THE Ordinary of NEWGATE HIS ACCOUNT OF THE Behaviour and last dying Words OF Edward Bird, Gent . Who was Executed at TYBURN on Monday the 23d of February,1719, for the MURDER OF SAMUEL LOXTON, At the Bagnio in Silver-street, Westminster.
LONDON Printed for J. Jefferies, and sold by S. Briscoe near Mr. Mist’s in Great Carter-lane.
THE Ordinary of NEWGATE His Account, &c.
EDward Bird, Gent. condemn’d for the Murder by him committed on the Person of Samuel Loxton, a Servant in Mr. Seedwell’s Bagnio Silver-street, in the Parish of St. James Westminstert on the 25th of September last.
This Mr. Bird, aged about 27 years, said to be born of wealthy Parents at Old Windsor, was well brought up by them, who gave him a Christian and Gentlemen-like Education. They put him early to the Care and Instruction of the late Reverend Dr. Busby, Master of Westminster School; and thence, when pretty well advanc’d in his Learning, remov’d him to Eaton College. After some stay there, they finding his Inclination was to see the World abroad, fitted him out for his Travels; and then he made a Tour in France, and went also into Italy, &c. When he had spent some time abroad in foreign Countries, and seen variety of Things (which, whether he improve’d and made good use of, or no, I shall leave to the Judgment of others) he return’d into England, and not long after had a Lieutenant ’s Commission in the Regiment of Horse commanded by the Lord Marquess of Winchester. Before this, he had in a great measure, given himself up to a vicious Course of Life; and his evil Inclinations growing stronger in him, he at last abandon’d himself to all manner of Lewdness and Debauchery; the Consideration whereof I put close to him, endeavouring to bring him to a due Sense and true Repentance of his past Follies. And here I put him in mind likewise of his ill Usage to a Virtuous Gentlewoman he formerly married, defiling the Marriage Bed, &c.
While, I was laying these things, and many more of a heinous nature, before him, and telling him, that the World abroad rung of them, he deny’d them not; but said, he was not guilty of Murder, the Crime he stood condemn’d for; and that, as to other Sins, he had begg’d Pardon of GOD for them, and did not doubt of his Mercy. Many private Admoniions and Directions I gave him, and offer’d to pray by him in his Chamber, which I did when he gave me leave; but very often he defin’d me to spare that Part of my Service, because be was very busy, was to write Letters, expected Company, and suchlike frivolous Excuses.
All the time he was under Confinement in Newgate, I could not perswade him to come to Prayer, and hear the Word of GOD in the Chapel, which he might have had an Opportunity to do twice every day for the most part of that time; which was between the 26th of September last and this Day of his Execution. And the Reason of his so long Consinement before he was brought to his Trial, is this.
When he should have been try’d at the Sessions held in the Old-bailey in October last, he pleaded he was not ready for his Defence, and so his Trial was put off to the next Sessions, to be held in the Month of December then following: But before that time came, he falling sick, and the Physicians, who visited him, making Affidavit, that he was not in a fit Condition to be remov’d out of his Chamber, the Court did again defer his Trial to the Sessions beginning on Thursday the 15th, and ending on Monday the 19th of January last. Then he was arraign’d, try’d, and convicted of Murder, and accordingly receiv’d Sentence of Death.
After this I repeated my Visits to him, and desir’d to have been more frequent than before in them; but I found him always so busie, sometimes in Writing, and at other times with Company, that I could hardly have any Opportunity to speak to him of his Future State. Nevertheless I endeavour’d to prepare him for his great Change, and for a better Life, by perswading him sincerely to repent of all the Sins he had committed in this, and earnestly to pray for GOD’s Pardon and Mercy, through the nfinite Merits of CHRIST: Which if he did not now he had time; for it, I desir’d him seriously to consider what might become of him to all Eternity. To this he seem’d to give a little Attention; but something coming into his Mind which he said he must do presently, he desir’d me to leave him; saying, he would send for me another time, when he was at leisure. Accordingly he did, but when I came to him, I found he had not sent for me to pray by him, or discourse him about Divine Matters, but only to shew me the Draught of a Paper which he said he had prepar’d by the help of a Friend, and which he intended to publish. Upon this, after I had (as he desir’d I should) read it, I told him plainly, that the Drist of that Paper, being to insinuate he had not Justice done him at his Trial, he must not think that the World would believe him to be (as he endeavour’d to appear) innocent of the Murder he Was condemn’d for.
Having freely declar’d my Mind to him in this Matter, and that according to my Judgment (who was at his Tryal, from the beginning to the end) I thought him justly convicted of that Murder; and that I would advise him to reflect upon one but himself; who would certainly (if he did Impartially consider the thing) acknowledge his Guilt, and repent of it. At this he seem’d to be uneasie; but I told him, That though I was very unwilling to offer any thing to a Gentleman that might grate upon his Spirit, or be unacceptable to him; yet it was my Duty to make his Sins as odious to him as I could, in order to bring him to a just Abhorrence and Detestation of them; adding, That if he
would please to consider the vicious Steps that had led him to this barbarous Crime, he would find abundance of Sins (besides this) to repent of; which he must do before he y’d, or else be eternally undone. To this he said but little, and so I left him for that time.
When I came to him afterwards, sometimes (if it was in the Morning) he desir’d me to come in the Afternoon: And if in the Afternoon, to come the next Morning; so he did industriously endeavour to trifle away his Time, and set aside all Thoughts of his approaching Dissolution.
On Saturday last I exhorted him to come the next day to the Chapel, and apply himself entirely to holy Meditation, Prayer, and hearing the Word of GOD with due Attention and sincere Devotion; but I could not perswade him to come, nor indeed at this time to let me pray by him; he alledging, his Head was so full of other Matters, that he could not mind any thing else, and those other Matters (Which related to his Tryal) were contain’d in a printed Proof of a Paper (not that before mention’d) which he shew’d me, and which he said he was now correcting, in order to be put to the Press.
Yesterday being the Lord’s Day, I visited him in his Chamber, and did the like this Morning; when understanding that he had the Night before took a Dose of Poison, and after that stabb’d himself in several places, I told him, that I was sorry to hear he had added Sin to Sin, by attempting to commit a fresh Murder, and that too upon himself: To which he reply’d That be did not think it a Sin, because he was in die. Whereupon I endeavour’d to make him sensible he had no Power over his own Life; and, that by this he put himself in danger of carrying his Guilt unrepented of into another World.
As there was all along great Endeavours us’d to save his Life. So I observed to him, that neither the Solicitations of his Friends, nor his own Attempts upon himself, were able to prevent GOD’s just Judgments against Murder, &c.
At the Place of Execution, whither he was this Day carry’d in a Mourning-Coach, I attended him for the last time; and when he was remov’d out of that Coach, (wherein he had stay’d about an Hour with his Mother after his Arrival there) I pray’d with him in the Cart, gave him some Exhortations, sung a Penitential Psalm, made him rehearse the Apostles Creed; and then wishing him that Life he had made Profession to believe, I retir’d from him.
One of the 3 Clergymen that went with me to see the Execution did step into the Cart when I was come away but could, work no Good on him; who, instead of applying himself to his Devotion, and desiring the Spectators to pray for him, and take Warning by him, turn'd himsell st one way, then another, and, call’d for a Glass of Wine; but being told it could not be got there for him, he defin’d, Pinch of Snuff; and taking it, he bow’d to the Gentlemen near the Cart, and said Gentlemen, I wish your Health. After this he was ty’d up turn’d off, and bled very much at the Mouth or Nose, or both.
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