The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn, on Friday the 16th day of September, 1709.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the 7th, 8th, and 9th instant, Eight Persons, viz. Five Men, and Three Women, were try'd for several Capital Crimes, and being respectively found guilty of them, received Sentence of Death accordingly. Of those Eight Persons Four are now order'd for Execution, and the other Four are respited from Judgment, by HER MAJESTY's most gracious Reprieve; which I hope they will take care to improve (as they ought to do) into good Manners, or else they will shew themselves very ingrateful, and unworthy of that Life which they had forfeited, and Mercy has thus restor'd to them.
While they were under this Condemnation, I attended them twice every day in the Chapel at Newgate; whither they were brought up, to joyn in Prayer and to hear the Word of God, which I both read and expounded to them; and to which they seem'd to give great attention; being (I hope) made sensible that their wilful disobeying that Sacred Word, was the Cause of their present Calamity, and just fears of worse things to come.
On the Lord's Day, the 11th instant, I preach'd to them and others there present, both in the Morning and Afterternoon, upon these Words, 1 Joh. 3. 3. And every Man that has this Hope in him, purifies himself, even as He is pure.
From which Words I laid down this Proposition; viz.
That whosoever has a true and lively and well-grounded Hope that he shall go to Heaven, he has it from his Conformity to Christ in Purity and Holiness of Life, by the Spirit of Grace.
In discoursing upon this, I shew'd,
I. That wicked and ungodly Men, who live a vicious Life, and indulge themselves in a constant Practice of Sins, and never take care to be purged and purify'd from such Spiritual Defilements, cannot have that Hope, though they may presumptuously imagin, that notwithstanding their Wickedness, they shall be admitted into Heaven. Such Persons are in a most dangerous State, and Miserable for ever, while they fancy they shall be happy.
Here I observed, first, What are the Grounds on which these Men build their Hope; and secondly, made it appear by several Particulars, How vain and foolish those Grounds are, and how unsafe to rely upon for Salvation.
And then I proceeded further to shew;
II. That no Man can have a sure Hope of Heaven, till he purges himself from Sin, and lives a virtuous Life; being pure as CHRIST is pure.
Which to explain, I endeavour'd to shew,
1. How any Man may be pure as CHRIST is pure, and holy as CHRIST is holy, though not in measure and degrees, yet in similitude and likeness.
2. That whosoever is not so, or do's not endeavour to be so, must part with all Hope of Heaven, and expect his Portion and Allotment to be with the Damned in Hell.
Having inlarged upon these, I concluded at both times with such pressing Exhortations and Admonitions, particularly directed to the Condemn'd, as I thought most suitable to their unhappy Circumstances; endeavouring to perswade them to make a careful use of the short Time they had now to prepare for Eternity; and to that end apply themselves to God in fervent Prayers for Grace to return to Him by a sincere Repentance, and to embrace the Offer of Mercy and Pardon in Christ thro' a lively Faith in Him, and universal Obedience to the Divine Precepts of his Gospel, from which they had so strangely and so unaccountably swerv'd, though at the same time they bore the Name of CHRIST, and would be call'd Christians: A Name which only belongs to those that purifie themselves, even as He is pure; That live the Life of the Holy JESUS, &c.
I hope they were affected with what was then and at other times deliver'd to them from the Word and in the Name of GOD; and that the consideration of the fewness of the days they knew they had to live here, made them entertain serious thoughts of their approaching Dissolution, and excite them to a due Preparation for a better Life heareafter.
In my private Discourses with them, they gave me the Account of their past Lives and present Dispositions; the Substance whereof here follows.
