A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN,
On Wednesday the 20th of September, 1693.
THere were fifteen Criminals condemned to dye this present Session, viz. nine Men and six Women.
On the Lords day in the forenoon, the Ordinary preach'd on Ecclesiastes 8. Ver. 11. Because Sentence against an evil work, is not speedily executed. therefore the hearts of the Children of men are set in them to do wickedly.
There were several observations raised from the beginning of the Verse, which I omit. From the latter, were stated three general heads. 1st. The difference 'twixt Sinners who are more easily recovered to Repentance, and such whose hearts are fully or desperately set in them to do wickedly.
2. The Ingredients into a desperate state in sinning.
3. The Causes of this.
4. The Cure, or Remedy. The Conclusion was directed to the condemned; but I forbear to recite it, because this short paper will not permit it.
In the Afternoon the Ordinary preach'd on the 40 Verse of the fifth Chapter of St. Johns Gospel, viz. Ye will not come to me, that you may have eternal Life.
The General Heads enlarg'd upon were these:
First, Men generally pretend an inability to come to Christ, yet the grand sin of unbelief, is justly charg'd on the obstinacy of Sinners Hearts. This was demonstrated in several instances, that men do not what they can, may, and ought in order to the implanting of Saving Faith.
Secondly, Most Persons lay many impediments in their own way, which obstruct their coming to Christ. These were discovered, and directions given how to avoid or remove them.
Thirdly, How the moral, preventing, exciting workings of Gods Spirit in tendency to saving Faith, are stopt in Hypocrites, by priding in a Self-righteousness, and not submitting to the absolute terms of universal self-denial.
Fourthly, How far men may advance toward Christ, in doing many excellent things, and suffering many severities in external forms of Religion, and yet never be prevailed upon to close with Christ, on his equitable and indispensable terms in order to eternal life.
Fifthly, Several objections which men pretend, as discouragements in coming to Christ, were refuted.
Sixthly, Hypocrites reprobate themselves from the state of Salvation, because those seeming contradictions, which carnal reason objects against believing in Christ, are the very Arguments which ought to ground and encourage our Faith in him.
Seventhly, How Christ in the day of Judgment, will stop the mouths of Hypocrites, if they dare plead, that they were desirous to believe and repent, but could not, because these Graces were not purchased for them.
Eighthly, The Character of a true Believer, in coming to Christ for eternal Life.
Ninthly, The excellency of Faiths operations in the soul, and the Blessedness which it states Believers in.
The Conclusion to the Condemned.
You have heard that spiritual and eternal Life, with all the degrees of it, are centred and secured abundantly in Christ. Yet, what a wretched contumacious Laziness hath possest your hearts. You have not put forth the least moral endeavours in the lowest degrees of coming toward Christ, instead of cherishing the sollicitations of Gods Spirit, and the convictions of Conscience, in order to the implanting of Saving Faith, you have despised and opposed the great Salvation of the Gospel; herein you have judged your selves unworthy of Eternal Life.
You have forfeited your Natural Lives by your Crimes against the Laws, as if these were a trifle, in comparison of the momentary pleasures of Sinning. How have you pursued a sinful course, as if you were covetuous of treasuring up divine wrath against your selves. How have you sunk your selves into the depths of Spiritual Death, by Rebellion against the Lord of Life and Glory!
Yet with what tender pity doth Christ invite you to come to him, that you may not dye in the contempt of the free offers of Grace and Salvation! Will ye continue Self-cruel, in rejecting eternal life, tho attainable on the most equitable terms of Selfdenial and universal obedience to Gods sacred laws.
What Spiritual Frenzy is this, that when you can no longer gratifie your lusts, yet it is to be feared that you rather chuse to cleave to these in dying, than to come to Christ, that he may quicken you by his renewing Grace.
God cannot be any loser if you perish by your own sloth and obstinacy. He this day sets Life and Death before you, will you chuse to perish, rather than come to Christ for Pardon, Sanctification, and a blessed Eternity?
O monstrous Ingratitude to Him, and affected Cruelty to your own souls! If you had rather be condemned for ever, by envying Christ to become your Saviour, than quit the vassalage of Sin and Satan!
This be sure of, that where Christ doth not set up the Throne of his Government in the Heart, he will never expiate the guilt and defilement of Sin on the Altar of his meritorious Atonement. There cannot be any safety in a state of Impenitency. Hasten therefore your coming to Christ, as your City of Refuge; present him with bleeding contrite hearts, so will he heal the corruption of your Nature, and love you freely to Eternal Life.
