A true ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, ON Wednesday the 26st of October, 1692.
THE Ordinary, on the Lord's-Day, preached on Isa. 3. 9. Woe to them, for they have rewarded, or purchased, Evil to their own Souls.
1. Was shewed, What are those woful Miseries which are justly inflicted on wilful, impenitent Sinners in this Life; also the eternal Loss of the Soul, as rejected from the Enjoyment of God, who is the Fountain of Blessedness, in the other World. 2. What miserable Reflections Sinners, who reprobate themselves to Hell, will eternally be forming in their despairing Thoughts, that their Torments shall be endless and remediless. 3. What Ways perverse Sinners chuse, wherein to express Cruelty to their own Souls. These were various.
Next was the Answer to an Objection, That Sinners do not procure Eternal Torments to themselves, because it is said in the Proverbs of Solomon, that The Lord hath made the Wicked for the Day of Destruction.
Answ The Lord infuses not any Malignity of Sinning into our Nature, but Sinners prepare and ripen themselves for Ruin, by the long Abuse of God's Patience, being obstinate in impenitency. Such who wilfully sin against the holy God, wrong their own Souls; and being fond in gratifying their Lusts, they virtually are in love with Death. The Lord is not bound always to strive with incorrigible Sinners, nor to inforce his Mercies on such who slight them: He justly withdraws the Offers and Opportunities of Salvation, when any presumptuously trifle out their Working Seasons for Eternal Life. What is more equal, than that a perverse Sinner, who loves to wander from God's Laws, should have none to advise him in a good Way, nor to stop him in a false? The Lord will make every Man's Conscience which is self-pregnant with Guilt, an authentick Witness against himself; so that he shall be condemned out of his own Mouth.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned.
Set up a Tribunal in your own Hearts, before the All-knowing Judge charge this Crime of Crimes upon you, That you have rewarded, or procured, the demerit of Eternal Torments to your own Souls. Have you not sold your selves to Satan, that you might fulfil his Drudgery, though the only Reward thereof be Shame, and Eternal Death, without God's interposing Mercy? Have you not bid him depart from you, by remaining wilfully ignorant of his Divine Excellencies, in the Carelesness of your Duty? Have you not razed out the Dictates of Nature, that you migh get an absolute Conquest over the Checks of Conscience? How will all such Self-destroyers torment themselves, that Christ wept over their Obstinacy in sinning, which themselves made sport of, and played away their Souls at a Cast for every Vanity? With what Face can any wilful Sinner beg Mercy of God in Distress, who would not afford any to his own Soul; but wasted many precious Opportunities of Salvation, in making provision for the gratifying of his Lusts, to his Eternal Ruin? To bear the Wrath of God will be intolerable, and to avoid it will be impossible: Therefore stand not out a Moment longer from submitting to the Terms and Articles of God's Salvation, as if you envied Christ, to confer Eternal Felicity upon you. O monstrous Ingratitude against him! O affected Cruelty to your own Souls! There cannot be any Safety in a State of Impenitency: Hasten therefore with all diligence, vigour and speed, to be found of Christ in Peace, as reconciled to God by a penitential obedient Reliance on his Righteousness. This is the only Covert of Safety, to secure the trembling Sinner from God's fiery Indignation. You may comfortably pay down your Lives, as a Forfeiture to Humane Justice, if Christ hath satisfied Divine Wrath in your behalf. O happy Cross, which lifts up penitent Sinners to the Enjoyment of the Tree of Life in Paradise! Therefore supplicate the Lord of Life, that he would sanctifie your Distresses in Dying: So the fatal Tree shall blossom in solid Comfort, while you are made wise to Salvation by your present Sufferings. Thus shall the Man be bless'd, in whose Spirit there is no Guile, to impose upon himself false Notions of Repentance, and Converting unto God: He will judge such, not rigorously, but with the Allays of Mercy; yea, he will abundantly delight to magnifie the Riches of his Free Grace and Goodness on those who seek him with their whole Heart, as the Fountain of Blessedness, and Infinite Satisfaction.
The Ordinary visited the Condemned Criminals on Monday in the Forenoon, and enquired what divine Impressions the Preaching and Prayers on the Lord's-day had made upon their Hearts? They replied, most of them, that they were much affected therewith. After this, I endeavoured to make them more sensible of their particular Crimes, and stated to them the necessary Qualifications of Salvation; without which, they would deceive themselves by a false Reliance on God's Mercy, and Christ's Merits, though infinite: And shewed them, wherein True Saving Faith differs from a strong, yet pernicious Presumption of being reconciled to God. Also how True Repentance differs from Attrition, or wounding Convictions only in the Conscience. Then I prayed for them, that God would sanctifie their Distresses so, that they might be above the fond Love of natural Life, and the slavish Fear of Death, and prepared for a blessed Eternity.
