A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Wednesday the 26th, of July, 1693.
The Ordinay visited the Condemned every day till their Execution.
ON the Lord's Day he preacht twice on this Text, viz. Jer. 17. Ver. 9, 10. The Heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, Who can know it? I the Lord search the Heart, I try the Reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the Fruits of his Doings.
He cannot make publick in this short Paper, the many discoveries of the Heart's Deceitfulness, nor the Remedies to prevent them, which were largely treated of in two Semons; Therefore he will only mention the conclusion, directed to the Condemned.
You have in many instances seen the dissection of the Heart's Deceitfulness. Let not the spiritual Lethagy of Security, cause you to trust any longer in your self-delusions, til you be confirmed in the Love of Wickedness. Have you not lov'd Iniquity when no Temptation of Pleasure of Profit hath presented it self unto you, but rather the apprehension of intolerable and eternal Torments. How have you by your wicked Counsel and Example, been ambitious to popogate Sin, as if you design'd to make Damnation as universal a Portion, as possibly you could; you thought that by accumulating of wickedness, you could secure your selves above the reach, and beyond the stroke of Divine Justice. Would you cure this desperate Madness? Represent to your selves the Terrors of the universal Judgment; when the counsels of the Heart shall be made manifest; when those secret Impurities, and studied Frauds, whereof the World did not suspect, you shall be exposed and laid open to publick View. Humbly therefore supplicate the Lord to undeceive you as to the cherishing any false Hopes of heavenly Felicity. Pray thus, O thou Omuiscient Judge, search and try me; for, I dare not trust my own Heart in its Verdict of my future State. O do thou determine the Determination of my Conscience, that it may judge aright of the just Proportions of Virtue, and of the colourable Dissimulations, and Coverts of Vice. Rely not on any passport to Heaven, which an Hypocrite may forge, and thereby aggravate his Condemnation the more terribly, because unsuspectedly. Rectify all Mistakes in time, before it be too late. Are your Heaven-born Souls such petty Things, that you trifle by carelesness in not guarding them? That by self-confidence, you think there ss no need of committing them to God's gracious Guidance and Patonage?
Without this the mischiefs of Security will seize and betray you to every charming Lust, or violent Passion which will rend you from the peaceable Enjoyment of your selves. Is the Heart deceitful? Trust it not. Be not indulgent to its mistakes; but zealous to discover them, by the rule of Righteousness. Mortify the principles of all Sin in the Love of them; as being sensible that these have betrayed you to the gossest degrees of Impiety. Study the natural Vileness and Treachery of your Hearts, more strictly and severely: Then you will discover and defeat the malignity of that Sin which reigns in you without suspicion. Never be confident in exalting a civil Conversation equal with Renewing-Grace. This will not withstand and overcome the fiercest shock of Temptation, when the other will as a rotten Foundation; yea, will make the Hypocrites fall, the, greater and more pernicious. Let such consider, that the Lord is infinitely furnished with perfect knowledge, that he may be able to stop the Mouth of all Self-Justiciaries out of his owu Observation. Let no Sinner presume to put the Lord to the proof of his Charge against him. Let no man adventure to sin in secret because the Omniscient sees thorow the most hidde Recesses of the Heart. He wil strangely bring to light, and as irresistably punish all the workers of Iniquity, and their works of Darkness. If we cannot avoid the presence and sentence of our own Conscience, how much less that of the infinite All-Knowing Judge of Heaven and Earth? What Wickedness soever is projected, and yet suffers an Abortion not for want of Will, but of Power and Opportunity, to accomplish it, shall be as righteousness pnisht, as good works heartily intended, or done in secret, shall be rewarded openly: Yet, how strangely fond are most men to undo themselves by too slight and partial an Inquest, into the Enormities of their Lives and Hearts. Whosoever studies to preserve his own Integrity, and Peace in Conscience; or to conciliate God's favourable Acquitment of his sinning must resolve to strip himself of all fig Leaf Excuses and Extenuation of the irregularities of his Conversation. The Omniscient ponders, considers, and weighs the Spirits of Men, yea, the Paths of the most just, exactly to a Grain.
How confoundedly then will Sinners look, who neglected all Heart-searching-work, who dispised all Reproofs, which should have rectified their Mistakes, and have made them happy, even against their Wills. How will the Hypocrites painting dop off before the fiery Trial of God's Omnisciency. The Shame of his Wickedness shall be laid open to Saints and Angels, tho he wrap up himself in his studied Collusions with a pleasing Flattery, to his just remediless Confusion.