After the Lords day I visited the Condemned, and inquired what impressions the Sermons and Prayers had made on their hearts? They generally reply'd, That they were made sensible of their evil Lives, and hoped that they repented. Hereupon I advised them not to rely on a late slight sorrow for sin, as if this were a satisfaction to God, and could atone for the excesses of a vicious life. I added other cautions and exhortations, dismissing them with Prayer. On Wednesday, being Fast day, I excited all the Prisoners in the Gaol to Repentance and Amendment of their Lives. And afterwards, because I have observ'd many dolorous Complaints of Criminals against themselves, to vanish away, upon the hope of a Reprieve. I exhorted them to beg of God that he would carry on their Convictions to a thorough Conversion. Then I stated the difference of true Sving Faith and Repentance, from that which is false. I did some time after require an acconnt from them severally, in what preparation they were for Death and a blessed Eternity.
I shall proceed to give that Account which I received from them.
dermine the present Government, thereby to raise open War in hese Nations. I endeavoured to convince them of the greatness of this Crime: Yet they would not acknowledge it; tho it was evidently proved against them at their Tryal, and they did not deny it then. I told them that altho they might extenuate the Crime, yet God is just in finding them out, and bringing them to publick punishment for their former Iniquities, in which they had securely persisted. I had some doubt whether they were Protestants: And charged them upon the hopes of their Salvation, not to tell an untruth in this respect. They affirm'd, that they were Protestants of the Church of England. I reply'd, that they had given great scandal to the profession of so holy and peaceable Religion. They said, that they were faln under very sad circumstances, through their own inconsideration. Upon this I pray'd with them, that the Omniscient would make them sincere, in what they should say to me. They joyn'd in Prayer, and seem'd affected with their condition: Whereupon, I promis'd to assist them further, in preparing them for death. They did not reject my offer, but withal told me that they had a Clergy-friend who would take care of their Souls. I wisht them to be very cautious whom they intrusted in so weighty a concernment. That no man extenuate their Crime, nor flatter them into presumptuous hopes of future blessedness. I askt the Ministers Name, they were not free to tell me, only that he was an Orthodox man, and was desir'd by some Friends of theirs to visit them. I said, That it is my indispensable duty to take care of their Souls, and I would do so to the utmost of my Power. They thankt me, and did not absent themselves from the Exhortations and Prayers in the Chappel on the Lords day. When I went from them, they promis'd me, that they would readily comply with my Advices for their eternal welfare.
II. Robert Wotten, condemned for Clipping the current Money of this Nation. Aged 24 yetrs. He was born in Warwickshire, was a Shoomaker by trade. It is six years since he came to London, where he grew idle, and joyned with bad Company. At last, being very poor, he listed himself into publick service by Land; he said that lesser sins drew on greater: he began with stealing Cocks and Hens, when he chang'd his Quarters in the Country. After he was dismist from being a Souldier , he was intic'd into this crime of clipping money, yet said not by whom; he wishes that he had continued in publick Service, and had been content with his pay; but a covetous mind to get money unlawfully ruin'd him. He confest that he had often broke the Sabbath, had been guilty of Swearing and whoredom; but he hopes that upon his repentance, God will have mercy on his Soul.
III. John Child, condemned for clipping the current money of this Nation, aged 26 years; his employment was in making Brick, and Slatting Houses . He left working in the Country, and came to London, where he hath remained eight years since. He confest that he had provoked God by many wickednesses, which grew upon him by neglecting the Service of God, especially that he prophaned the Lords day, would swear and was guilty of all sin except Murther: that he was insensible of his sinful life till he was apprehended, and cast into Prison; but since sin lies as an heavy Mountain on his Conscience, and yet he hath been in great terrors of mind: but he hopes that God will make his grief for sin sincere, and that he shall be at peace with him in Christ; that he prays for the change of his heart, and doth his utmost to procure the pardon of his sins. I hope he was penitent.
IV. John Williams, Condemned for Felony, aged 19 years, was born in Suffolk: He sold Brooms , he was not obedient to his Parents, so quitting the Family he fell into bad Company, was guilty of Swearing, and of loving wanton Women; that these sins brought on the crime he is condemned for. I askt him, what hopes he had of Salvation, he said that he did his utmost to get Gods Pardon, and a new Heart.
V. Thomas Tavernor, Condemned for stealing a Mare, aged 18 years, born in Woodford, his Employment was to look after a Warren : He did not pray, nor keep the Sabbath, so God left him to the wickedness of his heart.
