A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the 9th of September, 1692.
ON Saturday the Ordinary visited the Condemned, exhorting them repent of their most secret Sins, God having convinced them of their Atheism, by bringing them to publick Shame and Punishment; desiring them not to persist in trifling away the remaining Opportunities of Salvation. Especially he directed his Speech to the Condemned for Clipping the Currant Coin of this Nation; endeavouring to convince them, that the Law and deservedly made it High Treason. The King and Queen's sacred Authority is violated in diminishing any part of the publick Coiu, in a manner equally, as in debasing it with false Metal. One of the Roman Csars caused the Bones of one Thallus to be broken on a Wheel, for breaking the Seal of a Letter: And doth not the Violating of a Prince's Dignity, in the defacing of his Coin, justly demerit as severe and infamous a Death? Such was David's Tenderness in Conscience, that his Heart smoe him with Grief and Shame for cutting off the Skirt of Saul's Robe, as an Act of great Contempt: Yet Persons addicted to Riotous Expences count it no Traytorous Infringement of due Allegiance, to clip the Inscription of Royal Titles, if the Stamp of the Prince's Image be not defaced, nor imbased. But how shall the Coin be kown to be legally currant, if the Inscription of the Prince's Name, and his Royal Titles, he clipped or filed off? This is a notorious Dishonour to the Prince's Crown and Dignity. Besides, the Diminishing the full Weight, and Intrinsecal Value of Mony, is great Injnriousness to the Nation; because Coin being clipp'd, Trade cannot so honourably circulate, nor the Poors Wants be so confidently supplied, were not Clipp'd Mony made Passable in Payment, by reason of its very geat Scarcity: Yet how numerous are the Practitioners of this Mystery of Iniquity grown! Let them not presumptuously hope that they shall escape a Discovery: The Omniscient frequently brings them to condign Shame and Punishment, though they Atheistically please themselves in dreaming that the Flames of Hell are vanished into Smoak, while they treasonably melt down any part of the publick Coin. After this, Counsel was given to all the Condemned, how to attain Saving Faith and Repentance; that so, their Afflictions being sanctified, they might obtain as Eternal Rest in Heavenly Felicity; and were dismissed with Prayers.
On the Lord's Day in the Forenoon, a Sermon was preached on 1 Pet. 3. 14. Wherefore, Beloved, seeing ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. From whence the Certainty of the Day of Judgment was demonstrated from many Scriptural Arguments, and the Equity of the Sentence which shall then be pronounced, as relating to the absolute, unalterable State of the Righteous in Eternal Felicity, and the Wicked in Everlasting Misery.
An Exhortation was directed to the Condemned, to awaken them from their Security in an impenitent State; with Rules, how to prepare themselves for Death and Judgment, that neither might be terrible to them.
In the Afternoon, the Ordinary preached on Job 40. 4. Behold, I am vile: What shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth.
Observ. 1. The more we have to do with God, and the nearer he comes to us, the more we ought to be made sensible of our own Vileness, by reason of our great Sinfulness. Here was shewed, in what Respects Sin makes Persons vile: Sinners former slight Thoughts of God himself before they sin, and dishonourable, hard Conceits of him afterwards, as if he were inexorable. Sin degrades the Integrity, Peace and Safety of the Soul, to the vilest Hire of Wickedness. It is a wilful yet pleasing Slavery to Satan, the Prince of Darkness: It makes as Hell above-ground, to the Overthrow of all Orders among the Societies of Men. Yea, God himself cannot devise a more horrid Punishment, than to give up the Sinner to the greedy Consummation of his Lusts.
The Inference, If Sin make vile, do not make a Disport of sinning. Let no Man think that he can be vile enough in Humiliation for Sin, nor too excelling in Vertue. Immediately therefore turn to the holy God, study to be like him; so shall all Remarks of Honour, and his Approbation, continually stream out upon you.
