A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the 8 Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Wednesday the Third of June, 1691.
ON the Lord's-Day in the Forenoon the Ordinary preach'd from the 9th Verse of the 39th Psalm, Deliver me from all my offences, and make me not the reproach of the foolish. In the Afternoon, from the 3d Verse of the 14th Chapter of St. John's Gospel, viz. If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him; and we will come to him, and make our abode or dwelling in him. From which were drawn these Observations:
1. That Christ left these words as a Legacy to his Disciples, to Comfort them in his Bodily absence; that he would abundantly recompence it in the Spiritual manifestations of his Love, as a Reward of their Obedience.
2. It is not sufficient to make out our Interest in God the Father, and our Love to Christ, that we know his Will, unless we keep his Words, and conform our selves to his Sacred Laws.
3. They who keep and obey Christs Laws, shall have a great Reward, because God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, will not only visit such, but also take up their abode and dwelling in their Hearts. How great a condescension is this, That God who is infinitely satisfied in himself, should delight to dwell in such narrow and defiled Hearts as ours are, at the best, Isaiah 66. 1, 2.
1. That we cannot dwell in God, till he first dwell in us by his Spirit, as persuading us to express our duty to him. In these particulars we must in all doubtful Cases consult with God, as our All-satisfactory Oracle, for quieting the Anxiety of our minds, Psalm 73. 21, 22. & 143. 8, 10.
2. We must chuse God as the all-sufficient Store-house of all pleasant Accommodations, for this Life and that which is to come, Psalm 31, 21. & 65. 4.
3. We must fix our Thoughts on the Contemplation of God's Excellency, by a constant delight, till we are transformed into his likeness, Psalm 27, 4. 2 Cor. 3. 18.
4. During the Distresses of our Pilgrimage, we must betake our selves to God, as the only Refuge and refreshing Repose of our Souls, Psalm 116. 6, 7.
5. We must not only Visit the Lord in Distress, but, after we are relieved, must dwell with him, so as that he shall be sure to inhabit our Praises, Psalm 22. 2, 3. & 65, 1, 2. & 73. 27. & 84. 4.
The Priviledges of God's dwelling in us.
1. The Lord's intimate Inspection will govern us, in a Conformity to his Sacred Laws. 2. He will defend his Interest and Propriety in us, as his Mansions of Delight. 3. He will not only support and underprop our Hearts, but will richly adorn them with all variety of Heavenly Graces. 4 He will communicate the most endearing Pledges of his Love; as Persons dwelling together are most free in their Conversation, and imparting of their Secrets: And will not the Lord much more unfold the Mysteries of his Kingdom, both of Grace and Providence, to such who love and serve him.
The Duties me must express for so great Condescension.
1. Let us wholly Appropriate and Dedicate our Hearts to the Lord, and not suffer Satan to rifle them of their Integrity, or their Peace. 2. Let us walk with God in an Aweful Reverence, not to grieve his Holy Spirit, by any strangeness to him, or disconformity to his Sacred Laws. We cannot contrive to dwell more Safely, and with greater commodious Advantages than in God, who is the Concentring Loveliness of all Divine Perfections.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned.
How foolish have you been in not acquainting your selves with God? possibly you have given formal short visits to him in distress, but after deliverance, you have turned your back in contempt of the most High. How can you expect that God should dwell in you, who only loves a lightsome cleanly Mansion, instead of chusing the Lord for your Dwelling-place? you have been Vagrants on the Mountains of Prey; you have wandred in the common Roads of impiety, till you have luard your selves into a Prison, where you have propagated wickedness, and have not been disciplined to the amendment of your lives; your Souls are taking their flight out of this World, yet how dreadful is this to be doubtful where they will be lodged to Eternity; you have dwelt in the Contemplation of lustful contrivances, till you have cherisht these into habitual wickedness; but can you indure to dwell in everlasting burnings? Can you think that a few expiring sighs and tears can reconcile you to your provoked Judge? O repent of your late and slight repentance! Beg of God that he would erect the beautiful Structure of the New Creation in your Hearts, so shall you not dread dwelling in the Regions of Infernal darkness; but being conformed to God in an Holy State, you shall exchange your mouldring Tabernacles for Mansions of Blessedness, which cannot be shaken, in which you shall enjoy the all-satisfying presence of the Lord of Life and Glory to Eternity.
