A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFEESION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Seven Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the Ninth of May, 1690.
ON the Lord's Day the Ordinary preacht twice, on the 3d Verse of the 147th Psalm, viz. He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds. Whence was observed, That Sin makes deep and deadly wounds in all the Souls Faculties, especially in the Conscience. It is a spreading and a deceitful, destructive wound, because most men suffer it to ranck and fester.
Then were laid down the Recital of such Sins which do most wound the Conscience, and grieve the Spirit of God; and for what Reasons Sinners must be sensible of their sinful state, before they will apply themselves to Christ for healing and renewing Grace.
On Monday the Ordinary inquired how their hearts were affected. They did one by one give some account, that they were sensible of their sin and misery. To which was reply'd, that there are many deceitful pretences on which most men build their hopes of Future Happiness, Therefore I stated the whole method of Salvation as clearly as I could to their mean Understandings, and found, that as they obtained more knowledge, they grew more sensible of their sinful state, and more fit for the healing comforts of Gospel promises.
On Tuesday I required an Account, whether they did clearly apprehend the requisite indispensible Qualifications for Salvation: But finding that they did not, I stated the Nature of Evangelical Contrition, or true brokenness of Heart for and from Sin, how this differs from mere legal Attrition in the convictions only of Conscience without any change of corrupt Nature. Also I stated what are the Impediments of healing and renewing Grace, and urged on them many Arguments to come to Christ, for the binding up and healing their wounds in Conscience. I laid down the Characters of true Faith and Repentance, that they might not be deceived with false hopes of Heaven. After much Discourse with them severally, they were dismist with Prayer, and the singing of a penitential Psalm I visited them every day till their Execution, and most days twice.
Now I proceed to give an Account of their former course of Life, and of what Hopes they had for a blessed Eternity.
Robert Hilgrave, condemned last Sessions, and now ordered to be Executed. He confest that he knew the design of making a Mutiny in the Prison, that they might quarrel with their Keepers, and make a forcible Escape. Mr. Geodman, and one Saxton, with other Officers, coming to quiet them, the foremost is since dead of his wounds. Hilgrave also acknowledged that he had been a great Sinner in slighting the Admonitions of God's Ministers, for which he is now heartily sorry. He said that he repents he did not abhor and watch against Sin; and that tho' he sometimes prayed, yet he did not shun bad Company, which brought him to this untimely End. He said he hoped God would shew him Mercy upon his Repentance. I ask'd him what true Faith is? He replied, It is the Gift of God, to enable a Sinner to relie only on Christ, and his Righteousness, for Eternal Life. I told him that the Heart is very deceitful. He said, that upon his search of it, he finds that he abhors himself for the neglect of his Duty to God, in not hearkning to his frequent Calls of turning to him: And that if he might be spared, he would endeavour to amend his Life. These words were a good profession, but for the sincerity of his heart, I must leave that to God's determination.
John Wilson, Condemned for a Burglary with one Elderkin, aged 32 years, bred a Clothworker, in Penny stone Parish in Yorkshire. He kept a Victualling-House in Kent street. He said he had many ways sinned against God. I askt him wherein? But he did not declare expresly in what Particulars. I told him, tho' he hoped Christ dyed for his Sins, yet he would not wash away the guilt and defilement of any Sin, where it is not an heavy burthen on the Conscience. If it were so, he would take the shame of them, and acknowledge his Vileness in a more free and ingenuous manner. At last he said, that he had been very disobedient to his Parents, and that he had wasted their Estate to their great Damage and Grief: But that he will endeavour, to the utmost of his knowledge, to beg of God re|newing Grace, and to settle his Soul-state, that his Convictions may tend to a thorow Conversion in hating every evil work.
Jonas Ratcliffe Condemned for the same Crime, Aged 21 Years, Born in Cripplegate-Parish, bred up to the Trade of a Butcher . He served out his Apprenticeship, and lately Lifted himself for a soldier ; he hath been Twelve Months in that Service. He freely acknowledged, that he did not Pray that God would keep him from Temptations to Sin, and bad Company. He kept not the Sabbath, but was led aside at first by one Christopher Jones, and others, till he fell into this Crime. He did at times Drink to excess. But now he said, he is sorry for all his Sins, and begs of God a change of his Heart.
