The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at TYBURN, on Friday the First of August, 1712.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bay, on Wednesday the 16th, and Thursday the 17th of July last past, Five Persons, viz. Two Men and Three Women, who upon their Tryals were found Guilty of Capital Crimes, received Sentence of Death accordingly; and Three of them having since obtain'd the Mercy of a Reprieve, which I hope they will not abuse, the other Two are now order'd for Execution.
While they lay under this melancholy State of Condemnation, I visited them constantly, and had them brought up, twice every day, to the Chapel of Newgate, where I pray'd with them, and taught them in the Word of God publickly, as I did elsewhere in private; endeavouring to awaken them out of their Spiritual Lethargy, to a Life of Righteousness, and applying the Remedy of the Gospel unto their Sin-sick and stupefy'd Souls.
On the Lord's Day the 20th of July last, I preach'd to them, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon part of the Epistle for the Day, viz. 1 Pet. 3. 11. Let him eschew Evil, and do Good.
Which Words I first explained in general, and illustrated by other Scriptures that inforce the same Duty; and then proceeded to shew from them in particular, these Three Things.
I. That we ought not only to abstain from all manner of Evil, in Thoughts, Words, and Deeds, but even from the very appearance of Evil, as the Apostle excellently exhorts, 1 Thes. 5. 22.
II. That to the end we may be constant in the Discharge of this first Part of our Duty of abstaining from Evil, and be kept from the Power of Temptation to Evil, we must carefully study to do Good, through the whole Course of our Lves; applying all our Faculties, and making all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions to conspire to this great End.
III. lt, That for a Reward of our faithful Performance both of this Negative and Positive Duty of abstaining from Evil, and doing good (in which we ought daily to make further Progress) God will render our Life comfortable to us in this World, and at last advance us to perfect Happiness and Glory in the next.
On the last Lord's Day, I preach'd again to the Condemn'd, and other Persons there present; and I took my Text out of the First Morning Lesson for the Day, viz. 2 Sam. 12. 13. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also has put away thy Sin; Thou shalt not die.
In which Words, I told them there were contain'd these Two Principal Things, viz.
I. David's Confession, I have (saith he) sinned against the Lord.
II. The Absolution given him from God, by the Prophet, in these Words, immediately following upon that Confession; And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also has put away thy Sin; Thou shalt not die.
Now, What that Sin was, I shew'd it (in a general Explanation I gave, both of the Text and Context) to be the complicate Crime of Adultery and Murder, of which David was highly Guilty, who endeavouring to hide and smother the former, viz. Adultery, was driven (as most Criminals in this kind commonly are) to the Commission of the latter, i. e. Murder: The Heinousness of which irreparable Offence, I represented to my Auditory; and then laid before them the Character of a True Penitent, in the Person of David; proposing him to them as a sit Pattern for them to imitate in their Repentance, who had imitated him in his Sins.
And all these several publick Discourses, as well as my private Ones, I concluded with proper Applications and Exhortations to the condemn'd Persons; endeavouring to perswade their Return to God, that they might obtain his Grace to mollifie and soften the hardness of their Hearts (which I found were most obdurate) and melt them into true Repentance, to their Comfort here, and eternal Bliss hereafter.
In my private Discourses with them, and from my constant Observation of them, I found their respective Cases to be as I shall here represent them in the following Account.
1. Joseph Phillips, condemn'd for the Murther of Thomas Cook, an Infant of 6 years of Age. He confess'd that he was guilty of the Fact; but could not be brought at first to own; that it was a most crying and horrible Fact; he saying, That he did it only to be hang'd; for he mightily long'd to die. In this Perswasion he seem'd some time to be; and at other times said, he was sorry for what he had done, and would fain live, if he could. But I told him. He must die, for that he had chosen; and there was no room left for another Choice: but his great Business was to prepare for Death in good earnest, by praying to God that he might truly repent of that horrid Murther, (an Offence altogether irreparable) which he had committed, and which would certainly damn him to all Eternity, unless he repented of it with all his Heart. With these and such other Exhortations, which I thought might have moved him, he did not appear to be affected in the least; but remain'd still (as he was before) sullen, obstinate; and harden'd; and seemed all along to be very foolish, and insensible of his present Misery, and of the great Danger he was in, to fall into greater. And thus he was, till he saw Death coming close upon him, which in some measure awaken'd him, and drew from him such Expressions as these, I am very sorry for what I have done; and wish I had not done it. I pray God forgive me.
He told me he was about 23 Years of Age, born in Bishopsgate-street; That he was a Silk-weaver by Trade , and used to work very hard at it; That he never was addicted to Swearing, Lying, Cursing, Whoring, Drinking, or the like; That he frequently went to Church, and sometimes to Meetings. That he never was Guilty of Murther before, nor of any other Crime whatsoever; and was now very much griev'd he had committed this. But (saith he) it can't be helpt now: If it could, I would never do it again for all the World. These were his own Words to me; by which he discover'd the Sense he had of his great Sin: And upon this I exhorted him, and endeavour'd by all I could think of, to perswade him seriously to consider with himself what he had done, and what would become of him, if he did not truly and throughly repent of this, and of all other the wicked Deeds he might be guilty of, which were best known to himself. To which Admonitions, he gave me no other Answer, than this, To be sure I repent; he appearing still dull and stupid, and giving me no great Satisfaction then, that he repented as he ought to have done. But afterwards he seem'd to be more sensible, shedding Tears, and expreing his Sorrow for the barbarous Murther he had committed.
