AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 10th, 11th, and 12th of October, 1711, Three Persons, viz. William Maw, and Two Women, that were then try'd for, and found Guilty of several Capital Crimes, did accordingly receive Sentence of Death. Of those Three Criminals, the first is now order'd for Execution, together with Thomas Jarrott, who having been convicted the Sessions before, and since repriev'd several times, and afterwards called to his former Judgment, is now at last appointed to suffer that Death, to which he then was condemn'd.
While they were under this Condemnation, I not only visited them constantly, and had them twice every day brought up to the Chapel in Newgate; where I pray'd with them, and expounded the Word of God to them; but gave them within that time, no less than 14 publick Penitential Sermons (suitable to their melancholy Circumstances) the two last of which Sermons were preach'd on the Lord's Day the 21st instant, upon part of the Epistle for the day, viz. Ephes. 6. 18. Praying always with all Prayer, and Supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all Perseverance.
From which Words (first explained in general, with their Context) I discoursed at large upon the excellent Subject of Prayer; shewing them;
I. The absolute Necessity of it.
II. The due and proper Qualifications for it.
III. and lastly, The great Benefits and Advantages accruing by it.
To which Heads having fully and distinctly spoken, I concluded with particular Exhortations and Admonitions to the Condemned, who seem'd to be very attentive to what was then deliver'd.
And as in my publick, so chiefly in my private Discourses to them, I endeavour'd (from the very first to the last) to make them sensible of the absolute and indispensable Necessity and Obligation they were under, to clear their Consciences by a free Confession of their Sins, that so they might (in some measure) make amends for the Mischiefs they had done, and (as far as in them lay) prevent other Offenders going on in their pernicious and dangerous ill-Courses. This I laid close to them, earnestly desiring them, that they would seriously think upon what I then offer'd to their Consideration and Practice, as a thing directly tending to the Glory of God, their own Spiritual Safety, and the Good of their Neighbour; adding, That their wilful Neglect or Omission of this, would prove at the last most dismal to themselves, who were the Persons that should suffer most by it, in that it would expose them to the unconceivable Torments of an unhappy Life (or rather an Eternal Death) in another World.
Upon which Thomas Jarrott did (even from the very first) give such Informations to those Persons, who had received any Injury by him, as shew'd he was sensible of, and sorry for, the Evils he had done; and that were he to have outliv'd this, he would never have brought himself under the like Condemnation, nor ever more been concerned in such wicked Deeds: Which Behaviour of his at that time, I must needs say, was some Demonstration of his Repentance. Among several Discoveries which he made, he gave me an Account of some Exchequer-Notes, Bank-Bills, Bonds, and private Money-Notes, &c. amounting together to about 300 l. which he and two others with him, stole and dispos'd of for 51 l. And likewise several Yards of Cloth of the Value of 15 s. or 16 s. per Yard, which they took out of three Carts, and for quicker Sale and Dispatch, they Sold at 1 s. per Yard only; they having found Chapmen that had the Conscience to buy those Things at such an easy Rate, and to bid them bring in more; as will fully appear from Jarrott's Paper, written in his own Hand, which he left in mine, and which I shall publish by it self, (there not being room to insert it in this) for the Satisfaction of all concerned in any of the many Robberies mentioned therein, and the preventing unnecessary Suspicions, injurious Reflections, &c.
