A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, And Last Dying SPEECHES, Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the 13th of this Instant Decemb. 1695.
AT the Sessions in the Old-Bayly, London, Held the 4th, 5th and 6th days of December, 1695; Seven Men received the Sentence of Death, one person for Clipping the Currant Coin of this Kingdom; Some for Robbing in the High-way, others for Picking of Pockets.
The Ordinary visited them every day till the Time of their Execution. On the Lord's day, He read Prayers and Preacht there on different Texts. He Preacht also on the Fast-day. In the Afternoon of the Lord's day, He Preacht from the 21 Verse of the Second Chapter of St. Johns Revelation, on these words, viz. And I gave her a Space to repent of her Fornication, and she repented not. Here were raised three Doctrinal Observations.
1. That the Lord gives the worst of Sinners a sufficient time for Repentance, even such a one as Jezabel, that false Prophetess, which snared many into the Spiritual Fornication of Idolatry.
2. That besides a sufficient time to Repent in; the Lord gives many remarkable seasonable advantages, to excite, promote and compleat Repentance.
3. That if perverse Sinners do not discern and improve these advantagious Opportunities, their Condemnation to Eternal Torment, will be the more aggravated.
For the practical Improvement of these Observations, two things were Stated.
1. What are the Steps or Degrees, which Constitute and compleat sincere Repentance.
2. What are those most remarkable advantagious Opportunities which ought to excite and renew true Repentance.
First, when clear and strong Convictions of Sin are Imprest on the Conscience, Stifle them not by the devices of Satans false Logick, neither corrupt and bribe the Sentiments of your own reason to bring in a false Verdict of your Souls State.
Conscience is Gods Spy and Monitor, if you Violate it, in its Accusations, you will perish in your profound Security, whilst you Dream false, yet pleasing Confidences of Heavenly Felicity. Yet, some Sinners fancy, that because they loudly declaim against their Lusts, they are not in Love with them, tho' they never intended to be divorced from them. Some are Frighted in their Consciences, while God's wrath is kindled against them, yet their Resolutions of Reforming vanish, when the Flouds of Affliction are Ebbing from them; such can expect no other, than that God should inflict his Silent secret, yet severer strokes of punishment; in blindness of mind, and that a deadly Stupified Conscience, should deliver them over to the Extremities of Divine Wrath. Meer Relentings for a Sinful State, cannot pass in Gods Estimation for a compleat Conversion to Him.
2. When the Enemies of God and his Grace, cast out Reproaches against thee, for the minutest Errors of thy Life. Now humble thy self before the Lord, because thou hast deserved to be Stigmatized with shame, as going on in some sin which thou didst not observe in thy self; be Viler in thy one account, than opprobrious Sinners can represent thee to other Men. The more they upbraid the desperateness of thy diseased Soul, so much the more do thou resolve to watch against thy corrupt Inclinations, because thine Enemies envy thee, the Grace of thy Redeemer.
3. When the fond love of the World is imbitter'd, by great losses and sharp afflictions, then, Sighs are too Spiritual a blast to be spent on any thing but only thy Sins. Now turn the Stream of thy worldly Sorrow into the Channel of Sincere Repentance. Kiss the rod by submission, and tho' it smart, yet let it Blossom with the Fruits of Righteousness yea mortify that special sin, which gave Life and Strength to other Sins. A Sincere Penitentiary Congratulates the sharpest Afflictions, in order to reduce him from wandring after the devices of his own Heart.
He wishes that the Rod may smite him more severely, that the Signature of an holy Nature may be deeper imprest. He prefers God's Right-hand strokes in Love and Faithfulness before the affluence of his Left-hand Comforts, which usually are abused to make Men proud, Wanton and securely Slothful in their Duty.
4. Let abundant Tears fill the Eye of Faith, when it beholds Christ Crucified in the Memorials of his dying redeeming love; then be in bitterness of Spirit, for piercing thy Saviour at the Heart, by thy Sins, pour out the Blood of every lust, at the foot of the Altar, as an acceptable Sacrifice to the mortifying Spirit of Christ.
