The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Criminals that were Executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday the 22d of March, 1703/1704.
ON Saturday the 11th Instant, being the last Day of the Sessions, lately held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, Seven Persons received Sentence of Death, whereof Two being found with quick Child, were then Reprieved, and another since, by HER MAJESTY's gracious, Mercy; the rest, viz. William Williams, Thomas Williams, William Barrow, and Thomas Jones, are order'd for Execution.
On that Evening I visited them and pray'd with them. And on the next Day being the Lord's-Day the 12th Instant, I preach'd to them and others that came up to the Chappel, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon upon Luke 23. 42, and 43. part of the Second Lesson appointed for that Morning Service, and the Words these, And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy Kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
From which Words, spoken to our Saviour by the Penitent Thief that was crucify'd with him, and our Saviour's gracious Answer to him, I shew'd,
I. That happy Malefactor's great Faith and true Conversion, expressed,
1. In what we find him to have said before (viz. Ver. 40.) to his Companion, whom he concernedly rebuked for his railing on Christ, whose Divinity he also at the same time acknowledged, saying, Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same Condemnation?
2dly, In the ingenuous and open Confession he makes of his Sins, owning the Punishment inflicted on himself and the other Malefactor, to be just, and what indeed they had deserved, Ver. 41. We indeed suffer justly, for we receive the due Reward of our Deeds.
3dly, In his justifying Christ, and asserting his Innocence, in these Words which immediately follow his Confession; But this Man has done nothing amiss.
4thly and lastly, In his fervent and faithful Application to Christ, in the Words of the Text; Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom.
By all which we may observe, he had a true Notion of Christ's two Natures (viz. the Divine and the Humane) and through the Vail of Death, he could see that glorious Kingdom and Crown of Life, which Christ, by his then approaching victorious Death and triumphant Resurrection, was to obtain, both to Himself and all these that believed on Him.
II. The blessed Effects of that Faith and Confession, which were,
1st, The Absolution and Remission of his Sins.
2dly, That Eternal Life and Glory, which were the happy Consequents thereof.
All imply'd in our Saviour's Gracious Promise to this truly Penitent Malefactor (which for the greater Confirmation of his Faith, he prefaces with an Asseveration) Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.
On the following Lord's-Day, being the 19th Instant, I preach'd again to the Condemned Persons and others there present, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon Luke 11. 28. (being part of the Gospel for the Day) But he said, Yea rather, Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, and keep it.
In discoursing upon which Words, I first illustrated them from the Context, and then I laid down this Proposition, viz.
That God has made the Terms of Salvation such, as all Men might receive them and comply with them, and that though every one could not have the Honour of being the natural Mother of Christ, yet every one that weuld hear and keep the Word of God, might be blessed; and they that did so, were accounted by him as near and dear to him as his own Mother was; as himself expresses it, Mat. 12. 45. & Mark 3. 35. Whosoever shall do the Will of my Father which is in Heaven, the same is my Brother, and Sister, and MOTHER. And Luke 8. 21. My MOTHER and my Brethren are these [pointing to his Disciples] which hear the Word of God, and do it.
In inlarging upon this Proposition, I shew'd,
1st, That Men should be diligent to hear, For Faith comes by hearing, and hearing, by the Word of God, Rom. 10. 17.
2dly, That they should take heed how they hear, which is our Saviour's Advice, Luke 8. 18.
3dly, That they should obey the Word which they hear, and repent of their former Disobedience to it, and according to the Apostle's Admonition, receive with Meekness the ingrafted Word, which is able to save their Souls, Jam. 1. 21.
From these Particulars, I proceeded to treat of Faith and Repentance, and having shewn,
I. What true saving Faith was, and how Obedience to God's Word was inseparable from it.
II. What that Repentance was, which only was available to Eternal Salvation.
Then I laid down,
III. Some pressing Motives to a speedy Repentance, taken from these weighty Considerations.
1st, The Shortness of our Lives here.
2dly, The Impossibility of Repenting after Death.
3dly and lastly, The Irreversible and Unalterable State, either of Happiness or Misery, which we must come to in another World, as soon as we depart out of this.
All which several Discourses, I concluded with particular Application and pathetick Exhortations to the condemned Prisonners, suitable to their sad and deplorable Condition, by reason of their Sins. Of which I endeavoured all along to make them truly sensible; and to that purpose, had them every Day twice brought up to the Chappel, where I pray'd with them, and read and expounded the Word of God to them; drawing from that most instructive and comfortable Word, some Arguments encouraging and pressing them to Believe, to Repent, and be Saved.
