The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, (or rather Misbehaviour) Confessions, and Last Speeches; 1st of Charles Moor, who was executed at Tyburn on Friday the 12th Day of September, for Felony; And 2dly of William Elby, alias Dun, executed and hang'd in Chains at Fulham, on the next Day, viz. Saturday the 13th Day of September, 1707. for Burglary and Murther, by him lately committed there.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 3d, 4th and 5th instant, William Elby, alias Dun, and Charles Moor; were try'd and found guilty, and accordingly receiv'd Sentence of Death.
On the LORD's DAY the 7th instant, I preach'd to them, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon Deut. 32. 29. O that they were wise, that they understood this; That they would consider their latter end!
In my Explanation of which Words, I shew'd them, That it is the greatest piece of Wisdom for Men to prepare themselves for Death; which is meant here in the Text, by LATTER END. And that, because,
I. This Preparation is of absolute necessity to avoid Everlasting Misery, and obtain Eternal Bliss.
II. The time for this Preparation is but short, tho it were the whole of our natural Lives.
III. This Time i often made shorter by the Follies and Sins of Men; as it is in the melancholy Objects now before us. Having enlarg'd upon these Particulars, I concluded with a pressing Exhortation to the Persons condemn'd, That they would consider the fewness of the Days now remaining them, and earnestly implore God's Grace to enable them to make a right use of them, in order to their Salvation.
While they were under this Condemnation I visited them, and had them twice every day in the Chappel; where I endeavour'd to render them sensible of their woful State by Sin, and perswade them to recover themselves by Faith and Repentance; for which I gave them the best Directions I was capable of, and had some other Divines (besides my self) to discourse them upon that Subject, and shew them the necessity of clearing their Consciences by Confession. But they harden'd themselves against all Admonitions and were so desperately obstinate, as to venture the loss of their immortal Souls, rather than comply with the wholesome Advices that were given them.
I. Charles Moor, condemn'd both for breaking out of the Work house where he was lately confin'd, when found guilty of Felony, and for committing a Robbery since that time, viz. the first instant, in the House of Sir John Buckworth, Bart . and taking thence several Books of great Value, and a Silver Seal. He confess'd he was guilty of this Fact, as he had been before of others of the like nature. But he would not discover the Persons that were concerned therein; saying, that he would bring no Man into trouble now; but that if he had known it should have gone so hard with him at his Tryal, perhaps he would have brought in one or two to suffer with him for Fancy-sake. These were his very Words. All that was offer'd to him, both by my self and others, prov'd of little use to the perswading him to disburthen his Sin loaded Conscience, by a free and ingenuous Confession, which he ought to make, and which could be of no prejudice to any, but of general use and service to the Publick, and possibly of particular benefit and advantage to those very Persons, whose Names and Facts he was so unwilling to make known. What I could get from him in this respect, was only this; That there were some Persons lie knew, but would not name, that had formed a Design to rob a certain House in the Country, at such and such a time, which he mention'd; telling me that it might be prevented, if I did signify the same to the Person whose House it was, But as he would by no means speak more openly to this matter, nor discover them, who were to commit that Robbery; so I perceiv'd, that he was not heartily dispos'd to serve honest Men, especially when I consider'd, not only the manner, but the time of his acquainting me with this wicked Design, which was but some few hours before it should have been executed, and the Place at a pretty distance from London; so that there was hardly time enough left for me to inform the Gentleman concern'd therein, that he might duly provide against it: Nevertheless it was taken care of; and such wicked Persons, whoever they are that contriv'd the Mischief, have found, and (by the Grace of God) will always find such their ill Attempts, fruitless and dangerous to themselves
When any one would speak to this Malefactor, Charles Moor, and represent to him the necessity of his making a full and free Confession, as well for the good of his Soul, as for the good of the World, he fell into a Passion, and would be for a while after muttering and maundering so, that no Body could guess what he said, or what he meant; but that he would have nothing offer'd to him that grated upon his deluded Fancy and vicious Inclination. However, I desisted not from my Endeavours of breaking him off from his Error and Obstinacy: But his Heart was so harden'd, and so season'd in Wickedness, that no good could be wrought upon him. He confess'd indeed, That he had been a great Sinner, That he might, if he would, have lived very well, by following the Sailor's Profession, or the Business of a Gardiner (or Nursery-man) both which he understood, and had been long employ'd in, and particularly the former; he having gone several Voyages beyond the Seas, and been in some Actions, wherein he had receiv'd some Wounds. He said, that he was not above 34 years of Age; yet had seen and done many things. When I ask'd him how he came to steal Books, as he had done, both formerly and now; he said he never stole any but twice, and the first time was a great while ago, and a great way off; but he would not tell where or when. And as to those Books, for the stealing of which he stood under this Condemnation, he said it was not in his or his Companions mind to have taken them, if they could have presently lighted on something better: Neither did they design to rob Sir John's House, but they mistook it; their Design being then upon another. But whose House that was, or who they were that assisted him, he would not declare. Both he and Elby, I verily believ'd, encourag'd one another in their wicked Obstinacy; which was such, as that I may say, I have hardly met with the like in almost seven years that I have been in this melancholy Office. God grant I may never see such harden'd Sinners again; and that Men, whose unhappiness it is to have been engag'd in Sin, may not in imitation of this poor miserable Wretch, cast themselves away.
