A True ACCOUNT of the Behaviour and Confession Of the Eighteen Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Monday the 15th of July 1689.
ON Saturday the Ordinary Visited the Condemned Prisoners, Praying for them, and earnestly exciting them to call to Remembrance such Sins, especially which they Atheistically committed against clear and strong Convictions of Conscience, or the breach of former Vows and Purposes to Reform, some of them being old Offenders, and in hazard of their Lives before.
Yet they were little sensible of any Sin at that time, therefore they were dismist with Prayer, that they might be in a better Temper of Mind, on the Morrow, or Lord's Day.
In the Forenoon this Text was Preach'd on, viz. the 5th Chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew, the 4th verse, Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
The Text in the Afternoon was the 4th verse of the 9th Chapter of St. John, The Night comes wherein no man can work.
On Monday the ordinary prayed for them, and required an Account what Impressions were made on their Hearts by the Holy Offices performed on the Lord's Day. They said, They were much affected with both the Sermons. They seemed to be in a more complying frame with good Counsel than on Saturday. They acknowledged, that they had been great Sinners, yet were very unwilling to give any accoun of their particular Offences against God or Man. The Ordinary told them, That they ought to make publick Acknowledgement of publick candals to warn others to avoid such Sins, for which God had fiftly left them to Notorious Crimes.
Some desired me not to press on them the just Demerits of their Sins. Whereupon I told them, That Comfort could not rightly be administred before an humble sense of Sin had prepared the Heart for it; otherwise Wounds in the Conscience will fester and prove desperately mortal. I stated the Naure of True Faith and Repentance, and how to obtain both from God. But upon Enquiry, they retained very little of the Counsel given, so prevalent is a custom in sinning to tupisie the Heart. After much Discourse, I concluded with Prayer, and dismist them for that time.
On Tuesday I divided them (because they were Twenty one) into a three fold Classes of 7 at a time, renewing Counsel and Prayer with each Company, which the more affected them afterward. I enquired into the manner of their Education and Conversation.
First, Thomas Roberts Condemned for Robbing in the Highway, Aged 16 Years. He was an Apprentice to a Taylor . He said, That he had too long known and joyned bad Company, as young as he was, but hoped that now he was sensible of his Sins.
Nicholas Mason, Condemned for Felony, Aged 8 Years. He was an Apprentice to a Silk-Throwster . He confess'd that he went to Church with his Master to deliver his Bble to him, which done, he went into the Fields and used vain Sports. Yet lie was careful to return to his Master bfore the Church Des were finish'd, that he might no mistrust his Absence: But he hopes that God will pardon that wicked Practice and all other. The Ordinary wish's that Servants were examined what was Preach'd on the Sibbath, that so great a delusion may not pass undiscovered.
George Maxfield, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, and burnt in the hand the last Session, Aged 20 Years. He confess that he had been an ill Liver, and did not take warning, there ore expcts to die now, yet hopes upon his Repentance, God will be merciful to his Soul.
Henry Jones Condemned with Robert Scot and Thomas Stiles for Felony in the Highway. He is Aged 23 Yews', born in Pembrookshire. He said he was not brought up to any Trader, so Idleness exposed him to want, and this to Robbing. I told him it was no excuse, that others had inveighed him to joyn in offering violence to any Man.
Thomas Lee Condemned for Felony and Burglary, Aged 18 Years born in Hertfordshire. He was an Horse-Course . He was very regardless of his Eternal State, and was hardly able to repeat the Apostles Greed.
William Ball Labourer , Condemned for Felony in the Highway, Aged 23 Years, born in Glocestershire, was Apprentice to a Wine Cooper . He says he was led to the Fact by i Company, who since made theirscape. He is sorry that he did not pray to God to keep him from sinning, but broke the Sabbath, and continued in a loose Life: But hopes he shall make his Peace with God.
Robert Harper, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, Aged 21 Years, born in Suffolk, a Taylor by Trade. He complained of joyning with bad Company in prophaning the Sabbath. I ask'd him how he hoped to be saved? He replied by Christ's Merits an Intercession, who he hopes pleads for him, that he may be more sensible of his Sins. He said that his heart was not broken for them as he desir'd, and that if he were fit to die, he would not be trouble at Death.
Two Condemned Persons being ask'd what their course of Life had been, would make no Acknowledgement, They were very gnrant therefore they were the longer Instructed.
Issac Ford, Condemned for Robbing Mary Bennet, Aged 23 Years He was born in Bristol; he said that he was falsly Accnsed, yt he had committed many sins for which God might permi such a Sentence to fall upon him. He said that he had traed into the West Indies, and there experienced God's Merces, yet he had not lived answerably. He said that he ought to nave been more frequent in Prayer, which preserves Men in their Duty to God, and keeps them from too much Familiarity with Person o ill Fme. Such he said was Mary Bennet.
