THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF
The Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn, on Friday the 25th of September, 1713.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th instant, Eleven Persons, viz. Seven Men, and Four Women, being found Guilty of several Capital Crimes, did receive Sentence of Death accordingly: But one of the Women being found pregnant, and another Woman and Two of the Men having obtain'd HER MAJESTY'S Gracious Reprieve, are now respited from Execution, and Seven are order'd for it.
When they lay under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them, and had them brought up twice every Day to the Chapel of Newgate, where I pray'd with them, and gave them such Instructions from the Word of God (which I then read and expounded to them) as I judg'd proper for the bringing of them to a Sense of their Sins, the Reformation of their Lives, and a due Preparation for a Christian Death here, and a Happy Life hereafter.
On the Lord's Day the 13th instant, I preach'd to them, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon Psal. 39. 12. the Words being these, Hear my Prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my Cry; hold not thy Peace at my Tears. For I am a Stranger with Thee, and a Sojourner, as all my Fathers were.
Which Words (with their Context) having first explain'd in general, I then proceeded to discourse in particular upon these three Propositions, resulting from them, viz.
I. That all the Sons and Daughters of Men are but Strangers and Pilgrims upon Earth, travelling towards their Long Home; as David professes for himself, and for all before him, in these Words of the Text: I am a Stranger with thee, and a Sojourner, as all my Fathers were.
II. That from thence it follows, That as this Life is short and transient, our Abode in this World but temporal, and of no long duration, so we should set our Affections not on things on Earth, but on things that are above; raising our Thoughts and our Desires to that blessed Life which is to come, eternal in the Heavens; as the Apostle excellently exhorts, 2 Cor. 5. 1. and Col. 3. 2.
III. and lastly, That the best Expedient, for us to reach home to that most glorious Place, (which we should look upon as our Native Country, and Eternal Inheritance and Abode) we are to make this present Life a Life of Prayers and Tears; mourning for our Sins, and imploring God's Mercy, and Pardon, and Grace, saying with Holy David in the Text and Words following; Hear my Prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my Cry; hold not thy Peace at my Tears.-Oh! spare me a little, that I may recover my Strength before I go hence and be no more seen.
On the last Lord's Day, the 20th instant, preach'd again to them, viz. in the Morning upon these Words, Psal. 19. the 12th and 13th Verses, Who can understand his Errors? Cleanse thou me from secret Faults: Keep back thy Servant also from presumptuous Sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great Transgression. And in the Afternoon upon St. Mark, chap. I. the latter part of the 15th Verse.-Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.
Upon the first of those Texts (after a short Introduction) I examin'd the Nature of Sin, and the different Characters under which it is here represented in the Text, viz.
I. Sins of Ignorance and Infirmity, such as the Royal Prophet calls Errors and secret Faults, which we often fall into inadvertently and unawares, without knowing, or considering at the time of our committing of them, that they are things forbidden by Almighty God; and therefore to be carefully avoided by all Men.
II. Sins of Presumption, which imply such, as are both known and wilful; and have Dominion over us; i. e. a reigning habitual Power in us.
Having explain'd these two principal Distinctions of Sins, I proceeded to consider,
III. and lastly, That if we are kept from Presumptuous Sins, and habitual wilful Trangressions, we shall be safe and out of Danger: We shall be in a State of Grace, a State of Sincerity and Favour with God: So that notwithstanding our Errors and Infirmities, God will account of us, and deal with us, as righteous good Men: Which David insinuates in the latter part of the Text, where he says, Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great Transgression; that is, as if he had said, I shall be clear of any such Sin, as may endanger my Soul, and expose it to eternal Damnation and Misery.
Upon the other Text (which I also explain'd in general with its Context and parallel Places) I first took notice, that herein were couch'd the very first Words of the first Sermon preach'd by our great Master, JESUS CHRIST, containing the whole Tenour of the Gospel, as to what is requir'd of us in order to our Salvation; and therefore highly deserving our utmost attention, regard, and obedience: Which having shewn, I then took occasion from those Words, Repent ye, and believe the Gospel, to explain the Doctrine,
I. Of Faith,
II. Of Repentance.
And this done, I concluded my present Discourse (as I did the foregoing) with a particular Application, and suitable Admonitions to the Condemn'd; who seem'd to be very devout and attentive to what was then deliver'd them (in the Name of God) for their Spiritual Instruction, and the Comfort of their Souls.