5. When God withdraws the Exhibitions of his loving kindness, for the unkind usage of his Comforting Spirit. Then mourn as Doves in the Valleys of Soul-perplexities. You cannot rationally think, that the Spirit of Holiness will Seal consolation on an hard Sinful Heart, nor which is unstable as Water, fickle and false in its promises of Obedience,
6. When others are set out as Monuments and Examples of Gods severity, let these make an Impression of holy Ingenuity, in awaking thee from thy deep security in Sinning, that thou mayst learn Righteousness. The Lord takes this very Ill when he writes our duty in the Blood and Destruction of lesser Sinners, and yet, such who are spar'd will not turn to him, in the amendment of their Lives.
7. When the Lord shews thee the bitterness of Sinning, by making deep Wounds in thy Conscience, do not presume to heal them by a few formal Relentings at the present, rather keep open the Incision of godly Sorrow, let it not close up, but drain out the malignant humours of thy defiled Heart.
8. When the Lord shall Seal thy pardon, be not presumptiously fond of Sinning afresh; rather be vilest in thine own account, when the Lord is most graciously reconciled to thee. Then solemnly mourn, without any witness of it: this will clear up thy Sincerity, yea, this will cause thy godly Sorrow to flow more freely, without any Diversion: Thus St. Peter went out of the High-priests Hall into private, that he might weep more bitterly.
When you undertake any great Enterprize, or Service for Gods Honour, tho' attended with difficulties and discouragements: Then renew godly Sorrow for offending a gracious God, who puts an eminent Honour on us, in that he will employ us in his Service.
When we desire Success, in entering upon any new State of Life, we cannot expect any Blessing from God thereupon, unless we cleanse our selves from all Filthiness of flesh and Spirit, contracted before in any part of our Conversation,
When we observe the wickedness of other Men, let us mourn by a sad reflection on our own corrupt Nature, which
is alike, if the Lord did not renew it, by his Regenerating Spirit.
Also when a Nation abounds in all manner of prodigious Wickedness, propagated by an obstinate Impudency, to the encreasing the common bank of Divine Wrath, then it is high time to pour out Rivers of Penitential Tears, that these may put a stop to the Current of Divine Judgments.
When good Resolutions are formed within us, in any Duty of Religion, step presently into the Pool of Repentance, for thy former not-compliance with the blessed Motions of Gods Spirit.
When you receive the Sentence of Death in your own Apprehension, then mourn as Doves of the Valleys and (as they) prune the Wings of your Souls, by the Rivers of godly Sorrow, that your Affections being purified, you may soar aloft by Spiritual Contemplations to the Celestial Regions of Eternal Blessedness.
And the Lord shall deliver you from Death in a wonderment. Take heed of Cancelling your Vows of Reformation, made in the anguish of your Soul, lest the Lord swear, that such perfidious Relentings for Sinning, shall never arrive at compleat Conversion to him.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
I. Thomas Reeves, Condemned for a Robbery: Aged 25 Years, He was born in Ireland of Protestant Parents; his Father bred him up at a Grammar School, afterwards his Employment was in the Excise in Ireland: This he left at the Request of his Sister, a Widow, in England. He came over hither to help manage her Estate. He had been in England only nine Weeks before he committed this Crime, for which he heartily grieves. He declared he marryed his Wife with his Fathers Consent and good Liking; for he was alway obedient to him: That he lived chastly with his Wife, altho he kept company with bad Women before, yet he was not guilty of Fornication with them. Yet God let him fall justly into this Crime, because ho he pray'd often to him to keep him from Sinning, yet he did it with little Devotion, and not with Fervency; therefore it had not prevalency on his Heart to preserve him from some evil Actions. He acknowledged that tho he observed the Church Duties on the Lord's Day, yet afterwards he retired not to perform the Exercises of private Praying, nor read the Holy Scriptures, neither meditated on what he had heard preach'd; but walk'd in St. James's Park, where he met with News Intelligencers: So keeping Company with Idle Persons, he was tempted to be drunk once in their Company; yet he was not addicted to that or any other Vice. He was very attentive to the Prayers and Sermons on the Lord's Day, and on the Fast-Day, and every other Day. He wept much, and was grieved that he had not been of a strict Life and Conversation. I hope that he was a true Penitent
II Thomas Butcher, Condemned for a Robbery: Aged 21 Years. He was born at North-Allerton in York-shire. He served the King three Years at Sea , but falling Sick and being put on Shore, he could not return to the Sea-Service. He went seldom to Church, but idled away the Sabbath in vain Company, which he said exposed him to much Evil, namely, to frequent Swearing and Drunkenness.