John Parry, Condemned for Burglary. Aged 22 Years, born in Cloth Fair. He said he was bred a soldier from Ten Years of Age. That he had received from God many Mercies, and great Preservations of his Life, for which he was not thankful as he ought to have been, otherwise he had walk'd m the Fear of God, and had' not sinned in such a manner.
John Roberts, ohwise named Twopots, the more cleverly to conceal his wicked Facts. He stands Condemned, with his Brother, Thomas Roberts for Robbing on the Highway; aged 20 years, born in Leicester. H was an Horner by Employment, yet sell into bad Company, and broke the Sabbath. The condemned Prisoners generally confess that this is the Inter into all their subsequent Crimes. He hopes that he shall be prpared for Death because he now finds some Sins to be more bitter than they wee pleasant and delightful.
William Jones condemned with Robert Evans for Robbing on the Highway aged 21 years, born in Monmouth, a Perfumer of Gloves by Employment. I enqre why he left it off, to se up the Trade of Robbing. But he would not give any account of his ill Life and Conversation.
Elizabeth Moulton, codmned for murering her Bastard child, she is agd 2 years, born at St. Martins in the Fields, her Employment was to carry Loads of Meat from the Market . She confess that she cast her Child into the Boghouse, to avoid the shame of a Bastard. I askt her what (she thought) provoked God to leave her to the committing of so barbarous a Crime. I was with her a full hou, praying with her twice and exhorting her to Repentance. At last she said, that she went to Church, yet she little minded the World of God, and did not oy that part she which instructed in. I required her to repeat the Apstles Creed, which she did. I told her, that had she lived o to the Christian Faith, and had truly believed that God was Almighy, in rewarding the Righteous, and punishing the wilful Transssors of his Laws, she would have been more fearful of provoking him by willful sinning.
Hereupon she said, That she had been guilty of Swearing, Lying, and Uncleanness. So the Devilled her from one Sin to another, till she Murtherd her Child. Yet she said, That upon her Repentance she hoped to make her Peace with God She confess’d that her Heart was not so sensible on sin as she
desired, and therefore prayed that it might be more soned. I ask'd her what saving Faith is? She said to trust in God’s Mercy and Christ's Merits. I explained the nature of true Faith and Repentance at large to her, and ask'd whether she thought these conditional Qualifications for Salvation were easie. She replied, No, because she had been accustomed to Sinning.
Afterward the Ordinary required all the Condemned Criminals to come to Prayers. and spent much time with them. Exhorting them not to trifle in the Concernment of their Souls, but to be serious and sincere therein, that they might obtain a future happy State. I again stated the necessary Qualifications requisite for Salvation, and enquired of most of them singly what was the frame of their Hearts in order thereunto. Some sighed and wept; others did not care to give any distinct account of their Repentance, among whom were Robert Scot, and Thomas Stiles, who were Condemned for Robbing in the Highway.
Robert Palmer, Condemned for Murdering one Edith Shanck whom he called his Wife . He is Aged 34 years, and was born in Glocestershire. I took all the care I could to convince him of the Barbarity of his Crime, but he extenuated, and in a manner disowned it, tho it were fully proved against him. He was very Refractory, and would not stand to any Account of his Life, but said, he had given his Friends satisfaction, and that was enough.
Robert Evans, Condemned with William Jones for Robbing in the Highway. He said he was aged 26 years, born in Worcestershire; That he lately came out of Ireland, where he had lived six years, some part of which he spent in being employed with a File-cutter ; That he kept afterwards a Victualling-house in Ireland for one Year and an half; That lately coming over into England, he went to Bomingham, to see some Friends, and as he was returning towards London, met with Jones, and drinking with him, consented to the Robbery. He confest that he had been a great Sinner, had neglected Prayer, and slighted the Sabbath: But he hopes, God will have mercy on him, for he finds his heart not totally hardned, but feels Sin to be an heavy burthen, and begs of God to make him holy, as well as to deliver him from Hell. I observed him to be more penitent than most of the other Criminals.
The Ordinary prayed with them, and exhorted them every day till their Death, and on the last Lord's Day preacht twice on this Text, viz. the 19th Chapter of St. Luke the 10th Verse, The Son of Man is come to seek, and save that which is last. But the condemned Prisoners refused to come to the Chappel in the Afternoon.