The Ordinary visited the Condemned on Fryday after Sentence of Death past upon them, and every day till their Execution: on Munday he examined them every one apart how they stood prepared for a Blessed Eternity; and instructed them largely in the nature of saving Faith and Repentance, and prayed often with them.
I proceed to give an Account of what they said unto me.
I. Christopher Tremane, Condemned for two Burglaries, aged 40 Years. He was well Educated, but improved not that advantage for the regular ordering of his Life. He dealt in the Commodities of a Sales-man , but living expensively, was forced to lay down his Trade. At last he Listed himself in Military Employment , but left it, and joyned with bad Company in Robbing on the Roads. He said he never wounded nor killed any Man. He was much troubled that he had broken his Vows to God for the amendment of his Life, whereupon he sinned to an excess in wickedness. He said, That his sorrow for sin was not that it exposed him to a shameful Death, but chiefly for offending God, who hath been very mercyful unto him, in not cutting him off sooner. That it is his unhappiness that he hath so short a time to call to remembrance the sins of his Life, and to testifie the truth of his repentance, by the amendment of it; yet he hopes that God will accept him in Christ, and that he trusts not for Mercy in his Humiliation and Contrition. He said, That he prays more that God would change his corrupt Heart, than that he would pardon his
sins. He was much troubled that he was not assured of his happy State after this Life, I told him, That a sincere, humble reliance on God's free Grace through Christ, joyned with the purifying effects of it, was sufficient to put him into a State of Salvation; and that the Faith of adhearnce to God in Christ, when he seems an Enemy to us, is more properly Faith, than any evidental knowledge of our Interest in God. He replyed, That he desired to yield up himself to God's disposal, and that it was a great mercy he did not dispair, for he had been guilty of most notorious wickedness. He said, That it would ease his Conscience, could he speak with such whom he had wronged, to desire their forgiveness of him: and wisht he could make Restitution, as Knowing it is his duty; but it grieved him, that he was not in any capacity to do it. He wept often, and in all my Discourses with him apart, gave me more satisfaction of his Contrition than any other of the Criminals.
II. Margaret Dean, Condemned for murthering her Female Infant Bastard Child. She said, That before the committing of this Crime, she had led a bad life: That she did not pray against the Temptations of Uncleanness: That he who begot the Child promised her Marriage, but soon after forsook her, and went to Sea; making no provision for her in his absence: so out of distrust of a Livelyhood, and to cover the shame of Bastardy, she threw the still-born Child, such she called it, into a Vault; but her Mistress suspecting that she had made away the Child, caused the search of the Vault, where it was found. She denyed not the Fact: She sometimes wept, but for the truth of her Contrition, God only can judge of it: I enquired after the course of her life, she said, That she had committed many sins, but was unwilling to acknowledge in what kind. She said she was an ignorant person: I told her that was no excuse, because she might have known more of the Qualifications requisite for Salvation: But she was willing to remain ignorant, that her Conscience might the less trouble her, for leading a bad Life. She could not deny but at times she had trouble upon her mind, but she cast out any serious thought of God or a future judgment; but now she repents she did not observe the Sabbath, and perform the religious duties. This is all the Account I can give of her.
III. William Fielding, Condemned with Anne Cranbey, now his Wife , upon three Indictments: The first was for breaking the House of Mary Covel, Widow , in the day-time, and stealing Goods thence to the value of one hundred pounds: Also for two other Robberies which he confest. He was a Carpenter , and lived comfortably on that Trade; but Marrying one Anne Cranbey, she proved a very expensive and dissolute Wife, so that she not only reduced him to Poverty, but put him upon her wicked Inventions how to Wheedle persons to leave their Houses, in going to look after Legacies which they pretended were left them, & in the mean time Robbed the Houses of three Widows, by such a notorious Cheat. The Husband seemed penitent, and confest that he had led a bad life before he knew Anne Cranbey, but after he marryed her, he grew very poor, so that he joyned with her in all her wicked Artifices of Robbing, for which he is now very sorrowful, not so much that he must dye, but chiefly for offending God, and having been injurious to Widows, to whom he cannot make any Restitution. He said, That he was afraid that if he might be spared that he should be tempted to Rob again, because of his extream poverty: Therefore he now submitted to dye willingly, that he might not add sin to sin, and so encrease his future punishment. He seemed more penitent than the Woman, who would not give any particular Account of her ill course of Life, only that she had prophaned the Sabbath, which I told her was a very great sin, and the Inlet to all other Provocations of God.
