The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn, on Friday the 13th of December, 1706.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday the 4th, Thursday the 5th, Friday the 6th, and Saturday the 7th instant, Sentence of Death was pass'd upon Eight Persons; Two where of were afterwards Repriev'd through the QUEEN's gracious Mercy, and the other Six order'd for Execution.
As soon as they were under this Condemnation, I visited them, and attended them constantly twice every day; sometimes at the Chappel, and sometimes in the Condemned Hold, till the time of their Execution.
On the LORD'S DAY, the 8th instant, I preach'd to them and other Persons there present, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon part of the Gospel for the Day, viz. Luke 21. 27. And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a Cloud with Power and great Glory.
From which Words, I shew'd,
1. The Certainty of Christ's coming to judge the World; which was declared both by Words and by Wonders, and is a Matter of great Comfort to the Godly and true Penitent; of Terror to the Wicked and Impenitent; and of Instruction and Admonition to all.
II. The Uncertainty of the Time when he shall come to Judgment; which teaches us not to be too curious to know what God has thought sit to hide from us: Nor careless to prepare for that Day.
III, and lastly, The more visily approaching Judgment that is pass'd upon the Soul of every Man at his Death, and will never be revers'd, but confirm'd, and extended to the Body also at the general Resurrection on the last Day: Which shews us how much we are concern'd to die in a good State, that is, in Faith and Repentance; having a clear Conscience, void of Offence towards God and towards Men.
On these Heads I enlarg'd, and concluded with particular Exhortations to the Condemn'd; who, in my private Applications to them, gave me the following Accounts of themselves, viz.
Arthur Chambers, condemn'd for breaking open the House of Mr William Green, and taking from thence a Silver Salver and several other Pieces of Plate, on the 10th day. of October last. He said, he was about 27 years of Age, born in Shadwel Parish; and that he was brought up to the Sea, had been both a Seaman and a Soldier for the most part of his Life, and in some Engagements. But he did not deny, at the same time, but that he had liv'd a very loose and wicked Life, and had committed several Burglaries and Robberies besides that for which he stood Condemned. He was unwilling to mention Particulars, as being too many, and beyond his power to remember them all: And besides, he judg'd it of no use to the World, to know more of them or of him, than they knew already; which was a great deal. He confess'd that he had receiv'd Mercy before, but had not taken care to improve it, as he shou'd have done. He was very hard to be wrought upon, and to be brought to a Sense of his heinous Sins and the Eternal Punishment which they deserv'd. Ouly he said he was sorry for what he had done, and ask'd forgiveness of God, whom he had offended, and from whom alone he look'd for Mercy. What more he said, you will have by and by.
II. Richard Morris, Condemn'd for a like Fact, viz. for breaking open the House of Samuel Sambrook, Esq ; on the 20th of November last. He said he was about 26 years of age, born in Moor-fields, and was a Stocking-Weaver by Trade, but did not much work at; he following another Employment, which he said was that of a Soldier ; but he own'd he had very much us'd himself to that of a House-breaker, and that he had been a vicious Person in many respects. He would not (no more than the former) descend to particulars, but referr'd me for them to the Information which he had given to Mr. B. which he told me was very full, and contain'd all the Robberies and Felonies he had ever committed, which I perceive were not a few. He acknowledg'd the justice of the Sentence pass'd upon him, and said, he freely submitted to it; praying, that God, and they he had injur'd, wou'd forgive him, and that he might find Mercy in the other World, who had so much abused it in this, in not improving (as he ought to have done) that Life which he had forfeited before, and was restor'd to by a former gracious Pardon.
III. Thomas Arnold, Condemned for the same Felony and Burglary, viz. for breaking open the House of Samuel Sambrook, Esq ; on the 20th day of November last. He said he was about 22 years of Age born in the Hermitage, That he was a Shoe-maker by Trade, but had not much work'd at it, he having serv'd both her present MAJESTY and the late KING, both at Sea and Land , for a considerable time; and that though he had been a very wicked Person, yet of late he had committed no Robbery but this, which he said, he was induc'd to, when in drink. He confess'd, that he had receiv'd Mercy before, and had abus'd it, and that it was just with God and the Queen to take that Life away, which he had misemploy'd, and now again forfeited. He ask'd Pardon, and seem'd melted. But how sincerely and effectually he repeuted, is now best known to him, who, by this time, is plac'd in that State (whether good or bad) in which he must remain for ever. Let him and all the rest be a warning to other Sinners, That they may hear and fear, and do no more any such evil.
IV. James Gardner, Condemn'd also for Felony and Burglary, viz. for breaking open the House of Sir John Parsons, Kt . and taking from thence a quantity of Plate on the 4th day of October last. He said he was about 24 years of Age, born in the Parish of St Martins in the Fields, and a Hackney Coachman by his Calling. He confess'd the Fact for which he was Condemn'd, but would go no further in his Confession; and seem'd to be the most Stuborn and Obstinate of all the rest. He would sometimes say that he could in half an hour, repent of all his Sins, but at other times he was sensible that true Repentance, such as is available to Salvation, is a very great and difficult Work, and he very much complain'd of the hardness of his Heart. At first he told me, that he never robb'd any poor Person, but such as were able to bear it, and could not suffer much by the Loss of what he stole from them; and therefore he did not think he had committed any great Sin in so doing: For, said he, those Persons had too much and I too little. Thus he endeavoured to extenuate his Crime, and would fain have appear'd a Conscientious Thief: But when he was shewn, that his taking from any Person (whether Rich or Poor) any thing which he had no Right to, made him Criminal, and that tho the Consequences of the Fact might not be to both alike, yet the Injustice of it was the same; he then own'd that he had done unjustly, and pray'd that the World would forgive him, and God have Mercy upon his Soul.
