A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the 16th, of June, 1693.
ON the Lords-Day in the Forenoon, the Ordinary preach'd on this Text, viz. the Third Verse of the Thirteenth Psalm. Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God; Lighten mine Eyes, that I sleep not in Death, or the sleep of Death. The Jewish Targum renders the Words, thus, Ne forte peccem, & dormiam cum Iiis, qui Rei sunt mortis.
In the words are two Parts. 1. The Preface to David's Prayer, in a fervent, humble, and fiducial Address to God, that he would relieve, support, and deliver him out of his deep Distresses. After he had in vain taken counsel in his Soul, how to prevent and divert them, and yet was unsetled in his Contrivances: At last he renonnced his Carnal Wisdom, and betakes himself for shelter from Saul's Fury, under the wings of God's Wisdom, Power, Goodness and Faithfulness, which only could support him, or deliver him.
Observ. It denotes much Prudence, to Contemperate and Adapt God's Attributal Perfections, to the Variety of our incumbent Fears and Sorrows.
Consider, and hear me, O Lord, my God.
Hence two Observations. 1. There cannot be any lively Hope of obtaining Relieving-Mercy under Perplexing-Troubles, ready to overwhelm us, but only by clearing up, and pleading a Covenant-Interest in Divine Mercy and Goodness. Hear me, O my God.
2 Observ. God's most Glorious and Gracious Titles signify little to relieve us in distress, if they make not a due and deep Impression of reverencial Obedience in our Hearts and Lives. This frame David pleaded, equally, as he desired, that God's Covenant-Mercy and Faithfulness, should be extended towards him; Hear me, O Lord, my God.
This reproves such Persons, who cry out, under their deadly Dangers, O Lord! O God! without any serious Consideration of the due Importance of these Titles, in obliging them to fulfil the Duties, which, such a Plea obliges them unto. These were instanced.
In the 2 Part of the Text, you have the subject Matter of David's Prayer: Lighten mine Eyes, that I sleep not in Dying. Observ. The best of Men are apt to be secure amidst Death-Threatning-Dangers, in omitting those proper Methods which they ought to use, whereby they may be supported with Courage and Comfort, in a Dying Hour. Here were produced divers peculiar Temptations, which Satan doth sharpen against the best of Men, to shake their Faith, Courage and Comfort in Dying, with Directions how to encounter and overcome them.
Second General Head. It is frequent with secure, impenitent Sinners, to put far off the serious Thoughts of Death: Yet, this hinders not its coming, nor rebate and blunt the sharpness of its Sting, nor the dismal Consequences of it. Such secure, impenitent Sinners, are exposed to God's Vengeance, sealing them up under their indulged Presumption. Thus, they cannot encounter Satan's last, most subtil, malicious Assaults of Temptation, in a Dying Hour. The Inference is this; No man can bear the Agonies of dying Nature, unless he be born anew of the Spirit of Holiness, and hath the sense of God's Love shining on his Soul. Yet, it is frequent with secure presumptuous Sinners, to entertain, and strengthen false Hopes of Heaven, in a Dying Hour. These were described, with Directions, How a drowsy carelessness may not betray the Soul to the Pangs of Eternal Death. Some Interpreters render David's Intention to be, that he might not be left to his own Carnal Wisdom, but might be enlightened by God's Holy Spirit, under Death-Threatning Dangers; so, as not to commit any Sin wilfully, which might expose him to God's just, severe Displeasure in Dying.
Here were added Directions, how we may not be mistaken in our Evidences for Heaven, when we die Hipocrites defeat their Hopes thereof, and sink themselves to Hell, without suspicion, because they please themselves in Dreaming only, that Saving-Graces are planted in their Hearts, while they refuse to work out their Salvation, by sincere, universal constant, and chearful Obedience to Christs sacred Laws.
The Conclusion of the Sermon was directed to the Condemned: Would you not die securely in your Sins, then beg of God, that the Eyes of your Minds may be savingly enlightened in the Mysteries of Eternal Life. Do not presume on your own Carnal Wisdom, how to order aright your Conversation in the World, or to make provision for an happy Death. The least careless Misdemeanour will betray you into a lamentable Unfitness to meet the King of Terrors? Would you exercise Courage in Dying, daily make it familiar to your selves, by a prudent Preparation for it. Get a Covenant intrest in God through Christ; then you may safely plead, Consider, Lord, the perplexities of my Soul, where I am encompassed, and deliver me in thy Righteousness.
Here the Ordinary set before the Condemned, the following Form of Supplication, that they might be fitted to resign themselves to God's Guidance and Protections, under the Fears of approaching Death.