The Prisoners expecting to be Executed on Friday last, had, notwithstanding, a longer time allowed them to farther their Repentance, and make their Peace with Heaven. But, on the contrary, they confederated to contrive Escapes, and, accordingly, on Saturday Night, being in the Condemned Hole with such Instruments as had been privately brought them by such as had admittance, by declaring they were their Wives or Relation. Many of them had loosned and broke their Fetters, yet whil'st they were about to break out, the Watch alarum'd the Keepers, and Major Richardson, upon Notice of the Attempt, came with such a Guard as could be obtained on the sudden, when finding them resolutely bent to dispute for their Liberty, he caused a Ladder to be fetched, and a Blunderbuss charged with Peas, being Fired in at the Grate under the Arch, the dread of a further Harm, induced them to more calmness. However, they continued to declare, they would rather dye in the place, than be Executed at Tyburn, which occasioned a vigilant Guard to be set upon them: But their Fury, by degrees, abating, on Sunday in the morning they came to the Chappel, and the ordinary exhorted them in a Sermon, suitable to the sad Occasion, to repent them of their sins, whilest God's Mercy was to be had; and not to trifle away the precious moments allowed them to gain a happy Eternity. To which many of them gave heedful Attention, but being sent for in the Afternoon, they refused to come, professing to adhere to their former Resolution, of opposing their Execution; which Obstinacy obliged the Keepers, for the preventing further mischief, to Hand-cuff them with Irons. And they had Notice, such as were in the Dead Warrant, to prepare themselves more resolvedly to dye the next morning. When as the Ordinary came to them, in order to give them Consolation, suitable to their great Emergency, and to pray that God would give them a thorough sense of their Sins, and a true and sincere Repentance.
The time for their being carried to the place of Execution come, 18 Men and 2 Women were put in sundry Carts, viz John Twopots, Nicholas Mason, Thomas Stiles, William Ball, Henry Jones, Robert Harper, John Parry, William Jones, George Maxfield, Thomas Roberts, Robert Scot, Robert Palmer, Thomas Emerson, John Jefferies John Atherton, William Ball, John Stent, Robert Evans, Mary Jones, and Elizabeth Moulton, in order to their being conveyed presently to Tyburn, Sixteen with their Iron Hand cuffs on, appearing in Penitence and marks of Contrition, much different what they did a little before; for now approaching Death began to look more ghastly. But by the way, Robert Evans had the good Fortune to meet with a Gracious Reprieve, adding more days to his Life, in hopes of a future Amendment. When about Ten in the Morning Twelve of the Men were Tied upon two of the Angles of the Gallows, all of them expressing by their Words, Behaviour, and Countenances a remorse for the Sins they had committed, desiring God of his infinite Mercy to pity and pardon them in their last and great Tryal and Extremity, but more especially John Jefferies bewailed the greatness of his Offences, praying very frequently, and acknowledging his unworthiness, confest that even from the Age of Eight Years he hid been addicted to Vices not common to Youth, and in the Series of his Life had been guilty of the most notorious Crimes, Murther excepted. He not only poured ut his Spirit in ehemency of Prayer, but desired the Prayers of others and that the Spectators would take warning to shun those ways that had provoked God to suffer him to fall into so great a shame and misfortune, &c. continuing very Penient till the last.
John Atherton, a Youth not exceeding 16 or 17 years, confessed likewise, that he had been guilty of many heinous Crimes, bat refused to come to particulars, saying he had confessed; to God already, bat that he had been Guilty of breaking the Commandment being Guilty even of the Sin of uncleanness. The rest likewise Acknowledged their Sins in general, and desired Forgiveness of Gad and Man, but could not be brought to an ingenious Confession as to particulars. The Ordinary prayed, with them, and sung Psalms, in which they joyned with some Cheerfulness, when having Exhorted them to a stedfast Faith, and a full reliance on God's Mercies for the pardon of their Sins, the two Carts, in which they were, drew away, and they by that means were committed to Eternity.
These had not hanged above a quarter of an hour, when the two Women, and the other Five Men were brought, and put into a Cart, under the other Angle of the Gallows, to which they were tied; the Women, especially, were extreme penitent. Jones confessed she had been a great Sinner, prayed to herself, and desired the Prayers of others, bewailed her Sins that had brought her to such Shame and Disgrace: and, to conclude, she made a very pious End. But before these were turned off, the other 12 still hanging on the Gallows, a Gentleman made up with a Reprieve for John Stent, whereupon he was taken out of the Cart: And the Ordinary having prayed with the rest, exhorted them, as the former, after which they were committed to the mercy if their Redeemer. As for John Moor Charles Price, Thomas Lee, Isaac Ford, Ann Robinson, and Katharine William, who received Sentence of Death with those that suffered, they were Reprieved in Newgate.
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