A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Monday the 23d of October, 1693.
ON the Lords day in the forenoon, a Sermon was preacht from the 6th Verse of the 5th Chapter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, viz. Let no men deceive you with vain words, for because of these things, the Wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. The whole discourse was suited to the condemned Criminals for caution, not to deceive themselves with false principles of reliance on Gods mercy, and a Death-bed Repentance, which is seldom sincere. The Nature of Sin demeriting Gods wrath was stated in its aggravations, and directions given how to avoid it.
In the Afternoon a Sermon was preacht on the 21st Verse of the 1st Chapter of St. Pauls Epistle to the Colossians, from these words, And you who were sometimes alienated, and Enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet, Now hath he reconciled.
Herein is set forth mans deplorable and desperate estate by his wilful Apostacy from God, the Fountain of Holiness and Blessedness. He is not only alienated and set at a distance from him, as having utterly lost all Friendship and Communion with him, but also is degenerated into a state of enmity against him.
The chief faculty of mans soul corrupted by sin, is the Mind as filled with groundless, yet strong prejudices, against Gods holy nature: Hence it is always plotting of Rebellion against him. The strong holds whereon sinners fortify their enmity are Carnal Reasonings, in inventing subtile excuses to palliate and defend their malignity. Sinners put on the whole Armor of the Devil, that they may be able to stand against the encounters of the divine Law, and the checks of their own Conscience. Yea, they grow more abounding in provocation because God is gracious and merciful.
Some are close subtile enemies, keeping secret correspondency with their Lust. Others are open profest enemies, who send defiance to Heaven; this is an ancient and inveterate enmity, as early as mans Apostacy, immediately after his Creation. It is persisted in by contumacions Resolutions, to carry the venom of malignity into the other world, unless the heart be mollified and chang'd by converting Grace.
What are the Causes of this Enmity.
1st. Low and slight apprehensions of Gods lovely and infinite Excellencies, joyn'd with a proud conceit of the creatures Self-sufficiency. 2dly. The creature attempts to make its Will of Sensuality, a law to it self, and the guide of its conversation. 3dly. Sinners encourage themselves in rebelling against their Creator, upon presumptuous hopes of escaping Gods Justice, wherein having deceived themselves, they entertain despairing thoughts, as if God were inexorable. These harden the heart against submitting to him. 4thly. Under judgments they veil their enmity, whereby it becomes more deeply rooted. 5thly. Evangelical Unbelief contemn the Willingness of God, to be reconcil'd in Christ; hence Sinners strengthen their enmity. Thus they dash themselves against the Rock of Salvation, and form out their own Shame, tho they cannot in the least disturb the Lords essential felicity.
O stand no longer out in your enmity against God, as if it were in braveries of Spirit; consider that no man was ever so stout-hearted, as to stand before the Tribunal of God in the guilt of the least sin, unappal'd. Will ye spend upon the stock of Gods long-suffering, and take no thought of making peace with him? wilt thou dve in thine impudency and impenitency? Take heed also of presuming that thy peace is made with God, when thou didst never yet subscribe sincerely to any single leading Article of Reconciliation. Inquire whither thou didst throw down thy rebellious arms out of duty, before thou wert forc'd upon it? Didst thou submit to Gods mercy at discretion, that he should use thee, and rule thee as himself pleases? Dost thou chuse rather to dye by the hand of divine Justice, than to continue fighting against Meecy in hopes of impunity? Again, is thy desire of rceonciliation to get a discharge from going to Hell, rather than to have the love and strength of sin subdu'd, without which, there cannot be any suitableness to God, nor any friendship with him? A silent Conscience which upbraids not for sin, is not true peace with God, but rather a treacherous fore-runner of greater revolting from him. Do not think that a civil life, is the change of thine enmity with God. There may be a cessation of open hostility, and yet no true lasting Reconciliation ratify'd, and mutually exchang'd. If thou repinest at the strictness of any divine Law, or upon the advancement of thy worldly interest, canst soon retake a casheir'd lust into thy bosom, thy peace with God is only a dissembled friendship. Abstinence from sinning for a season without a gracious abhorrence, will reingratiate a Lust with greater strength of familiarity and a more close adherence.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned.
