THE TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE BEHAVIOUR AND CONFESSION, Of the Prisoners in Newgate, Condemned at JusticeHall in the Old-Bayly, on Mondays the 4th of July, 1687.
There were Condemned Eleven Persons, Nine of which are Reprieved by His Majesties Gracious Clemency, and the other Two, viz. Thomas Cross an Timothy Swift, are for Murther, to be Executed upon Hounslow-Heath. On Friday the 15th of this Instant July
THE Ordinary visited them every day, Exhorting them to Prapare for their approaching Death, that they may with Comfort stand before the Tribunal of Christ, by whose Smile or Frown, Men Live or Dye Eternally Some among them were not so sensible of the particular Crime for which they were Condemned viz. Murther, as the Heinousness of it doth require. Therefore, the Ordinary observing of late, how many have been Kill'd by Duelling and other Methods of Cruelty, chose this Text to convince them, viz. 28 of the Proverbs of Solomon, the 17 Verse. He who offers Violence to the Blood or Life of another, shall flye to the Pit, let no Man stay him. The Murtherer shall flye to a state of Death and Corruption, his Guilty Fears shall Chace him thither, as making him weary of his Life, or he shall be Prosecuted to Death by the Justice of the Magistrate. As he thus hasteth to the Pit, let no Man stay him. That is, let no Man conceal him, or move and solicite for his impunity. The Murtherer is a Sinner of the highest form; such a one was to be taken from Gods Altar, and delivered up to justice, 21 Exod. 14. 25 Numb, 31 33. Thon shalt not take any satisfaction for the Life of a Murtheter, he shall surely be put to Death. 21 Dent. from the 1 to the 29 Verse, A whole City is charged in some degree with the Blood of a Man stain next to them; if they did not publickly and solemnly declare and testifie their clearness from it, and abhorrence of it.
No Sanctuarys ought to be allowed to such Criminals, nor any Composition to be taken by their poor Relations. It argues little sincere Affection, and the price of Blood will be blasted, that it shall not yield any comfortable subsistence.
Few Murtherers repent, but are fiusht and hardened in Cruelty. Mediation of Friends makes the Criminal secure, to delay even to stifle his Repentance. The stain of the Family is sooner wiped off and forgotten, being Expiated by his Death.
If he live, Divine Justice pursues him; he either Kills again, or is Killed by Casualty in some Quarrel. If he be preserved he lives la Infamy, and at turns, hath an Hell above Ground, in the severe upbraidings of his Conscience.
Let Duellers lay this to Heart, who resolve to Kill or be Killed. Some believe not the false Opinion of the World, which places Manhood and Valour in seeking Revenge and Blood shed. Such are of he Race of Cain and Lamech. 4 Gen. 23, 24. The latter boasted, that if any durst Apprehend him he would defie them:
For I am able to stay a Man in my wounding, and a young vigorous Man, while I stagger in my Hurt and am never so deeply wonded.
This was Hectoring Language, and Hellish in the next words.
Whosoever Kills Cain shall have vengeance seven fold, bus whosoever Kills Lamech, seventy times seven fold. Thus he took heart to proceed in Revenge, as if God had spared Cain out of Clemency, but would punish Lamech's Death with greater severity: But Cain Survived with a mark of Infamy, he went about as a Vagabond, trembling. This discovered his Guilt, and was an Hell upon Earth worse than Death.
Yet some commit Murther when they have no Provocation given, who our of a cruel humour, make it their disport to try their Valour, or Madners rather, on such who pass innocently by them.
A sad Instance of this was that person, who was hang’d on Hounslow-Heath, for Murthering an innocent Man, as he was fitting of Furniture in Hampton Court; he told me he did not commit the Murther to rifle the person slain, not out of Malice, but that being drunk on a Sabbath day, he wish’d himself Damn’d if he did not try to Kill a Man, any one indifferently who came in his way. The Devil he said, never suffered him for a Fortnight, to take any comfort in his own Life, till he had fulfilled his wicked Vow, otherwise he should surely have his Wish and be Damn’d. This Satan suggested, that he might add sin to sin, and so ripen the faster for Eternal Destruction, if he did not repent, he said he might have escaped, but lingred about the place out of consternation of Spirit.
