The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday the 27th. of October, 1708.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, being the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Days of this instant October, Six Persons, namely, three Men and three Women, were found guilty, viz. One Man and Two Women, of Murther, and the other Three of Felony; and so accordingly received Sentence of Death. Three of these Persons are Reprieved, and the other Three are now order'd for Execution.
Soon after Sentence was pass'd upon them, and they carry'd back to Newgate, I visited them; as I did every day, both in the Morning and Afternoon, while under this Condemnation; exhorting them to repent, and shewing them the Necessity, and the Nature and Effects of Repentance. I pray'd with them, and they then seem'd, some more, some less, affected with my Exhortations and Prayers.
On the Lord's Day the 17th instant I preach'd to them, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon these Words of God, Exod. 20. 13. Thou shalt not kill.
Which Text having first explain'd in general, I then proceeded to discourse from it upon these distinct Particulars.
I. I shew'd, What that Sin is, which is here forbidden; and the Heinousness and Guiltiness of it.
II. The Severity of the Punishment due to it, which in this World is irremissible, as the Fact is irreparable: And therefore by the Law of God, the Murtherers ought to be put to Death, without mercy; or else that Land or Nation in which they live must suffer for the Blood by them unjustly shed therein; as we read Numb. Chap. 35. Verses 30, 31, & 33.
III. and lastly, How much it concerns them heartily to repent, who are guilty of such a great Offence, which they ought to look upon as the greatest indeed that ever can be offer'd to Human Nature.
Having enlarg'd upon those Particulars, I concluded at both times with Applications and Exhortations suitable to the Circumstances of the Persons Condemn'd.
And on the last Lord's Day, the 24th instant, I preach'd again to them, viz. in the Morning upon Psal. 51. 3. For I acknowledge my Transgressions, and my Sin is ever before me.
Which Words, and their Context, I did first paraphrastically explicate, and then gave them the Description and Character of a true Penitent; shewing them by Particulars, both the several Gradations and Blessed Fruits of his Repentance, which is always attended with a free Confession not only to God, but to Man also, where the Crime is scandalous, and the Punishment of it publick: Which I proved from the Practice of David, and other Penitents; whose Confessions we find recorded in the Sacred Pages, as well for our Instruction and Conversion, as a Testimonial of theirs.
In the Afternoon I preach'd upon Prov. 1. 7, being part of the First Lesson for that Evening-Service, and the Words these: The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge; but Fools despise Wisdom and Instruction.
From which Words I shew'd;
I. That by the Fear of the Lord is to be understood the Reverence and Obedience that Men owe to God and to his Worship and Service: Which summarily comprehends the Whole of Religion, as we find it (Eccl. 12. 13.) express'd in these very Words that contain both the Precept and the Reason of it, Fear God and keep his Commandments; for this is the Whole [Duty] of Man.
II. That by these Words, The Beginning of Knowledge, is meant the Foundation of that true Knowledge and Wisdom, without which all other Knowledge is vain and useless.
III. That both that Fear and this Knowledge are of the greatest Use and Benefit to us, for the promoting of our true and chiefest Interest, which is the Peace and Comfort of God's Spirit in our Souls, while we live here, and the Eternal Peace and Happiness of Heaven, when we are dead.
IV. and lastly, That therefore it is the greatest piece of Folly and Madness imaginable for Men to cast off that Fear, and despise this Knowledge, and to reject all the wise Counsel and wholsom Instruction, and other the means by which true Wisdom may be attain'd.
On these I discours'd at large, and then summ'd up all in a particular Application to the Condemn'd; Who in my frequent Visits to them, being (among other things) exhorted to clear their Consciences by free Confessions of the Crimes for which they stood Condemned; some of 'em were prevailed with to do as directed and advis'd: And the Account I receiv'd from them that are now to die, concerning their past Sinful Lives, is as follows.