Consider that divine wrath is the certain portion of Gods enemies. This is too hot a climate for any who have a sense of sin, or love to their own peace and safey, to dwell in for a moment. The Avenger of Sin is at your back; therefore quicken your flight to Christ, as your City of Refuge: Let the fear of the divine wrath abate the esteem and rellish of all sensual pleasures. Stir up Shame, Sorrow and Indignation against your selves, for standing out against the offers of life and salvation by Christ. Neither presume by your Prayers, Tears, or any Severities of external Mortification only, to salve up all your defiances of God. There is no standing out against the Lords fiery indignation, nor any atonement of it, but only by Christs satisfaction and intercession. Fly to him therefore, as Joah to the Horns of the Altar; but then the Lord expects, that you shou'd demonstrate the loyalty of your life in universal obedience to his sacred Laws. God delights in mercy, and therefore waits your coming in, so accept the equitable and advantageous terms of peace. Think that you hear Christ pleading thus; Will you persist in your cruelty to your own Souls to crueifie me afresh, by indulging of your Lusts. Is Grace, which is so amiable for its freeness, the more despised because it is free? I have purchased more than a bare pardon for your Treason; lay down your enmity, so shall the Image of God be restored to you. Take God the Father, Son, and Holy Spiis, to be your only Lord, to rule and sanctifie you, equally as to save you. Sign and ratifie cheerfully the Articles of Faith, Love, and obedient Selfdeal. Yield to the Spirit of Christ in forming these qualifications, in order to reconciliation. Would you haye God reconciled to you, in pardoning mercy, be you as willing to be at peace with him, by the conformity of renewing Grace. Accept of the punishment of your Iniquities, and beg the sanctified improvement of them. When you are reconciled to a good opinion of Gods fatherly corrections, to prevent, or cure sin in you, this will recommend you to God, as fit objects of his love and delight Christ will present such who live up to the duties of a reconciled state, as the favourites of his Father, under the sharpest agonies of death; so that the very justice of God shall acquit them, against all the challenges of the Law; yea, Christ will in the dreadnl conflagration of the world, fill their hearts with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, as admitted to reign with him, in heavenly mansions o Blessedness to Eternity.
I proceed to give you an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
1. Thomas Percival, condemned for Clipping the current Coyn of this Nation, but Reprieved by her Majesty's Clemency. When he was first committed, he desired me to come to his Chamber, and that I would pray with him. Which I did se
veral times. He promis'd me that he would repair to the Chappel every Lords day, and other Prayer days; on which he constantly appear'd with reverence and attention. Before his arraignment he acknowledged with tears, that his Life had been remiss, and that he had many ways sinned against God. After his condemnation, he seriously prepared for his death; expecting no Reprieve. He exprest great sorrow for his not living up to the duties of the Christian Religion; he bewailed the loss of precious time, also his omission of duties, to which he was oblig'd according to Vows of Reformation, yet said, that he rely'd on the merits of his Saviour, for the Remission of his Sins and eterdal Life. Upon observation of his whole depertment, I do hope that he is a true penitent, and will lead a new Life.
2. Mary Compton, Condemned for murthering 4 Children put out to her to nurse , which she wilfully starv'd, that she might take more in their room. I visited her, when she first was committed to Newgate; I spent a considerable time with her, after the publick duties of the Sabbath were ended, she then being sick in her Bed. I counsell'd her to call to mind the evil course of her Life. She reply'd, that she had been a great Sinner, but would not confess any particular sin, and denied the starving of any Child. She came not to tht Chappel, till convicted of murthering four Children. I endeavoured to make her sensible of that horrid and barbarous crime, but she still denied it, saying only, that she had been a great sinner, and many ways had provokt God, and that he had justly laid her under his heavy wrath. She yet remained secure that she should neither becondemned, nor dye for the said murtherous practices. Being askt before her execution, in what condition her soul stood before God, she still was insensible of her crimes, proved evidently against her. She said, that her peace was made with God, which words she utter'd in a most trembling manner, to the amazement of those who heard her presume of Gods mercy upon so slight grounds.
3. Ralph Mathews, Condemned for Clipping the current Money of this Kingdom. He was born in Darbyshire, and was a Clockmaker by Trade. He neglected to come to the Chappel, was not obedient to his Parents, and had several ways continued in a vicious life. Some time before his death he confest, that he had been a notorious offender both against the Laws of God and the Nation. That upon his being committed to Newgate, he had a violent fit of sickness, which almost distracted him. Since his restoration to health, he hath had great horror in his Conscience, being sensible of the approach of his death; he appeared penitent.
5. William Noble, condemned for killing one Edward Randal. He is aged 26 years; was born in Debtford. He was a Souldier under the late King James. He confest that he had broke the Sabbath, been often drunk, that he did swear and blaspheme the name of God, and had been loose with wanton women; yet now he desires to bewail his sins, and to turn to God by Repentance.
6. Mary Baker, condemned for the wilful murther of her male infant Bastard Child. Aged 24 years; born in Shropshire. She acknowledged that she had neglected her duty to God, and had a wanton carriage; so not preserving a modest care over herself, she was prevailed with to an act of uncleanness. And that, for to cover the shame of her sin, and out of fear that she could not nurse up and maintain her Child, she did neglect to feed it, or tenderly use it, so it dyed. She was ignorant In Soul-concernments, and exprest only a general sorrow for her ill life.
