A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES, Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Wednesday the 24th of January, 1694.
THe Ordinary visited the Condemned Criminals, being 16, whereof were 12 men, and 4 women, every day till the time of Execution.
On the Lords day, he preacht on this Text in the forenoon, viz. the fourth verse of the 1st Chapter of Amos: Thus saith the Lord, Seek ye me, and you shall live. Whence four general heads were insisted on.
1. Wherein doth the sincere seeking of God consist.
2. The excellency of this comprehensive duty.
3. In what ways must we seek the Face or Favour of the Lord.
4. Rules or directions in seeking him, so as to obtain an interest in him.
1. Seek God not immediately in himself, as your mee Creator, for since mans degeneracy from his primitive Integrity in an holy state, the bare Relation of a Creature, as defiled with sin, will not intitle you to divine Mercy. The Lord is a consuming fire to all the workers of Iniquity. But a Sun of refreshment and a Shield of defence only to the upright in heart. Christ only can attemperate and allay the super-excelling brightness of the divine Majesty, that it may not strike Consternation into us, but rather give us a comfortable aspect of Gods infinite excellencies, so as to transform us into an holy state, and to make our addresses to God acceptable.
2. Seek the Lord by vigorous acts of Faith in all Spiritual services, and by an intire resignation of your selves, to his preceptive and providential will, in every state and condition of Life.
3. In renewing your Covenant of Obedience, by Repentance joyn'd with a stricter watchfulness over your hearts, after wandring from God, by relapsing into any sin.
4. Delight in this main duty of seeking the Lord sincerely; because the souls only of such shall live, by thevivacity of spiritual comfort in all distresses; yea, shall reign with the Lord in the Life of eternal blessedness.
To seek God aright, is to abide with him, in an awful reverence of him, for his very goodness, in forbearing to consume us for our remissness in serving him. We must not only exercise a close dependency upon his All-sufficiency to fulfill our desires in praying; but must out of a complacential Love, conform to his holy will in universal Self-denyal, so as to express an infinite satisfaction, in seeking and serving him without satiety.
How great Contempt and Ingratitude is this, when the Lord is so mindful of us, as to visit us continually with the remembrances of his tenderest mercies: yet we wander from God, because we have lost the Government of our hearts, and affections, so that these settle on vain objects, and forsake the Lord, the fountain of Life and Blessedness. Consider, that the Lord at present waits to be gracious, but he will not follow us, with the offers of Life and Salvation, if we trifle with him and them. Therefore neglect not the proper seasons of Grace and Mercy. Let all your services flow from a renewed conscience, that they may be constant and delightsome. Then you may behold the Face of God, so as to unriddle all divine mysteries, you may fetch satisfaction from the Lord in all doubtful cases, and contentment of mind, under every afflictive dismal providence. Yet how remiss and careless are most men in seeking and serving the Lord, as if this were not the purport and comfort of their life.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned.
How have you consumed your years in Vanity? Do not suffer your lifes, now ready to expire, to be lost in eternal darkness for want of trimming these Lamps with a sincere address to God, that he would sanctify your distresses. Strive the rather for this, because you have long liv'd ignorant of God, and the true design of your being. Is not this properly to live, to serve the Lord in newness of Spirit? What should cause you to count this grievous? Is it not the Seed time of endless Joy and Happiness? If you prize life, return to the fold of Righteousness. Sacrifice your lusts by the mortifying acts of godly sorrow for offending a graclous God, that you may obey the commands of Christ with greater freedom and alacrity. Is not such Love to him the consulting of your own happiness? yet how late and slight is your Repentance? How slack and feeble your Obedience, how partial your Self-denial in mortifying the love of your Lusts. Therefore so seek happiness in Christ, as to acknowledge and imbrace him, to become your only Lord and Lawgiver, equally as you desire him to be your tender-hearted Saviour and Redeemer. Be convinced of this, that the Lord searches the heart, and receives services, not by their number, but their wight of seriousness and sincerity. Do not therefore deceive your selves, in counting this to be an hearty ingenious choice of amendment of life, which is out of constraint, now that death surprizes you with its terrors. Such seeking of God is trifling Hypocrisy, if your sensual Lusts still reign in your hearts. Prepare therefore your selves to fulfill the Will of the Lord in the latitude of it. Let your hearts be ready to break, in a fervent longing to observe his commands in the universality of their obedience, with vigor of delight. A sincere heart will follow hard after God, tho at present he hide his face, as esteeming the disposition of fearing him before his smiles, if this may promote a circumspect conversation. The Lord will prepare great rewards for such, who seek him in sincerity: But where Holiness is not exalted in its power, Satan will take a deeper and firmer possession without suspicion. Let therefore your addresses to God transform you into an imitation of his divine perfections. Do not persist to pour out the strength of your souls on your abominable lusts, so as to cleave to these, in dying. Get all the corrupt affectiens of your souls purged out, so shall a supernatural resemblance of the Deity be instampt upon you, to delight in seeking and serving him, as the essence of your blessedness. Thus, after your godly sorrowing for all your wandrings from the paths of righteousness, Christ will conduct you thorow the sharpest agonies of death, to the fold of heavenly felicity. In this state he will secure you against any temptation, of remitting your delight in him. You shall obtain infinite satisfaction in the injoyment of him: for at his right hand divine pleasures overflow, in the perfect beatifying vision of his Favor, transcending the widest capacities of the soul throughout all the progressive ages of Eternity.