On Tuesday I visited them again, and shewed them the heinous nature of their several Crimes, especially Murther, by Duelling, or otherwise; also the greatness of the Sin of Clipping the Current Coin of this Nation, and Burglaries; and stated withal the Means of God's Provision, how they might obtain his Pardoning-Mercy, and an Interest in Christ for Eternal Life: And, after much Exhortation, dismissed them with Prayer.
I visited them every Day, and they seemed affected with what I exhorted them unto, and the Prayers for them.
I declared, that God never leaves Sinners destitute of his Preventing-Grace, till they first harden their own hearts, indulging themselves in some secret Sins, which is a considerable degree of Atheism, because they are not for some time discovered, and brought to publick Shame. I pressed them to a strict, serious Examination of their Hearts, that so the Review of their Sins now might be as bitter, as the Commission of them had been delightful: Exhorting them to a speedy Repentance, and thorough Conversion to God in Christ.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Persons.
I. Charles Putnam, Condemned for Clipping. When he came t me a-part, I endeavoured to make him sensible of the greatness of his Crime, That, inasmuch as he had a good and lawful Trade, whereby he might have lived creditably and comfortably, he should under the Veil of this, project to hide such a vicious Mystery of Iniquity. He said that he repented, that he had dishonoured God many ways, and in this discredited his Parentage, and frustrated the End of his Religious Education. I told him, that no Restitution could be made for injuring the Nation in this kind, because Money got by such a wicked Artifice, is commonly spent in a Luxurious Course of Life: And that Death could not make any compleat satisfaction for it, unless he discovered all such Complices therein, to his utmost Knowledg, and that it was his Duty so to do, to discourage and prevent the carrying on of much Damage to the Community. He replyed, that he had made the Discovery of some: So I desisted to press him any further. He declined to give me any account of his Life, only said in general, that he had sinned many ways, but declared not wherein.
II. Thomas Putnam, Brother to the said Charles, denyed not the Crime, and said that it grieved him that he was induced thereunto, and that God justly left him to commit such a Fact, because he had not led a strict Life, but had been remiss in his Duty: That he had been guilty of Swearing, and Drinking immoderately sometimes, but that now he hoped his Heart was penitent.
III. Ruth Phillips, Condemned about three Sessions since, then respited because quick with Child, and now brought back to her former Judgment. She denyed not the Crime: She confess'd that she had neglected her Duty to God, of which she was now very sensible. I declared to her, that I feared she had not improved her Reprieve to the advantage of her Soul, but grew secure, hoping that she should escape the Sentence of Death. She replyed, that the Concernment of making Preparation for her Death, was a secret Work betwixt God and her own Soul. I told her that the Heart is deceitful in presuming on slight Evidences for Heaven, and that all Advice was little enough to help her in that weighty Concernment. After she was informed that she must undergo the Sentence of Death, she fell into great Agonies of Mind, which brought a Languishment upon her. I endeavoured to settle and compose her Mind, telling her that the manner of her Death ought not so to affright her, as to make her unfit to pray that God would be reconciled unto her; and that she be sure of God's pardoning Mercy, if she were sanctified by Christ's Spirit. She seemed very penitent, saying, that now she had Peace setled in her Mind, and was willing to die, that she might not continue to sin against God in any kind.
IV. Henry Tankard, Condemned for murthering one Mr. Burton. After his Commitment to Prison he was much dejected, and had a Feaver several Weeks. I visited him, and prayed with him when his Fits were abated. He was in Military Employment under our most Gracious King William. The Quarrel which brought on the Murther, was this, After Mr. Burton had drank a Health to the late King James, wishing him all Success, Mr. Tankard reproved him, and drank a Health to King William: At which Burton grew much incensed, and called him Coward; so the Difference increasing, they fought, and Burton fell unhappily by his Hand; for which he saith, that he is very penitent, as for all other Passages of his Life, in which he had not been circumspect as he ought to have been. He was more troubled in Mind, than usually some are for this great Sin of Duelling, and the rather, because he said he feared that Burton, by the sudden Surprizal, was not duly prepared to die. I hope he is truly penitent.