From the Second Part of the Text, viz. What shall I answer thee? the Observation was, That when God riseth up to judge us for our Sins, we must not argue it with him, in studying of Excuses, or Extenuations of our Guiltiness. Sinners many times cannot stand before the Tribunal of their own Consciences; their guilty Thoughts fall heavy on them, and crush them into Desparation: However, God looks through their Hearts, and will lay open their Sins, to their Shame and Consternation, when they are most secure. Labour therefore to got the Answer of a good Conscience, purged from the Guilt, Guiles and Pollution of Sin, by the Blood and Sanctifying Spirit of the Lord Jesus.
Thirdly, I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Observe, That a true Penitent doth not complain that he is secretly afflicted, but accepts of the Punishment of his Iniquity, to the Amendment of his Life. The sincere Christian bears all from God with great Serenity of Mind: He kisses the Rod, because it blossoms with the Fruits of Righteousness. But the Hypocrite's Affliction doth rather astonish, than awaken him from his Security: He quenches God's Fiery Arrows, and drowns his own Sorrows in Sensual Pleasures: But the Truly Penitent, as the Palm-tree, spring up higher in the Exercise of their Graces, and abound more in the Fruits of Righteousness, by how much their Trials are multiplied and prolonged.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned: Would you lay your Hand upon your Mouth, and justifie the Lord's Judiciary Sentence against you? Observe these Rules: Get the Peace of God into your Hearts, as reconciled to him in Christ; and let it rule in you, to awe you from sinning. 2. Take heed of entertaining any suspicious Thoughts of the Lord's good In
tention in chastising you: Such Unbelief strikes the Heart dumb and dead in Prayer. 3. Get a right Understanding of the Lord in his Divine Excellencies, and of your selves in your Miscarriages. 4. Come to Christ, not only for Rest, and Peace in Conscience, but also for Renewed Heart: God will comfort you, if you hate Sin for its Defilement, and be sincere in your Love to Christ. This Frame of Heart you cannot obtain, till you discover the Vanity of studying how to excuse or lessen your Sins. Rather plead with the Lord, that he would change your Hearts, that you may no longer hold fast Deceit, in a slight Return unto them: So the Things of your Everlasting Peace and Happiness shall not be hid from your Eyes, while you submit to the righteous Terms and Articles of God's Salvation.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Persons.
I. Francis Turner, for Picking the Pock of one Philip Deaves. Aged 23 Years. He was Apprentice to a Sope-boyler in Worcesterstire. He was a Soldier in London-Derry; afterward he betook himself to polish Looking-glasses : But growing idle, he fell into the Sins of Excessive Drinking, and the unlawful Love of Women; for which he said, that he nw repents.
II. Abraham Turner, Condemned for Felony and Burglary: Aged 20 Years. He was born in Spittle-Fields. This Summer he went to the Sea-service , in the Duke; but falling sick, was set on Shoar; and upon his Recovery, he did not walk suitably to God's Mercy, but grew profane in his Course of Life. For which, and all other his Sins, he said, that he was very sorrowful.
III. William Carter, Condemned for Picking the Pocket of one Matthew Deane, in Smithfield, whilst he stood there, selling Cattle . Aged 14 Years: Born in Queenhithe-Parish. He confess'd the Fact, and that he was guilty of Sabbath-breaking, Drunkenness, and Swearing, He wept in desiring God's Pardoning-Mercy.
IV. G - C - Condemned for Felony and Burglary. Aged 20 Years. He wish'd that he had continued to work with his Master, who is a Joyner; but he was led aside by bad Company. That he had been guilty of Sabbath-breaking, and Swearing. He complained that he hath a wicked Heart, but he prays that God would make it clean; and wisheth that he were fit to die, that he might sin no more.
V. Thomas Martin, Condemned for Felony and High Treason, in Clipping, Filing and Diminishing the Current Coin of this Kingdom. Aged 27 Years. He was Journy-man to a Silk-Throwster . He had been at Tangier, as a Soldier , this last Summer (he said) he was in Sea-service ; but falling sick, he was dismissed. He had been guilty of Excessive Drinking and Swearing; and for his lewd Expences, he adventured to Clip the King and Queen's Coin. For which he expressed some Sorrowfulness.
