philmore, Condemned for Drowning her own Child, being Nine weeks old, the manner of it the Book of Tryals sets forth, I took some time and pains upon her Commitment, to convince her of the unnatural Barbarity of the Fact, yet could not obtain from her any discovery of the Motives, which Satan imprest on her mind, to prevail with her to commit the Crime. I askt her whether it were fear of Poverty, that she could not maintain the Infant, she replied no, for she joyned with her Husband in getting a Livelyhood for four Children.
Her Employment was to take home Linnen and to wash it , she said that had taken great pains in tending this young frward Child, which hinded her washing. I could her, how exceedingly froard Hearted and Rebellious sinner are against their Creator, and yet himself bears with such in his long suffering to lead them to Repentance, the consideration of this, might have prevailed with her not to have destroyed her Child.
To the committing of which Horrid Crime, which Coveruousness of grasping more Employment than she could well rid out of hand, or ill Nature prevailed most I know not; she hath alway since her Commitment been of a sullen reserved temper, and hath not in my Discourses with her, nor Prayers for her, seemed sorrowful for such an fact
Thus I have given an account of the Condemned Criminals, as fully as I could gather from their behaviour and Confessions relating to this Session.
About 10 of the Clock on Monday Morning, they were put into three several Carts at Newgate, and conveyed to the place of Execution, where the ordinary prayed with them, and exhorted the Spectators to take warning by them; after which the Ordinary sung part of a Psalm, and so concluded with a Prayer, after which they were turned off.
John Cooley, one of the Executed Criminals, did at Tyburn call for one viner a Waggoner, whom he formerly Robbed, and now desired his Pardon. Also he said that he had been a pophaner of the Sabbarth, and a very great sinner, he cleared himself to another person, that he did not Rob him. He acknowledged also, that he Robbed the Waggon of one Marzin Bozier, and that he never committed Murther in his Life.
This may be Printed, R.P. October the 25th. 1686.
Whereas in the Proceedings, at the last Session in the Old-Bayly; there was mention made of one Jeffery Wakeland: These are to give Notice that it was a Mistoke in the Writing thereof; the right Name being Jeffery Wakefield and whereas it was said, that the Prisoner David Minace was in Drink when he Married Frances Manfell, and that it appeared so upon his Tryal. These to Certifie, that it was not proved he was in Drink, but only by his own Allegation.
LONDON; Printed by Dr Mallet, next to, Mr. Shipton’s Coffe-House near Fleat-bridge, 1686.