THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF The Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 19th of December, 1716.
AT the General Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old Baily, on Wednesday the 5th, Thursday the 6th, Friday the 7th, Saturday the 8th, and Monday the 10th of December 1716, 20 Persons, viz. 15 Men, and 5 Women, that were Try'd for, and brought in Guilty of, diverse Capital Crimes, together with 3 others (viz. 1 Man and 2 Women) who had abus'd former Mercies by returning to their old wicked Ways (amounting in all to 23) did receive Sentence of Death accordingly: But 3 of the Women being found pregnant, and 4 other Women, with 7 of the Men (being 14 in number) having obtain'd a most gracious Reprieve (which I hope they will take better care to improve than many others before them have done) 9 only are now order'd for Execution.
While they lay under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them twice every day, sometimes in the Condemn'd Hold or Dungeon, but oftener in the Chapel of Newgate; where I pray'd with them, read and expounded the Word of GOD to them, and endeavour'd by proper Arguments from Reason and Religion to bring them into a state of true Repentance, that they might not perish in their Sins.
On the Lord's Day the 9th instant I preach'd to them and others there present, both in the Morning and Afternoon, on Psal. 86. 12, 13. the Words being these: I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my Heart; and I will glorifie thy Name for evermore. For great is Thy Mercy towards me; and Thou hast deliver'd my Soul from the lowest Hell.
From which Words, first explain'd in general, I discours'd in particular upon these Points, viz.
I. Hell, under its various Acceptations; shewing,
1st, That there is an Hell on Earth, which is twofold, viz.
A Temporul Hell of Afflictions; and,
A Spiritual Hell of Conscience.
2dly, That there is a Hell under Earth, which is also twofold, viz.
The Pit of the Dead, i. e. the Grave; and
The Pit of the Damn'd, which is the Lowest or Nethermost Hell.
II. God's Unspeakable Mercy in delivering us from this Hell; which consists of these two Things chiefly,
The Pain of Sense.
The Pain of Loss.
The former of which are in Scripture describ'd by,
1. Eternal Darkness. 2. Unquenchable Fire. 3. The Worm never dying. 4. Everlasting Bands. 5. Conversation with Devils. 6. Bitter Weeping. 7. Continual gnashing of Teeth:
And the latter consists in an Eternal Deprivation of God's gracious Presence; which is the greatest of all Miseries, as being the utter Loss of all that is good, desirable, and absolutely necessary for Man's Happiness.
III. ult. The indispensablo Obligation we lie under to return our humble and hearty Thanks to our good God, for his infinite Mercy in delivering us from the lowest or nethermost Hell, even from Eternal Death and Damnation.
And on the last Lord's Day the 16th instant, I preach'd to them again upon part of the Gospel appointed for that Day, viz. Matt. 11. 10. containing these Words spoken by our Blessed Saviour himself: For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my Messenger before thy Face, which shall prepare Thy Way before Thee.
From which Words I shew'd,
I. What Place (i. e. Mal. 3. 1) this Expression [It is written] has a reference to; and how we ought thence to learn, that it is most necessary for us carefully to read, and make ourselves well acquainted with, the Word of God; which (being sanctified to us by the Spirit of Grace) is able to comfort and to save our Souls.
II. Who was the Messenger here spoken of, namely, St. John the Baptist; and what sort of Life he led, i. e. a Life of great Austerity; such as then became his Office.
III. and lastly, What his Message was, viz. The Preaching of Repentance.
Upon these I first discours'd at large, and then spoke more particularly to the following Points resulting from the Text, and with respect to the Season of the Year and present Occasion, very proper to be then insisted on:
1st, The true Nature
2dly, The absolute Necessity
3dly, The great Danger in the Delay
4thly, & lastly, The blessed Fruits
Having enlarg'd upon those Heads and Particulars, I concluded with suitable Exhortations and Applications to the Persons condemn'd, whom I endeavour'd to bring into a due Sense and sincere Repentance of all
their Sins, and to the Practice of all Christian Duties, so far as their unhappy Circumstances would admit. And this was my Daily Work with them, who, in my private Examinations of them, gave me these respective Accounts of their past Lives, present Dispositions, and future Hopes.