O Blessed Fountain of Light and Life, let not not any worldly Objects so charm my Heart, as to weaken the stedfastness of my Love in chusing thee, the Perfection of Blessedness, for the only portion of my Soul's Delight and Satisfaction; Let not my Life be as a Dream, to please my self with any fleeting Mock-show of the Creature's Strength or Beauty. Let me not quench the heavenly Spark of my life in the sensual Pleasures of this bewitching World; so shall I take a gladsom Prospect of Blessednes, beyond the Grave; while I improve my life for the advancement of thy Honour. Let me not sleep away my life in Dreaming of worldly Prosperity, to hinder my profiting in the ways of Holiness. Let me not indulge so much Sleep, as to neglect the fulfilling of my dutiful Respects to the Author and Preserver of my Being. Then I may justly fear, lest by my Security, I should die in my sleep, and that the Sentence of thy Displeasure should pass upon me. Rther, let me be assured, when mine Eyes shall be darkened under flicting with the King of Terrors, that the light of thy reconciled Countenance, shall actuate and inflame my love to thee; So shall I, in the prospect of Eternal life, prefer my Dissolution before my Birth-Day; so shall I mortify the fond love of Natural life, and be a Conqueror over the slavish fear of Death. Grant me, blessed Lord, such an holy Contempt of this World, that I may be filled with a longing Desire to fly away from this Vale of Tears, that I may rest in the full Enjoyment of thy Self, at the Center of Eternal Blessedness. O let the lively Hope of seeing and enjoying God in Christ, animate my Courage against the unbecoming Fears of Dying. O sufer me not to fall into any Drousiness in the acting of my Obedience. Let me be fitted for an Heavenly Mansion, wherein I shall be made all Life and Spirit, in praising the Lord for my triumphant Victory over Sin, Death, and Hell. In the mean time, cause me to endeavour that I may order my Conversation in purity and Heavenly-mindedness. So let me be prepared to behold the God of Glory face to face, in Transports of Celestial Joys to all Eternity.
On the Lord's-Day in the Afternoon, a Sermon was prech'd on this Text, viz. Luke 13. Ver. 3. Except ye repent, ye shall all like perish.
proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Prisoners.
I. William Anderton, Printer , condemned for High-Treason, in Composing, Printing, Publishing and Dispersing, malicious, scandalous, and Trayterous Libels: The Design of it, being to incite the Subjects to War and Rebellion against him, and to Restore the late King James. He refused to come at any time to the Ordinary, whereupon he went to the Chamber of the said Anderton, and offered to pray with him: But he said, that he had such came to him, who give him Contentment: And after a second offer to pray with him, he refused it. The Ordinary told him, that he ought to take Care, that no man might extenuate his gh Crimes, nor flatter him with false Hopes of Heaven; Men's Hearts being very prone to deceive themselves in that Respect. Upon which, Anderton said, Leave me to my self, I desire, not to be farther Sollicited, nor Exhorted by you. Upon this the Ordinary withdrew himself.
II. John Dudly of Stepney, A Naylor by Trade; Condemned for Clipping, Filing and Diminshing the Lawful Coyn of England. He was born in Staffordshire; he said, that he was well Educated, yet he answered not his Parent's Care to have made him live better. He was an Ironmonger in Ratcliff; he said, that he had sinned many ways, and in particular, in keeping secret the Practices of Thieves and Clippers. I asked him what Repentance is; he said, it is a Saving-Grace, and consists chiefly in forsaking Sin, out of an hearty Hatred of it, because, it displeases God; and said, that he begg'd a new Heart of him.
III. John Randal, Condemned for a Robbery on the Highway: He came on the Lord's Day to the Chappel to hear God's Word preach'd, and joined in the Prayers: But since, he withdrew himself; being sent to, that he would attend, he made a frivolous Excuse, that his Linnen was put to Washing, and when it was brought Home, he wonld appear again; but he came not. But I suppose, that he was not willing to give an Account of his evil Life.
Joseph Stitch, Condemned for breaking the House of one Brooks in St. Giles in the Fields; and for Robbing one George Hawsworth, in the Parish of St. Sepulchres. He was born in Staffordshire, was a Shoemaker ; he Married a young Woman against her Friend's Consent; so becoming Poor, he went into Ireland, to serve there in the War ; afterwards he came to London, and joined with bad Company. He seldom prayed, and said, that he thought for the neglect of his Duty, God left him to be overcom'd, being tempted to this Fact, which he said was the first.
V. John Webb. Condemned for Felony: He was born in Barkshire; he said that he lookt to his Mothers Farm in the Country for a time; but growing idle and obstinate, he left his Mother, and afterward fell to Swearing and Drinking in bad Company, which brought on this Crime. He wept, and prayed that God would change his Heart.
VI. Thomas Kent, Condemned for Felony and Burglary: He was born in Clarken well Parish, he was a Plumber by Trade; he serv'd his Father some Years in that Employment: Afterward he left him, and came to London for Work; but joining with bad Company, he learnt to swear, and was drawn to many Vices. He denying not the Fact, which he said was occasioned by spending Mony on wanton Women. He said that he seldom prayed before he fell into this great Distress; but now he hopes that he repents, and that God will shew him Mercy.