I proceed to give you an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
1. William Day, alias Trooper Will, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, aged 30 years: He was brought up with his Father, in Husbandry : He furnisht him with a Stock to become a Grasier , which employment he followed some years, and added
means to his first Stock. But upon Losses in Trading and contracting Debts besides, he went into Ireland on Military Service , to reduce the Rebels there to their due obedience. Where he continued till being reduced to poverty, he returned into England, and entered himself into a Regiment under our present Kings Service, and was sometime in Flanders. But falling sick he came back to England, and intended to have returned to Flanders, on the Campaign before the last, but was prevented by sickness for the space of almost a year. He hath been inticed to lead an irregular life, and joined with bad Company, being acquainted with Lawrence Nozzel condemned now with him, for robbing the Lady Allen. He denies not that he was present in the House when it was robb'd; yet says he had no part of the prey, and that he was very civil to the Lady, and preserved her life, those who robbed her designing to have murthered her. He repents that he join'd in the said Burglary, and confest that he had taken to evil courses. He acknowledged, that God was just in bringing him to publick shame and punishment for many sins which he had committed against the checks of his conscience, and vows of amendment; particularly he confest that he did not observe the Lords day, that sometimes he swore in passion, and drank in excess. He wept and seem'd penitent, and was tractable to good counsel in order to his preparation for death, having no hope of any Reprieve, and promised that he would declare his repentance more particularly at the Place of Suffering, thereby to warn others against evil courses, that they might not bring on themselves the like destruction.
II. Lawrence Nozzel, Condemned with William Day, alias Trooper Will, for committing the aforesaid Robbery and Burglary, aged 59 years. He was born at Finchly, by Trade a Butcher , and held a Farm for some time. He pretended to me, that he left off his Employment because trading grew dead, and he had contracted debts. He was so impenitent, that he would not acknowledge any sin, being ignorant in matters of Religion; such commonly are most obstinate.
III. Dorothy Barnet, Condemned for murthering her Female Infant Bastard, aged 30 years, was born in Hampshire. She confest, that she had gone on in a sinful course of life, yet exprest few particulars thereof; only, that she kept not the Sabbath as she ought. That she seldom prayed, that God would give her grace to resist the evil inclinations of her heart, for which, and other sins, he justly left her to be overcome by the impure sollicitations of her Master, who, she said, was a Gardner, who took no care to provide for her, nor the Child. She pretended that it was stilborn, but it appeared otherwise at her Tryal, viz. That she drowned it in a Brewing Vessel full of water. She was little sensible of her barbarous crime, nor of any other sin, but remained stupid, as very ignorant in the concernments of Religion.
IV. Jane Croucher, Formerly condemned, but was respited from suffering death, as being with Child, yet now her time in that case being fulfilled, she was called to her former judgment, and ordered with Grace Dempsey and Margaret Palmer, under the like condemnation to prepare for their Execution, with the rest who are to suffer this Session.
Jane Croucher said, that she is 24 years of Age, that she was born in Surrey, that she had been in several Services in London, but she quitted some, as counting that she had not wages to her content; that she was turn'd away by other Mistresses, because she was stubborn. She was condemned for robbing of her last Mistress, who lived near to Doctors Commons; she said that a young man, whose name is Mitchel, tempted her to let him with others into the House, that she repented of this fact, and all other sins of her life, which provok'd God to suffer her to commit this crime, for which she is condemned.
V. Grace Dempsey, formerly Condemned, and now not being with Child, ordered to be executed, aged 26 years; she was born in Carlile, she hath lived 13 years in London, but gave no account of her behaviour in several Services. She acknowledged that she lately followed bad Company, who tempted her to commit the Robbery and that she shared with them. She said that she was born of honest and creditable Parents, but followed not their good Counsel. She confest that she had many ways dishonoured God, and neglected Religious Duties, but now she is troubled for former impieties, and begs Gods pardon for them.
VI. Margaret Palmer, formerly condemned and now not being with Child ordered to be executed. Aged 21 years; born at Middrington in Glocestershire; she confest that she had committed all sorts of sins, murder only excepted; she did not deny the Crime for which she is Condemned, but wept, saying, that she was prevail'd upon to commit it, because she did not pray against it. She was Servant to Grace Dempsey.