1. William Thompson alias Nodes (which latter was his right Name) condemn'd for assaulting and robbing on the King's Highway Mrs. Grace Stacey, Mrs. Mary Carleton, and others in the Whetstone Coach, taking from them 2 Gold-Rings and 6 s. and 6 d. in Money, on the 7th of November last. He said, he was 28 years of age, born in the Parish of St. Bridget, London, an Upholsterer by Trade, and liv'd with his Father. He confess'd the Fact he was now condemn'd for, but was loth to own that he had about 18 months ago receiv'd Sentence of Death at the Assizes held at Winchester, where he was then try'd for, and convicted of, an Assault and Robbery by him committed upon Mr. John Thomas, a Gardiner at Mortlack, whom he shot at that time in the Shoulder. This he obstinately deny'd his being guilty of; and to extenuate his present Crime, said (which to me seem'd a very strange Argument) That since he had been formerly Condemn'd for a Fact he was innocent of, and afterwards pardon'd for, that Pardon should now serve to save his Life. This he so much hoped for, that he would make no great Preparation for Death, till he found himself almost on the very Brink of it; then indeed he began to relent, and to beg Pardon of God, and all the Persons he had offended, who were not a few; but he would not exactly tell how many, and who they were, nor in what manner he had injur'd them. Upon my asking him, Whether he did not (with one Joseph Johnson, who was executed at Maidstone) rob Mr. William Giles on Friday the 17th of December 1714, taking from him a Silver-Watch and 10 s. as he was coming from Harrow o' th' Hill: He answer'd, He was not in the least concern'd in (nor knew any thing of) that Matter.
2. James Hudson alias Butler, (which latter he said was his right Name) condemn'd for being concern'd with the 'foremention'd Nodes, in robbing on the King's Highway, and making an Assault on Mr. John Sheldon, taking from him a Silver-Watch on the 7th of November last, at the time Nodes robb'd the Whetstone Coach, on Finchley-Common. He said, he was about 28 years of age, born in London of good Parents, who gave him a liberal Education at Eaton School and elsewhere: That he had travel'd thro' France, Italy, Spain, and the Low Countries, and understood those Languages: That he for some time had serv'd in Colonel Lumley's Regiment , and but of late been engag'd in this wicked Course of robbing on the Highway, but had never kill'd (nor ever intended to kill) any Person whom he thus assaulted; neither had he committed many such Robberies, nor any that were considerable. However, he was sensible of his great Offences, and the Justice of his Sentence, and begg'd Pardon of GOD and Men. He declar'd to me, That he was of the Romish Religion , and would die in that Faith, tho' at the same time he said there were some things in it which he did not approve of, as the Invocation of Saints, Worshiping of Angels, &c. and seem'd to be somewhat affected with my Prayers and Exhortations. This I observ'd in him at first; but afterwards as he drew nearer his End, he was not so willing to hear me as he was some others, whose Principles (I suppose) agreed better with his. He pretended this Fact he stood condemn'd for was his first; but upon my putting him in mind, that he had formerly been a Prisoner in Newgate, and there remain'd 2 Years upon a Fine of 50 l. of which at last he was discharg'd, tho' not cured of his vicious Inclinations, he own'd all this to be true.
3. William Parker alias Gaves alias Hawkins (the first he said was his right Name) condemn'd for breaking, and taking several Perruques out of, a House in Holborn, about 8 months ago. He said, he was about 29 years of age, born in the Parish of Christ-Church, London: That he was brought up to the Sea , and had serv'd on board several Men of War and Merchantmen alternately, and never was concern'd in any ill Fact before this which he stood condemned for, and was (as he pretended) brought into it by the Evidence against him: Yet I found, for all his Pretences, that he had been an old Offender. He confess'd himself guilty of most of the odious Vices which are too too common among Men, and too little taken notice of; I mean Whoring, Gaming, excessive Drinking, Prophanation of the Lord's Day, Cursing, Swearing, and the like. Upon my asking him, Whether he was concern'd in the Breaking and Robbing the House of Mr. Henry Cross, a Gunsmith near the Admiralty-Office over against Scotland-yard, on the 3d of March last; He said, He was; and that Himself, with the Evidence against him, and another Person, did commit that Fact, and took thence some Wearing-Apparel, 7 Guineas and a Gold-Ring in a Box, 5 Pocket-Pistols, and other Goods of great value. He could not deny, but that he (together with William White, Edward Darvell, and Thomas Thurland, who were executed on the 8th of June last) had committed several Robberies, and particularly that on the Person of Mr. John Gough, near Holloway, about 7 or 8 months ago; and had been concern'd in diverse other Facts, not only in Middlesex, but in Essex and other Counties, which he refused particularly to mention; for so obstinate and so proud he was, that he would fain have passed for a very innocent Person with such as knew not so much of his Wicked Life as I did. I endeavour'd to raise in him a Sense and Abhorrence of all his Sins, in order to bring him into a state of True Repentance; of which indeed he gave no other Token than saying, That he was sorry for what he had done amiss, and begg'd Pardon for at both of GOD and of all the Persons he had wrong'd.