VI. James Cary, His crime was for the marrying of a second Wife, the first being alive; he presumed to claim the benefit of his Clergy, but could not read, and so was condemned. He said that he was a Taylor , and had been 27 years in London; that his life had been scandalous, but now that he is heartily sorry for all his sins. He seemed penitent.
VII. John Jennings, Condemned for Felony, aged 19 years, born in Spittle-fields; he was Prentice to a Shoomaker , but being obstinate, he left the Trade, and fell into bad Company; he was guilty of swearing and breaking the Sabbath: he said that he now mourns for his sinful life, and desired to be fit for death, that he may not increase his sins.
VIII. Joseph Barnet, Condemned for House breaking, aged 20 years, born in Dorsetshire; he served at Sea six years, but left that employment, and joined with bad Company till he grew very vicious, in excessive drinking, in acts of uncleanness, Swearing and Sabbath breaking. He expest some sorrow for his sins.
I proceed to the Confession of the Condemned Women.
I. Mary Jingen, Condemned for Felony, aged 18 years, born in Newbury, her Employment was in winding of Silk. A rambling fit brought her to London, and Idleness to Poverty. She lamented that she did not serve God on the Sabbath day, that she did not reform her Life upon frequent checks in her Conscience, and that this brought her to her unhappy death.
II. Mary Child, condemned for joyning with her Husband in clipping the current Coin of this Nation. She took Cloaths to wash at home, and sometimes did scowring work abroad; but she said that Poverty made her joyn in this crime: She confest not any gross sin, only that she had many infirmities in omitting to serve God. I replyed, the sins of Infirmity, if not resisted will soon grow to sins of Presumption. She said, that now she is more sensible of the badness of her heart, and mourns for offending God.
III. Elizabeth Jones, formerly condemned for Robbing in the Highway, but reprieved as being with Child, aged 28 years, born in St. Martins in the Fields, she wrought in Sempstry work to the Change; she said she did not pray, nor keep the Sabbath, that she was inticed to the crime, and mourns that she hath been a great Sinner.
IV. Elizabeth Pepper, Condemned formerly for Burglary, but reprieved as being with Child, aged 23 years, born in Chiswick, she lived at home with her Mother till she was disobedient; afterward she fell to swearing and breaking of the Sabbath, she concluded she had been guilty of all sins but Murther.
V. Susannah Lucas, Condemned for Clipping, but repriev'd, being with Child; she was born in Aldgate Parish, and kept a Victualiing house ; she says that her Husband being at Sea, she was inticed into this crime.
VI. Elizabeth Gardner, Formerly condemn'd for Clipping, but reprieved, she being with Child; she was born in St. Giles in the Fields, did wind Silk , she grew idle, and that exposed her (she said) to many sins.
VII. Sarah Sheldon, Condemned formerly for Clipping, and now bronght to her former Judgment, being not with Child, as she pleaded. Her Husband was a Coachman, she confest that she had been guilty of swearing and Sabbath breaking, but now she endeavoured to repent: That her sins are bitter in her remembrance, and that there is more sin in her heart than she can suspect.
IX. Anne Davies, Condemn'd this Session for Clipping, but repriey'd being with Child, absented her self most what from publick Prayers and Exhortations. Also Christian Cossey, condemn'd for Burglary, absented her self, being reprieved as with Child, so that I cannot give any account of their former lives.
There were 7 Persons in the dead Warrant, of which Edward Butler, and William Newbolt Printers, are repriev'd for 8 days. Elizabeth Gardner, formerly condemned for Clipping, repriev'd; and Elizabeth Morgan, formerly condemn'd for Felony, reprieved.
Only three Criminals were executed on the 20th of September, 1693. viz. John Child for Clipping, Joseph Barnet for House-breaking, and Sarah Sheldon condemned formerly for Clipping: Child and she were drawn in a Sledge to Tyburn. He was hang'd, and she after being stifled, was burnt to Ashes. Joseph Barnet lamented his untimely death. John Child upon entring into the Cart pray'd earnestly by himself, Sarah Sheldon warn'd the Spectators against Sabbath-breaking, and all evil courses; they seemed Penitent. The Ordinary prayed twice with them; upon their desire sung a Penitential Psalm, and after a short exhortation committed them to Gods Mercy; after this they prayed for themselves, aud then were executed.
July 26. 1693.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, near Fleet-Bridge, 1693.