When he was come to Tyburn (whither they carried him in a Cart, and where I attended him) I found him still obstinate, as before, in his absolute and peremptory Denial of making any Discovery; saying, What good would it do me to hang three or four Men, and ruine their Families as mine? Here I (as I had at other times) shew'd him, that by such a Discovery (which in Law could not affect or hurt any of his Companions) he would do a great deal of good, not only to others, but chiefly to his own Soul, which was now in great danger of being sentenc'd to Hell for this his unaccountable Obstinacy. But notwithstanding all this, he persisted to the last in his wilful and tenacious humour, and would not be by any means perswaded out of it; but express'd some vain hopes of his obtaining Mercy. Whereupon I openly declared to him (for the discharge of my Duty) in the presence of the Spectators there, That if he did not clear his Conscience by making such a Confession as I had often, and now again press'd him to make; i. e. To discover his wicked Accomplices, and all things of which he could usefully inform the World; I did verily believe his Soul should be eternally lost. And therefore earnestly pray'd him to take care of this, and consider it well, and make an open Declaration of what he knew in those Matters that had been discours'd of. But instead of giving me satisfaction herein, he fell upon reflecting on the Severity of his Sentence, tho he could not deny but that it was very just, and that he had deserved the Condemnation he was under. Which was so palpable and so evident a Truth, that he was forc'd to acknowledge it; saying, That he was sensible God (in his Justice) had appointed this Death for him, for his great Sins He declared, that he dy'd in Charity with all the World; and seem'd outwardly to join with me in Prayers and singing of Psalms; and thanked me for my Pains about him. After I had recommended him to the Direction of the Divine Spirit, and pray'd that God would be pleased to soften his hard Heart, I went from him, to whom some further time was allow'd for private Devotions. When he was ready to be turn'd off, he cry'd to God for Mercy, in these and the like Ejaculations. Lord have Mercy upon me! Lord Jesus receive my Soul! &c.
But how fruitless (alas!) are all such Prayers, which the meer Terrors of Death and Hell extort from such undone Wretches, is but too apparent. God grant, others may be wiser, and consider better (and in due time) their Latter End here, so as to make sure Provision for a happy Eternity hereafter.
II. William Elby, alias Dun, He was condemn'd for the Murther of Nicholas Hatfeild, which he committed on the second day of August last, and for the breaking open, at that time, the Dwelling-House of Mr James Barry at Fulham. He own'd he was guilty of the latter of these Facts; but for the Murther he would not confess it: Neither would he be perswaded to discover his Accomplice or Accomplices, nor any other Facts by him or them committed heretofore. And in this his obstinacy he all along persisted; and was so peremptory as to say, That if any should ask him again any such Questions, he would presently knock them down. Upon which I told him, that I was very sorry to see him in that furious Temper, very unbecoming a Man that was upon his everlasting State; but I hop'd he would consider things better, and give me leave to ask him (for I would certainly do it whatever came on't) such Questions as were fit to be resolv'd by him for the good of Mankind, and for the clearing of his Conscience before he dy'd. But he say'd, he would resolve none; for he intended to die in Charity with the World; which he could not do, if he brought any into trouble. To this I answer'd, that he was highly mistaken, and that his discovering his Companions in Wickedness could not be an Evidence at Law against them, and could do them no harm, but possibly a great deal of good, and would be a Charitable Deed to them; for by this means they might be reform'd, and so prevent their coming nder the same Condemnation with
him: And that also, such a Discovery as he could and ought to make of those wicked Persons he had been concern'd with, and those Robberies and other unjust Actions he had committed, would dispose him to die well, i. e. in peace with God, and his own Conscience, and in Charity with all Men, especially with those he had wrong'd, who ought to receive from him at least the Satisfaction of a sincere Acknowledgment of the Injuries which he had done them, either by himself or in conjunction with others. He gave the ear to all this; but was not perswaded by it, nor by any thing else that was at any time laid before him: But said, that he would not come to Particulars; and that in general he was willing to confess, that he had been very wicked, and that he had committed all manner of Sins whatsoever, and that he would confess