AT the late general Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th of April last past, Eighteen Persons (viz. Twelve Men and Six Women) were condemn'd for Capital Crimes, and among the rest the Gentleman who is now the Subject of this melancholy Paper. Of these eighteen Criminals, seven Men and one Woman were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 11th instant, (of whom I have already given an Account) and nine were Repriev'd, besides the Person of whom I am now giving the following Relation.
He said, he was 39 Years of age, born at Catesby near Daventry in Northamptonshire, came of a good and honourable Family, and had an Education (at Wadham College in Oxford, and elsewhere) suitable to his Birth, but did not make the right Use of it; for falling into bad Company, and being too conversant with Men of Erroneous and Dangerous Principles, who ridicul'd all Religion, denying the Immortality of the Soul, and even our Lord JESUS CHRIST, and looking upon his Gospel (and indeed the whole Book of
GOD) as an idle Romance, he was thereby soon induced to all manner of Debauchery and Sensuality. And by these vicious and irregular Ways of Living, so displeasing to GOD, so scandalous to the Christian Religion, (which he outwardly profess'd) and so hurtful to the World in general, and to his own Soul in particular, he wasted his Substance, dull'd his Spirits, weaken'd his Faculties, and at last brought himself into such a melancholy state and discomposure of Mind, that a little before he committed this barbarous Murder, he had resolv'd within himself to kill some Body or other, and make his Escape out of the Fleet, where he was a Prisoner for Debt; or, if he could not effect that, to lay violent hands upon himself, as being weary of his Life.
When he was come to a more sober Temper, and was sensible of his miserable Condition, he own'd, his Sins were very great and heinous, (and particularly that of Murdering a Person who gave him no Provocation) saying, That he heartily repented, and pray'd GOD to forgive him for CHRIST's sake, in removing the Guilt from his Soul which he had thereby contracted, and giving him Grace, that in this World he might make a good End, and in the next enjoy that Felicity which is to have no End.
He would often say, (and that too before he had duly consider'd his Sinful State) That he was very willing and ready to die; and, That if Life or Death were put to his Choice, he would chuse to embrace the latter; for he could have no Prospect that the Miseries he had undergone for these Twenty Years past would have an end, but with his Life: And therefore (saving the Shame of this his Untimely Death) it rejoic'd his Heart to see himself so near his Dissolution and Deliverance. Upon which I told him, I wish'd he would seriously consider What it was to die, and What was to follow after Death, that he might not launch into another World without a sure Guide, namely, the Spirit of Grace, purifying his Soul, and enabling him to make a due Preparation for his great approaching Change;
a thing he ought so much the more earnestly to pray for, by how much it was of weighty and important Concern to him; which, if neglected and lost now, could never be repair'd or retriev'd hereafter. I advis'd him, impartially and without Flattery to examin himself in a strict and exact manner about the several Passages and lamentable Miscarriages of his former Life, the present Condition and Disposition he found himself in as to his Repentance, and what Thoughts he had of his future Eternal State, that was so near at hand. To which he answer'd, That though he had not, nor could ever have, a clear Idea of the State to come, yet as he heartily repented of all his Sins (this in particular for which he is now to die) and resign'd up himself to God's Will and Pleasure, so he hoped to receive Pardon and Salvation thro' Christ's Merits. And herein he desir'd me to put up earnest Prayers to God for him.
I constantly visited him, and at several times found him in several Tales, and in very different Dispositions: Sometimes he was calm and easie, willing to hear of his Faults, and receive good Advice with Patience and Submission; and at other times express'd a great deal of Anger and Uneasiness, and very much reflected upon some of his Relations, as supposing they might, if they would, have sav'd his Life; which, tho' he had told me before he was not desirous of, yet I now perceiv'd he would have been glad to have preserv'd it; and was very much discompos'd when he found the Report of some of his Acquaintance not to be true, who told him, there was a Second Reprieve obtain'd for him. And whilst he was in this sad Perplexity and fretting Humour, he went on with his Reflections upon his Relations, attributing all the Miscarriages of his past Life, and present sad Circumstances, to their Unkindness towards him; and so ran from one thing to another, that he appear'd to be at that time very much disturb'd in his Spirit; and himself own'd, That he had a thousand Thoughts at once flowing in like Billows upon his Mind. Hereupon I endeavour'd to quiet him, and bring him into a better Composure, and to that end did
often pray with him, begging of GOD, that He would be pleas'd to rectifie all his Disorders, and renew a right Spirit within him: At last his disquieting Cogitations and heated Passions seem'd to be pretty well allay'd, and he well dispos'd to die.
In my private Admonitions and publick Sermons, which I preach'd during the time of his Confinement in Newgate, among other things, I particularly shew'd, How Men ought every where to repent; and, That the greatest of Sinners, such as were guilty of Murder, &c. had so much the more Occasion so to do; that they sincerely endeavouring to bring up their Repentance to the high degree of their Sins, might pacifie the Wrath of GOD, and obtain His Favour, which is better than Life it self.
At the Place of Execution (whither he went this Day in a Mourning-Coach with me) I discharg'd for the last time my Ministerial Office to him, earnestly exhorting him to stir up himself to GOD, in an humble Acknowledgment and thorow Repentance of all his Sins, and in an earnest imploring the Divine Mercy: I pray'd by him, sung some Penitential Psalms with him, made him rehearse the Apostles Creed, and wish'd him that Forgiveness of Sin and Life Everlasting he had now profess'd the Belief of; and finally recommending his Soul to GOD, I put up this Prayer for him, That he might be deliver'd from Blood-guiltiness, and all other Sins; have a safe Passage out of this miserable World, and a happy Entrance into the Everlasting Habitations.
