Ordinary's Account, 27th October 1714.
Reference Number: OA17141027

THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF The Behaviour, Confession, and Last Speech of Thomas Douglas, that was Executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday the 27th of October, 1714, for the barbarous Crime of Murder.

AT the General Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 13th, 14th, and 15th of October, 1714, Thirteen Persons, viz. Eight Men and Four Women, were severally Convicted of Capital Crimes, and so accordingly receiv'd Sentence of Death. Of these, One dy'd of a Feaver on Monday the 18th instant; Eleven have obtain'd HIS MAJESTY's gracious Reprieve, (which I wish they may duly improve) and the other (namely, Thomas Douglas) is now order'd for Execution.

While they lay under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them, and to that purpose had them brought up twice every day to the Chapel of Newgate, where I pray'd with them, and read and expounded the Word of GOD to them, thereby endeavouring to instruct them in the Principles and Precepts of the Christian Religion, (which some of them were not very well acquainted with) and make them sensible of the Guilt they had contracted, and the Miseries they had involv'd themselves in, by living and acting contrary to those Divine Precepts.

On the LORD's Day, the 17th instant, I preach'd to them (and others there present) both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon these Words, Acts 17. 30, & 31. And the times of this Ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all Men every where to repent: Because He has appointed a Day in the which He will judge the World in Righteousness, by that Man whom He has ordain'd; whereof He has given Assurance unto all Men, in that He has raised Him from the Dead.

From which Words, first explain'd in general, I shew'd in particular,

I. The Certainty and Infallibility (as well as Necessity) of a Future Judgment after this Life: Which is declar'd to us by a threefold Voice, viz.

The Voice of{Scripture, Conscience, God's Justice.

II. The Severity and Dreadfulness of that Judgment; which to the Impenitent Sinners will be most terrible and intolerable, upon many Accounts, but chiefly these, viz.

1. The Sight of their Judge.

2. The Manner of his Coming to Judgment.

3. The Accusations of their own Consciences.

4. The Nature and Character of that Judgment; which will be Universal, Exact, Just, and Irreversible.

III. and lastly, The Use we ought to make of this Doctrine of a Future Judgment, so as we may (thro' Grace and Mercy) avoid the Severity of it, and be advanc'd to Endless Happiness by a serious Meditation upon it; duty considering, that it is,

1. A powerful Disswasive from Vice; because then it will most certainly be severely punish'd. And,

2. A strong Perswasive to Virtue; because then it will be most certainly and fully rewarded.

On the last LORD's Day, the 24th instant, I preach'd to them again, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon; and my Text was; Rom. 10. 9. - If thou shalt confess with thy Mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine Heart, that God has raised Him from the Dead, thou shalt be Saved.

Which Words having first explain'd, with their Context, in general, I then shew'd in particular,

I. What this Confessing of Christ with the Mouth imports.

II. What is meant by this Believing on Him in our Hearts.

III. l. What an Unspeakable Benefit will accrue to us from such a Confession and Belief, viz. Eternal Life and Salvation.

On these I enlarg'd, and then concluded with such particular Adnonitions to the Persons condemn'd, as I thought most suitable to

the dismal Circumstances they were under, exhorting them to Faith and Repentance, and shewing them what those Graces were, and how they might and ought to be exerted by them, while they were here in this World, in order to their obtaining the Pardon of their Sins, and attaining to the Fruition of their Faith, even the Salvation of their Souls, in the World to come.

And as in my Publick, so in my Private Exhortations I was very earnest in pressing upon their Minds the Necessity of Faith, without which it is impossible to please God, as the Apostle averrs, Heb. 11. 6. and of Repentance, without which No Pardon of Sins, and consequently No Salvation of Soul, can be hoped for.

They seem'd to be attentive to what I deliver'd to them upon these Topicks; and he that is now order'd for Execution (whom I particularly endeavour'd to make sensible of the Heinousness of the Crime of Murder) gave me the Account of his past Life and present Disposition, as follows.

Thomas Douglas, Condemn'd for the Murder by him committed on the Person of William Sparks, by stabbing him with a Knife, on the 29th of September last. He said, that he was 33 Years of age, born at Dunston, about 12 miles from Berwick upon Tweed; That he was brought up to the Sea from his Youth, had been an able Seaman for these Twelve Years past, and serv'd on board the Shrewsbury, the St. George, the Bedford, and several other Men of War, and sometimes in Merchant-Ships. He would not own himself otherwise Guilty of this this Murder, than say, " That being much in Drink, he might have " done it, not knowing then what he did; for he entirely lov'd the " Man, and had no manner or matter of Grudge against him; and " their meeting together at that time was friendly, as being to take " their Leave of each other in a loving Cup, wherein they happening to exceed the Rules of Sobriety, were both of them so " very much discompos'd with Drinking, that they knew not well " what they did.

Upon which I told him, " That I suppos'd such Excessive Drinking made him so rash and inconsiderate, as to hurry him into the " commission of that horrid Fact, which, and many other Wicked " Actions, too often proue the sad Consequents of Insobriety: Yet I " could not but think that he must needs have harbour'd Malice " and Hatred in his Heart against that poor Man, whom he thus " basely stabb'd, for else he would not have done it, tho' in Drink: " And what confirm'd me in this Opinion, was, the Deposition of " Two Witnesses, who at his Tryal swore, That they heard the Deceased say, a little before he dy'd, that he (the Prisoner) kill'd him upon " an old Grudge. And further it was then depos'd by one of them, That

" he saw him give William Sparks the mortal Blow, and heard him curse " him; which he own'd at that time he had done: Whereupon he being " apprehended, the bloody Knife with which he had committed that Horrid " Fact was seen to fall from him.

When I had observ'd these Things to him, and ask'd him, Whether all this was not true, he made a Demurr or Stop before he would give me any Answer, seeming to be very full of Thoughts, and bitterly lamenting his miserable Condition. Here I press'd him to make a full and ingenuous Confession of his Crime; telling him, That upon his true Repentance of it, and of all his other Sins, he might find great Ease in his Mind. With this and other Exhortations I wrought so far upon him, that he said, He was truly sensible of his Guilt, and the Justice of his Sentence, and begg'd Pardon both of GOD and Man. Yet all this while he would not plainly acknowledge, that he committed this Murder out of Ill-will to the Deceas'd; saying further, That he did not think the Deceas'd had any against him neither, tho' some Years ago (and that was when he serv'd in the Shrewsbury) he press'd him into the Sea-service, and carried him to the St. George, on board which both of them went on the Expedition to Vigo, where Sir Stafford Fairborne was Rear-Admiral of the White Squadron, and Captain Whitton Commander of that Ship.

This is all the Account he gave me of the former Passages of his Life, saving that he own'd, " That he was " afraid his Breaking of the Sabbath-day, as he had frequently " done, his committing Fornication and Adultery, his profane " Swearing, and excessive Drinking, &c. together with this " Murdering of his Friend, had render'd him hateful to GOD, " and made his Heart so hard, as that he did not know " how to Repent, and could find no manner of Comfort or " Hope within himself. Upon this I gave him the best Advice I could, shewing him how he should pray to GOD for Grace, that he might truly Repent; and, That upon the Confession of his Sins, and his Abhorrence and Forsa

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