I. Richard Northcoat, condemn'd for breaking open the House of Mrs. Mary Peake, and taking from thence some Pewter-Dishes and Plates, with other Goods, on the 19th of October 1708, and for another Burglary also by him committed some few days after that, viz. the 24th of the said Month of October, in the House of Mr. Daniel Herbert; out of which a great quantity of Sheep-Skins and Lamb-Skins were then taken. He confess'd, that he was guilty of those two Facts, and that he had done ill things before, and been under the Correction of the Law, but was not (as he should have been) reform'd thereby; so that he could not but acknowledg, that this Sentence pass'd upon him was very just, and that he deserved now to lose that Life, which he had taken no better care to preserve. He said, he was 26 years of age, born at Oxford; from whence he came up to London six years ago; and being a Smith by his Trade, he made Iron-work for Ships, at St. Catherines near the Tower of London, where he was set up; and where having continued about three years, he then left that Place and Occupation, and lifted himself into the QUEEN's Service , and was above two years in HER MAJESTY's First Regiment of Foot-Guard, in Colonel Egerton's Company. He did at first flatter himself with the hope of obtaining a Reprieve, thinking that his being Young, Strong, and Lusty, and able to do good Service would plead in his behalf for Mercy: But he found, that it is Honesty alone ought to be regarded, and that can best secure a Man's Life; for where that is wanting, the abler a Man may be to do Service, the more mischievous and hurtful he may prove to the World.
2. Josiah Vanhuss, or rather Vanhuyse, condemn'd for breaking open the House of Mr. Walter Hacker, and taking from thence three Silver Spoons and a Fork, on the 21st of August last. He readily confess'd, That he committed that Burglary with one T. L. and, That he had before been engag'd in two or three Facts of the like nature, and all of 'em within less than these three months last past: About which time coming from Sea, he fell in among wicked Persons, who drew him into those Facts, with which he was wholly unacquainted before: So true it is, and he found it so by woful Experience, that Evil Company corrupts Good Manners: For he had receiv'd good Instruction both from his honest Parents, and from other Friends, who took care of him after his Parents Death: And while he was with them, he behav'd himself well, went constantly to Church on the Lord's Day, and minded good things, and was also very diligent in his Calling (a Potter by Trade) which he exerted in the Parish of Lambeth, where he was born and bred. But having taken a fancy to go to Sea about five years since, he then grew loose, and weary of such Work as ty'd him at home; and so getting into the acquaintance of some Persons that were more wicked than himself, he by their means soon learn'd to be very bad indeed; for being thus corrupted by them, he was easily deluded into the commission of the Facts before mention'd: Whereof the first (as he told me) was about nine or ten weeks ago, at a Publick House near St. George's Fields; another in or near Spittle-field Market, about the same time; and the third at the Nine Elms near Battersea, above six weeks ago. All which unlawful Deeds (together with that he was now to die for) he acknowledg'd had drawn upon him this just Sentence of Condemnation; praying, that GOD would shew him mercy in another World, who had so miserably, in the prime of his age (he being but a little above 22 years old) brought this shameful and untimely Death upon himself in this, by a Life so opposite to that Virtuous and Christian Education he had. When he consider'd this he was griev'd at the Heart, and wish'd he had been so wise; as to avoid that which now prov'd his Ruin.
3. Mary Day, condemn'd for two Burglaries, in breaking open (and taking several Goods out of) the Houses of Mr. Samuel Andrews, on the 24th of June last, and of Mr. Robert Stedman on the 3d of July following. She own'd, That she was concern'd in those Robberies, and acknowledg'd also, that about five years ago she was burnt in the Cheek at the Old-baily, for a Fact which deserv'd that Punishment; but solemnly declar'd, that abating these two Facts for which she is now condemn'd, she had ever since that time liv'd an honest Life, and work'd hard for her own and her Children's Livelihood; and that of late, her Employment was to buy and sell old broken Glass-Bottles , &c. She said, she was 33 years of age, born in the Parish of St. Giles's Cripplegate, London, and had liv'd in that Parish for the most part of her Life; but, to her great sorrow, had much neglected going to Church and hearing the Word of God; which she was sensible was the cause of her falling under the Temptation of the Devil, and being too easily engag'd in his Work, for which he paid her now her Wages with Shame and Death.