When I had done praying in the Cart with him, I withdrew from him, who made no other Speech to the People there than this, That the Small pox, which he had about 20 Years ago, left such an Infirmity in his Head, that he never was perfectly well; so desir'd the Prayers of all the Standers-by for his departing Soul. Which having said, he apply'd himself in private Prayer to GOD: Then the Cart drew away, while he was uttering these and the like Ejaculations; Lord, have Mercy upon me; Lord, save me!
NB. Among the several pious Books which he perus'd, he stem'd to be most affected with one entitul'd The Christian Monitor, containing Directions and Exhortations to a Holy Living and Holy Dying; which Book, he said, he wish'd he had read before, for if he had, he might have avoided many Sins, done many good Deeds, and never have come to this shameful untimely End.
After he had receiv'd Sentence of Death, he desir'd little Company besides me, and (in his Retirement) much exercis'd himself in Acts of Devotion; for a furtherance whereto he had diverse Books of Prayers, which he constantly look'd over: But that he most frequenely read, and found most Comfort in, was a Prayer that is at the end of the Charitable Visit to the Prisons. A Book which (together with the Christian Monitor, and other short Treatises of Godliness) the honourable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Reformation of Manners, take care to distribute among Prisoners, and other poor People. The Prayer is this:
O Most righteous and merciful Lord God, the Creator, Ruler, and Judge of the World; I humbly own Thy Justice, as also that of Man, in bringing me under that Condemnation, which by my own Sins and Offences I have deserv'd, and have none to blame so much as myself. Thou art righteous, O God, but I have sinned. In the midst of Judgment remember Mercy; and suffer me not to seek Thee in vain: It were most just in Thee now to laugh at my Calamity, and not answer me, tho' I should make many Prayers in this my Distress, because Thou hast call'd, and I have refus'd, and have set at Nought Thy Counsels, and regarded Iniquity in my Heart, and practis'd it in my Life, and turn'd away my Ears from hearkening to Thy Law. 'Tis very late, O Lord, O let it not be too late, that I now seek unto Thee. I am deeply affected with the Terrors of Death approaching, and concern'd greatly at the awful Thoughts of Thy strict and righteous Judgment, and believing the future State of Rewards and Punishments, being sensible also of my great and many Sins; I am greatly afraid of Thy Wrath, which is reveal'd from Heaven against all Unrighteousness and Ungodliness, and in particular is threaten'd against such Sins as I have liv'd in, which I now desire, with Shame and Grief of Soul, humbly to confess before Thy Throne of Grace, &c. For the rest, see at the end of a Book entitled, A Charitable Visit to the Prisons.
Before the Day of his Death, I endeavour'd to perswade him to leave something in Writing behind him, concerning his past Life and Conversation; with an Admonition to such Sinners as he had been too too much acquainted with; but he said, What he had confess'd to me (being given to the World in the manner I should think fit) would be sufficient; and, he hop'd Men of loose Principles and wicked Lives would (as he wish'd they might) take Warning by his Fall. But as for himself, he did not think fit to write any thing; and if after his Death any Papers were put out under his Name, besides this Account, he would not have the World believe he had wrote them.
This is all the Account here to be given of this (I hope) Penitent Gentleman, by me,
Friday, May 20. 1715.
THis is to give Notice to all Gentlemen, Booksellers, and others, That there is lately publish'd a new sett of Cuts, adapted to several sizes of Common-prayers, all new Designs, by Mr. Gocree of Amsterdam; engrav'd by P. Vandergucht. Likewise Mr. Sturt's Cuts. Sold by ROBERT WHITLEDGE, at the Bible and Ball in Ave-Maria-Lane, near Ludgate; where may be had all sorts of Bibles, either in Folio, Quarto, Octavo, Twelves, or other sizes; Common-prayers in Folio, for the use of Churches; Common-prayers in 8� & 12�. A New Edition of the Book of Homilies, in folio. All neatly bound. The Duty of Man's Works of all sizes; Duty of Man in Latin; Latin and Welsh Common-prayers; Tate and Brady's new Version of Psalms, with the new Supplement: Dr. Gibson on the Sacrament, Mr. Clutterbuck on the Liturgy; The Statutes at large, in 3 vol. Bp Beveridge's Sermons and private Thoughts, &c.
At the Sign of the Cheshire-Cheese, a Tinshop in Walbrook, near Stocks-Market,
LIveth a Gentlewoman, the Daughter of an eminent Physician, who practis'd in London upwards of 40 Years. She has an Ointment call'd the Royal Ointment, for the Gout, and Rheumatick Pains, and of great Ease and Comfort to both Sexes at Home and Abroad, as hath been experienc'd by many who have carry'd it with them into foreign Parts; and is therefore of excellent Use for all Travellers. Thus is the Cure compleated; as is well known to several of the Nobility and Gentry, who have experienc'd it, and are ready to testify the Truth of its wonderful Success. She hath also a certain and infallible Cure for the Tooth-ach, without drawing, and so effectually, that the Pain will never return again; and not only so, but makes the Teeth as white as Ivory, and fastens loose Teeth to admiration. NB. Originally prepar'd by this Gentlewoman, and sold for her no where else.
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