THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF The Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyurn on Monday the 20th, of May, 1717.
AT the General Quarter-Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 4th of May, 1717, Fifteen Persons, viz. 13 Men and Women, who were Try'd for, and Convicted of several Capital Crimes, did accordingly receive Sentence of Death: But 7 of them having obtain'd a Gracious Reprieve (which I here advise them to improve for their future Good) Eight only, viz. Seven Men and One Woman, are now order'd for Execution.
While they were under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them, and to that purpose had them twice every Day brought up to the Chapel of Newgate, where I pray'd with them, and read and expounded the Word of GOD to them, endeavouring to inform their Judgment in Things of Religion, and bringing them (thro' the Divine Grace) into a State of true Repentance, and the Practice of Christian Duties, so far as their Unhappy Circumstances would permit, and GOD (whom they had highly offended) did require of them.
On the Lord's Day, the 5th instant, I preach'd to them both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon a Subject suitable as well to the Solemnity of the Season, as to the Particularity of their melancholy Condition, forasmuch as it naturally led me to shew them the Way, and raise in them a Desire (if possible) to turn from their Sins to GOD; the Text I then chose to discourse upon being this, Acts 3. 26. - God having raised up his Son JESUS, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his Iniquities.
From which Words, first explain'd in general, I then shew'd in particular,
I. The Meaning of God's sending his Son JESUS to bless us.
II. The Time of this Mission, or Sending.
III. ult. The Design and End of it, which was, to fit us for Eternal Life, by turning away every one of us from his Iniquities.
On the Lord's Day, the 12th instant, I preach'd to them again, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon 1 Pet. 2. 11. being part of the Epistle appointed for that Day, and the Words these, Dearly Beloved, I beseech you as Strangers and Pilgrims, abstain from Fleshly Lusts, which war against the Soul.
In my discoursing upon this Text, I chiefly spoke to these Points, viz.
I. The Argument here us'd by the Apostle to exhort us from Fleshly Lusts.
II. What those Fleshly Lusts, and their dismal Effects, are.
III. ult. The Obligation we lie under to abstain from them, both in point of Duty and Interest.
And Yesterday the 19th instant, I did again preach to them, both in the Morning and Afternoon, on 2 Cor. 5. 10. For we must all appear before the Judgment-Seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his Body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.
These Words I first explain'd in general, and then shew'd from them is particular,
I. That there is a Judgment to come.
II. That it will be an universal, strict, and impartial Judgment.
III. ult. That the due Consideration thereof should make us all careful to prepare for it, and by all the Acts of Faith and Repentance (which can be exerted by us in this World) avoid the dreadful Severity of it in the next.
Having enlarg'd upon those Heads, and shew'd especially the dangerous and sad Consequences of Sin unrepented of; I then concluded all these Sermons with particular Instructions and Admonitions to the Persons condemn'd; whom I did, not only on these Publick Days, but every Day in the Week, teach in the great Doctrin (and exhort to the constant Practice) of Faith and Repentance: A Work of the highest Import for them both to have a right Knowledg of, and make it their chiefest Business (as it was their greatest Concern for the few remaining Days they had now to live) constantly to exert themselves in.
In my private Discourses with them, I examin'd them about their Principles and Manners: And what Information I could receive herein from them respectively, is as follows.
1. Francis Williams, condemn'd for assaulting on the King's Highway one William Honour a Post-boy , and taking from him a Strawberry Gelding and a Black one (both belonging to Mr. Bowchier) with 4 Mails, and 50 Leather-bags, wherein (among other things) were several BankNotes, Matthew Chessey being in company with him, and another, one Holyday, the Evidence against him; which Fact they committed near Turnham Green in the County of Middlesex, on the 23d of January last. He said, he was 28 Years of age, born at Rosse in Herefordshire: That he was a Maltster by Trade (and had for a little while been a Gentleman's Servant ) who though sometimes reduced to great Streights,
and more than once in Prison for Debt, yet he never was concern'd in any Criminal Fact before this. Upon which telling him, I took him to have been an Offender some Years ago, and try'd for, and convicted of some Felonies; he could not deny it, and said, That indeed he had some times held his Hand at the Bar, but was for the most part acquitted of the Facts laid to his charge, as being innocent of them; but as to those he was found guilty of, they were of no great consideration. He further said, That till he came to Twenty Years of age, he led a very Sober and Religious Life, and was afraid to swear an Oath, or tell a Lie, thinking if he did, the Earth would open her Mouth and swallow him up; but when he grew older, and began to see more of the World, he unhappily fell into the Company of some wicked Men, who debauch'd him, and brought him to Evil Courses and Poverty; which a sober Conversation and due Care of his Affairs would (in all probability) have prevented; he being (before that happen'd) Master of Fifteen hundred Pounds. Of this he desir'd all young Men to take Warning, that they might not involve themselves, as he had done, in Sin and Misery. He further said, That the Alehouse they carried the Bristol-Mail to, is pretty near the Bar without Bishopsgate; and, That Mr. Nathanael Martin (who visited him in Newgate) was not the Man that kept the said Alehouse at that time.