4. Richard Brookes, alias Strickland, alias Slater, alias Sturt, call'd down to his former Judgment for not having transported himself according to the Condition of the King's most gracious Pardon, which he pleaded at the Old-Baily on Saturday the 6th of August 1715, under the Name of Richard Strickland, which he told me was his right Name; but instead of his leaving these Parts of the World, and reforming his Life, he remain'd in London, continued in his wicked Course, and so at last brought himself to this shameful and untimely End. He said, he was 22 years of age born at Oxford, and when about 17 went to Sea , where he learnt the Art of Navigation, and for these 4 or 5 years past had alternately serv'd on board several Men of War and Merchant-men. He confess'd the Fact he was indicted for, viz. the breaking the House of Mrs. Mary Gruby on the 8th of Nov. last; and also own'd, That he had committed many Robberies, but could not well tell who the Persons were he had thus injur'd, neither was able to make them any other Reparation, but by acknowledging his Crimes to be great, and begging God's Pardon and theirs, as he did.
5. William Dean, condemn'd for a Burglary, viz. for breaking the House of Mr. Tho. Hall, and stealing thence 12 Shifts, a pair of Sheets, and other things, on the 10th of September last, of which he own'd he was guilty, and also acknowledg'd another Fact of the like nature he was try'd for, and for want of sufficient Proof, acquitted of, viz. the breaking of Mr. James Pattison's House, and taking thence a Cloth-coat, a Wastcoat, a Silver Box, and other things, on the 6th of the same Month of September last. Both which Facts, he told me, he and John Moony had committed in Company with, and by the Enticement of the Evidence against them. He said, he was 20 years of age, born in the Parish of Christ-Church in Southwark: That for above these 10 years past he had been employ'd in the Glass-houses there, and in the Minories, and never committed any Robbery before these two; which he said, he heartily repented of, and desir'd me to pray to God for him: but at last acknowledg'd, that within these 4 years past he had pickt several Peoples Pockets, and committed 12 Burglaries both in Middlesex and Surrey, but did not know the Persons he had wrong'd. He was very ignorant, and could not
Read at all, which was a great disadvantage to him; yet behav'd himself as One that desir'd to obtain God's Pardon and Salvation.
6. John Moony, condemn'd for being concern'd with William Dean and the Evidence against him, in the breaking and robbing the House of Mr. Tho. Hall, which, together with the Burglary by them committed in Mr. Pattison's House, he freely confess'd himself to be guilty of; but said these were the only Crimes he deserv'd to be punish'd for by the Laws of Men. He told me, that he was but 18 years of age, born in Spittlefields, and bound Apprentice to a Clock-maker with whom he liv'd but 3 years, and then leaving him, went to Sea , where he served sometimes on board Men of War, and at other times in Merchant-men. I found him a poor ignorant Person, who could not read; yet being made sensible of his Faults, and of the necessity of his repenting of them, he said, he was very sorry he had offended God and wrong'd his Neighbour, and beg'd Pardon of both. He own'd at last he had broke and robb'd several Houses within these 3 years past, but knew not the People he had thus wrong'd.
7. Anthony Rogers, condemn'd for a Burglary, viz. the breaking the House of Martin Purcel, Esq ; and stealing thence a Silver Canister, val. 6 l. on the 15th of October last. He said, he was 19 years of age, born in Maiden-lane, near Co-Covent-garden: That he had been bound 'Prentice to a Carpenter , but staid not with him above 2 years, then ran away, and went to Sea ; where he serv'd on board some Merchant-men for near 3 years off and on. He confess'd he had been engag'd above 2 years in an ill Course of Life, and had within that time committed diverse Robberies and Burglaries; but got no great Matter by them; and, That he never was brought to Justice, tho' he had deserv'd Punishment, before now. He declar'd himself a Romanist , and said, he would die in that Perswasion.
