THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF
The Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of William Johnson (alias Holloway) and Jane Housden, who were both Condemn'd for Murder, and hang'd without Newgate; and of Three other condemn'd Malefactors, executed at TYBURN, on Friday the Nineteenth Day of September, 1712.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 10th, 11th, and 12th instant, Two Men and Three Women, that were found guilty of Capital Crimes, having then received Sentence of Death, are now order'd for Execution. There was also a young Man condemned the Sessions before, and repriev'd to this, who was called to his former Judgment, and advis'd to prepare himself for Death: But he has again obtain'd the QUEEN's Mercy; which if he does improve well, and makes the right use of (as I hope he will) I shall not repent for the Certificate I have freely and justly given concerning his Behaviour: A Thing which I never do for Condemn'd Persons, but when there is a very great reason for it; for though no one is more able to do this than my self, yet all these Twelve Years (almost) I have been in this unpleasant and ingrateful Office, I never did it but for two others under Condemnation; whom I have now the Satisfaction to find they live honestly and well, and prove themselves good and loyal Subjects to HER MAJESTY. Which I say here to satisfy those Persons who knowing me not, nor my Office, may seem to be uneasy and offended at my Justice and Charity to the poor young Man, for whom I did this, purely because I know he deserved it; and did not do it for others, because I think they deserved it not.
While these Malefactors lay under this Condemnation, I visited them, sometimes in the Condemn'd Hold, and oftner in the Chapel of Newgate, whither they were brought up twice every day: And there I pray'd with them, and read and expounded the Word of God to them, and earnestly exhorted them to Repentance. As the Crime of two of them was of the most heinous Nature, so my Admonitions to them particularly were most pressing; but I found that what I said to them much grated upon their wicked, stubborn, and obstinate Dispositions.
On the last Lord's Day the 14th instant I preach'd to them, viz. in the Morning, on Numb. 35, 31. the Words being these. Moreover, ye shall not take Satisfaction for the Life of a Murderer, which is guilty of Death: But he shall be surely put to Death.
Having explain'd this Text and the Context in general, I then proceeded to shew particularly and distinctly;
I. The horrid Nature of this enormous and heinous Crime of Murder, which in this World, is irremissible, as it is irreparable.
II. The severe Punishment which the Law of GOD and Man inflicts upon the wilful Offender in this Case.
III. The Degree of Repentance (and that is to be the highest) which the Murderer ought to excite himself to, if ever he desires to find that Mercy in the other World, which he cannot, nor may expect in this.
As I was discoursing upon these Heads, Jane Housden, who then sat by William Holloway, thus said to him, Why, he lays this Man's Blood upon us! meaning (I suppose) Mr. Richard Spurling, whose Blood they had shed. Upon which the said Holloway started up, and would go about to Justify both himself and that Woman, saying, " That my Discourse did not belong to them, " nor was that Doctrine I preach'd, proper for them; for they were not guilty " of Murther. In this manner as he was going on, I put a stop to his Speech; telling him, " That he was not to be try'd here; He was try'd already and " condemned; and that too, very fairly and justly; and therefore his Defence " was now unseasonable and of no use: Besides, he ought to consider the Place " he was in, and what he was brought to it for, viz. to apply himself to God " in Prayer, and to hear his Word, which I was endeavouring to instruct him " and others in, and by it, and the Divine Grace, to bring both his and all " their Souls to God; and therefore I desired him, for his own Souls sake (for " which I was much concerned) that he would not interrupt me in my Discourse, which (if he and the other had the patience to hear it, and apply it as " they ought to do to themselves) might prove a happy mean for their Eternal " Salvation, &c. Then he sat down again, and was quiet: And so I went on with my Sermon: Which when I had ended, he started up again, and began anew to vindicate his pretended Innocence of the bloody Fact, for which he was condemned. When he had spoken a few Words in this Matter, as before, I made him hold his Tongue again, telling him, " I suffer'd no Person to speak " at that time in that Place, but to God in Prayer; and I advised him to retire " for the present, and meditate upon what he had heard, and beg of God that " he might have Grace to improve it to his Glory, and to his own Soul's good. Upon that he went away, and said, he would not come again in the Afternoon: But he was better than his Word; for he came again, and heard me preach there, on these Words, Eccl. 11. 9. Rejoice, O Youngman, in thy Youth, and let thy Heart cheer thee in the days of thy Youth, and walk in the Ways of thy Heart, and in the Sight of thine Eyes: But know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into Judgment.