2. Matthew Cheshire, alias Chester, alias Chersey, alias Chessey, (which last he said was his right Name) condemn'd with the said Francis Williams, for being concern'd with him in the Robbery before mention'd. He said, he was about 32 Years of age, born at Barkhamsted in Hartfordshire, but had spent most part of his Life at Enfield in Middlesex: That he had been for several Years a Waggoner between London and Ware; and, That of late (viz. about 4 Years since) having left his lawful Employment, and grown loose and in Debt, he durst not shew his Head where he was known, for fear of being arrested: That under these dismal Circumstances thinking London the best Place for his Refuge and Shelter, he made it his constant Abode, and there got acquainted with a certain Highwayman, who soon enticed him to the wicked Trade of Robbing. That with him, and sometimes by himself, he committed several (but small) Robberies, which, as far as he could remember, were in all about Nine or Ten: That though he must needs confess he had been a great Sinner, yet he thanked GOD he never did commit Murder. He own'd (Things still fresh in our Memory) That about 14 Months ago he was indicted and condemn'd for several Facts, viz. these: 1st, For stealing Mr. John Oakley's bay Mare, value 8 l. on the 17th of May, 1715. 2dly, For committing an Assault and Robbery on the Highway near Hendon in Middlesex, on the Person of Mr. Richard Upton, from whom he took Eight Guineas and Eight Shillings, on the 4th of September following: and, 3dly, For assaulting one Edward Moor, and taking a Gold-Ring off his Finger, and a Gelding valued at 5 l. on the 20th of the same Month; to all which he pleaded Guilty, and accordingly receiv'd Sentence of Death on the 25th of February, 1715/1716: That having then obtain'd a Reprieve for a Month,
and after that another sine die (i. e. without any limitation of time) he at last receiv'd the further Mercy of a Free-Pardon, which he pleaded at the Old-baily on Thursday the 20th of December last: That instead of taking Care (as he ought) to improve that Mercy, he presumptuously return'd to his former wicked Courses, and thereby aggravated his old Sins, and involv'd himself in new Troubles, which were now very grievous and heavy upon him, and he acknowledg'd he had justly deserv'd this shameful Death. He declar'd, That the Master of the Alehouse they carried the Bristol-Mail to, was not Mr. Nathanael Martin, but another Person, well known to him the said Chessey.
3. William Wells, condemn'd for breaking the House of Mrs. Rebecca Maling, and stealing thence Linnen to the value of 5 l. on the 21st of December last. He said, he was about 23 Years of age, born at Brentford in Middlesex: That his first Employment was the driving Cows and other Cattle between that Place and London, for his Father and other Butchers: That afterwards he follow'd the Occupation of Brick making ; then went to Sea , and serv'd on board several Men of War alternately. He deny'd this Fact, but confess'd he had greatly offended GOD, and done Wrong to his Neighbour, for which he had been before now in the Hand of Justice, though not under Sentence of Death.
4. John Lemon, alias Lament (which he said was his right Name) condemn'd with Christopher Ward, for a Burglary by them committed in the House of Mr. George Emmerton, stealing thence Goods to the value of 4 l. on the 15th of January last. He said, he was 18 Years of age, born in the Parish of St. Mary Whitechapel: That the Business he was brought up to, and constantly employ'd in, was that of Packthreadspinning : That though he could not deny his having been somewhat loose in his Life and Conversation, yet he never committed any Crime punishable by the Justice of Man before this; which he own'd he was guilty of, and begg'd Pardon for. He was very ignorant, and could not so much as read; neither was he easily brought to understand any of the most common Principles of Christianity.
5. Christopher Ward, condemn'd with the aforesaid John Lament, for being concern'd in the Burglary and Robbery by them committed in Mr. Emmerton's House above mention'd. He said, he was 17 years of age, born in Harrow-alley in the Parish of St. Mary, Whitechapel: That he had been at Sea , serv'd on board the Jersey about 3 Years, and 2 in the Monmouth and other Men of War. He at first deny'd the Fact for which he stood condemn'd, and likewise that of stealing several Goods out of Mr. David Manson's House, on the 9th of February last, which he was try'd for, and was prov'd upon him; but at last he confess'd himself guilty of both; and also of some other wicked Practises, which, he said, he could not give any particular Account of, nor would it be of any Use if he did. I found him both obstinate and ignorant, who could neither read, nor understand any thing of Religion.