VI. John Basdell, Condemned for the same Crime. Aged upward of 30 Years. He was a Silk-Throwster by Trade; but he said, That not having the Fear of God in his Heart, he profaned the Sabbath, accompanied with lewd Women, and had been a great Sinner; but he hoped that upon his Repentance, God would shew him Mercy.
VII. John Harris, Condemned for Trayterous Counterfeiting 60 Pieces of Mony, made of Copper, Tinn, and other mixed Metals. Aged 42 Years. His Employment was to make Ship-Nails . He acknowledged that he had not observed the Worship of God on his Holy Day, but spent it in vain Company, and had been a great Sinner other ways.
IX. Thomas Drury, Condemned for the same Crime. Aged 64 Years. He also was Nailer in Worcesterstire. He was very ignorant of the Principles of Christianity, so that he knew not who the Redeemer of Mankind was, nor what he had done and suffered, to save Sinners. He said, That he went to Church, but little minded the Preaching of God's Word; whereby he became ignorant of his Duty to God. I told him, that Affected Ignorance is a Soul-ruining Sin, and therefore took the greater pains to instruct him in particular.
X. George Holmes, Condemned for Burglary. Born at Westchester. He much lamented his Undutifulness to his Parents, as the chief Provocation of God, to leave him to the following Profaneness of his Life; saying, He had been a great Sinner; and seemed penitent.
XI. Thomas Noone, Condemned for a notorious Robbery of Diamond-Rings, and 57 l. of Monies numbred. He confessed that he had led a very wicked Life: That for four Years last past he had committed many Robberies, for joining in which with him, several have been executed. He said, that he knew not the Golden Farmer, but several Persons, yet surviving, have robbed with him, whose Names he refused to tell me; yet said, that he had sent to them, to forewarn them to desist, lest they come to the same untimely End. He acknowledged also, that had Robbed on the High-Ways, but never killed, nor wounded any Person. He much lamented his wicked Life, that being but 22 Years of Age, his Course in Sinning had been so vigorous and swift. He was Apprentice to a Farrier , but soon left his Employment, to follow Lewd Women. He wept, acknowledging that now he justly deserves to die, because he would not take warning, being Marked in the Hand before.
He with the rest were attentive to Advice, how to prepare for their Death, and a future Happy State; yet upon my examining of them, concerning the Grounds of their Hopes thereof, they could give little Account, being very ignorant. Therefore I renewed the stating the nature of true saving Faith and epentance, desiring them not to build their Hopes of on Humiliation for Sin, for this could not make God any satisfaction for it; yet they ought to justify him in the Sentence pass'd upon them, as being the bitter Fruit of their own planting.
I also warned them against Mistakes, in converting to God; but to give all diligence to be found of Christ in peace, by getting an universal Change of their corrupt Hearts, and the likeness of God in Holiness, which is the happiness of Heaven.
To all which Advice, some were more Expressive of a Penitential Sense of Sin, and a fit preparation for their Death than others.
Thomas Noone who was very penitent, and wept much in the Chappel of Newgate before his going thence, giving the Ordinary there in the presence of many, very moral grounds to believe that he was prepared for Death. He with G - C - and Thomas Martyn warned the Spectators to beware of such Sins which brought them to their untimely End. They behaved themselves very penitently, and prayed earnestly for themselves, desiring the Prayers of all present.
The other five Criminals, viz. Abraham Turner, John Basdell, John Harris, Thomas Drury and Jonathan Sheldon, neither in the Chappel, nor at the publick Place of Suffring, were so Attentive and Affective as they ought; yet warned the Spectators of all Sin, and not to adventure on the Crimes which they died for.
The ordinary prayed for them, according to what is suitable to their Condition, in the Chucrch Ocffies: And after Exhortation, sung a fit Psalm.
Then he Concluded with a Prayer, and committed them to the Mercy of the great Redeemer of Mankind.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions.
Dated this 9th. of September, 1692.
LONDON, Printed for L. Gurtiss, at Sir Edmundbury-Godfrey's-Head, near Fleet-Bridge, 1692.