Those of them now order'd for Execution, did (in my private Examinations of them) give me the respective Accounts of their past Lives and present Dispositions (in substance) as follows.
I. William Bettings, alias Smith, condemn'd for Assaulting and Robbing James Harrison, Esq , on the Queen's Highway, upon the 11th day of August last. He said, he was 22 years of age, born in the Parish of Wolhope in Herefordshire; That he liv'd with his Father, a Grazier, till he was about 16 years old, and then he came up to London: That soon after this, he got into a Gentleman's Service, and lived with him a pretty while in the Capacity of a Foot-boy ; and afterwards try'd other Services, and was sometimes a Butler , and at other times a Foot-man , as it happen'd; That in all those his Services together, he spent about 5 years, and might have done well, had he continued honest and diligent, as he at the first was: But in process of time he fell into bad Company, which debauched and corrupted him, and drove him at last into that wicked Course of Life, that soon brought him to this his shameful Death, which he now said was (though untimely, yet) what he willingly submitted to, as being very sensible, not only that he had greatly deserved it, but might have gone on in his wicked Way, and still done worse things, had not Justice arrested him, as it did, almost in his very first setting-out to rob on the Highway; where (as he told me) in a few Days, but could not particularly remember what Days, he committed these following Facts.
4. He robb'd Esquire Dashwood's Coach on the other side of the Water, a little beyond Putney, and took from him and his Lady that was in the Coach with him, a Gold-Watch, and 3 or 4 Pieces of Gold, with some Money in Silver.
5. and lastly, He robb'd Esq, Harrison and his Lady, riding in their Calash towards Fulham, and took from them a Purse with 4 Guineas in it, and some Money: For which Fact he was committed to Newgate, and is now to die.
All those wicked Things, he said, he did within the space of less than 3 Weeks, and 3 of them on one Day; and were all (as far as he could recollect) that ever he committed, saying that about two years since, he being then in London, took a Journey into the Country on purpose to rob the House of a dear Friend and nearest Relation of his, which he effectually and easily did, as being well acquainted with all the Parts of that House, and the Ways to come into it; taking away from thence a Horse, some Money, Gold-Rings, &c. He further said, that in all those his Robberies, he never did, nor had it in his thoughts to commit Murder; for which he thanked God, as having so much the less to answer for. He seem'd (by his whole Carriage all the time he was under this Condemnation) to be very sensible of his past Follies, and very penitent.
2. John Heath, alias James How, condemn'd for stealing a brown Mare out of the Ground of Mr. Edward Cabell, on the 27th of August last. He said, he was about 22 years of age, born at Thornwood in Essex; That while he was in the Country, be follow'd Husbandry , and when about 10 or 11 years old, he was put to a Cook (upon liking) behind the Royal Exchange, London; but as he did not like that Employment, so at the end of 3 Months trial, he quitted it, and went to Gentlemen's Service , and afterwards to Sea: That both before his going to, and after his Return from Sea, where he served about 3 years in the Royal Navy (the last Ship he was in being the Chichester, a Third Rate, commanded by Capt.
Lake) he committed diverse Robberies and Burglaries; breaking open, and taking Goods out of four or five Houses in Essex, in the Neighbourhood where he was born, and robbing several Farmers and others on the Highway between the Green-man and Stratford. He confess'd, he had broke all the Ten Commandments, even that against Murder; for once he had resolv'd (in case of Resistance) to have committed it (though he never actually did) upon the Persons he assaulted and robbed: But as to that heinous Crime, the very next in Order and in Nature to this of Murder, viz. Adultery, he own'd, That he was highly guilty of it; and earnestly pray'd God to forgive it him, and all other his Sins, which were many and great, and for which he was not able to make any other Reparation, than to beg (as he heartily did) their Pardon whom he had any ways offended. He also readily acknowledg'd, That he was justly condemn'd; and, That he had indeed deserved this Death, as having so very lately abused the Mercy of the QUEEN'S Pardon to him, which he pleaded at the Old-Baily, on the 12th of August last. It seems, he then thought (when he receiv'd that Pardon) that by it he was discharg'd not only of the Temporal Punishment he deserved, but of all Guilt; and therefore might begin to Sin upon a new Score, and no notice taken of his former Faults; but he found his Mistake afterwards, when by the Abuse he had made of former Mercy, his present Condemnation stuck so much the closer upon him, and his Heart so much the harder and the more difficult to be melted into Repentance; of which he grievously complain'd, and upon that earnestly desired my Prayers. This ought to be a Warning to those that presumptuously make a Mock of Sin, and grosly abuse (as I know many do daily) the Mercies of God and of the Queen, shewn to them, with this gracious Intent, viz. To encourage and lead them (not to Sin, but) to Repentance and Reformation of Life.