This Text I first explain'd in general, and then did in particular enlarge upon it; laying down, and speaking to, these distinct Propositions.
I. That there is a Judgment to come.
II. That every Man shall be brought to that Judgment; which will be very strict and severe against obstinate and impenitent Sinners.
III. That it is GOD, the great Judge of all the World, who will bring Men to Judgment.
IV. That the Matter of that Judgment will be the Ways of their Hearts; and that is, their Thoughts, Words, and Deeds.
and lastly, That all this is most certain and evident from this positive Expression in the Text, Know thou. For here we may observe, Solomon does not say, Thou may'st think, or thou may'st suppose, or believe; but KNOW: Know thou, that for all these things [i. e. for thy Evil Thoughts, thy wicked Words, and thy sinful Actions] God will bring thee into Judgment.
After I had discours'd largely upon these Heads, I concluded with a particular Application and suitable Exhortation to the Condemned; whom I endeavour'd to persuade to Repentance.
In my private Discourses with them, I collected the following Accounts.
William Johnson, alias Holloway, condemn'd for the Murther of Mr. Richard Spurling, whom he shot to Death, even at the time he was in the Discharge of his Office at the Old-Baily, and the Court then sitting there, on Wednesday in the Evening, the 10th instant. He, the said Holloway, deny'd his being guilty of that Murther; saying, " That he had no Pistol in his Hand, " for ought he knows, and tho' he had, it was far from his intent to have killed " the said Mr. Spurling. Upon this I told him, That suppose he had no Design particularly upon Mr. Spurling's Life; yet he could not disown his having Malice in his Heart, so as to do some mischief, if not to him, yet to some body else. To which he answer'd, "His coming then to the Old-Baily, was " to see Mrs. Jane Housden, and other Friends that were at that " time in that Place, and to drink with them. But when I told him that to make me and the World believe any thing of what he said herein was true, I desired to know of him the Reason he had to come thither with those two Pocket-Pistols loaded with Slugs that were found upon him. Here he was at a stand for a while; and then said, " He ever carry'd those Pistols about him " since he did (some Weeks ago) break out of Newgate, where he was only detain'd for his Fees. Which Fees he telling me he had pay'd after his Escape, and was free to go about his Business, without any danger of being apprehended, I observ'd to him, " That all this could not consist with itself, nor consequently with Truth; For if he apprehended himself in no danger, why did " he carry about him Pistols ready charged, which indeed must be for his Defence and Security, when he thought himself unsafe; or it must imply, as " I said before, a malicious Design in him to do somebody Mischief, as he did? To this he reply'd, that he intended no such Thing: And this is all he could, or would say.
This William Holloway (who as I am informed) is to be hang'd in Chains at Holloway, between London and Highgate, had been a very great Offender before, and was Condemned in July 1711 for stealing a Light Bay Gelding that belong'd to the Right Honourable the Lord Pierpoint, on the 4th of June in the said Year 1711. When under Condemnation, he confess'd his Guilt of that Fact, and gave me this further Account of himself, viz. That he was then 33 Years of Age, born at Grafton in Northamptonshire, That he had follow'd divers Callings; being sometimes a Butcher in Newport-Market, sometimes a Grasier in the Country, at another time a Printer of Callico's , and afterwards kept a Cornchandler's Shop in Long-acre, and then remov'd to Southwark, where he kept a Victualling-House in the Parish of Christ-Church; That he had also practised Surgery , both there, and at Sea, where he was in
the Queen's Service, and being carry'd to Gibraltar, he was admitted a Surgeon's Mate in the English Garrison there; and, tho' he owned, That he had led a very ill Life, yet he was then, as he now is, unwilling to make any particular Confession, and having obtain'd a Pardon in June last, has now shew'd himself most unworthy of it. I asked him whether he was concerned in, or knew any thing of the Murher of Esq; Hanson, or that of Mr. Carleton, who some Years ago were found dead in the Fields, viz. the former near Hoxdon, and the latter not far from Cambray-House. To which he answer'd, he knew nothing of those Matters; and so likewise he pretended to be ignorant of this Murther for which he is to suffer; saying over and over again, that he could not tell how it happen'd, neither was he in the least sensible he had any Pistol then in his Hand.