Philip Macqueere Condemned for Twice Robbing on the High-way, Aged 14 Years, Born in Ireland, bred to the Trade of a Watch-maker ; he set up for himself, and followed the said Employment for Three Years, then he became acquainted with another High-way Man, who sollicited him to an Idle and Expensive way of Living. He said, that the Person's Name was Barnet. That he had been a great Sinner. That he seldom Pray'd, and less Watch'd, against the Temptations of the World, and the Evil Inclinations of his own Heart. But now being sensible of his ill Life, it grieves him that he hath offended God, and transgrest the Laws. Yet he hopes, that upon his Repentance, the Lord will fit him for his Death, and make it a means to save his Soul.
George Crawford. Aged 36 Years, Born in Scotland. He Lived with his Father 12, or 13 Years, and since had been Employed in Military Affairs . He said, that tho' he hated Quarrelling, and Intemperance, yet he had sinned in other respects; for which God might justly be Angry with him, to suffer him to fall under the Sentence of Death. But now, he said, that he was sensible of the Evil Inclinations of his Heart, and the Miscarriages of his Life; so that he is Vile in his own Eyes, and Abhors all manner of Sin. He Wish'd, that his Humiliation may tend and work to a thorough sincere Conversion to God, and then he shall not count Death terrible.
Andrew Browne Condemned for Felony and Burglary, he is Aged 30 Years, was Born in Shrop shire, and bred a Carpenter . He followed that Employment Three Years in Red-Lyon-Fields. But leaving his Trade, and taking to an Idle Life, he fell into Evil Company, and thereby Committed the foresaid Crime. He said, that he had been guilty of Swearing, and excessive Drinking, of which he now Repents; chiefly for offending God, so that he hopes, thro' Christ's Merits, he shall make his Peace with God.
William Rolph Condemned for the same Burglary, Aged 23 Years, Born in Glocester-shire, bred up to Husbandry . He acknowledged, that he broke the Sabbath, and was guilty of Swearing; but now he Repents that he led a dissolute Life, and sinned so long against God. That he will endeavour to the utmost so to spend his short Life, that he may get the hope of being happy after his Death.
William Bristow Condemned for the same Felony and Burglary, Aged 23 Years, Born in Wilt-shire, a Farryer by Trade, but lately hath been a Soldier . He said, it was his hard Fortune to tall into bad Company. I replyed, that it was his own Corrupt Heart which led him aside to commit the Crime. Had he resolved in God's strength to have departed from all Iniquity, sinning could not so easily, upon Inticement, prevailed with him. He said, that God was Angry with him for many Secret Sins, which have brought him to open Shame and Punishment. Yet he was not afraid to Dye, if his peace be made with God.
John Thompson Condemned for Robbing a Waggon on the High way, Aged about 20 Years, was Born in Ireland, but came over to England in Service with a Gentleman who fled hither for the safety of his Person, being a Protestant. He said, he is sorry that he left the Gentleman's Service, about a Year since. So falling into bad Company he committed this Crime. He acknowledged the Just Hand of God upon him, for that he hath been guilty of most Sins excepting Murther. I hope he was Penitent, as willing to take Shame to himself for his Lewd Life.
William Elderkin Condemned for Felony and Burglary, Aged 24 Years, was Born in the Isle of Ely, a Wooll Comber by Employment. After his Father Dyed he came to London, and was a Soldier under the Lord Brunkard; whilst his Father and Mother lived he kept the Sabbath, but grew loose afterward, notwithstanding his Good Education. He said, he did too often Swear, and was guilty of other Sins. That he hopes he now Repents, but said he, It is not Crying Lord, Lord, have Mercy on my Soul, such only obtain this, who do the will of their Heavenly Father.
In Charity, I think several of them were Penitent, but the Truth of Repentance requires some time of Tryal, in bringing forth meet Fruits thereof For it is difficult to break off a a Custom in Sinning, so that a late Repentance is most what slight and false, as being more for fear of Death, than out of any true Love to God, or Hatred of Sin. But I must leave them to the Judgment of Him who only knows the sincerity of Mens Hearts.