Here the Ordinary showed the Heinousness of the sin of Murther, that it is a Violence to Nature in common, there being but one common Nature in all Men. Man is the Epitome of Heaven and Earth; the rational Life is a spark of Divinity, therefore, he who Murthers a Man tho’ never so wicked, destroys the Image of God in him, and highly usurps Gods Suprmacie.
Murther is the worst fort of Sacrilidge, the Forfiture of Mens Lives by the Apostacy of Adam, is vacated for a time: A short Reprieve is purchased by Christs Death, wherein, to make, a Mans peace with God, and to work out his Salvation. Now the Murther seeks to make void Christs purchase in this respect, yea, the Bodys of Men are the Temples of the Holy Ghost, therefore, being sacred, whosoever defiles or offers violence to the Body, him will God destroy.
The Heavens reveal Murther, when unpunish’d by the Offices of Justice, 20 Feb 22. They punish it by their Malignant Infectious Influences, yea, they are made as Brass. to avenge with Famine, the cruelty of the hard hearted Men. The Lord will make Speechless Creatures speak, rather than Blood shall be concealed: It is transcendent in the breach of the whole Moral Law of God. It tends unto, or results from the Violation, or Contempt of all the other Ten Commandments.
1st. It includes Atheism, as if God could not discover, nor bring Murther to condeign Punishment: Now, while Men falsly conceive of God, and divest him of his Divine Perfections, to the Encouragement of their Lusts, they debase and deny him.
2dly. Falle Worship is attended with cruelty to spred it. False zeal blinds and hardens the heart, to make the Chirstian World a SlaughterHouse. Some have thought that Coin flew Abel for asserting the Divine Providence, and a future Judgment of Reward or Punishment.
3dly. They who accustom themselves to prophane Gods Name, and wound his Honour, will soon destroy hi Image in Man, a Fellow Creature, and yet show little Remorse, because they dare villifie the Lord of Life and Glory, swearing by his Blood and Wounds in the imprecating Damnation on themselves and others.
4thly. Sabbath breakers first destroy all Fear and Reverence of God himself, and thus frequently run into the sin of Murther, 22 Ezek 8, 9.Thou hast prophaned my Sabbaths, What follows? In thee, are Men who carry Tales to shed innocent Blood. What Snares doth the Devil lay for Men in Sabbath breaking? Most Murthers have been committed by excessiveness of drinking on the Lords day.
5thly. Yorkless disobedient Children Proceed from the contempt of their Parents, to violate their persons, or commit Murther on others, so dying a shameful accursed Death; they sometimes lye unburied, till the Ravens of the Vallies pick out their Eyes, because they first overlook’d and dispised their Parents.
6thly. Lascivious persons, whose Liver a Dart stick thorow, in corrupting their own Blood, strike not to shed the Blood of another. The Harlot hunts after the precious Life of the unconstant Lover; if the blab how he had her at Command, or grow beggarly, and cannot maintain her, after an excessive rate as formerly.
7thly. Stealing, Murther, and Adltery are joined together, 4 Hos. 2 Thus Men break out in all Lewdness, till Blood toucheth Blood running down in a full Current, to conceal Adultery, and violent spoiling of others, that the Co-partners in such sins may not live to shame them, not bear witness against them.
8thly. The murthering of an innocent person palliats it self sometimes, under a pretext and and form of Justice, by adding solemn Perjury to the false Accusation. This springs form Covertousness, which is the Root of all Evil. Hence the Jews in Badylon were charged to love the Truth and Peace, Zac, Because they falsely swore one another out of their Lives, to ingratiate themselves with their Oppressors; but to conceale any Circumstance of Truth which might serve to clear the the Innocent, is virtually to condemn and murther him.
Here were showed Eight degree of murther, which some being Guilty of, yet conceite themselves to stand clear of this horrid sin.
Also the occasional motives which excite to murther.
1st. Atheistical living in some secret sins, which God justly punishes with Capital Crimes to b em to publick shame, thereby to convince them of their Athieistical hopes of impnity.
2dly. By exercising cruel sports upon Bty Creaes, some are insensible hardned against Men, their Fellow Creares, the most excellent pieces of Gods Creation.
3dly. Other to Satisfie their passionate humour, correct their Children and Servants in Extremity, till being flush in cruelty, they proceed to Barbarous taking away of Life it self.