V. William Bently, Condemned for breaking open the House of Mr . John Tilly, on the 22 of October last. He said, he was born in Shadwel Parish, and brought up to the Sea, where he had served on board divers Ships, both of the Royal Navy and Merchant-Men , as likewise on Dutch Bottoms. He acknowledg'd his Guilt and the justice of his Sentence, and confess'd that he had, some years since, committed other Felonies, for which he was burnt in the Cheek, but deny'd his having ever receiv'd Sentence of Death before this. He seem'd to be a great deal more tractable than the others above mentioned: He was nevertheless very ignorant, as not being able so much as to read: But according to his Capacity, he shew'd himself willing to improve his time and the Helps he had, to the making of his Peace with God; whose merciful Pardon he implored, through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST. He declar'd that he dy'd in Charity with all Mankind, and hop'd that the World would freely forgive the Injuries he had done, and could not repaire.
VI. William Dabell, Condemned for breaking open the House of Mr . Thomas Plastel, both on the 17th and on the 31st of October last. He said he was 18 years of Age, born in the Parish of St. Andrews Holbourn, and that he had been well brought up by his Parents, by whose Religious Care he had receiv'd very good Instruction, and been made acquainted with what a Christian ought both to know and to practice: But he was tempted and yielded to the Temptation of the Devil, by whose only instigation it was that he went about to rob the House of Mr. Plastel; which, he said, was the first ill thing of this nature he ever did. As he was not so old an Offender as the others were, so he appear'd to be much better than they, disposed to Repentance. He pray'd very earnestly, and was very devout; and shew'd great Sorrow for his Offences against God and his Neighbour. He begg'd Pardon of both; and declared that he dy'd in Charity with all Mankind, and hop'd to be saved through the alone Merits of his Redeemer.
This Day they were all carry'd in two Carts to Tyburn, where I discharg'd my Ministerial Office to them for the last time; exhorting them further to clear their Consciences,
and lift up their Hearts to God, I ask'd them whether they had any thing more to say, for the Satisfaction of the World, the Ease of their own Minds.
They answer'd me, That they had nothing more to say, but desired the Prayers of the Standers by. Only Arthur Chambers and Richard Morris told me (as they had done the Day before) That the Informations by them given to Mr. Billers, were true; and particularly Chambers said, That he had done wrong neither to the Living nor the Dead, in that Information of his which relates to the Riot in May-Fair, where Mr. Cooper, the Constable, was basely murthered, some Years ago; in which he declared, That Thomas Cook, the Butcher of Gloucester (who suffer'd for it) was concerned. This, together with other Circumstances relating to that matter, do now abundantly convince me, That notwithstanding Cook his positive (Denial in which he dy'd) was most certainly guilty of that barbarous Murther; and it heartily grieves me to think, that he went so out of the World, and that I was so charitable as once to believe him innocent of that Fact; because I suppos'd a Man could not be so wretchedly desperate, as upon any Worldly Consideration whatsoever, to die with a peremptory Lie in his Mouth, and so carry a guilty Conscience into another World: Which it seems was his miserable, yea, more than can be express'd miserable Case. And I hope others will take care to avoid the like.
But to return to these Dying Persons when they were ty'd to the Tree, I pray'd with them, and then singing of some Penitential Psalms, and after rehearsing the Apostles Creed, I wish'd them that Eternal Life which they had profess'd to believe; and recommending them heartily to the Mercy of our good God, I left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allow'd them. Then the Carr drew away, and they were turn'd off, they all the while every one of them calling upon God with these and the like Ejaculations. Lord, have mercy upon me! Lord, I come, I come. O Lord receive my Soul, &c.
Friday, December 13 1706.
††† Whereas some Persons take the Liberty of putting out of Sham-Papers, pretending to give an Account of the Malefactors that are Executed; in which Papers they are so defective and unjust, as sometimes to mistake even their Names and Crimes, and often misrepresent the State they plainly appear to be in under their Condemnation, and at the time of their Death. To prevent which great Abuses, These are to give Notice, That the only true Account of the Dying Criminals, is that which comes out the next Day after their Execution, about 9 in the Morning, the Title whereof constantly begins with these Words, The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, &c. In which Paper (always Printed on both sides the better to distinguish it from Connterfeits) are set down the Heads of the several Sermons Preach'd before the Condemned: And after their Confessions and Prayers, and Atestation thereto under the Ordinary's Hand, that is, his Name at length; and at the bottom the Printer's Name, Dryden Leach; which if the Readers would but observe, they would avoid those scandalous Cheats so constanly impos'd upon them.
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