8. Thomas Hurd, alias Davis, (the former he said was his right Name) condemn'd for stealing 3 Weather-Sheep of Mr. Gadsby's, on the 2d of March last, and for being known to be an old Offender. He said, he was 26 years of age, born at Warwick: That when but young, he came up to London, and was bound Apprentice to a Baker on Saffron-hill, with whom he faithfully serv'd out his Time of 7 years, and when expir'd, he wrought Journey-work first with his said Master, and then with another Baker in Piccadilly: That afterwards he listed himself a Soldier , had been in the Service these 5 years, and the last of them in the Second Regiment of Guards, in which he was when committed to Newgate for the Fact he now stood condemn'd for, and own'd himself guilty of. He also confess'd he had done many ill things; and particularly, that he stole several Geese from a poor Woman, who made them a Livelihood for her and her Children; and had done many suchlike Facts; and besides all this, he had led a very lewd Life. He further said, That he was once burnt in the Hand and sent to the Bridewell at Clarkenwell for 2 years; but this did not reform him. And now, considering how wicked he had been, and how much Evil he had done, he seem'd at first to despair of God's Mercy towards him, and earnestly desir'd the Prayers of the Church, and my own for him, which he had, together with Advice and Instruction suitable to his sad Circumstances.
9. William Hartley, condemn'd for stealing 5 Steers of Mr. William Cawthorn's, on the 6th of October last, and also a bay Colt, belonging to Mr. Francis Harrison, on the same Day. He said, he was 44 years of age, born near Shipton in Yorkshire, where he follow'd Husbandry for some Time, but at last fell into an ill Course of Life. He confess'd the 2 Facts he stood condemn'd for, but wou'd not own, that about a Twelvemonth ago he was whipt for a Felony he had then committed. He cou'd neither read, nor give any account of his Faith, as being very ignorant in Matters of Religion; yet said, that when he was in the Country he us'd to go to Church, tho' not so ofteu as he shou'd have done.
At the Place of Execution, to which they were this Day carried from Newgate in 3 Carts, I attended them for the last time, exhorting them more and more to repent. I (as usual) pray'd by them, sung some Penitential Psalms
with them, and made 'em rehearse the Apostles Creed. Then they spoke to the Standers-by to this effect, viz. That they would take Warning by them, and pray for the happy departure of their Souls. After this I recommended them to God's Grace, and left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allotted them. When they had done praying, That God would receive their Souls, the Cart drawing away, they were turn'd off, and so dy'd.
This is all the Account I can here give of them.
NB. In my last Paper, among other Particulars, I gave this Account, That in the late Mayoralty 122 Persons receiv'd Sentence of Death at the Old-baily, and but 70 of them were executed: Whereupon I must now observe, That there were 18 of this Number who had been (some of them twice) Condemn'd and Pardon'd before, but abus'd that Mercy to their great Shame, and the Hurt of honest People. And here, for the Satisfaction of those who seem to wonder and be uneasie at the present Encrease of common Malefactors, I must likewise take notice, That this Calamity proceeds chiefly from the late Rebellion, which (as it plainly appears) has had this dismal Effect, That it had debauch'd many in these Nations, and made those that were already of loose Principles, and inclin'd to Vice, more wicked than they were before, and much more audacious and impious: So that their Clamours are very Unreasonable and Unjust, who complain of the Severity of this present Government; the many Instances of Mercy shewn by His most Gracious Majesty, (even to his worst Enemies) which far surpass all we can find of this nature in former Reigns, speaking aloud his Unparallel'd Goodness and Clemency; insomuch that if there were any Reason to complain, 'twere rather on the other side, viz. That Justice has given way too much to Mercy, and that many who have receiv'd it have taken too little Care to improve it as they ought to have done. Now let them consider, who maliciously and wickedly asperse this our happy Government, representing it as Cruel and Tyrannical, how few of the many Rebels in Great Britain have suffer'd the Punishment which the Laws of their Country had justly inflicted on them; and then let them admire, and be thankful for, that Transcendent Mercy by which they still live; and let them shew their True Gratitude by their future Obedience and Loyalty to the Best of Kings, who now reigns over us; and I pray God may long continue a Blessing to us. Amen.
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