3. George Hollingshy, condemn'd for breaking the House of Mr. William Tidder, and taking from thence an Iron Chain, and other Goods, on the 3d of March last, and for several other Felonies specify'd in the Book of Tryals, to which I refer the Reader. He said, he was about 20 Years of age, born at Mile-end near London; that he had liv'd most of his younger Years with a Blacksmith in that Place, and work'd with him at that Trade for the space of two Years; and then rambled about London, and afterwards went to Sea, and serv'd about six Years, off and on, on board several Men of War , especially the Warspight, a third Rate, commanded by Capt. Crow; adding, that being once a Servant to the Cook of the Royal William, a first Rate, which at that time had no Commander, he took six Guineas out of a Chest in that Ship, and ran away therewith; and when he had spent all, and was reduc'd to Poverty, and urg'd on by the bad Company he kept, he betook himself to the breaking of Houses, and picking of Pockets, which he chiefly did, viz. the former at Ratcliff High-cross, and the latter in London, where he also frequently stole Things out of Shops, tho' but small matters at a time. He further acknowledg'd, That now he saw his Follies, and was made sensible both of the ill Effect of them, and of his Obligation to make what Satisfaction he could to the Persons he had wrong'd; and therefore sent for such of them as he knew, to ask their Pardon, and give them what Information he was able, that might be of use to them; as being desirous to do whatever lay in his Power to clear his Conscience, and make his Peace with God and his Neighbours (whom he had so greatly offended) before he was call'd to receive his Sentence at the dreadful Tribunal; the thoughts of which made him very much fear and tremble.
4. Thomas Turner, condemn'd for stealing a brown Gelding, out of the Ground of Mr. Ambrose Benning, on the 20th Day of August last. He said, he was 30 Years of Age, born at Thriplow in Cambridgeshire: That his chief Employment was Husbandry ; but had made it part of his Trade for these six Years past to steal Sheep and Hogs, and was for such a Fact burnt in the Hand at Cambridge about nine Months ago; and tho' his Offences had often escap'd the Notice, and consequently the Punishment of the Law, yet he found now, by his woful Experience, that Sinners do not always go unpunish'd, even in this World. He confess'd, that he was justly condemn'd, and that if God were not most merciful to him, who had been a wicked Sinner in many Ways, he should utterly perish.
5. John Joyner, condemn'd for breaking the House of Mr. John Kelly, and stealing from thence 15 Perruques, and above 4 l. in Money and other Goods, to the value of 60 l. on the 14 Day of November 1712; and also for stealing out of Mr. Gurney's House 2 Watches, and 15 Shillings in Money, &c. on the 30th of December following. He confess'd, that he was guilty of those two Robberies; and that it would have been well for him, if he had learn'd to amend his Life, by the Punishment he receiv'd on the 10th Day of July last, at the Old-baily, where he was burnt in the Hand for a Felony he was then try'd for, and convicted of, by the Name of John Williams, under which he went at that time. He said, he was about 28 years of age, an Irish-man by Birth, a Roman-Catholick by Religion, and a Taylor by Trade. He appear'd very thoughtful, and very serious, and gave sufficient Demonstrations of the sense he had of the Misery attending a wicked Life; declaring, that he was griev'd at the Heart he had offended God, and wrong'd his Neighbour, and humbly begg'd Pardon of both.
