A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Six Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the 12th of September, 1690.
On the next Day, being Saturday, the Ordinary visited the condemned Criminal, praying with them, and earnestly exhorting them to look back on the the Vicious Course of their Life, and to consider for what secret Sins, not repented of, God had justly suffered them to commit the Crimes for which they were under the Sentence of Death.
They were not then so sensible of their sinful and deplorable Condition; therefore Exhortation to Repentance was renewed, as also to prepare for the solemn Duties of the Sabbath.
On the Lord's Day, in the Forenoon, the Text was in the 5th of S. Matthew's Gospel and the 8th Verse, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
In the Afternoon a Sermon was preached on the 59 and 60th Verses of the 119th Psalm. I considered my ways and turned my feet into thy testimonies. I made haste and delayed not to keep thy Commandments.
From the former part of which Words were stated the syncere signs of a penitential Reflection on a sinful Life.
The Divine Law casts down all proud Thoughts, in a syncere Convict, so that he submits to the searching Power thereof, that he may throughly understand his deceitful Heart. He loves the Law of God, because it is very pure and strict, as disturbing false Peace in the Conscience.
Where there is a Horror and Conviction there will be an unfeigned Grief for offending God's Holy Spirit, and an universal Hatred of all Sin as Sin, more as it pollutes than damns, put therefore your selves to Grief and Shame, chiefly for perverting the Long-suffering of God, who hath waited so long to be gracious to you; you have already, in excess, turned away your Hearts from God to the indulging of your Lusts: It is high Time to abandon Satan's Service. When Sin by Custome becomes rooted, the Power and Kingdom of Satan is more confirmed: Resolve therefore immediately to convert to God, late Repentance is not so acceptable, because herein the Lord is less glorified. It is not so profitable to others, who lose much Edification, by not setting early good Example before them. It is not so comfortable to your selves, not only because you wrestle with more difficulties, as the Heart is grown more obdurately stubborn, but because you cannot so fully clear up your syncerity in turning your Feet unto God's Testimonies.
There is little tryal of the Truth of Repentance, when we are forced in to God by sharp Afflictions or Agonies of Terror, at the Approach of Death. As soon as you resolve to change your evil Course, all yonr endeavours will have Acceptance with God, he will be ready to help you, if you persue your Advantages, the Work will grow easier, so that after a while you shall be enabled to run the Paths of God's Commandments with pleasure and delight: Let us therefore cast away the Sin which so easily besets us, let us speedily and resolutely run the race of Obedience set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher of our Faith; so shall we triumph in our very Conflicts. What unspeakable Joy will this Testimony of our Conscience produce, that we have so seriously considered our Ways as seriously to turn our Feet into God's Testimonies.
I now proceed to give an Account of the condemned Prisoners Behaviour, what course of Life they led, and what penitential Dispositions were in them to fit them for their Death.
I. Francis Osborne, Condemned for robbing on the Highway: He was a Goldsmith , by Trade, in Cannon-street above 7. Years. He confest the Crime to the Ordinary, though he denied it at his Tryal. He said that it much troubled his Conscience that he drew on the other Accomplices to the said Robbery, but would not declare their Names. He confest that for his many secret Sins, in which he lived without any Remorse, and for keeping bad Company, God had now brought him to publick Shame: That he neglected praying and other Duties of Religion, otherwise the Lord had kept him from robbing; but affirmed that this was the first Flt of that nature. He was very compliant with the Advice which I gave him to prepare for his Death.
II. G - W - condemned for robbing on the Highway. He confest the Crime, I ask him what Employment had been bred up to; he said that he had served the late King James as a Trooper, and had served our present King William, but some difference arising 'twixt him and his superior Officer, he quitted the Service about a quarter of the Year since, which he much blames himself for, because an idle Life had exposed him to robbing on the Highway. He was not so sensible at the first, yet afterward lamented the ill Course of his Life, and that he had given bad counsel and example to others.
III. Thomas Yarrold, condemned for stealing a Gelding: He confest the Fact. He had exercised Husbandry , in the Service of a Minister, for three Years. He says, It repents him that he did not follow the good Counsel of his religious Master, but left him and went to Sea , afterwards being desirous of an eae Life, he quitted that Employment and joyned with bad Company, till he brake the Sabbath: He seldom prayed that God would keep him from the Wickedness of his own Heart, so he grew more dissolute.
IV. John Daynter, condemned for breaking the House of one Mr. Joseph Yates, in the Day-time. He was formerly a Shoemaker , set up for himself, but neglected his Trade and joyned himself to merry Company, as himself exprest it, they spent freely and bore his share most what. He said, That he had sinned against the clear and strong Convictions of his Conscience, had made many Vows to God of Reforming his Life, but had broken them: Yet in this Concession, though he wept, he ac|knowledged that his Tears and utmost Repentance could not cleanse away the Guilt and Pollution of his Sins. He said that he durst not trust his own Heart, his relenting for Sin is so late and slight, and praies to God, that his sorrow, may not be more for the Fear of Death, than that he hath offened a Gracious and long suffering God. I hope he was penitent.