IV. John King, Condemned for Felony and Burglary. He said that he was born of Popish Parents, and would not change his Religion. I told him, That he was born and conceived in sin, would he therefore resolve to live and die in it? I offered to convince him of his false and dangerous Sentiments, but he would not hearken to me, remaining obstinate to the last.
V. Jane Walker, Condemned for Felonious taking twenty pounds in Mony from Charles Thruston. She said she had been a great sinner, living without any fear of God; she wept, but did not confess any particulars of her bad Life.
VI. Matthew Thomas, Condemned for snatching a Hat and Peruke in the night from off the Head of Daniel Leery; he was a Bricklayer , but neglecting that employment, joyned with had Acquaintance. He said he had been somewhat addicted to excessive drinking, for which and other sins the Sentence of Death now past upon him. He was very ignorant in the concernments of his Soul, yet seemed penitent.
VII. Agnes Clarkson, formerly Convicted, but respited by pleading her being Quick with Child, is now ordered to be Executed. She said that she did get a Livelyhood till she followed bad Company: That she prayed seldom. She wept, I hope it was from her Heart.
VIII. Mary Hayes, alias Harris, Condemned for Felony, which she confest. She said, That after she left being at service , bad Acquaintance inticed her to filching, which she did to get good Cloaths. She was more penitent than the other Women.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions.
On Wednesday, the third Instant, Eight of the Condemned Criminals were convey'd in three Carts to Tyburn, whose names are these, viz. Christopher Tremane, John King, William Fielding, Jane Walker, Margaret Dean, Anne Cranbey Wife to Fielding, Mary Hays alias Harris, and Agnes Clarkson, a former Convict: The other two who were in the Dead Warrant, viz. Matthew Thomas, and Elizabeth Morris, were, by the Queens Clemency and Grace Reprieved; the latter of which upon account of Pregnancy, tho not pleaded in Court. These being all put into one Cart, and tied to the Gallows, they were admomished to remember their latter end, being near the approach of Death: To which Christopher Tremane, the first that was tied up, answered, That he was willing to Confess the Truth of what he further knew, as to his former wicked Life and obnoxious Behaviour, which he confessed in general had been very Evil. And as to particulars, he said, That he and some others had committed several Robberies, &c. one was at Grays in Essex; those that assisted him were one Dr. Stout, and one Stephens, and one Bradshaw, who went lately into Scotland, and Mr. Osborn, who heretofore was Executed; and that he had discovered in Newgate (since his confinement) several Robberies that were to be done, if he had not failed, &c. But one thing more lay upon his Conscience, which was, in respect to the Reputation of Mrs. Anne Moor, a Goldsmith , who was this last Sessions Arraigned, for that she should Combine, or by way of Equivocation, Abbet and Assist him in his unjust Designs, in that she was taxed to have melted down Plate, that he should bring to her: Which suspicion was created by his selling a Silver Tankard to her, which he protested solemnly, before God Almighty, that it was the same Tankard that he bought of her some time before, and that she was altogether innocent of what was charged against her; which he desired might be published to the World, as a further Vindication of the Reputation of the said Mrs. Moor, &c.
The other Seven said but little, only bewailed their sad and deplorable estate, and untimely end, joyning very fervently in the Prayers and Exhortations of the Ordinary, singing a Psalm, very pertinent to the occasion, except John King, who would not by any means be wrought upon, but died in the Romish Opinion ; turning himself from the rest, and would not hearken to any instruction, &c.
After which the Ordinary prayed for them, and having pronounced the Peace of God to be with them in their dismal Extremity, after they had prayed for themselves, they were all Eight turned off.
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