them to God alone, and ask his Pardon for them. So far he came, but would come no further; chusing rather to have his own wilful humour, and perish with it, than to secure his Salvation by those reasonable and just Methods that were proposed to him. This was no small grief to me to see a Man, whom I endeavour'd to instruct and reform, and thereby bring to God, thus deseprately fly from him, and sink himself deeper and deeper into Error and Destruction. All that was left for me to do, was to pray for him, and desire him, to pray for himself, That God would please to encline his Heart the right way, and open his Eyes, that he might see and embrace the things belonging to his Eternal Peace before they were hid from him. When I told him, that he did very ill in cursing the whole Bench, as he did at the Old Baily, and that he should be now asham'd and sorry for it, he seem'd to be unconcern'd; neither did he express much grief for any thing he had done; saying, that he was to answer with the loss of his Life for all his Faults; and why should he be grieved for them, since he must die, and was willing to die? I perceiv'd he would not be thought to be afraid of Death; but I could not be satisfy'd with his manner of preparing for it. His Pride and Self-conceitedness were more prevalent with him than any Argument from Reason and Religion that could be offer'd to him. I labour'd to make him truly sensible, that what he so much valu'd and admir'd himself for, was certainly odious in the sight of Men of Understanding, and that to say no worse, he discover'd a great weakness of Judgment to fancy that he should be better esteem'd for his stistness and stubborness of Heart, than for his being humble and contrite, and melted into Repentance. After much discourse and time spent with him, both in publick and private, he at last seem'd to relent a little; and gave this following Account of his past sinful Life, and the present State he was now in.
He said, he was about 32 years of Age, born at Deptford, of very honest Parents, who gave him good Education, and bound him to a Block-maker at Rotheriff, with whom he serv'd his Prentiship; but was no sooner out of his Time, but instead of setting up or working for himself, he went on rambling abroad, and got into bad Company, which debauch'd him, and inticed him into those Sins of Swearing, Drinking, Whoring, Thieving, Sabbath-breaking, and the like, which by degrees brought him to this his shameful and untimely End. He said further, That he had sometimes served at Sea, in HER MAJESTY's Navy , and sometimes at Land in the Second Regiment of Foot Guard : And he confess'd that he had done very many ill things (which he would not particularize) and had formerly received both the Law and Mercy; which, to his sorrow, he had not (as he should have) improv'd into Amendment. Lastly, When he was near the time of his Death, he acknowledg'd his Guilt, tho not wholly, yet in some measure; and pray'd, that God would forgive both that and other his Crimes.
At the Place of Execution, viz. the Town of Fulham, (whither he was this Saturday Morning carry'd in a Cart) I attended him for the last time, and with pressing Exhortations endeavour'd to perswade him to the doing whatever he could to save his Soul. He told me, That (as he had done before) he desired my Prayers and no Questions to be ask'd him; and shewed himself more and more positive in his refusing to satisfy the World, who had a hand in the Burglary and Murther, for which he was now to die. He said he would make no discovery; only he owned again his being guilty of the Burglary, but not of the Murder, meaning (as he expressed) That he had not actually committed it, but another Man with him had. Now who that Man was, and whether there were no more with him at that time, he would not at all resolve; and he grew very angry for being asked such Questions, which, he said, put all the good things out of his Head I had put in it before; telling me withal, that he had desir'd me this Morning at Newgate, not to trouble him with asking of Questions at the Place of Execution, but only to pray by him; I own'd he had so, but I told him, I took it to be my indispensable Duty to God, to his Soul, and to the World, not to comply with his Desires herein, and that I was sorry he would not take such Directions as were tending to his Spiritual and Eternal Good; and that indeed it grieved me to the very Heart to find him bent upon his everlasting ruin, and that he was not sensible of the great danger his Soul was now in to be lost for ever. Further I told him, that how unpleasant soever it might be to him to have Questions asked him, in relation to the disposing him to clear his Conscience, and make his Peace with God and Mankind; yet he must give me leave to go on with pressing him to make such Declarations as were so very useful as he had been particularly told.
