AT the Sessions held at Justice Hall in the Old-Baily, on Thursday the 5th, and Friday the 6th instant, Three Persons that were found Guilty of Capital Crimes, received Sentence of Death; from which, Two of them having obtained the Mercy of a Reprieve, One only is now order'd for Execution.
While they where under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them, and had them brought up, twice every day, to the Chapel in Newgate, where I pray'd with them, read and expounded the Word of GOD to them, and exhorted them to Repentance.
On the LORD's Day, the 8th instant, I preach'd to them, and others there present, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon part of the Epistle for the Day, viz. Acts 2. 4. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other Tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
From these Words, which I chose as proper for the Solemnity of the Day, I did (after a short Explanation both of them, and of the Context) take Occasion to discourse largely upon the following Particulars, viz.
I. The Effusion or Pouring-out of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, on the Day of Pentecost, according to CHRIST's Promise to them at his Ascension into Heaven; which was, That He would send them the Comforter, and endue them with Power from on high.
II. The happy Disposition the Apostles were in (by their Love, Unity, Faith, and Patience) to receive the inestimable Gift of the Holy Ghost.
III. The Divine, Wonderful, and Blessed Effects thereof.
IV. The great Motives we have to believe and obey the Doctrine of CHRIST, which was preach'd and establish'd with so much Authority, and the Truth of it attested and confirm'd by such astonishing and convincing Miracles, as were wrought by CHRIST's Apostles, and their Followers.
V. ult. The Unaccountableness and Inexcusableness of our living contrary to that Divine Doctrine, which teaches us, to depart from all iniquity, and to deny all Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present World. itus 2. 12.
Those were the principal Points I then spoke to, both in the Morning and Afternoon; concluding at both times, with Exhortations suitable to my Auditory in general, and to the Condemn'd in particular.
And again, on the last Lord's Day, the 15th instant, I preach'd to them (according to my usual manner) both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon Exod. 20. 13. Thou shalt not kill.
From which Words, first explain'd in general, I then shew'd in particlar,
I. The Heinousness of the Crime of Murther, which of all other Injuries done to our Neighbour, is cercertainly the greatest, in that it is irreparable.
II. The Punishment due to it, which is Death, for the Law of GOD is positive and plain in this Matter. The Murderer must die without Mercy; no satisfaction is to be taken for his Life; and if he be not put to Death, the Land wherein he lives is to suffer for it; as we read, Numb. Chap. 35. Verses 30, 31 & 33.
III. and lastly, The timely Care they ought to take, and the earnest Endeavours they ought to use, to repent, who are guilty of such an enormous Crime, and indeed of any Sin whatsoever; whose Repentance must bear some Proportion to the greatness and heinousness of their Sins, if ever they desire to have GOD's Pardon, and blessed Consequents thereof; which are, the escaping the Torments and Miseries of Hell, and obtaining the Pleasures and Treasures of Heaven.
Upon these I enlarg'd, and concluded (as before) with such Exhortations, as I judg'd proper for Application to my Auditory.
The Condemn'd (as it highly concern'd them) appear'd to be very attentive (above the rest) to what was then deliver'd for their Instruction, and the Comfort of their Souls: And in my private Discourses with them, they express'd their Abhorrence of their past Sins; especially,
To begin with her Age: She said, That on the Tenth of April last, they told her, she then was just Fourteen Years old; but whether so, or no, she knew not; neither did she know any thing relating to her Birth or Parentage any more, than that she had heard some People say, her Father was an Excise-man, and, that she was born at Melton Mowbray in Leicester-shire, and from thence carried very young to Sutton near Peterborough in Northampton-shire. There, she said, she was at Nurse, and so remain'd till she came to be about Seven Years of age; and then was brought up to London, and liv'd above Seven Years with Mrs. Jane Scoles (who told her she was her Godmother) and Mrs. Catherine Cholwell, Sister to Mrs. Scoles; they dwelling both together, at that time without Temple-bar, and afterwards in Covent-Garden. As this young Maid grew up, they put her to all manner of House-work they had for her to do, and she help'd them also in their Business of Clear-starching : But growing weary of this Service, which she found hard, and hoping (as they promis'd her) that they would leave her all they were worth at their Death, she resolv'd to poison them both; which she accordingly did: And it was thus.