4thly. When Love not well grounded at first, turns to loathing and harred out of a wanton humour, causing groundless ealousies to work as inragedly as if they were real. These bring on Murther.
5thy. When Men cannot brook any Contradiction of an inbribed pinion, nor any reproof, tho' never so mild, but count a Libel which blasts their Reputation.
Others y Murther, remove all who stand in the way of their self irest, or commit it upon a Suspition, that others will be afore hand in practicing it upon them.
6thly. The restraining of Prayer, and casting off the Bridle of Divine Fear, 3 Rom. 15, 16, 17, 18.
7thly. Heefie, Coveteousness and Hypocrisie, which usually combine, fower Mens Conversations, with Envy and Maliious Cruelty 28 Prov. 16, 17, 18. Compared. The Hypocrite uts a kind of force upon himself when he doth most good, therefore it is no wonder if he use violence to others who discover him to his shame.
Here were rescribed some Antidotes to preserve from the Commission of Murther.
1st. Express a tender compassionate heart to the very Dump Bruite reature. Some Phylosophers thought, that if one Beast go’d another, the petulant Assailant ought to be Killed imediately; many Heathens chose to feed only upon Herb, and not on the Flesh of Beasts, as holding themselves obliged to preserve the lowest kind of Life, which they could not give.
2ldy. Labour fr a regenerate state of spiritual living to God in Christ, you will be full of Compassion to all meanst parts of the visible Creation, if you have received this highest Mercy from God, viz. the Divine Renovation of your coupt Nature.
3dly. Morrifie Pide, which cause us to overvalue our selves, and to coment the Life of another, when he crosses our worldly inerest, and humoursome self-indulgence yea, the living hed-strong in our own way, brings some to self marther, hinking thereby to be revenged on others, who contradict us un the proud conceit of our selves, or cross our worlly sinfull projects.
4thly. Be not faint hearred in resisting the Temptation to Murther, because what evil Men strongly conceit, they shall be lest to thmselves to do, they cannot be quiet, till they accomplsh it indeed.
5thly. If you canot by all Arguments used towards your selves, overcome the Temptation, lay open the whole Train of the Moive thereunto, do not conceal the Devils Counsel, but reeal it. This is the ready way to break the force of the Sggestion, but reserve nothing undiscovered, that ther may be a perfect Cure of thy Grief.
6thly. Study commendable revenge upon thy self, in morrifying and killing Temptations Lufts; this will turn the Current of all Malicious Projects against others, into erenity of ind, in an Holy, Humble Conversation, so as to study welfare of all Men.
7thly. The Ordinary concluded with advice to such who have committed Murther, what do, to get the guilt and filement waed off, with an Exhortation to all the Audory, not to bself-cruel, in hazzarding the ruin of their Souls, but to come to Christ for Spiritual and Eternal Life.
Arguments perswade thereunto, and directions how to close with Crist, conclude the whole discourse.
I now proc to give an account of the Condemned Prisoners Behaiour and Confession. After several days prying with thm, and instructing them in the Nature and Effects of true aving Faith and Repentance I Encouraged them, if sensibe of the heinousness of their Crimes, to come to Chirst or Rest and Ease in a renewed Conscience, of which Frame, divers remarkable signs were laid before them.
Then the Ordinary took them severally, to give a acconor how they had spent their life, or what hope they had of a future happy State after their Death.
1st. Thomas Cross, Condemned for Murthering of Francis Ellet of Tedington in the County of Middlesex, on the 29th. of June. The Eidence was, that he with other persons coming into the house where the said Ellet was, and calling for drink, created a disturbance about paying the Reckoning, and thereupon drew their Swords, offering to wound all who stood in their way, to hinder their escaping, without paying of the said Reckoning.
When cross with others came into the Yard, there they found Ellet, the Deceased person and supposing that he came to the assistance of the Man of the House, one in the Company without any provocation, gave him a Mortal Wound, of which, within one quarter of an hour he dyed.
Thomas Cross is Aged 19 Years and an half, Born in Oxford-shire, was Aprentice with a Dyer , and had not above half a Year to serve: He saith that he saw not the Man when he was wounded, neither knows who struck him, but one in the Company fled for it, and is not yet taken. He says he was drinking with others, when the Quarrel first arose about paying of the Rackoning, but stands clear and innocent, as to the giving the Deceased person his Mortal Wound.