When I had him alone in my Closet in Newgate, he confess'd himself to have been a very great Offender. He said, he was about 24 Years of age, born of honest Parents in High-Holborn, in the Parish of St. Giles in the Fields: That tho' he had (from his Youth) receiv'd good Instruction, and Religious Education, yet he had of late strangely abandon'd himself to a loose Life, had 2 Wives now living, & had been concern'd in many other lewd Actions: That being Indicted for, and upon his Tryal found (as he now confess'd he really was) Guilty of, a Felony about a Twelve-month ago, the Court then order'd him into the QUEEN's Service, and accordingly he was listed a Soldier . But he being a short Man, and withal understanding the Sea, better than Land-Service, as having for 5 years together before been a Sailor on board some Merchant-men in the West-Indies, his Officer turn'd him over to a Sea-Commander; and so he served on board the Neptune, and other Men of War several Months: Then coming up to London again, he return'd to his wicked Ways, and (among other Robberies) committed a Felony and Burglary, in the House of Mr. William Gardner, on the 10th of August last, taking out of it 8 dozen pair of Worsted Stockings, 8 pound weight of Thread, and other Goods; which Fact he publickly confess'd at the Bar, being (as he told me afterwards) perswaded so to do, by some Persons who had an Interest in his Death; and, upon that his Confession, he was brought in Guilty of this Fact, and so receiv'd Sentence accordingly.
Having lain a long while under this Condemnation, and being first told, that his Execution should be on Wednesday the 19th of September last, and then on the 21st, and then again on the 5th instant; and when that Day was come, and he ev'n ready to be carry'd off, the said Execution being then again deferr'd to the 12th; and last of all to this Day; He all that while entertained the vain and unhappy Hopes, That he should be still further Reprieved: But at last he found himself hugely mistaken therein, as diverse others, under the like dismal Circumstances, have done; who, when much Time has been allow'd them to prepare themselves for Death, instead of employing that precious Time to such a necessary and important Use, have been contriving Means and Methods how to avoid that Death, which they were so much concern'd to look upon as certain, and make due Preparation for. And thus it was with this unhappy young Man, who, had he not so much depended upon this Life, might more stedfastly have apply'd himself to the making a due Provision for another. But his Thoughts being confus'd and distracted by the many flattering Promises, daily made to him, he did not altogether make that good use of his precious Time, nor of the Religious Instructions and Admonitions given him, which probably he would have done, had not his Mind been so discomposs'd, and toss'd (as it were) between Hope and Fear, between Time and Eternity.
As for William Maw, the other Person concerned in this Paper, the Account which I can give of him is this; That he was Cast upon five Indictments, viz. 1st, For breaking open the House of Mrs. Ann Johnson, and taking thence 8 Pewter-plates and other Goods, on the 9th of July last. 2dly, For breaking open the House of Mr. John Avery, and taking thence 24 pair of Leather-Clogs. 3dly, For assaulting and robbing Mr. Charles Potts on the Queen's High-way, taking from him a Silver-Watch, 5 Gold-Rings, Money, and other Things. 4thly, For assaulting and robbing likewise on the Highway, Mrs. Ann Grover, taking from her 3 s. 6 d. 5thly, For assaulting in the like manner on the Queen's Highway, Mr. Thomas Coleman, and robbing him of an Handkerchief, some Money, and other Goods. Of all which Facts he being found Guilty (as he might have been of many others, had he been try'd for them) he accordingly and deservedly received Sentence of Death: Which Sentence he at first deny'd, but afterwards acknowledg'd, to be very just, in that God had brought this Evil upon him because he had been a very great Sinner.
He said, That he was 50 years of age, born in the North of England, from whence he came up to London above 30 years since; That he served his Apprentiship with a Cabinet-maker , and for a great while follow'd that Occupation, in the Parish of St. Giles's Cripplegate, where he dwelt for 20 years together; That having for these few (he might have said, many) years past, left off working at his Trade, he had betook himself to some illegal Ways of Living; as the Buying of stoln Goods, and thereby encouraging Thieves and Robbers. This he own'd; but he would not confess, that himself had actually been concerned in several Felonies and Robberies, and in Coining, &c. for which Things sake (as he might remember) he had a Fine of 10 l. laid upon him in September 1705, was Burnt in the Hand in April 1710, and in September following; and twice, if not more, order'd for Bridewell, &c. These were Facts so plain and so fresh in my Memory, who brought them back into his, that he could not deny them. But when I proceeded to urge him further, and endeavour'd to bring him to a free and open Confession of the Robberies he was condemned for, and of several others by him committed in Company with Andrew Baynes and John Sutton, lately executed; who before their Death most solemnly affirmed, That he, the said Maw, was concerned with them in those Robberies on the Highway, mention'd in a Paper they left with me, which (for publick Service and Satisfaction) I intend to impart to the World; He used all the Art he could to evade the giving a positive Answer to the Questions I ask'd him about these Matters: And as often as I therein offer'd my Arguments to him, fetch'd even from his own greatest Interest, viz. the Saving of his immortal Soul, which he greatly hazarded by his obstinate Denial of the Truth; he then reply'd, Sir, You are too hard upon me: You press me too much: Your Prayers, your Exhortations, your Exposition of the Word of God in the Chapel, your Doctrine, all is very good; and I receive great Instruction and Comfort by them, and thank you for them; but give me leave to tell you, I cannot endure, that in private you should be so severe upon me, as to press me to speak to that I know Nothing of.