V. Richard Ellis, Condemned for Burglary: Aged 21 Years, Born in Northamptonshire. His Employment was in Painting of Rooms . He served out his Apprentiship, and had set up his Trade a little before he committed this Crime: He was grosly Ignorant, saying in excuse thereof, that his Parents were very poor, and wrought hard for Bread, and so could not breed him up to Reading. I told him that Ignorance of God, and what Christ had done and suffered for Mens Salvation, usually spragn from a Contempt of the Means of Grace, that so Persons may indulge their Sins with less trouble in Conscience: And therefore is no excuse, but an aggravation of ther Condemnation: For such cannot set their Conscience in a true Light, to judg of their Actions, nor state of their Heart toward God. And that the most ignorant, in this respect, are witty in contriving Sin, and in endeavouring to conceal it. He wept, and said that he was heartily sorry for all his Sins.
VI. Elizabeth Gardner, Condemned for Clipping, but respited from dying, because quick with Child: Aged 30 Years. Her Employment was to wind Silk , and sell Cheesecakes . She confess'd that she had prophaned the Sabbath, neglected Praying to God that he would keep her from being tempted to Sin, and so fell into this destructive course of Clipping.
VII. Sarah Shelton, Condemned for the same Crime, but respited, being quick with Child; Aged 40 Years: Born at Manchester. She said, that when she went to Church, she minded not the Preaching of God's Word, nor the Prayers. She confess'd that she did Curse in her Passion, and sometimes did drink in excess.
VIII. John Brown, Condemned for Clipping and Coining. Near 40 Years of Age: Born in Somersetshore. He lived at Hockly in the Hole; and wrought in making of Bricks , but left it of, and grew Idle, which exposed him to a loose Life. He could not read, nor rehearse the Articles of the Christian Faith, nor the ten Commandments. Yet he exprest some sorrow for his Sins, which he said had been great.
IX. John Burrows, Condemned for stealing a Sword from a Person in the Street; Aged 19 Years: Born in St. Kathrines Parish, was Apprentice to a Waterman , and prest to Sea in the Ship Defiance; but being Sick, was put on Shore. He confess'd that he did somes Swear, but was oftner Drunk. He seemed somewhat penitent.
X. Matthew Flemming, Condemned for robbing Mr. Jervis. Aged 24 Years; Born in Litchfield. He kept a publick House in Old-street. He denied not that he had provok'd God many ways, and therefore was overtaken in this Fact, for which he is sorry.
XI. Elizabeth Deale, Condemned for Burglary. Aged 20 Years. Born in St. Andrew's Parish in Holbourn. She carried Drink in Tubbs. She confess'd she had not observed the Lords Day, and had been undutiful to her Parents. These two great Sins are usually twisted together, and several Persons, lately executed, have confess'd that they lay heavy on their Conscience. Yet she express'd little regret for them.
On Wednesday the 26th of October, the following Persons were all convey'd to Tyburn, (viz.) Charles Putnam, Thomas Putnam, Richard Blackford, Ruth Phillips, all four Condemned for Clipping Money, and John Browne for Coining, who were all drawn on Sledges to the Place; the others (viz. Richard Ellis, John Burrows, Matthew Flemming, Mary Nicholas and Elizabeth Deale, were all carried in Carts: When they came to Tyburn, they were all exhorted by Mr. Ordinary to make a publick Acknowledgment of their several Crimes, as ever they hoped to see the Face of God with Comfort, and to look up to Heaven for Pardon of all their Sins; to which Exhortation they all were very attentive, as also to the several Prayers that were offered up to God for them.
As to the Particulars of their Confessions, it was not very material; only Charles Putnam declared, that he and his Brother, were drawn into the Act of Clipping by some evil-disposed Persons, who had followed the Trade long before them; and that he hoped he might have made a considerable discovery of several, if he might have been spared; but withal, it was his Opinion, that there will be never any end put to the Clipping-Trade, unless the Procurers of the Broad Money were made equally Guilty with the Clippers, &c. Mr. Blackford made no open Declaration, but only owned himself Guilty. and said he hoped he had made his Peace with God, and was not at all afraid of Death. Thomas Putnam was very serious, and carried himself very humbly; giving great heed to the Exhortations of Mr. Ordinary. The rest bewailed their sad and dismal End, and desired the Prayers of all the Spectators; but were much reserved as to Particulars. Then Mr. Ordinary prayed again with them, and sang a Psalm; and having Recommended their Souls to God, their Creator, they were all turned off.
Then the Ordinary applied himself to Mrs. Phillips (who sat in the Sledge, whilst he was performing his Duty to the other) but she was not willing to express her self much, as to any particular Matter of Fact; only said she had hard measure, in that her own Servants swore against her out of Malice: But she did not peremptorily deny her Crime, and submitted her self to be tyed to the Post, being first Strangled, was Burnt.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions.
Dated this 26th. of October, 1692.
LONDON, Printed for L. Curtiss, at Sir Edmundbury-Godfrey's-Head, near Fleet Bridge, 1692.