He Confess’d that he had led and ill life, in Drinking, Swearing, uncleanness with Women, and in Sabbath breaking, for which provocations of God, he justly left him, to be Embroyled in this Quarrel, in which, the person who assisted him, who sold Drink was Killed. He hath been tractable to the Ordinary, in giving him advice how he might obtain Repentance, in order to Eternal Life. He was sick several days in the Dungeon, where I visited him when he was not able to come to the Chappel, and by Collected Charity, he and other were refresht with Necessaries. I hope he was in some measure prepared for the Determination of his days. I observed him to be affected with my Advice, and in praying, and desired me to assist him at the time of his Death.
2dly. Timothy Swift Condemned, and in the Dead Warrant to be Executed with Thomas Cross for the said Murther, is Aged 31 Years, was Born in Kent bred up to be an Husband-Man and sometimes drove a Waggon on the Road. His Friends dyed when he was Young, so he said that he had not such Education, that I could expect much account from him of his knowledge in matters of Religion. He Lamented his misspent life, in Drinking, Swearing, and Sabbath breaking.
As to the Fact, he denyed not that he was drinking in the Company, which raised a Fray, wherein a Man was Killed. He said that the Wife of the Ale-house keeper, snarch’d from Thomas Cross his Baioner, and in the mean time the Murther was done; but he knows not by whom.
He said that he was very much troubled, that any Man should loose his life in a Quarrel, which was brought on by drinking of Excess, of which he had been Guilty formerly. Therefore for his intemperance and other sins, he looks upon this distress now come upon him, as a Justice recompense form God.
He was very sick in the Dungeon, and therefore said that he could not give me any larger account of the manner of the Mans being Killed, nor of his own preparation for Death, but only this, that he prays to God to make him truly sensible of his ill courts of life, and that he would strengthen him with Faith in his Mercy and Christs Merrits to bear his Death patiently, and that all other would take warning by him, to keep close to their Employment, and not joyn with bad Company, left they come to be Entangled in those Crimes, which run Men unto Sentence of Death.
3dly. A third person Condemned for the foresaid Murther, 18 Aged 30 Years, was Born in Kent, and had formerly exercised Husbandry. He Confessed that he had led an ill life, that he had been Guilty of hard drinking, and lately of neglecting the Durys of the Sabbath.
As to the Killing of the Man he gave this account, that himself with four more Connemned persons, were all pretty ful of drink when the Fact was done, and that a Quarrel arising about paying of the Reckoning, the Deceased person playing then at Nine-pins in the Yard adjoying to the house, where they were drinking, came to assist the
of the house, so the Quarrel increasing, he the Assistant was slain, but he knows not who gave him his Mortal wound. He says that that himself went away single after it was done, but three of the Company were apprehend-d together: Himself being taken, was carried the next Morning to view the slain Man, he saw the Wound, and desired to lay his Finger upon it , which he did: But then and now, he denys that he gave him the wound However, he is much troubled, that he should be in the Company of quarrelsome which occasioned the Murther, he seemed very penitent, and was attentive to may advice, to prepare himself for Death: But being Reprieved by his Majesties Gracious Clemency, he says, he hopes, he shall take warning to a mend his life, and shake off all bad Acquaintance, that he may in some measure experts his Duty to God and the Kingfor this singular Marcy bestowed upon him.
4thly, A four person Condemned for the said Murther, is aged 20 years, was born in Yokshire, a Clouthworker by Trade. He Confess’d that he had been guilty of breaking the Sabbath, and did walk in the Fields, when he should have been at Church, or otherwise well employ’d. That he drank sometimes to excess, was apt to Swear, and some other vain course he had not refrained from: of all which he now Repents as the Provocations of God to leave him to fall into this quarrel wherein a man was slain. But as to the person who gave him the wound, he says, he cannot charge any particular person in the Company positively. He exprest himself very penitently, and being Reprieved, says, he will endeavour to Reform his Life, and Keep close to the Kings Service, least he come into any future hazard of his Life.