VII. Morris Moore, Condemned for Robbing Sir John Friend of Hackney, stealing with others from him, Plate, Mony, and rich Goods, to a very great Value. He confest the whole Indictment. He refused to come to the Sermons and Prayers in the publick Chappel, saying, that he was a Roman Catholick , and was fixt in that Perswasion.
VIII. John Barker, Condemned for Felony and Burglary. He was born in Aldgate Parish, was a Joyner by Trade, was disobedient to his Parents, kept ill Company, brake the Sabbath. In Passion he would swear; but his chief Sin (he said) was keeping Company with leud Women, of which, and all other Sins, he now'd sires, to have a perfect hatred.
IX. Thomas Granger; he said, that he had been used to Sea Service ; that he was formerly Arrested for Debt, and thereupon cast into Newgate, where he continued five Years. He said, that the prophaning of the Sabbath, was that Sin, which provoked God; so that he was left to his Vicious Inclinations. He denied not that he had been guilty of keeping Company with bad Women. He said that he is much grieved for his Sins, and that he prays for a broken Heart, and that God would make him to become a new Man. I hope that he was penitent.
X. Richard Whitworth, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, in breaking the House of Thomas Beacon of Stepney, taking away 69 Pieces of Coin'd Gold; also 180 Pounds in Mony numbred. He was born in Lancashire; he was a Butcher's Son , he left his Father in that Employment, and then grew idle. He said that he kept not the Sabboth, that he did not swear much, but exceeded in the Love of Women: But now he repents, that he spent his Life viceously, and begs that God would change his Heart, otherwise he shall never see his Face with Comfort.
XI. William Clement, Condemned for the foresaid Felony and Burglary. He is Aged 38 Years, was born at Okenham, within 5 Miles of Reding. He said that he did not refrain from sinning, tho God's Spirit convinced him to the contrary. He seldom prayed; he said that he was a Carpenter , and that a Fellow accused him at Reading, of Robbing with him, so in fear of being apprehended, he came to London. He said he had sinned in several ways, and was not sensible thereof till now. That his Heart bleeds for offending God his Maker and Redeemer. That upon his Repentance, he had spoken peace to his Conscience; yet he begs a greater degree of Sorrow for his Sins.
XII. William Nixon, Condemned for the foresaid Felony and Burglary. He was born in Herefordstire, was a Taylor in London, during 17 or 18 Years. He denied not that he had led a bad Life, and that he had concealed the Crimes of others, so that God is just in this Sentence of Death upon him.
At the Sessions in the Old-Baily, on Thursday the 8th of June, 1693. were Thirteen Men, and 3 Women condemned; of these, only 8 were in the Dead Warrant, viz. William Clement, Richard Whitworth, William Nixon, John Dudly, Joseph Stitch, Morris Moore. John Randal, and William Anderton. William Nixon was Reprieved by Her Majesties Gracious Clemency. The other 7 were Executed this Day, being the 16th of June.
William Anderton, for High-Treason, and John Dudly for Clipping, were drawn on a Sledge to Tyburn, and were first Executed. The Right Worshipful the Sheriffs being present. Anderton desired that his Brother, and a Minister, his Friend, might come into the Cart, which was granted. The Minister only prayed for him in the Office for Visiting the Sick; when he had finished, and went out of the Cart, the Ordinary Exhorted Anderton and Dudly, to beg of God, that they might be Examples of true Repentance, and to warn the People by their sad untimely End. They did not; therefore the Ordinary commanding silence, spoke thus; Be persuaded by the Sight of these Dying Persons, not to contrive any thing against the Government of this Kingdom, God will bring it to light, and in Justice punish it. And exhorted the People not to prophane the Sabboth; which all bewail when they come to die publickly; as that Sin which brings on all other Crimes. Anderton told the Spectators, that his Sentence was very hard and severe. I told him, that he had endeavoured to overthrow the Establisht Government. He said, that he forgave his Judges. I replied, that they needed not his Forgiveness; for they were satisfied in their Consciences, that they had acted justly. Then I prayed with them, and they had a considerable time to pray for themselves, which they did fervently. Anderton's Carriage was with much Confidence. There was a Paper came to the Sheriff's Hand, for the suspending the Quartering of Anderton- He thought it to be a Reprieve, which did much affect him with Thanksgiving to God; but understanding it was only that his dead Body, should be delivered to his Friends, he did not acknowledge that as any great Favour. After they had prayed for themselves, the Ordinary committed them to God's Mercy, with a short Prayer at last. So praying again for themselves, they gave a Sign, when they expected to be Executed; and the Cart thereupon drew away.
The other five Criminals were Executed afterwards, they were exhorted to warn the People, they did not. After advice given them, and Prayer, made by the Ordinary for them, some of them more lamented their untimely End; than others. After a fit time given them, they prayed for themselves, and were Executed.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions
Dated June the 16th 1693.
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LONDON, Printed for L. Curtis, at Sir Edmundbury-Godfrey's-Head, near -Bridge, 1693.