2. Elizabeth Chivers, also Condemn'd for Murder, readily own'd the Fact, and told me, that the Manner of her Life had been thus: That she being very young when her Father died, and her Mother left in very poor Circumstances, she was forc'd to go to Service at Fourteen Years of age: That she had liv'd in several worthy Families, where she behav'd her self faithfully and honestly in all respects: But, that about two Years since she removing from the Service she was then in, to another, her Master perswaded her to lie with him, and got her with Child: That when she began to grow big, she went from his House to another Service, where she stay'd about six Weeks, and then took Lodgings for her self; where some time after being brought to bed of a Female Child, which they nam'd Elizabeth Ward, the Father promis'd he would provide for both the Mother and the Child; which he did, till (about three Months after) the Devil putting it into her cruel Heart to destroy the poor Infant, which she suckled, carried it to Hackney, and drown'd it in a Pond there. And this she did without being driven to it by any Necessity, or feeling any Remorse for it then: That she being observ'd by some People that were about the Place at that time, she was presently apprehended, brought before a Justice, and committed to Newgate. There she was a Prisoner a good while before her Tryal, as she has been since, and all-along in a despairing Condition: For when I exhorted her to Repentance, and shew'd her how she might perform this great and important Duty, she said to me, O Sir! I am lost! I cannot pray, I cannot repent, my Sin is too great to be pardon'd! I did commit it with Deliberation and Choice, and in cold Blood; I was not driven to it by Necessity: The Father had all the while provided for me, and for the Child, and would have done so still, had not I ut of my wicked Heart destroy'd the Child, and cast my self away. Upon this I took occasion to shew her how cunningly the Devil had dealt with her; how he generally brings those who suffer themselves to be tempted by him, from one Sin to another; and how therefore we should be aware of his Sleights, and keep a as great distance from any Sin as possible; always praying to GOD, that we may not fall into Temptation. And to this I added. That when we have been so unhappy, as to give way to any Sin, we should do our utmost to repent; and to that end implore GOD'S Grace, so much the more earnestly by how much we have sin'd, being assur'd that on our hearty Prayers we shall receive such Spiritual Strength as will enable us to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, and bring our selves from under the Dominion, Tyranny, and Slavery of Sin and Satan, into the glorious Liberty of the Children of GOD.
With these, and such like Admonitions, I perceiv'd she was somewhat mov'd, and seem'd to be made sensible a little of her most heinous and crying Sin, and of the Mercy of GOD to repenting Sinners: But still she said her Heart was hard, and she could not repent as she should, nor have any good Hope of her self. In this sad Condition she continued till within a few Hours of her Death, and then she seem'd to have more comfortable Thoughts, saying, That she hoped GOD had turn'd her Heart, and would save her Soul.
The further Account she gave me of her self is this; That she was above 30 Years old, born of honest Parents in Spittle-fields, in the Parish of Stepney; and that excepting this her Adultery and Murther, the former whereof (which was the Occasion of the latter) she committed by the pressing Solicitations of her then Master Ph. W. she could not charge her self with any enormous Crime whatsoever; she having always before that time kept her self chaste, faithful, and honest, and never given way to Lying, Swearing, Drunkenness, Whoredom, or other Vices.
This is the Substance of what she declar'd to me. And upon this, without judging (with rash Men) what is now become of her, as leaving that with GOD, to whom I committed her, I must needs say this, That in my Judgment, the lewd Person that deluded her, and made her commit Adultery with him, is highly guilty before GOD, and must expect to be call'd to a very severe Account, by Him, who is the Great Judge of the whole World, unless he takes effectual Care to prevent it by a timely and sincere Repentance: And GOD of his infinite Mercy give him Grace so to do.
These Malefactors, I mean (nor the Adulterer, but) the Two Murderers, whose Confessions I have here set down for publick Satisfaction, were this Day carry'd from Newgate, (viz. the Man in a Coach, and the Woman in a Cart) to Tyburn, where I attended them for the last time. And after my Exhortations to them to stir up their Hearts to God, my Prayers for them, and the Singing of some Penitential Psalms, and rehearsing the Apostle's Creed, I finally commended their Souls to the Mercy of God in Christ, and retir'd from them; leaving them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allotted them: And then the Cart drew away, and they were turned off, all the while calling on God to have Mercy upon their Souls.
This is all the Account here to be given of these dying Persons, by me
Friday, August . 1712.
London, printed by R. Brugis in street, and are to be Sold by J. Morphew near Stationers hall.