And here I shewed him a Letter, which was delivered to me as I was upon my way to Fulham; desiring him to tell me whether it came from him; he told me it did: Then I ask'd him, who Stole the 250 l. in Money, a Gold Watch, and other Goods therein mention'd; he answer'd, It was himself; upon which I ask'd him further, Who were concerned with him in that Robbery? he told me, No body. This is all that he said upon this Matter. If any desire to know the Particulars of that Letter, they may read the Copy of it at the Close of this Paper. But to return to the matter that was the great occasion of his Death: I again earnestly prayed him not to deny this Murther if he had actually committed it, and to consider that tho he had not done it with his own Hand (which seem'd strange to believe, as being most contrary to all Evidence and Circumstances) yet he was certainly guilty of it; for he owned himself to be then in the Company of him that kill'd Mr. Barry's Gardiner. And therefore he must repent for being concerned in shedding innocent Blood; and he cou'd not with a safe Conscience go out of the World without discovering the Party that committed this Bloody Fact. He gave me this Answer, That he would never do it. I prayed for him, and he seemed outwardly to join with me, both in Prayer and in the Penetential Psalms that were sung. Then I asked him, whether he was not desirous that the Worthy Minister of the Parish should come to him, which I questioned not but that he would charitably do, if he were sent for. He seem'd to be very indifferent for it. I ask'd him again; and then he said he would be glad of his Prayers, but he would by no means have any further Questions put to him. Mr. Barry (that is the Name of Reverend the Rector of Fulham) came to him, and made him a most Excellent Exhortation; shewing him his great Concern for his Soul, which he apprehended to be in great Danger. He thereupon press'd him to an open Confession, as a means by which he might be saved. Several proper things he laid to his Consideration, and then retired. After this, this miserable Malefactor, who still remain'd in his Obstinacy, would not suffer me to do any thing more here, but Pray and Sing Psalms; which I did. And then for a Conclusion told him, That if God, as I had pray'd, would please to touch his Heart, I hop'd he would make such a Confession as he had been exhorted to, before the Breath was out of his Body, and that I would remain (till that time) in the Cart, to receive that Confession. This said, he had his Cap put over his Face, and he was told he should have what time he pleased for his Private Devotions: He answer'd, he desired no more than to say the Lord's Prayer, which he did, and added to it (as the Cart was drawing away) Lord receive my Soul!
Now how little available such Prayers may be, when the Soul is not purg'd from Sin, is a lamentable Consideration. Which I would advise all Sinners not to pass by, but improve to their Amendment, and Eternal Comfort.
There is no room here to say more; for I must give the Copy of that Letter above promised, which is as follows.
YOU may remember in May last was two years, your House was broke open, and there was lost to the value of 250 l. in Money, in Gold and Silver, and sometime before you lost a Woman's Gold Watch, and one other Watch, the out-side Case being Tertoise-shell, studded, and two Pair of Stockings; and understanding, you have been many times desirous of knowing the Person. This presents to acquaint you that if you'll give your selves the Trouble of coming to Newgate (where I now am a Prisoner un-Sentence of Death) I believe you may be satisfied of the Truth of the same, I am, Gentlemen,
Altho a dying Person, yet your humble Servant.
Sept. 11 1704 from Newgate.
Please, if thought requisite, to be as quick as posible, since on Saturday Morning next I shall make my Exit, W. D.
That is the Letter, which, as I said before, was put into my Hand. And I was then desired to ask William Dunn some Questions about it, which he resolv'd as above-mentioned, and ask'd pardon of those Persons concern'd therein, and of all others he had wrong'd.
This is all the Account that this Paper will contain, and Time and my present fatigue will permit me to give of this (I am afraid) undone Wretch. Let others take warning by him, and avoid his untimely End, and unspeakable Misery.
Which is the advice of,
Saturday Sept. 13th, 1707.
††† A Sermon Preach'd in the Morning at St Dunstan's in the West; and in the Afternoon (with some Variations) at Newgate, on the 2d day of September, 1707. being the Fast-day for the Fire of London. By Paul Lorrain, Ordinary of Newgate , Sold by B. Bragge, at the black Raven in Paternoster-row, 1707.
*** The 3d Volume, consisting of Poems on divers subjects, viz. The Charitable Citizen. Fortunes bounty. A Satyr against the corrupt use o Money. A Dialogue between Britannia and Prudence. A Protestant Scourge. A Musical Eutertainment. The Libertines Choice. All Men Mad. Helter Skelter. Honesty in Distress. The 1st, 2d and 3d parts of the Journey to H -. A Satyr against Wine. A Poem in praise of Small Beer. A Poem on the Success of the Duke of Marlborough, with several other Poems never before printed. By the Author of the London Spy. Sold by B Bragge in Pater-noster-Row; where may be had Friendly Correspondences, or Epistolary Satyrs upon Virtue vnd Vice, in several Letters under the following Heads, viz. 1st. Tom Brown's last Letter to his witty Friends and Companions. 2d. A Letter from a Gentleman in London to a Friend in the Country, concerning the Publick Affairs of this Town, &c. To which is added, pleasant, comical, and delightful Predictions and Observations upon every Month, and every remarkable Day throughout the whole Year. By the Author of the London Spy; with all his writings hitherto exta