My plain (and indeed charitable) Dealing with him (I perceived) was very unpleasant and grievous to his Temper. But I told him, that I must not flatter him to the destruction of his Soul, and thereby bring Guilt upon my own. And therefore, I would not give over pressing him to make such a sincere Acknowledgment of his Faults, and give such Proof of his Repentance, as might rejoyce my Heart from the Satisfaction I should have, that this would procure Peace to his Conscience: To which I referred him, and pray'd him to consult with it impartially, and abstractedly from all Worldly Considerations whatsoever.
And here I gave him abundant Warning, That he should not frame erroneous Principles to himself, that might prove destructive of his future Happiness, as if he could obtain it (which he seemed to hope he should) without speaking the Truth in every Thing laid to his Charge, relating to his Neighbours Concerns.
In this I went so far with him, that he perfectly grew angry with me; but I told him, I would deal with him as a good Physician, or Chirurgeon, who does not so much mind the Cries of his Patient, as his Cure; for, said I to him, Though you exclaim never so much against what I offer you, I am fully resolv'd to endeavour the Salvation of your Soul.
With this I calm'd his Passion a little; and then I laid before him these two Things chiefly, which I pray'd him to ponder upon, as being indeed most weighty and remarkable; the Providence of God most conspicuously appearing in them for his exemplary Punishment.
1. That he was justly brought to this Condemnation upon the plain Evidence of that very Youth, whom he had trained up in this wicked Way of Robbing.
2. That the avenging Hand of God had now taken hold on him, and would not suffer him to live long after that heinous Fact, which he knew in his Conscience (and I knew also from Andrew Baynes and John Sutton, then in Company with him) he had committed, in Assaulting that Honourable Person on the Highway, even when he was then just come from saving a Life; and that too, not only by his great Skill, but in that charitable manner, which he frequently exerts towards the Needy. And tho' he had escaped the Punishment of common Robberies for so many years, he could no longer avoid the Punishment of a Robbery accompany'd with such Aggravations, both on the part of the Gentleman robb'd, and on his own part, shewing a crueller Disposition towards him, than either Baynes or Sutton did, as that Honourable Person made it appear, when (in my presence) he told him the said Maw, many Particulars relating to the part he acted in that Robbery. Which if he did now duly consider, he must needs conclude, That therein he had committed an uncommon Offence; and therefore though he was not condemn'd for it, no more than Baynes and Sutton were, yet this his Condemnation was the Effect of it, and the just Punishment which the Great Judge of the whole World inflicted upon him, particularly for that his great Barbarity.
When he was seeking for (without shewing any Disposition by Confession that in the least deserved) that Mercy at the Honourable Hand, who had obtain'd it for Andrew Paynes, because he was more gentle and civil in the Commission of his Crimes, and more tractable and penitent under his Condemnation, I told him plainly, that his Temper and Carriage being in all respects, and every where (both on the Highway and in Irons) much different from that of Baynes, he had no reason to expect the same Favour that Baynes had, of a Reprieve; which, though but for a few Weeks, yet was (as it prov'd) a great Blessing to him, who within that time was (through Mercy) brought to such a happy Disposition, as not only to be well prepared for Death, but to wish it rather than Life itself, which he then began to discover was attended with Temptation to Sin, and consequently with great Misery.