6. Sarah Clifford, alias Atkins, condemn'd for privately stealing 13 l. in Money from the Person of Ralph Stocking. She said, she was 28 years of age, born in the Parish of St. Giles Cripplegate, London: That she wrought, for a considerable time, at the Weavers Trade ; and then betook herself to another sort of Employment, which was, her going about the Streets and crying (in their Season) Dilters, Alounders, Mackrel, &c. That by degrees, she fell into ill Company, and on the doing of ill things of several kinds, and chiefly Picking of Pockets: Which the better to effect, she allured Men into her Company, especially when she perceived them in Drink, and made them quite Drunk, as she did Mr. Stocking; whom she robbed of the Money he had about him, and then put him into an Hackney-Coach, in which she rode with him a little way, and when she found her opportunity, lipt out of it, and left him there alone: That soon after this, she heard he was dead, and herself suspected of having murder'd him: But she protested to me, that though she had committed the Robbery, yet was clear of his Death. Upon this I endeavour'd to make her sensible; That (indeed) she was not so clear in the Matter, as she deceivingly flatter'd herself to be; for though she might not have laid violent Hands upon the poor Man, yet by her forcing him to drink, when he had drank too much already, and by that means making him Dead-munk (as by her own Confession she had done) it plainly appear'd to me (as no doubt it did so to others) that she was the Cause of his Death: And therefore must expect to be call'd to a strict Account before God, both for that and for all other the Sins she had committed, unless she truly repented of them. At this Discourse she mightily started, and seem'd to be very much concerned, and discompos'd in her Spirit; and then appear'd stupid and harden'd. Sometimes she would justify herself; and at other times fell a crying bitterly; speaking more with her Tears, than in Words; but whether those Tears were Tears of Repentance, or not; Whether they proceeded from her Love to God and Goodness, or from natural Sorrow and Fear, or from all these together, I do not here determine
7. Jane Wells, alias Elizabeth Wells, alias White, alias Dyer, &c. condemn'd for privately stealing a Silk-Gown, a Silver-lac'd Petticoat, a Muslin-Apron, two Gold-Rings, a Diamond-Ring, 15 l. in Money, &c. the Goods of Mr. Samuel Makepeace. She said, she was about 29 years of age, born in the County of Surrey, within 3 Miles of London; but would not tell the particular place or Parish from whence she first came; only said, she had lived a considerable time, and in very good Families, in and about this City: That in all her Services she behav'd herself as a careful, faithful, and honest Servant in every respect: That she was Guilty neither of Murder, nor Whoredom, nor Swearing, nor Excessive Drinking; nor any such like Crimes. And so she was going on in the setting-out of herself under a fair Character, and making herself appear (all she could) as a very honest and good Woman: But I stopt her too fluent Tongue in this her own vain Commendation; putting her in mind, not only of the Fact for which she stood now condemn'd, but of that also she had done before, and was about ten Months since, Burnt in the Hand, and sent to Bride-well for; reproving her (at the same time) for her wicked Presumption in breaking out of that Place (as she lately did) and presently returning to her former evil
Ways; and adding to all this, That I really believed she had been a very Ill-liver, and had (as I was told) done much Mischief in the World by her debauching young Men, and doing abundance of other wicked Things; for which she was now very near her being call'd to a most severe Judgment before Almighty God, unless she prevented it by a free Confession, hearty Prayers, and sincere Repentance. When I laid all these malancholy Matters before her, she groan'd, and shed some Tears, and said, I have been a great Sinner indeed: And the Lord have Mercy upon me! And this was all she said, for she would not confess any thing in particular, saving what was most plain and universally known, viz. Her Escape out of Bridewell (where she was by Order of Court, to have remain'd two Years) and the Fact for which she was now to suffer this shameful Death: To which, as she was approaching, she seemed to entertain more serious Thoughts, and grieve very much for her Sins.
At the Place of Execution (whither they were all carry'd from Newgate in three Carts this Day) I attended them for the last time. I exhorted them still more and more to stir up their Minds and Hearts (all the Affections of their Souls) to God, whom they had so much offended. I pray'd, and sung some Penitential Psalms with them, and made them rehearse the Apostles Creed; and finally recommending them to God's All-sufficient Grace and boundless Mercy, I retired from them; who at the same time spoke to the Standers-by, that were many, to this purpose: That they would take Warning by them, and so avoid such an Untimely End as they themselves were now come to, for their Sins.
After they had done speaking, they apply'd themselves to their private Devotions, for which they had some small time allotted them: And then the Cart drew away, they all the while calling upon GOD, To have Mercy upon them; to pardon their Sins, and to receive their Souls.
This is all the Account here to be given of these dying Persons, by me,
Friday, Sept. 25. 1713.
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