6. Thomas Price, condemn'd for breaking open the House of Dr . Guy Mesmin, and stealing thence two Silver-Cups, seven Spoons, a Watch, and Wearing-Apparel, amounting in all to the Value of about 40 l. on the 22d of March last. He said, he was 17 years of age, born in the Parish of Carisbrook in the Isle of Wight: That he was brought up to the Sea , and had at several times serv'd on board diverse Men of War, particularly the Burford, to which he belong'd four Years, and was from her lately discharg'd at Portsmouth: That being thus discharg'd, he came up to London about Nine or Ten Weeks since, for another Ship; and here he became acquainted with one Edward Goodson, the Evidence against him, they both lodging at the same House in Whitechapel. He at first positively deny'd his being concern'd with him in this Fact, but afterwards confess'd it; for he own'd at last, That he committed it, and not that only, but another in the Parish of St. Olave at Chichester, where he broke open a House, and stole thence some Wearing-Apparel, viz. Men and Women's Cloaths, and sold 'em at Portsmouth for 3 l. the last Winter, when he first began to be acquainted with ill People: And he further acknowledg'd, That from that time he had been very wicked, and Guilty of some other Facts of this nature, but of no great Import: However he was made sensible that unless he repented of them, and of all other his Sins, he could not be saved. Upon this he seem'd heartily to pray to GOD for Mercy and Forgiveness.
7. Josiah Cony, alias Conyhatch, alias Witton, alias Whitney, (the first he said was his right Name) condemn'd for breaking open the House of Mr. William Roy, and stealing thence three Flaxen-sheets, a Shift, and other Goods, on the 3d of October last. He said, he was about 18 years of age, born in the Parish of St. Giles in the Fields : That he was brought up to no Trade, nor had any Education bestow'd on him. Upon this I ask'd him how he liv'd? What he did for an honest Livelihood? To this he answer'd, He was employ'd sometimes in drawing Drink at an Alehouse , and at other times in helping his Mother to carry and sell Greens and Flowers about the Streets . He at first deny'd the Fact he stood condemn'd for, but at last confess'd he was guilty of it: That he had been engag'd in the wicked Trade of Thieving for these Seven Years past; and, That he had been burnt in the Hand once for a Felony. He seem'd to be sensible of his Crimes, and pray'd to GOD for Mercy.
8. Martha Pillah, alias Pillow, condemn'd for stealing 6 Guinea's, and 15 Shillings, from Mrs Elizabeth White, on the 16th of April last. She said, she was about 18 years of age, born of very honest Parents in Brewers-yard, in the Parish of St. Margaret, Westminster: That her Friends put her out Apprentice to a Taylor , and when the Time of her Service with him was expir'd, she work'd for herself, whose chief Business then was, the making and mending Men's Cloaths . She confess'd the Fact
she was to suffer for; and also own'd, That she had been a very lewd and lascivious Woman, concern'd in many wicked things, and had once before now, taken her Tryal at the Old-baily, for a Fact of which she was Guilty, but (for want of sufficient Proof) acquitted. I found her ignorant to the last degree in any thing that was either Pious or Good; and 'twas no small Difficulty for me to bring her to a sense of Religion, of her miserable Condition, and thereby to a State of Repentance.
At the Place of Execution, to which they were (this Day) carried in three Carts from Newgate, I attended them for the last time, and gave them such Exhortations as were most proper on this sad Occasion. I pray'd and sung some Penitential Psalms with them; I made them rehearse the Apostles Creed, and then wish'd them that Forgiveness of Sins, and that Resurrection and Eternal Life, which now they had made Profession to believe. When I had done, and finally recommended their Souls to GOD, I retir'd from them. Then the Cart drew away, and they were turn'd off, calling all the while upon GOD to have Mercy upon them, to pardon their Sins, and receive their Souls.
This is all the Account here to be given of these Dying Malefactors, by me
Monday, May 20th, 1717.
Whereas it was (by a Mistake) inserted in the last Session-Papers, That the Bristol-Mail, which was lately robb'd, was carry'd to, and sorted at, the Black-Dog Alehouse in Shoreditch: These are to certify, That the same was altogether a Mistake, as has been testify'd upon Oath by James Holyday and Mary his Wife, who deposed, That it was the Black-Dog Alehouse at the Corner of Skinner-street in Bishopsgatestreet. The Affidavits whereof are to be seen at Mr. Nathanael Martin's, the Black-Dog Alehouse in Shoreditch aforesaid.
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