This is the Substance of what he declar'd, who when under Sentence of Death, above 14 Months ago, shew'd very little sign of true Repentance, and now shews less. And indeed I had all along but little hopes of his Amendment; for during the whole time he had his Life but by a Reprieve only, he seem'd very unwilling to receive the means of his Instruction and Conversion; he not coming to the Chappel to pray and hear the Word of GOD above 8 times (that I can remember) all the while he lay under that Condemnation, which was near a Year. Neither did his Felllow-sufferer, viz.
Jane Housden alias Newsted, assist at Divine Service, (when she was also under Condemnation before this) oftner than he. But instead of that, it seems she was busy in making false Money in Newgate (or at least lay under a strong suspicion of it) at the time when other Prisoners were in the Chapel: And upon that, she was order'd to be (and so accordingly was) kept close Prisoner. But some time after she obtain'd a Free Pardon.
This Jane Housden would make no Confession at all, either of her older or newer Sins. When I put her in mind, That on the 18th of August 1702, she was committed to Newgate for High-Treason, viz. for Counterfeiting the Current Coin of this Kingdom; That she was to have been try'd for it at the Old-Baily in Sept. following, but at her desire had her Trial put off to the then next ensuing Sessions; That she being found guilty of the said Fact, received Sentence of Death on the 15th day of October 1702: When I put her in mind of all these things, and pray'd her to consider what she had done, and how great an Offender she had been, she owned indeed, That she was then condemned to die, but deny'd what she at that time had confess'd to me, viz. her Guilt of that Offence. When I further endeavour'd to make her sensible of the Mercy shew'd her in the Pardon granted her for it afterwards, and that instead of improving it (as she ought to have done) returned again to her old sinful Way, and therefore had a second time Sentence of Death pass'd upon her the 9th of September 1710, and again obtained a Pardon the 6th of June last; she said, She had not deserved that Death, but this Pardon, for she was innocent. Thus she deny'd what most plainly appear'd to be true; as she likewise did the justice of her Commitment the 13th of August last, when she was brought to Newgate upon a fresh Suspicion of Coining, but was not try'd for it, she being unhappily concerned in this Murther; which prevented that Trial, and brought her to a worse than that might have prov'd.
She shew'd no great Remorse or Repentance for her Sins, but deny'd them all, and would not be put in mind of them, nor receive any ghostly Advice. And herein she appear'd much of another Temper than David was of, who said, That his Sin was ever before him. Psa. 51. 3.
Thus far is the sad Account I can give of these two Murderers, William Holloway, and Jane Housden, of whose True Repentance I am in doubt: And this brings back to my mind, what I have long before now observed, That those Persons who are Guilty of wilful Murder, are very hard to be wrought into Repentance; though of all other Criminals, one would think, they should be the most concerned to repent. Let all Men therefore endeavour, and take effectual Care to avoid this Crime, lest it may not afterwards be in their power to avoid their Eternal Condemnation for it.
This Morning about 9 of the Clock they were both of them carry'd in a Cart, to the Place of their Execution, and there were Hang'd on a Gibbet, Erected for that purpose, in View of the Old-Baily, where they had committed the Bloody Fact, and of Newgate, upon an Officer wereof they committed it.
When they were come to the last Period of their Lives, then indeed they mightily cry'd to God for Mercy: Whether their Prayers were heard or no, is what is not to be resolved by Man. But on this sad occasion (as I have done on several others of the like Nature) I would advise all Sinners to leave off their Sins, and repent betimes; that being the farest way to avoid such a dismal and unhappy End.
After I had discharged my Office to these poor wretched Souls, I went on my melancholy Journey to Tyburn, whither the other Three Malefactors were brought in a Cart, and where I Attended them for the last time.
When under my Cure in Newgate, I observed they were very attentive to my Publick and Private Instructions, and they earnestly desired my Prayers to God for their Souls; which they had. What Account they gave me of themselves, is (in Substance,) as follows.
Robert Coleblack, Condemned for Stealing of a Mare, on the 19th of August last, said, That he was about 34 Years of Age, born at Barkway, and liv'd for the most part at Royston in Hartfordshire: That he was a Labouring Man in Husbandry , while in the Country; and, That since his coming from thence to London, which was about 9 Years since, he had been a Brewer's Servant: He confess'd, that he had Rob'd his Master of a great quantity of Strong Beer, for which he was Burnt in the Hand the 2d day of May last; and, that he was guilty also of the Fact, for which he is now to die, and of many great Sins, whereof he humbly implor'd God's Pardon, and their Pardon also, whom he had any ways injur'd. I asking him, whether he ever was concerned in any Murther? He answer'd, That though he had been a great Offender in other regards, as to be lew'd, profane, and Cheating his Neighbours, &c. yet he thanked God, he never did any thing rending to the hurt of their Bodies.