VII. Eliz-Hartly, Condemned for clipping the Current Money of this Nation: But being pregnant she is respited for a time from death. This hath made her so secure, that she came not with other Criminals, to receive good Instructions, but hath absented her self from Prayer ever since her Condemnation. So that I cannot give any account of her evil life, but must leave her to the Judgment of God.
VIII. John Norris, Condemned for stealing 100 pounds weight of Sope, aged 0 years; Born in Cripplegate Parish. He went to Ireland and Newcastle on several Voyages. He served the late King James. He was at Sea this Summer, in our present Kings Service, but was discharged for stealing the Captain of the Ships Sword, five Months since. He was not so obliging to his Parents as he ought to have been. He was used to play at Cards and Dice on the Lords-day. He says that he is sorry for his sins, and willing to dye, if his peace may be made with God by Repentance.
IX. John Sedgwick, Condemned for stealing a silver Tankard value six pounds, aged 16 years; He was born in Grubstreet, was Prentice to a Barbar-Chirurgion . He acknowledged that he stole the Tankard. That he broke the Sabbath, that he was guilty of Lying, and pretended that he joined not with bad Company till within 14 days before his apprehension. That he begs pardon of God for all his Sins, and hopes, if he may obtain sparing mercy, never to return to his wicked course of Life.
X. John Shorter, Condemned for Felony and Robbery, privately stealing a Sword, with a silver Hilt, from the side of Thomas Poole, value 30 shillings. He was burnt in the hand before. He is about 14 years of age, was born in West-Chester, was Prentice to a Butcher , but left his Service, to follow lewd Company. He acknowledged that he had been drunk sometimes, that he seldom prayed, and often broke the Sabbath, which sin, he said, now troubles his Conscience more than any other.
XI. John Nun, Condemned for stealing 3 Perriwigs, value 50 s. Aged 15 years. He was born in Rosemary-lane. He was at first put prentice to a Weaver , but leaving his Master, he went in a Sloop-Privateer to Sea, and said that it being cast away, he was strangely preserved; yet this did not reform him, for he broke the Sabbath, was addicted to Drunkenness and Swearing.
XI. William Dayntry. Condemned for stealing a Silver-hilted Sword, value 5 l. Aged 20 years. He was born in South-wark, was put prentice to a Scrivener , but left his service. He said he was Clerk to a Captain in a Man of War , and was lately in Land-service . That one Coy, now condemned with him, tempted him to the fact, but he hopes, if he be spared from dying, God will change his heart, and enable him to amend his life.
On Wednesday the 24th of January, these seven persons were conveyed in three Carts to Tyburne, viz. Lawrence Nozzel, Will. Day, alias Trooper Will. Richard Oates, Dorothy Barret, Jane Croucher, Grace Dempsey, Margaret Palmer, where being come they were all tied up to the Gallows, after which they were severally exhorted to be penitent, and to look for Salvation only in and thro the merits of Christ, &c. Nozzel denied that he was any ways concerned in the Robbery with Will. Day, alias Trooper Will. and the rest that committed the great Burglary in the House of Madam Allen, at Muzzle-hill; but Trooper Will being tied up just by him said, You was the first Man that contrived and set the Robbery. Indeed I cant say you were in the House, but you were there; and don't you remember you sent to Will. Reynolds to come and commit the Robbery, &c. Says Nozzel again, I think you are mad, why should you say so: I am as innocent as the Child in the Mothers Womb. Trooper Will gave him a soft answer, and applied himself to Prayer, after which he spake further these words, I am concerned for one Mr. Holland, who is now a Prisoner in Newgate, because he is accused for a Robbery that he knows nothing of; for that which he stands accused for, I my self, and Kitt Pickering did do and commit; and therefore I desire he may be made acquainted with it, and that the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor may know he is innocent, that he may be cleared from Imprisonment. Gentlemen, I have been guilty of many Robberies on the High-way. I hope you will all take warning by my untimely end.
Jane Croucher, Grace Dempsey, and Margaret Palmer, who were heretofore condemned for Burglary, and respited by vertue of pleading their Bllies; but now the time being past they were executed. They all three much lamented and bemoned the sad effects of their sinful life, wishing all the Spectators to take timely warning by their sad examples, crying out to God for the pardon of their sins.
The Ordinary prayed with them in his own Prayers, and in the Prayers of the Church; and they all profest to die in the Christian Faith. After which, they had a convenient time given them to pray for themselves, and then the Cart drew away, and they were all committed to the Mercy of Almighty God.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions, Licensed, January, 25th.
Sam. Smith, Ordinary.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, near Flet-Bridge, 169.