On Thursday in the Passion-Week, being sent by her Mistresses on an Errand, she tarried so long that they were very angry with her, and severely corrected her for it at her Return. After that, they sent her out again upon another Errand to Grace-church-street; While being full of Spleen against them, she by the way stept into a Druggist's Shop, and there bought two ounces and an half of yellow Arsenick, (which she pretended was to kill Rats) and next Morning (that was Good-Friday) she mix'd part of that Poison with some Coffee she had then made for her Mistresses, and threw the rest away, as supposing she should have no further use for it. This Coffee thus prepar'd, thus poison'd, she brought to her Mistresses, who drank it; and thereupon one of them (viz. Mrs. Scoles) found her self extreamly ill, and without knowing the real Cause of her Illness, said, She felt Death upon her: And so it prov'd. For thereupon being strangely alter'd, and visibly growing worse and worse, she expir'd the next Morning before the Minister (who was then sent for) could
come and pray by her. As for Mrs. Cholwell, the Poison did not kill her; which this treacherous Maid observing, and finding her self disappointed of her Design, resolv'd to poison her a second time, and do it effectually, as she had serv'd her other Mistress before: And to this wicked End (about ten or twelve Days after) she went to the same Shop again, and bought an Half-penny-worth more of that Arsenick, and put it into a Porringer of WaterGruel prepar'd for Mrs. Cholwell's Breakfast. Here the good Providence of God manifestly appear'd in the Preservation of Mrs. Cholwell's Life, on which that Poison had no effect; for when this Deadly Breakfast was brought up to her, it seems it was so hot, that she was forc'd to let it cool a while before she could take it, and so by that means the Arsenick settling at the bottom of the Porringer, she did not swallow it all down; however, what she took in of it made her immediately very sick: Upon which she looking in the Porringer, and seeing something in it that did appear strange to her Sight, sent for her Apothecary, who examining (with other Persons) what that was which remain'd in the Porringer, and perceiving it to be rank Poison, gave her a good quantity of Oil to drink; and by that, and other proper Remedies, the Poison was expel'd, and the farther mischievous Effect of it happily prevented: Upon this the wretched Maid (who before had not been) was now suspected of having poison'd both the deceas'd and this her surviving Mistress; and so being charg'd with it, she readily confess'd it, her own Conscience (which accus'd her) not permitting her denial of it. Then she was examin'd by two of HER MAJESTY's Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, who (from her own Confession) finding her guilty of the Fact, did by their Warrant commit her to Newgate, which was on the 30th of April last, she having had all this while to prepare her self for that Death, which she acknowledg'd she had justly deserv'd, for that her most heinous and barbarous Crime.
Upon my asking her (as I did several times) whether any Sweetheart, pretended Lover, or other Person; had prompted her to the commission of this great Wickedness, she always answer'd me, No; adding, That the Devil, and her own Pride, and the Hope of living at Ease, by having all that her Mistresses should leave behind 'em, were the only Causes of it. And being farther ask'd, Whether she had not sometimes cheated her Mistresses of Moneys, which she did receive for them, she not only own'd it, but withal confess'd, That to hide those Cheats, and other Faults, she had often told abundance of Lies; the Remembrance whereof was a great Grief to her.