Let us therefore ambitiously strive to be upright in the Confession of our Sins, and the Profession of Christ's pure Religion. Soul Errors are most dangerous, because they are hard to be discoveed, yet a timely Conviction may be applied. It is far from the Reputation of Modesty to seek the hiding of any Sin. It is rather the Character of impudent Atheism, which will soon arrive to the stature of the most desperate Wickedness. To prevent this, be persuaded to suspect, and search your Hearts with the exactest strictness. Remain no longer Enemies to God by indulging your Lusts, or; in being Strangers to your selves. Then you will be alienated from the Life of God, in an holy, heavenly Frame, you will be overcome with the least breath of Satan's Temprations. Commune with our own hearts and be still; that is, silent to hear out what Conscience will charge you with, and do not stide its Convictions. Converse no longer with worldly Vanities, nor follow the Atifices of Sinners, who court you to your own Destruction. Commit the custody of your Souls to God's sure Guidance so will he be your Guardian, to epel and tread all the Powers of Hell and Darkness under your Feet. Pray that no Iniquity may have no longer dominion over you: So the Lord will conduct you to the Regions of heavenly Light and Felicity. Herein being fixt, you shall not waver in your pious Resolutions, nor wander any more from the Paths of Righteousness, but shall be confirmed in a perfect State of Holiness to Eternity.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned prisoners.
1. John Barber, Condemned with John Pitford, William Jones, and John Andrews, for Robbing Mr. Nicholas Salter of Stok in Buckinghamshire, of divers rich Goods. He is aged about 40 Years. A man of good Knowledge. This he said grieved him, that he had frequently sinned against the Convictions and Checks of his Conscience. He said, that he was born to an Estate , but it being mispent, he betook himself to Robbing, to maintain his extravagant Courses. He was somewhat shy at first to give any account of his ill course of Life. But by attention to good Advice and being told, that he could not be a true Penitent, if he concealed his Sins against God, or the Injuries he had done to Men: He began to be more considerative, and to acknowledge, that he had been guilty of Swearing and Intemperances. He said, that he neglected Prayer and Sabbath Duties; and that this much troubles his Mind, that having received some Affront in a House where he frequented, he swore that he would never lie in that House again. Yet afterward, he frequented it, tho he had wish'd that the Devil might take his Soul, if he did not keep that rash Vow. But now he forgives all men who at any time offended him, and desires that such whom he robb'd would forgive him; for he could not deny but that he had committed several Violences in conjunction with those, who lately robbed Mr. Salter. William Jones much persuaded him to make a free Confession of his evil Life, saying, that he could not otherwise verify his Repentance, and that he ought to make Restitution of such Things, which yet remained in his Hands, or to send to those, whom he had wronged, and beg their Pardon. He promised to do some thing in those respects. I hope that he was penitent.
IV. Thomas Hudson, Convicted the Session before this, for stealing a Silver Tankard. He is aged 21 Years, was born in Lancashire, by Employment he was a Journeyman Taylor . He said, that he came to London, work being scarce in the Gountry, that he might get a Livelihood: But it was his unhappy want of Care to serve God, which betrayed him to ill Company; some of which were old Offenders, with them he committed several sins, namely, Drunkenness, and a neglect of the Sabbath-Duties.
V. Ralph Smith, Condemned for stealing of a black Gelding, value 8 l. He is aged 26 Years, was born in Lancashire, bred up to Husbandry . He came to London to seek Employment, but fell into bad acquaintance, and committed several Sins, for which, he said, that God hath now justly found him out, and suffered him to come under the Sentence of Death. He said, that he used his utmost endeavours to repent; but that in Praying, he was troubled with sinful Thoughts, which, he desired, that God would deliver him from.
The Ordinary on Thursday after Prayers and Exhortation, enquired of each Person, what impressions God's Spirit had made on their their Hearts, in adding to the degrees of their Humiliation for their Sins, and what hopes they had of being reconciled to God through Christ. Some were less knowing than others. Some were very ignorant of the nature of Saving Faith and Repentance. These were particularly instructed, and warned not to trust meerly to any convictions of Sin; short of compleat Conversion to God.
On Monday they were examined again, severally, what farther progress they had made in searching their Hearts and ways, that they might turn sincerely to the Lord. But their Answer were only in the General, that it is not matterial to recite them.
VII. Isaac Turner, Condemned for Clipping the current Coyn of this Nation. Aged 31 Years; he was brought up to Husbandry , but neglecting that Employment, he join'd bad Company, till he became guilty of breaking the Sabbath; of Sweaing, excessive Drinking, and the wanton Love of Women. He said, that now he takes little-sleep; and mourns for all his Sins. That he prays often, that God would change his Heart, and fit him for his Heavenly Kingdom. Yet the evil Spirit was busy in disturbing his Devotion with vain Thoughts; but he prays that God would cast them out.