As I thus taught them in publick, so I did also discourse them in private, and press'd them to make an ingenuous and open Confession, of what their Consciences told them, they were guilty of, and ought to discover for the Glory of God, the Good of Mankind, and the Tranquillity of their own Minds here, and Salvation both of their Souls and Bodies hereafter. Upon which they severally open'd themselves to me, as follows.
I. William Williams, condemned for Robbing on the High-Way. He said, he was about 22 Years of Age, born at Landaverry in the County of Carmarthen in Wales. He owned the Fact for which he was condemned, and withal acknowledged, that he had committed several other Robberies of the like Nature; but since his Confinement, he had made the best Reparation he could, by giving such Intelligence to the Persons he had wrong'd, and such Advice to those that had brought him into these unlawful Practices, and all others concerned with him therein, as he was bound and able to do. He confess'd that he was before this, under the same Condemnation,
having been once try'd, and justly receiv'd Sentence of Death at the Assizes at Aylesbury; but (to his great Grief now) that did not then move him to amend his Life; but he went on in his sinful Course of Swearing, Drinking, Whoring, Profaning the Lord's-Day, and injuring his Neighbour. For all which he begs Pardon both of God and Man; and he thanks God, that to his Numberless Sins, he did not add that of actual Murther.
II. Thomas Williams, condemned also for Robbing on the High-way. He said he was about 26 Years of Age, born at Stafford, and bred up to the Seas , which he had used from his Youth; he having served on Board several Men of War in the West-Indies, and other Parts. He confessed he had been a great Sinner, and most grievously offended God in common Swearing, and in all manner of Debauchery and Lewdness. But he deny'd his having stol'n the Periwig that was laid to his Charge; saying at first, that he took it up from the Ground; and then afterwards positively affirming, that it was given him by one, who (with others) was in Company with him; but was not certain which of them, it was who gave it him; and as he might be mistaken in the Man, so he would not declare him, and bring him to trouble for the clearing of himself. I told him, I was afraid this was a framed Story, and not a real Truth; but he persisted in it, tho' I shew'd him the danger of Lying (particularly) in such a Matter as this, and under such an Approach of Death, which should make him have no other regard, but what tended to the clearing of his Conscience, and obtaining God's Pardon, and the Salvation of his Soul: Which were the only things he was to be concerned for. He said, he was sensible of that, and he would not omit the doing of any thing that he could do, in order to his dying well. He owned, he had been guilty of several Felonies, and had received the Punishment, which the Law inflicted upon him; yet he could not say, that it had alter'd his Inclination of offending any more. He went (as himself acknowledged) by several Names, viz. Thomas Jones, Tom. Hick, &c. But he said his right Name was Thomas Williams. I found him very Ignorant of any thing in Religion, and one that could not so much as read: But he was desirous both of my Instruction to him, and Prayers for him.
III. William Barrow, condemn'd for Murther. He said, he was about 27 Years of Age, born in the Parish of St. Andrews Holbourn, and a Corporal under Colonel Hobbard, in the second Regiment of Guard, at the time of his Commitment. He confess'd, that he had formerly been a very loose Person, addicted to the enormous Vices of Prophaning the Lord's Name and Day, of Intemperance, Lewdness, and the like; and that being bound (when Young) to an Upholsterer in London, he ran away from his Master, and listed himself a Trooper : Then he left the Service, and, by the Inticement of bad Company, turned a Thief, and received the Law for a Felony prov'd upon him. After this, he went to serve in Flanders, and last of all here at home, - &c. As to the Fact of Murther, for which he was condemned now to die, I could not, by any means, bring him to the Confession of it; but he stedfastly persisted in his Denial of it. Yet he acknowledg'd the Justice of God in this his Punishment, because he had long before deserved it for other Sins: Which he pray'd and hop'd might be forgiven him for Christ's sake.