III. Richard Arrowsmith, Condemned for a Burglary: Aged 25 Years. He was born in Middlesex. His Employment was in making of Bricks . He left this to serve the King as a Land-Souldier . He was disobedient to his Parents, broke the Sabbath, and kept Company with Bad Women. He was drunk sometimes, but much addicted to Swearing.
IV. John Macknoll, Condemned for Clipping the Current Coin of this Kingdom: Aged 24 Years, was born in Scotland: He sold Goods there and in England. He confest the Crime. He prophaned the Lord's Day, did swear, and sometimes drink to Excess. He kept bad Company, and seldom pray'd to God till he came into Prison. He said that he was sorry for his evil Life, and doth what he can to repent of his Sins.
V. John Jones, Condemned for picking a Pocket; Aged 21 Years: He was born in London: He was disobedient to his Parents, and said that he thought God did justly for this and that other Crime which brought him under the Sentence of Death. He broke the Sabbath, was sometimes drunk and guilty of Swearing. He seldom pray'd that God would keep him from bad Company; for which, and the other Sins of his Life, he said that he now grieves, and hopes that God will pardon him.
VI. William Ingram, Condemned for Picking a Pocket: He is aged 19 Years, was born in St. Giles's Parish. He confest that he was Disobedient to his Parents. He prophaned the Sabbath, and kept bad Company. He neglected Praying and was guilty of Drunkenness and Swearing. He shewed some Signs of Sorrow for his Evil Life.
VII. William Morgan, Condemned for a Robbery: Aged 22 Years, was born in Ireland: He was placed out with a Wine-Cooper in Galloway, but quitted his Service, being not governable; then he listed himself into our present King's Service as a Foot-Souldier : He seldom pray'd to God, but joyn'd himself in Company with very bad Women; which he said, had now brought him to Ruine. He acknowledged that he kept not the Lord's Day, and thinks that being very wanting in performing the Duties of it, this brought him to drink in Excess, and to frequent Swearing: But he hopes that God will have Mercy on him, he being grieved for his Evil Life.
On Friday the 13th of December, John Macknoll, Richard Arrowsmith, and Thomas Reeves were conveyed to Tyburn; the first on a Sledge, and the other two in a Cart: and being tyed up, they seemed to be penitent. Arrowsmith declared that he had been a very great Sinner upon the Earth, and had committed a great many Robberies for which he deserved to die, but declared that he had never been guilty of any Murder: Then he exhorted the People, and said, Good People, I desire of you all that you would pray for me, I have been a wicked Sinner, and am a young Man, and cut off in the prime of my Years; therefore let nothing tempt you to steal, but labour hard for a Livelyhood, if it be but to get Two Pence a Day, rather than to be a Thief, which is the worst of all Lives, for you see to what untimely End it hath brought me. Lord look down upon me, Oh Christ Jesus, I am a poor Soul, have Mercy on me. Reeves, begged of God that he would forgive him, and said that it was the first Fact that he ever had committed, and was sorry that he had not Grace, that he should dye before his Time: He was in some expectation of a Reprieve, but had been cautioned to prepare himself for another World. Macknoll, desired of God to forgive him all his Sins, and prayed silently to himself; then they joined with Mr. Ordinary in Prayer, and after they had prayed by themselves; the Cart was drawn away, and they were turned off.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions.
Dated Decemb. 13.
WHere as there formerly have been, and still are, several False Accounts in Print, in Relation to the Condemned Prisoners; and particularly this very Session, which is utterly False: The Ordinary thinks it necessary to acquaint the World (to prevent the like for the Future.) That no true Account can be given of the Condemned Prisoners Behaviour, Confession, and Last Dying Speeches, which is not Attested under his own Hand.
LONDON: Printed for E. Mallet, near Fleet-Bridge, 1695.