5thly, A sh person Condemned for the foresaid Murther, is aged 21 years, was born is Huntingtonshire, was a Ploughman. Be Confest that he had not been careful to spend his time so well as he ought. That now he prays to God to make him truly sensible of all his past miscarryages. As to the fact of flaying the Man, he denies not that he was drinking in the Company who raised the Quarrel, but declares as a Dying person, that he cannot tell who gave the deceased person his mortal wound. He was very tractable to the Ordinary, and there is hope that he will make good use of the Kings Mercy.
6thly, There was another person Condemned with one Stayns, for stealing 50 s from Sarab Almond in the Parish of Stepney, on the 21 st of May last. He came into the House of the Prosecutor with Stayns, and while he was below Stayns pickt a Lock in the Chamber, and pretending business, departed with the Mony.
This person Condemned for joying in the Felony, is aged 35 Years, hath a Wife and six small Children, he was Born in Leicestershire, was a Tallow Chandler. Has a very Indulgent Father who bred him well. But he lamented that having a competent knowledge in the Sacred Scriptures, he had not led a Life suitable thereunto
He said that the chief Grief which lay Heavy on his Soul was, That he had not in any degree of Thankfulness answered the great goodness of the Lord bestowed upon him. He had misspent his Life in Drinking, Gaming and Swearing; Nay, said he with rears, I am guilty of all manner of Sins, Murther excepted, I never had any thought that way. Yet oh! How have I Crucified the Lord Jesus Christ by my multiplayed heinou provocations? He gave the Ordinary hopes of the truth of his Repentance; yet I told him how deceitful the Heart of man is, and that he had not taken warning formerly of such ill courses, which bring destruction at the last. He replyed, that if the Lord should now incline the King to spare his Life, be hoped he should not abuse so great mercy, otherwise, I had rather now dye, than to dishonor God, by returning to a course of sinning, to heap up divine wrath against the day of his strict Judgt. Being Reprieved by his Majesties Mercy, he desired my Pyers, that God would keep him firm to his Resolutions of leading an honest and virtuous Life.
thly, Another person was Condemned for Killing a Watchman; he is aged 23 years, was Born in Leicestershire was a Perfumer and a Glover, he says that he never wronged any man in his Life, ill this unhappy accident. That at this time when he met the Watchman, he was Sober. He said that being a Corporal in his Majesties Service, he had been receiving Orders, and was going to his Quarters, but met with a Rugged Watchman badwix the hours of a 11 and 12 at night. The Watchman bad him stand. The Corporal replyed, that he was the Kings Soldier, and was out so late to receive Orders, The Watchman said that he should not pass. The Corporal replied, send one of your Watch Company with me to know the Truth. The Watchman (as the Prisoner faith) replyed, we are no to wait on such frivolous Fellows: So quarrelsome words passing, the Watchman struck him with his staff, and to defend himself, he snatch it from him, and struck him b one Bow on the Head, which proved mortal. For this he faith he is very sorry, and by the whole observation of his haviour, I hope he is pnitent. He is Reprieve, and promises to be Circumspect for the future in his whole Conversation.
Heartly is a Girl of 17 years, was Born in Cumberland she lived with her Aunt in Southbeark, but not being ruled by her, took to extravagant Course. Lately she grew acquainted with Mary Burton, who says that hr Husband is at Sea, that she hath five Children, and fllows the employ of a Basket-Woman in the Markets . But the Girl Heartly denies that Burton takes any lawful Course for a livelihood, she rather trains her up to lewdness, and upon her desire, Heartly picked up the person on Tower hill, which was their setting place, and brought him to an Ale house in Rosemary Lane, which harbours persons of ill Conversation.
After Heartly, the young Artist in this kind of diving, had drunk freely with her easie natured frriend. he was so, in kind as to consent to lye down by her on Bed, and so, in wantoning she pickt his Pocket. It i strange that he was not ashamed to complain of that which he drew upon himself. However the old and young Tepters were under deep sorrow for fear of suffering the Sntence of Death. They are both Reprieved, and do resolve never more to debauch persons, but to lead honest civil Lives.
This is all the Account I can give of this essions.
This may be Printed July 15. 1687.R.P.
LONDON; Printed by D.Mallet, next Door to the Sign of the star, between Fleet-Bridge and Bridewell-Bridge.