Othey Walton, alias Janas, alias Agnes Walker; She said, she was about 31 Years of Age, born at Cartmel in Lancashire, and had been a Servant about 15 Years, in good Families, in and about the City of London; That she never wrong'd her Masters and Mistresses of any thing that was considerable; but that having of late fallen into an ill Gang of Shop-lifters, she learned and practised their wicked Art, which brought her under this Sentence of Death she received on the 7th of September 1711 for Privately Stealing 16 Yards of Silk Sagatha, out of the Shop of Mr. Charles Thatcher, on the 18th of July, 1711. That she had the Benefit of HER MAJESTY's Pardon, in June last, but made an ill use of it; she presently returning to her wicked Ways; by which she brought her self again into Trouble, viz. under this Condemnation, for her Stealing 10 Yards of Muslin out of the Shop of Mr. James Coe, on the 7th of August last. She express'd a great deal of sorrow for her Sins; and as she had no hope to receive any further Mercy in this World, so she was the more earnest in her Application to God, that she might find it in the other.
Mary Green, Condemned for breaking open the House of Mr. Christopher Jackman, and taking from thence 3 Sheets, 10 Shirts, and other Linnen, &c. on the 17th of November last. She confess'd that she was guilty of this Fact, and likewise of several others of the like kind; but was not able to make amends to the Persons she had wrong'd. She said she was about 30 years of Age. Where she was Born, she would not tell, saying that she would not shame her Kindred, and that she had a good old Father alive there, as gray as my self, and she was unwilling he should hear of her shameful Death, least it should bring his Gray Hairs with sorrow to his Grave. But she said, that since she left her own Country, she lived some time at Stratford in Suffolk; and afterwards came up to London, and was an Inhabitant for about 14 years in the Parishes of Stepney and Whitechappel, and kept an Ale-house in the latter, for these 5 or 6 years past. She confess'd she was justly Condemn'd for the Fact she was to die for; But at the same time would fain perswade me, that the Witnesses were mistaken in some Particulers of their Evidence against her. She owned that she had been a lewd and wicked Woman, guilty of all Sins but Murder: And she now grievously
ly lamented her past Sinful Life, and present Shame and Misery; praying to God to help her and shew her Mercy.
When they were come to Tyburn, I attended them there for the last time; and exhorted them to stir up their Hearts to God, and still excite themselves more and more to Repentance. I prayed and sung some Penitential Psalms with them; made them rehearse the Apostles Creed, and I wished them that Forgiveness of Sins, and that Resurrection and Life Everlasting, which they had profess'd to believe. And so recommending them to God's Grace and Mercy in Christ, I retired, and left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allow'd them.
They then spoke to the People to this effect, That they should take warning by them, and lead a better Life than they had done, that they might come to a better End.
After that the Cart drew away and they were turned off; they all the while calling upon God for Mercy, in these and the like Ejaculations. O Lord forgive our Sins and save our Souls, O Lord Jesus Christ have Mercy upon us! Open thy Gates of Heaven O Lord! and receive us unto thy Self, &c.
This is the best Account, which in this Hurry, and under this great Fatigue, I can now give of these Dying Persons.
Friday September the 19th, 1712.
REligio Libertini; or, The Faith of a converted Atheist. Occasionally set forth by Mr. Richard Burrage, who was lately convicted of Blasphemy before the Right Hon. Sir Tho. Parker, Lord Chief-Justice of England . To which is prefix'd, A Narration of his Life from his Birth to the time of his Sufferings; An Account of what pass'd on his Tryal at the Sessions-House in the Old-Baily; A Relation of the Cause of the Prosecution commenc'd against him; with an abjuration and Recantation which he Publickly made in the Chappel of Newgate, on Sunday the 6th of July, 1712, impartially written with the Author's own Hand, whilest under Confinement. Printed and Sold by John Graves, next White's Chocolate-House in St James's Street. and I Morphew near Stationers-Hall. Where may be had Mr. Paul Lorrain's Sermon preach'd in Newgate. July 6. 1712. against Atheism and Blasphemy, and on the Abjuration, Recantation, and Conversion of the Author of this Book from those Erroneous Principles. Price 6 d.
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