I. Mary Ellenor, condemn'd for the Murther by her committed upon her Bastard Male-Infant, on the 25th day of September last. She presently confess'd, that she was Guilty: That the Child was born alive: That she threw him into the Vault, where she heard him cry: And that with a Broom-stick she kept him down, till he was quite dead. When I asked her how she could be so cruel and so hard-hearted, as to do this barbarous action; she said, The Devil had too much power over her. She mightily lamented and abhorr'd this her heinous Crime, and that which had brought her into it, viz. the Sin of Whoredom; to which, she said, she was induced by T.F. a young Man, an Apprentice to a Coach-maker, not yet out of his time, who upon his Promise of marrying her when he had served out his Prentiship, prevailed with her to commit Lewdness with him. She own'd he had to do with her several times, but protested she never knew any Man besides him in that foul carnal way. If that Young Man, who by his deluding this poor Wretch, brought such a Guilt and Misery upon her, should come to see this Paper, I would desire him to consider what he has done, and how, by his Sin of Uncleanness, he has prov'd the wicked Occasion of an innocent Infant's being murther'd, and the Murtherer's being brought to an untimely and shameful End. I spare his Name here, as being more desirous to bring him to serious Consideration and Reformation, than to Shame and Confusion. But I must needs tell him plainly, that if he does not repent and heartily pray for Grace to lead a more chaste and virtuous Life, God's Vengeance will certainly overtake him, perhaps in this World, but to be sure in the World to come. As for this unhappy Woman, she seemed to be throughly grieved for that most inhumane and bloody Fact. She was very ignorant, and could not so much as read; but yet she knew her Faults were great and deserved great Punishment. She appear'd sensible of the Enormity of her Sins of Murther and Whoredom, and acknowledg'd, that without true Repentance both of those and all other the Sins of her Life, she could not be sav'd. Therefore she express'd great grief and sorrow of Heart, and cry'd bitterly, and pray'd to God for Pardon and Forgiveness. She was (as I could perceive) unreserv'd and free in her Confession to me, and desired my Prayers; which she had. She told me, that she was not yet full 23 years of age; That she was born at Dover, and came from thence seven years ago to London, where she had liv'd all that while in several honest Families, as a Servant . She said, she ever was faithful to her Masters and Mistresses, and might have lived very happy, if she had been as honest in all other respects, as she was in Service. So she expressed her self, and greatly bewail'd her Sins, and seem'd indeed to be very penitent.
viz. the 25th of September last. She was very stubborn; and would not give any particular Account of her Life. She only confess'd in general, that she was Guilty of Whoredom and Adultery, together with many other Sins. But as to the Murther which she stood condemned for, she positively deny'd it, saying, that the Child was stillborn. And being press'd to make an ingenuous and plain Confession of that her great Crime, which (if she impartially lookd into her self) she could not but be sensible, amounted to no less than wilful Murther; she answered, That what Confession she had to make, she would make it to God alone. And so she continu'd in her stiffness and obstinacy, notwithstanding the Arguments us'd, not only by my self, but by the Reverend Minister of the Parish she did belong to, who came often to visit her, to shew her the Necessity of her acknowledging her Guilt of the crying Sin for which she was both publickly condemned, and publickly to suffer. Nothing that we could lay before her in this matter, could work any thing upon her, so as to draw from her any other Confession than this, viz. That she had been a very great Sinner; and therefore GOD had justly brought her to this Condemnation. She said, she repented, and was heartily sorry, that she had not liv'd up to that Knowledge she had; for she had been well brought up by her Parents, who had given her a good Christian Education; but, to her shame and grief, she had not liv'd answerably to it.
III. John Barnes, condemned for the barbarous Murther of Ann Edgsbrook at Wapping. He said, he was about 46 years of age, born at Ottley near Ipswich in the County of Suffolk: That he was a Seaman by his Profession, and had served the Crown several Years at divers times in that Capacity; but his chief Employment had been in the Colliers that trade between Newcastle & London. He confess'd, he was guilty of Drunkenness, Whoredom and Sabbath-breaking; but of no other great Sins: And utterly deny'd the Fact for which he was condemn'd. I often press'd him to make a free Confession of it, and used all the Arguments I could to that effect; but he as often deny'd it, and persisted in that his Denial. He was stupid and heavy, and spoke but little: But what he said seem'd only to be with a design to justifie himself, and make the World believe that he was not guilty of that horrid Murther, nor (as is observ'd before) of any other great Sins, except those of Intemperance, Uncleanness and the Neglect of God's Service; which, he said, he heartily repented of, and beg'd God's Pardon for.