V. James Smith, condemned for robbing in the Highway, with G - W -: when he was tyed up, in order to receive the Sentence of Death, he exceedingly misbehaved himself. The Ordinary laid this very much to his Conscience, so that he desired him, to publish his deep Sorrow for it, and that he begs the Pardon of the Court for his mad and wicked Carriage. He confesses the Crime, and that his Friends bred him up to no Employment, so he hath been exposed to many Temptati
ons of Robbing, and hath several Times used such a wicked Course, to furnish himself with Mony for his Excesses. He solemnly affirmed, that he never killed any Man: That he is very sensible how he hath drawn on others to sinning: He said that he had been very disobedient to his Parents, and therefore God justly brought him to this untimely and shameful Death: That he dispised strictness of Life, was guilty of Swearing, Intemperance, breaking of the Sabbath, and living like an Athist; but now his Conscience is wounded in the remembrance of all his Impieties, yet he hopes, through God's Mercy, that he shall be daily more contie in Heart, and prepared for his Death.
VI. Thomas Cox, condemned for robbing Thomas Boucher on Hounslow heath: He denied the Crime at his Tryal, but confest it since to the Ordinary. After several Visits and earnest Exhortations to repent, he confessed that he had been in Newgate about four Years since, and was condemned for killing a Man. I told him, That had he taken warning from his narrow escaping the Sentence of Death then, or had he been truly penitent for shedding Innocent Blood, which cries loud to Heaven for Vengeance, he would not have contracted another fatal Crime. He only acknowledged in general terms, That he had been a great sinner, that he had led an idle Life, which betrayed him to many sinful Excesses. He gave me just cause to fear he was bred up a Papist, or had turned such for worldly Interest: Therefore I used many Arguments to convince him, how dangerous it is to die in a false Religion, or in not living up to the Purity and Power of the Protestant. When I visited him in the Evening before his Death, I ask him whether he were a Papist, he so little regarded what I prayed or exhorted him unto, he made me no answer, and seemed not much concerned, therefore I said at parting, the Lord undeceive you as to any false Hopes of Heaven.
This is the whole Account which I can give of this Session.
Dated this 12th of Septem. 1690.
On Friday about 10 a Clock they were all 6 conveyed in 2 Carts to the Place of Execution, where being all fastned to the Tree, they were (in good order) exhorted to renew their Repentance, and to prepare themselves for their so suddain Change by Death, Mr. Ordinary taking great pains in Prayer to God for their Souls Salvation, using several cogent Arguments to prepare them to a free Confession unto Almighty God of all their former mispent Lives; to which they all readily attended except Cox and W - who were very impertinent in their Behaviour, and undecently and irreverently reflected upon the Government; for which the Ordinary gave them a suddain and a severe Check, and would not suffer them to proceed.
James Smith carried himself more moderate, and confessed, That he was Guilty of the Crime for which he died, but that he never committed any Murther, desiring all the Spectators to take Warning by his untimely End; and that they would be obedient to Parents, for that Sin was the beginning of his Ruine.
John Daynter was exceeding penitent: He was a young Man, yet it is to be hoped that God hath had Mercy on his Soul, for he freely confessed, That he had been guilty of very great Sins, as Sabbath breaking, Swearing, Lying, Drunkenness, and a great Whoremonger: But withal he declared before God and the World, That he never wronged any Man before this Time. He cried mightily to God for Mercy, and begged all young Men to take speedy Warning by his untimely End; earnestly desiring all Men present to pray for him: He very penitently and humbly joyned in the Prayers of the Church, as also was very desirious to be instructed in any thing that might contribute to his Salvation, and very meekly submitted to the stroak of so suddain a Death. But not without acknowledging, That he was indebted to several persons in divers Sums of Mony, but saying, He was now altogether uncapable of making Restitution; he hoped that they would remit him, &c.
Tho. Yarrold said, That he offered to sell a Horse to one Mr. Ball, but said he did not steal it, before he was brought to Tyburn; but there he confest it, but he said he did not know the Owners Name, but desired the Horse might be returned to Flitton, near Ampthill Town in Bedfordshire, And said he was very sorry he had done so much wrong, &c. acknowledging withal, That he had married an honest Wife, but had some time since put her away; and had been of late in Adultery. He desired the people to pray for him, and take warning by him.
Francis Osborne was very sorry that he had disgrac'd so good and ingenious a profession as his was; declaring that this Crime was the first that ever he did of that nature, but would not freely acknowledg, nor give any account of the other two, who were concerned with him in the Robbery.
After this Mr. Ordinary prayed with them, and sang a Psalm of Penitency; to which Daynter, Yarrold, Osborn, and Smith gave an attentive Ear. After Mr. Ordinary taking his final leave of them, and recommending them all to God's Grace and Mercy, they were all fix immediately turned off.
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