On Fryday the 9th Instant, there were Eight of them put into Three Carts, in order to be Convey'd to the place of Execution, but being ascended Holborn Hill, or higher, there was a Reprieve over-took them, laying Claim to the Body of Philip Macqueer, High-way-Man , which was returned to Newgate, William Mawn being Reprieved in Newgate before Execution, who was put into the Dead Warrant the Day before, the other Seven being come to Tyhurn, (viz.) John Williams, William Column, James Chambers Jonas Ratcliffe, John Thompson, William Elderkin, and Robert Hillgrave, and the Ropes being placed about their Necks, Mr. Ordinary began to give them some kind and heavenly Exhortations, in order to their better and more safer passage to another World, desiring them freely to acknowledg their former Misdemeanors, (and Cruel, yea Desperate Adventures,) in a continued Race of Wickedness and Debaucheries. To which, Ratcliffe, Thompson, Elderkin, and Hillgrave, seemed with an Unanimous Consent to adhere, the Four latter were very Penitent, especially Hilgrave, who Cryed out, Gods Will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven, Come Lord and Receive thy Servant, who is ready to Depart, and willing to Dye. After his he gave a Paper to Mr. Ordinary, the Contents of which was, A Cordial Letter of Good Advice, and Heavenly Counsel, from the Minister of Chiswick, sent him to Newgate, which he said, did mightily affect his Soul, hoping God would have Mercy on him, for that he had wronged the aforesaid Minister, by standing by his Bed side, whilst others of his Gang Robbed him: but Confest withal, that he did not Injure him any way. He begged of the People to Pray for him, saying, that he was heartily sorrowful for all the Evil he had done.
Now remains somewhat to be spoken as to the other three condemned Prisoners, viz. John Williams, James Chambers, and William Column, who all appear'd at the time of their Execution to be Papists, tho' visited often by the Ordinary. Williams spoke particularly, saying, That he dyed a Papist and was always true to the Interest of the Late King James, denying the Fact for which he was condemned. The other two said little, but continued praying to themselves, by turning their Faces from the other Four before mentioned. Yet one thing may be Noted, whil'st the Ordinary was praying with the other Four, Column seem'd to attend devoutly, which Williams and Chambers check'd him for.
Afterwards the Penitential Psalm being sung, they were all turned off.
Let every True Hearted and Unprejudiced Protestant, of what Rank and Quality soever, see now what kind of Instruments, and Dubbed Utensils, the late King James has to work withal, no better than House-breakers, and Common Thieves, who have been fairly Convicted by our English Laws: Yea such Laws that King James himself must needs have made use of, for the Conviction of such Cruel Miscreants as these were; if he had been Seated in the Royal Throne, (which God forbid.) These, and such like, are the Men that even when the Ropes are about their Necks, and just ready to be turned off, they will spit their Venom against the Face of the Government, and if it were possible Stone to Death all the Spectators. Yea the very Civil Officers who are ordered by Law to attend their Execution were affronted, the Prisoners Dying (as it were) like Mad men, putting a bold Face upon't, as if there were no Heaven to Condemn, nor no Hell to Torment, trusting only to the deluding Vanities of a vain hop'd for Purgatory. Which the laborious and never wearied Jesuits, and untir'd Popish Priests do always Buz in their Ignorant Ears, till they have them so fast, that they can never be unlinked, from the Cunning Devices, and Devilish Stratagems, of that Whore of Babylon, who has always been striving to make the Nations Drunk with the Blood of her Fornications, by joining their Gog and Magogs together to undo, yea, (and if it were possible,) to deceive, the very Elect, which such silly Earth-Worms as those will not be sensible of till they come to feel the dreadful effects of it, (in another World,) to their final and everlasting Destruction and Misery, from which dismal Sentence they can never be Redeemed.
This is the whole Account which I can give of this Session, tho' I visited them every day till their Execution.
Dated this 9th of MAY, 1690.
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