At the Place of Execution (to which they were all Three carry'd in a Cart this day) I attended them for the last time. Mary Ellenor having before open'd her Heart to me by Confession, I had then less to say to her; but the other two, viz. Agatha Ashbrook and John Barnes, I exhorted again to give Glory to God, and clear their Consciences, by acknowledging the Crimes that had brought them to this their sad and untimely End here, and to the danger of endless Torments hereafter, unless they now prevented them by attending to the things belonging to their eternal Peace, before they were hid from their Eyes. They gave ear to what I said; and then answer'd, viz. Agatha Ashbrook: That she had nothing more to say, than what she had already said; and that she would never make any other Confession to Man, but to God. Finding her very uneasie when I press'd upon her this Duty of acknowledging her Guilt of the Fact for which she was now to suffer, I was forced to desist. She desired One that was then by her, to tell Thomas - (that was as I understood from her the Man who had got her with Child) That he would take Warning by her, and amend his Life. I think he has great reason and occasion so to do, if he will prevent God's Vengeance which is declared against such Sinners, unless they timely and truly repent. So much at this time and place for these two great Offenders; one whereof has now received her deserved Punishment, and the other may expect his, if he does not become wiser and better. As for John Barnes: When I press'd him again and again to take great care not to go out of this World with a Lie in his Mouth, he still persisted in his Denial of the Murther for which he was to die, saying, That he neither committed it himself, nor knew who had. This is all I could get from him. What his inward Principles might be, or what hopes he might entertain of a Reprieve, or what else might move him thus to protest Innocence in this matter, I am not able to fathom.
After this I pray'd with them and for them all, That God would be pleas'd to open their Hearts, and soften and melt them into true Repentance, and give them such Dispositions as might render them acceptable to Him, and make them fit to be admitted into his Eternal Kingdom; and, That He would, for Christ's sake, be gracious to the Soul of every one of them, and forgive them all their Sins, &c. When I had thus pray'd, I made them repeat the Apostle's Creed, and sing some Penitential Psalms. And having pray'd again, and commended them all to the Directions of the Divine Spirit and the Mercies of God, I left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allow'd them. Then the Cart drew away, and they were turn'd off; all the while calling upon God, and singing an Hymn (which Ashbrook began) to implore Help and Comfort from above. And to this they added several Ejaculatory Prayers for Mercy and Pardon; and so expir'd.
Whereas it is reported, That John Barnes deny'd his Guilt of the Murther for which he was this day executed, in a most solemn manner, upon Receiving of me the Holy Sacrament: These are to give notice, That I never administred it to him, nor to the others that died with him, because I did not judge any of them fit for it; Barnes and Ashbrook appearing stubborn and unwilling to confess their Guilt, and Mary Ellenor being so ignorant of that Ordinance, as not to be able to discern the Lord's Body.
This is all the Account here to be given of these Dying Malefactors, by me,
Octob. 27. 1708.
Whereas a Letter was lately sent to me, the tenor of which is as follow's.
Saturday Sept. 25. 1708.
" Reverend Sir,
" I having often made my observation, viz. That " as soon as your Account of the Behaviour and Dying " Speeches of Executed Malefactors comes out, another " Paper in your Name is also publish'd, intituled, The " whole Life and Conversation of, &c. (as at this time) which " seems to be illegitimate. Now believing it so, I desire " you would be pleas'd in your next Account to insert " whether it be so or no, for the Satisfaction of the World, " as well as his, who is,
" Reverend Sir, " Your unknown Friend and " humble Servant.
The Answer which I have to return to this is; That I never did any of those Papers intitul'd, The whole Life and Conversation, &c. That the Account which I give of dying Malefactors is such only as comes out the next day after their Execution, under the like Title and in the same Form with this: and, That all other Papers that pretend to give such Accounts, and are publish'd under my Name, are surreptitious and false, and a great Cheat and Imposition upon the World: Which I have endeavour'd to get suppress'd, and wish they were so, that base and unjust Persons might no longer seek to make a Gain to themselves of things that are most notoriously scandalous, and do much tend to the prejudice of the Publick in general, and my self in particular.
This Day is Publish'd,
An Exact Journal of the Siege of Lisle, from the opening of the Trenches, to the entire Reduction of the said Place, under the Command of his Highness Prince Eugene of Savoy; With a List of the Kill'd, Wounded, and Prisoners, of Officers and Private Men, on both Sides: Nicely Calculated from the best Accounts: Together with the Numbers of the Besiegers, and the Besieged, at the Opening of the Trenches; with other Remarkable Passages relating to the said Siege. By the Sieurd' My. One of the Chief Directors of the said Siege; and Dedicated to his Highness Prince Eugene.