That's the Substance of what she declar'd to me; and upon that, I gave her the best Advice I could shewing her, on the one hand the severe Judgment of GOD, and the intolerable Torments of Hell, due to such Sinners as she was, if dying impenitent; and on the other hand, the unbounded Mercy of GOD, and the great Glory and Felicity of Heaven they should obtain, if truly penitent; whose Sins, tho' never so many, tho' never so heinous, even Murder it self, should (upon their Repentance and Faith in Christ) be entirely remitted and pardon'd; And therefore I earnestly exhorted her to stir up her self to GOD, and to implore these Graces of Him, viz. a lively Faith and sincere Repentance; which were of absolute necessity for the Conversion of her present Life, the Remission of her past Sins, and the Salvation of her immortal Soul, in a future Eternal State.
These Things at first seem'd not to make much impression upon her Mind; she appearing to be very dull, and much stupified: At last she was awaken'd, and became sensible of the miserable Condition her Sins had brought her into, and of the greater Miseries she should find in the other World, if she did not heartily repent of 'em in this. Here she exprest her great Desire of GOD's Pardon, praying in the Words of David, Psal. 51. v. 14. That He would please to deliver her from Blood-guiltiness: She also ask'd Forgiveness of her surviving Mistress, Mrs. Cholwell, for attempting twice to kill her with Poison, and for all other the Injuries she had (at any time) done, both to her and her deceas'd Sister.
Yesterday she receiv'd the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (which she long'd after) with great Devotion: And when the time of her Death was drawing near, she seem'd to be so far from being discompos'd with any uneasie Thoughts about it, that she comfortably resign'd up her self to GOD, saying, I feel now more Joy in my heart, than if I were going to a Feast and a Merry making. Methinks I see the Gates of heaven open, and the glorious Things therein, ain before my Eyes; and I doubt not in the least but I shall obtain them, through the Merits and Intercession of my dear Redeemer.
This being the Day appointed for her Execution, she was carried from Newgate in a Cart to Tyburn, where I attended her for the last time; and after Exhortations, Prayers, singing of Penitential Psalms, and rehearsing the Apostles Creed, as usual on these melancholy Occasions, I withdrew, and left her to her private Devotions, for which she had some time allotted her.
She made no other Speech, but desir'd the Spectators to Pray for her, and take Warning by her.
She pray'd much by her self; but spoke so low, that very little of what she said was heard.
Then the Cart drew away, and she was turn'd off; calling all the while upon GOD (in great fervor of Spirit, tho' with a soft Voice) to pardon her Sins, and save her Soul.
This is all the Account here to be given of this dying Person, by me
Wednesday, June 18. 1712.
A Guide to Salvation; or, The Way to Eternal Bliss: Being a Collection of Meditations and Prayers, suited to the Exercise of a Devout Christian. Printed for W. Meadows at the Fann in St. Paul's Church-yard.
A Preparation for the Sacrament; with moral and divine Maxims. Printed for B. Aylmer at the 3 Pigeons in Cornhill.
ROBERT WHITLEDGE, who formerly lived at the Bible in Creed-Lane, is removed to the Bible and Ball in Ave-Mary-Lane near Ludgate, where all Booksellers and others may be furnish'd with Bibles and Common-Prayers of all Sorts, with Cuts or without, Ruled or Unruled, Bound in Turky-leather or Plain. Mr. Sturt's Cuts curiously Engrav'd; also other fine Cuts fitted for all Sizes and Common Prayers. The Welsh Bible, Welsh Common-prayer, and Welsh Almanack. The Duty of Man's Works of all Sizes. The Duty of Man in Latin. Latin and French Common-prayers. Tate and Brady's New Version of Psalms, with the New Supplement. Dr. Gibson on the Sacrament. The Statutes at large, in Three Volumes. Washington and Wingate's Abridgment of them. The Lord Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, in Folio and Octavo. The New Translation of AEsop's Fables. Also Bp. Beveridge's Works, in 5 vol. And Dean Stanhope on the Epistles and Gospels, in 4 vol. All which Books and Cuts are likewise Sold by J. Baker in Mercers-Chapel, in Cheapside.
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