VIII. Tobias Craddock, condemned for Felony; aged 17 Years, born in the Bishoprick of Durham. He drew Drink in a Publick House, which his Uncle kept in Moore-fields. He kept the Sabbath while he liv'd with his Uncle; but repents that he left his Service, for since he grew Licentious; as being guilty of Lying, Swearing, and other Sins.
IX. Charles Gale, Condemned for Felony: aged 23 Years, born in Southwark, bred up a Seaman , and was lately in publick Service ; but for some neglect of his Duty, he was dismissed. He denied not bnt that he had been guilty of Swearing and Drunkenness.
X. Charles Williams, Condemned for Clipping the current Coyn of this Nation. He is aged 30 Years, was bred up to Farming , but left off that Employment, to follow bad Company, ill he became vicious. He seldom prayed, which exposed him to Temptations. But now he thanks God, that he is sensible of his Sins; and that, what Sin he most delighted in, is now most hated. He said also, that he prays the Lord would make him heartily sorry; that he cannot remember many Sins, which he hath committed; but he hoped for Forgiveness for them all, and that thereupon he was willing to Die. I hope he was penitent.
XI. Matthew Jones, Condemned for Felony. Aged 27 Years; he had been four Years in the present King's Service , but left it; so being idle, he fell into vicious Courses, namely, Sabbathbreaking, Swearing, Robbing, and excessive Love of Women.
XII. Elizabeth Davies, Condemned for Felony; aged 19 Years. She was born 100 Miles from London. She lived one Year and half at Uxbridge, as a Servant , and one Year in London. She much lamented her evil Life. I ask'd her as a dying Person, upon the hopes of her Salvation. Whether she had any hand in the Murthering the old Man, whom she, with others robb'd. She protested that she had no hand in it, nor gave any consent to it; yet she repents, that she made not that Murther known, after she heard of it; and said, that she verily believes, the other Persons, which joined in the Robbery, did two days after murther him.
William Jones, Condemned for Felony, in Robbing Mr. Salter. He much lamented the course of his evil Life, was very reverent in all the Parts of God's Worship; and so far as I can apprehend, was truly penitent.
On Wednesday the 26th of the same Month, seven of the Condemned Criminals were conveyed to Tyburn, viz. Isaac Turner in a Sledge, John Barber, John Andrews, Elizabeth Davies, Henry Tickler, Thomas Smith, and William Jones, alias Goodwin; the last of which was conveyed in a Coach, the former in Carts; being al, Tied up to the Gallows, the Ordinary, and another Ministerl came to their assistance, in their way to Eternity; first advising, and earnestly admonishing of them to be very serious, and to endeavour to confess their Sin, and former Misbehaviours, with a free and penitent Heart before God, as ever they expected to receive Mercy and Forgiveness at the hands of Almighty God; To which Barber, Jones, Turner and Smith, gave great Attention, and acknowledged themselves guilty of great Enormities, and that they had been very wicked Men; but now they hoped that God had throughly sanctified them, and would now seal a Pardon of his Love to them, in and through the Blood of Christ, b the Merits of which. they hoped to be saved; this they repted with great penitency, weeping and lamenting their dismal End; desiring all Persons to take warning by this their shameful Death.
Elizabeth Davies was not so sensible as was expected; the Ministers took great pains with her, desiring her to confess before God, Angels and Men; if she were concerned in the Murthe of Thomas Pickering whose House she robb'd in the Mint in Southwark; she gave a slight answer at first, as she had done before in the time since her Condemnation; she confest that she was consenting to the Robbery, but that she knew nothing of the Murther; but this was expest with a great trembliug and fainness in speaking (as was observed) which gave great suspicion of some farther guilt, that lay upon her Mind: So the Matter was prest very close upon her, and Death beginning to apprach nearer and nearer; at last she told the Ordinary, that truly she was in the House when the Murther was done; but withal she said she did not lay her Hands upon the old Man, but gave consent that he should be tied, which was done by a Man that was with her whose name was Jacob, who is since fled for it; and for ought she knew, he night murther the laid Peters: This was all that could be got from her, as to the Murther, &c.
Tickler was penitent.
Then a Psalm was sung, and the Ordinary having prayed with them, the Cart being drawn away, they were all turn'd off.
July 26. 1693.
JOhn Barber and William Jones, alias Goodwin, having left each of them a Paper with the Ordinary; wherein is contained a very Exact and Particular Relation, of their Conversations unto the time of this their unfortunate Exit. These are to give Notice, That they will be published in Print within a day or two.
LONDON. Printed for E. Mallet, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, near Fleet-Bridge. 1693.