4. Ann Harris, condemned for breaking open a Chest of Drawers in Mr. Newell's House, her Master, and going away with several things that were in it. She all-along deny'd her breaking open that Chest; but confess'd, That finding it unlock'd, she took out of it 16 Guineas, a Silver Watch, 6 Silver-Spoons, 3 Tea-Spoons, a Halfcrown & 6d. in Silver; That she carry'd all these Things to a certain Woman, with whom she lay in Southwark, after she had committed this Robbery (which she said was about 10 Months ago:) That both she and that Woman went then to Portsmouth, and there sold two of those Spoons at a Goldsmith's Shop, and had 20 s. for them: That the said Woman her Accomplice (for she knew what she had done) let her have 15 s. and no more, and then gave her the slip, and went away with all the rest; she not knowing whither, otherwise than that she heard she was gone to Plymouth. Upon which this Ann Harris returned to her Friends who liv'd at Canterbury, and from thence came to Dulwich, where she was known and apprehended. She said, she never was guilty of any ill thing before (meaning such a Fact as deserved Death by the Law) and that she had behaved herself well and honestly in several Services she had been in about London, for 12 years together; viz. first with a Ginger-Bread-Baker in Aldgate; Then at a Victualling-House in Horsey-down in Southwark: And afterwards at another Victualling-House in Bedford-bury in St. Martin's in the Fields; at each of which Places she stay'd about 4 years, and never wrong'd any of her Masters; till she came to live (about a Twelve-month since, or something more) with Mr. Newell in the Hay-market near St. James's, where she had not been two full Months before she stole the Things above-mention'd out of her Mistress's Chest of Drawers. She told me, that she was abont 31 years of age, born of very just and honest Parents at Canterbury; and, That she little thought once, that she should ever come to do such a thing as should bring her to such an untimely and shameful End; But Opportunity and want of Grace had let her fall under this Temptation. She wish'd others might take Warning by her, and avoid all manner of Sin, lest one single Fault should prove their ruin, as it do's hers, who could not charge her self with any thing (besides this Crime) that the Law of Man could punish. But she acknowledg'd at the same time, that God was just in all his Dealings with her; for she had not lov'd and serv'd Him as she should have done.
This Consideration was now Matter of Grief to her, as it was also to the rest: Who wish'd (all of them) that they had spent their time better; That they had done more good and less evil.
In this disposition they seem'd to be very cheary to spend their time in Prayers and Meditations, and shew'd a great desire to obtain God's Pardon and Eternal Life.
This day being come, which was appointed for their Execution, they were carry'd from Newgate (in two Carts) to Tyburn, where I attended them, and dischag'd my Ministerial Office to them for the last time. I pray'd and sung some Penitential Psalms with them, and made them rehearse the Apostles Creed. I exhorted them to stir up their Hearts and Affections to God more and more, and earnestly to call upon Him for Mercy; which they did, and seem'd to be earnest therein. They desir'd me to speak for them to the Spectators, That they would take Warning by their Fall, and pray for their departing Souls. Which done, we return'd again to Prayer, and after some further time spent in it, I withdrew from them, commending them to GOD's unbounded Mercy and Grace, and so left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some few moments allow'd them. Then the Cart drew away, and they were turn'd off, all the while calling upon GOD to receive their Souls.
This is all the Account here to be given of these Dying Persons, by me,
Friday, Sept. 16. 1709.
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Memoirs of the right Villianous John Hall, the late famous and Notorious Robber. Pen'd from his Mouth some time before his Death. Containing the exact Life and Character of a Thief in General. As also a lively Representation of Newgate, and its Inhabitants, with the Manners and Customs observed there. The Nature and Means by which they commit their several Thefts and Robberies, and the Distinctions observed in their respective Functions. To which is added, the Cant generally us'd by those Sort of People to conceal their Villanies; and Rules to avoid being Robb'd or Cheated by them. Usefully set forth for the Good of the Publick, at the Instance of many honest People. The third Edition, with large Additions, and a Description of Ludgate, the two Compters, and other Prisons for Debt.
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