7. James Gardyner, condemned for Clipping. Aged 28 years; born in Cheshire. He confest that he had been guilty of prophaning the Lords day, of excessive drinking, and swearing, being passionate. It repents him that he did not follow the rules of Gods word; which brought him to this untimely death.
8. Elizabeth Ridgeway, condemned for Felony and Burglary. She was born in Buckinghamshire. She said that she had been an evil person, and kept bad company, neglected Prayer, and broke the Sabbath. Catherine Davis, condemned for the same crime, was very obstinate, and would not give any account of her evil life.
10. Cornelius Slayman, was born in Ireland; and lately was a Souldier under King William He, with three Souldiers more, all born in Ireland, were condemned for Felony, in breaking open a Door and a Lock, and taking goods out of the publick house where they were drinking. Their usage of the master of the house and his wife was very gross. Cornelius Slayman said, that he would excessively drink, and swear, and had been wanton with lewd women.
11. Arthur Denzy, Condemned for the aforesaid Felony, was born in Dublin, and in military service . He lamented that he kept not the Sabbath, that he had been intemperate and committed acts of Uncleanness.
12. Philip Macdonnel, Condemned for the said Felony, was born in Ireland, served in the War there, and now was a listed Soldier . He sad that he had led a vicious life, that he did not pray to God, that he was disobedien to his Pareuts, and kept bad women company.
13. Nicholas Henderson, Condemned for the said Felony. He was born in the North of Ireland. In present service as a Soldier . He confest that he had been guilty of Swearing, disobedient to his Parents; and had used the Company of bad women.
14. J - C - Condemned for Clipping, he was a Silversmith. He acknowledged that he had not served God as he ought, otherwise he had not been lest to himself, in committing this crime, and many other sins. I hope he was penitent.
17. Anne Clements, Condemned for Clipping, born in Hartfordshire. She once got a Livelyhood by her hard labour, but not fearing God, she grew loose in her life, and committed many sins, of which her Conscience now accuses her.
On Monday, the 23d of Octocer, these persons were executed; first, Mary Compton, the most cruel and bloody Midwife , who was drawn in a Cart alone to Chancery-lane-end in Holbourn, where a Gibbet was erected on purpose, on which she was hang'd. She told the Ordinary this morning in Newgate, that she was assured of her Salvation, and that she had made her peace with God, and that the Night before, an Angel appeared to her and told her she should be saved; the Ordinary told her he should be glad if it were the true heavenly Augel, and not Satan the great enemy of Mankind, who oftentimes does transform himself into an Angel of light; she was confident of being happy, tho she did not acknowlodge her guilt, and all the way she went she declared her innocency; and likewise at the place of Execution, she demeaned herself very stubbornly, and did not hearken to Exhortation as it was hoped she would; she said she did not fear death, and at her last breath denied the fact; the Ordinary prayed with her, but she seemed to be but little affected; so she was immediately turned off and left to the mercy of Almighty God.
The rest were drawn to Tyburn, viz. James Garduner, J - C - Mary Sherwood, Ann Clements, Elizabeth Tomlins and Ralph Matthews, all for Clipping Money, in Sledges; Clements and Tomlins were burnt, but Sherwood got a Reprieve that her body should be delivered to her Friends after death, James Grynston, Arthur Denzy, Nicholas Henderson, Mary Wilder, Katherine Davis, Mary Salter, for Burglary; William Noble, and Mary Baker for Murther, the latter for killing her Bastard Child; when they came to Tyburn they were all put into one Cart and tied to the Gallowes; except Clements and Tomlins, who stood by and were (with the rest) exhorted by the Ordinary and another Minister, to be serious and to consummate their Repentance, being so near the brink of Eternity: Wilder was extream penitent, so was Gryrston who said weeping, Lord forgive mine iniquities, I do freely confess that I broke the House on a Sunday in Sermon time, whilst the Family was at Church, and I have been guilty of all manner of sins whatsoever, except Murther, which he exprest with abundance of servency, praying very zealously for himself as for the rest: they all acknowledged that they have offended Almighty God and that their Sentence was very just; William Noble in particular, directed himself to the people thus: Gentlemen, have a care of Quarrelling and sudden Passion, for that is the thing that hath brought me to this unfortunate end. I have been a Souldier in three Kings Reigns, and was always a true man; but in my wrath I have slain two men. Lord! Look upon me, and pardon the bloodshed, and grant that all men may take warning by me. After the Ministers had successively prayed with them all, a Psalm of Penitency was sung, in which they all joyned, as also in the Prayer, except Denzy and Henderson, who declared themselves to be Roman Catholicks altho in Newgate they acknawledged to be Protestants, and that they had fought for its Religion in Ireland and elsewhere, &c. They had a convenient time given them to pray for themselves; then the Cart drew away, and they were all committed to the Mercy of Almighty God; the two Women, viz. Clements and Tomlins, were tied to a Stake, and first strangled, then burnt to Ashes.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, near Fleet-Bridge, 1693.