Thus I laid before Maw those Things that I thought most proper to melt him into true Repentance, and oblige him to an open Confession of his Crimes, but hitherto in vain; his habitual Temper beig stubborn, and often angry at pressing him to confess. All I could get out of him, was this Answer only. I am a great Offender, and what can I say more? Yes, reply'd I, You can say in what Particulars You have offended, which it greatly concerns You to do, else I would not desire it of You; for it is all one to me, so long as I discharge my Duty to your Soul (but it is not all one to You) whether You make an ingenuous and sincere Confession, or not. Complain of my Severity (as you call it) as long as You will, I will not flatter nor humour You in Your unreasonable and mistaken Notions. I will tell You, without disguise, That Your Crimes being of a publick Concern, they ought to be publickly acknowledged, and You are to ask Pardon, as of God, so likewise of the Persons You have injured, if ever You expect to avoid the intolerable Torments of Hell, and obtain the unspeakable Felicity of Heaven.
With these, and the like Instructions and Admonitions, I endeavoured to move him, but he remain'd stiff and obstinate, harden'd in his Sins, and deluded by the Wiles of Satan, and the deceitful Imaginations of his own corrupt Mind.
This Day their Bodies being demanded by, and deliver'd to the Sheriffs Officers, they were carry'd out of Newgate, in a Cart, to the Place of Execution; where I perform'd my last Office to their Souls. I exhorted them (especially Will. Maw) to die with a clear Conscience, and not to leave that undone in this World, which could not be done in the other, into which they were just going to be launch'd.
Thomas Jarrott said, He had declar'd already all he had to say for the clearing of his Conscience. Which as I was satisfied in, so I did not press him further herein. He then gave me a Paper, he call'd his Last Speech, which (according to his Desire to me) I shall publish: But, there not being room here for it, I intend to joyn it to the Account of his Robberies, which will come out on Friday next.
As for Maw, he said, He had (he hop'd) made his Peace with God: He would not be ask'd any Questions: He knew he had been a great Sinner, and God was just, in bringing him to this Death.
After this I pray'd by them, sung some Penitential Psalms, and made them rehearse the Apostles Creed. Then I gave them some farther Exhortations, and pray'd again with them, and having recommended their Souls to God's Mercy in Christ, I left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allow'd them.
Before they were turn'd off, they spoke to the People to this effect, (viz. Jarrott) I pray all, young and old, to take Warning by me. I had good Education from my Parents, who are honest People. They did not bring me up to this I am now come to. But I was undutiful and disobedient, and would not follow good Counsel. I desire that none would be so unjust as to reflect upon my Friends, who are in no ways concerned in my ill Actions, &c.
And Maw spoke thus, I desire all Gentlemen and others hers present, to take Warning, and amend their Lives betimes.
They both desired the Prayers of the Spectators: And when they had ended their Speeches, and pray'd a while to themselves, the Cart drew away, and they expired with these and the like Ejaculations in their Mouths, viz. Maw, (who spoke little, and very low) Lord! have Mercy on me, a great Sinner. Jarrott; Lord! look upon me in thy Mercy; Lord Jesus, help me in this time of Need. Open thy Gates unto me, and receive me unto Thyself: Even so, Lord Jesus!
Wednesday, Octob. 24. 1711.
This is all the Account here to be given of these dying Persons, by me,
***At the Queens-Head and Golden-Fleece against Exeter-Exchange in the Strand, are to be sold all sorts of Hosiers Goods, viz. Stockings, Bays, Flannels, &c. The whole Stock will be Sold-off under the Prime Cost, by Retail: And the Trade being to be Left-off, the House and Shop is to Let.
London Printed, and are to be Sold by J. Morphew, near Stationers-Hall.