IV. Thomas Jones, alias Toothless Tom, condemn'd for Burglary. He said, he was 23 Years of Age, born at Owston in Yorkshire, and had learned the Trade of Barber-Surgeon and Perriwig-maker ; but did not follow it long. About 5 Years ago he fell into bad Company; and about 4 Years since he was try'd for his Life at the Old-Bailey; and tho' he came off, because the Evidence against him was not strong enough to convict him of the Fact; yet he now confess'd to me, he was guilty of it, as also of many other Burglaries and Robberies, which he committed; and is heartily sorry he is not able to make Satisfaction for. He readily acknowledged the Fact for which he was to die, and asked Pardon of the Persons he had injured, and above all of God, whom he had so much offended, and whose Service he had so much neglected. He told me, he was born of very good Parents, and was well brought-up. But ill Communication had corrupted his good Manners. His Father's Name, which he discover'd to me, he desired should be concealed, he having, since his taking to ill Courses, gone by other Names than his own, because he would not bring a Reproach upon the honest and pious Family he belong'd to; adding, That neither his Father, nor any of his Relations, had heard from him ever since he had given up himself to a loose Life; that is, since the Five Years last past: Some part of which, he said, he spent in the Crown's Service, sometimes at Sea, and sometimes at Land; and the last Service he was in, was under Colonel Holmes, in the second Regiment of the QUEEN's Guard . Which Service, and chiefly his Christian Profession, he seem'd to be very sensibly griev'd to have so much dishonour'd and scandaliz'd. He said, he wish'd it were in his Power to make due Reparation; and he pray'd, that his Death might be a Warning to all other Sinners, and particularly to those, who from a good Education fall away, & abandon themselves to all manner of Sin, as himself had done; for which he heartily begg'd Pardon of God, of his Parents, and of all Persons he had any ways injured. He told me, he was well contented to die, and did not value this Life; and would with great Joy part with it, if he were sure of Eternal Life: But his Offences were so great, and he had abused so much Mercy, that he almost dispair'd of Salvation; yet he would not cease crying to that GOD, whose Compassions fail not. Thus did he express himself, and in all outward appearance, shew'd his great Abhorrence of Sin. He declar'd, he dy'd in Christian Charity with all Mankind; and put his whole Trust of Salvation in the alone Merits of CHRIST, whose most precious Blood, he pray'd might be apply'd to the cleansing, and sanctifying, and saving of his polluted Soul.
After these poor Sinners had made their Confessions to me, and desir'd that so much thereof, as is above written, might be imparted to the World, for publick Benefit and Satisfaction; they were this Day carried (in two Carts) to the Place of Execution: Where I attended them for the last time. There I did again exhort them to clear their Consciences, that if there was any thing unconfess'd by them, which they ought to declare, they would now do it, and by a free Confession disburthen themselves, and so be dispos'd to stand before the God of Truth, at whose dreadful Tribunal they were going to make their Appearance: And in particular, I conjur'd (by the Consideration of that Eternity into which they were now to be lanch'd) William Barrow and Thomas Williams, to speak the naked Truth concerning those Facts for which they were condemned to this Death. But they (as well as the rest) answer'd, that what they had declar'd to me before, was the Truth. They all desired the Standers by, and all that had heard, or should hear of their Crimes and Punishment, to take Warning by them, and avoid all Lewdness, Prophaneness, Debauchery, and all manner of Sins: And William Williams, in particular, desired me to warn from him one that was concerned in several Robberies with him.
Which they having said, I proceeded to Prayer with them, and for them: Then to the Rehearsal of the Articles of our Christian Faith; to the Singing of Penitential Hymns; and to Prayer again. Wherein I heartily recommended every one of their Souls to the tender Mercies of our Good and Gracious God. And so taking my leave of them, I exhorted them to cry to God for Mercy to the last Moment of their Lives; which they did, and for which they had some time allow'd them. Then the Cart drew away, and they were turn'd off, as they were calling upon God, in these and the like Ejaculations. Lord, have Mercy upon me! Sweet Jesus, open thine Arms of Mercy to me. Dear Saviour of the World receive me.
This is all the Account, which (in this Shortness of Time) can be given by
Wed. Mar. 22.1704.
THE Exemplary Life and Character of James Bonnell Esq ; late Accomptant-General of Ireland . To which is added, the Sermon preach'd at his Funeral by Edward Lord Bishop of Killmore and Ardagh . The Life by William Hamilton, A. M. Archdeacon of Armagh . Attested by Six of the most Eminent Bishops in the Kingdom of Ireland.
THE Character of a Christian. To which is added, an Exemplary Representation of a Perfect Man. As also, Ejaculations to be used at any time of the Day. Both Sold by J. Downing.
A Specifick Powder for the King's-Evil, which hath been found, by a long Experience, to have an extraordinary Success in curing that Disease; is to be had with a Paper of Directions, at Mr. Baker's Bookseller at Mercers-Chappel in Cheapside. Price Five Shillings the Box, containing seven Doses.
RObert Whitledge, Bookbinder , now living at the Bible in Creed-Lane, within Ludgate, where all Booksellers, and others, may be furnished with all sorts of Bibles and Common-Prayers, large and small, with Cuts or without, Rul'd or Unrul'd, Bound in Turkey Leather, extraordinary or plain, or unbound. Also the Statutes at large, and Articles and Canons of the Church of England; Tate and Brady's new Version of the Singing Psalms, the Common-Prayer in French, the new Book of Rates compleat; and also all Books neatly Bound.
London, Printed by J. Downing in Bartholomew-Close near West-Smithfield, 1704.