THE Ordinary of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Last Dying Words of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday the 14th of March, 1722.
AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bayly, and which began Feb. 28th, were Convicted of Capital Crimes, 13 Persons; viz. W. Burridge; J. Roberts; J. James; T. Picket; J. Applebie; R. Winter. E. Claxton; G. Bishop; J. Lanman; S. Armstong; W. Edwards; R. Drumman; T. Plowman. Three of these being young Boys, and Four others being found proper Objects of His Majesty's Clemency, the six First were order'd for Execution, agreeable to the Sentence pronounc'd upon them by Law.
Some of them during the Time that they lay unde Sentence of Death, frequently complain'd of the great Interruption and Disturbance, occasioned by those who had an assur'd Expectation of a Reprieve, which prevented the hearing William Burridge when he read the Scriptures and Prayers to those who desir'd him; adding, that they could not but regret their great Misfortune in having no Place or Corner to retire unto, or to be private in, from the foolish and idle Clamor of some of their Companions. But some of those who were certain of a Reprieve, found themselves dismally diceived, when the Warrant was carried to the Prison; yet so strongly had their Friends flatter'd them with the Hopes of Life, and so deeply was the Assurance settled in their Minds, that they could not credit the Account, or make themselves immagine they should suffer Death, tho' they were not without those among them, whose filthy Distempers occasion'd by their Vices and Lewdness, made this Life as Uneasy to them, as the next must be fearful and terrible.
They were advised not to trouble their Minds with difficult Questions, tho' of some Importance, but considering the great Work they had to perform, and the time they had to compleat it in, to set ernestly about the main and necessary Duties of Repentance and turning to God. This
they comply'd with, when their Ends grew near, and the Clamour and Noise was remov'd from among them.
The Day preceeding the Execution of these Malefactors, I undertook to instruct them from the following Text of Scripture:
And the Voice said, Cry! And he said, what shall I cry? All Flesh is Grass, and all the Goodliness thereof as the Hower of the Field: The Grass withereth, the Flower fadeth; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth up-it; surely the People is Grass; the Grass withereth, the Flower fadeth; but the Word of our God shall stand for ever, (Esai. 40. Verses 6, 7, 8.)
From hence we took Occasion to consider,
FIRST, the Imbecility of Human Nature; the Anxiety, Care, and Uneasiness Man is born unto; That even Men of splendid and flourishing Fortunes find more Uneasiness than Pleasure, upon Earth: Observing from thence, That unhappy Men, whom the World has frown'd upon, who are without Friends, and destitute of Estates, need not regret or repine, at losing this World, if they secur'd but a Nobler and higher Existance, without Care, Anxiety and Trouble.
SECONDLY, Tho' the Delights of Life should exceed the Cares, its Pans, yet if all Flesh is frail as Grass, in the Morning green, and at Evening withered, What would it avail? And what little cause have those to fret and be impatient, who are cut off from Life? since had Life, by a Reprieve, been continu'd, 'twould have been but for 50 or 60 Years, and perhaps not for so many Days: If they who remain in Life, are, or ought to be, dayly thinking of Death, 'tis no Misfortune to those who are oblig'd to give up those solicitous Expectations, and to take Possession of Eternity. So that 'tis irrational and brutish to spite any Accusers, or to murmur at those, who undertake to act Justice and Equity, even supposing that a Tryal had been unfair; how much more would it be unreasonable, to repine at the Law's being put in Execution, at suffering the natural Effects of Vice and Folly, and at advantaging the Good by diminishing the Wicked.
THIRDLY, We considered, the Effects that these Considerations should have upon their Minds: That this Vanity of all sublunary Things, should make Men wholly, and entirely place their Thoughts upon Heaven, and lay up a Treasure where Moth and Rust corrupts not, and where Thieves do not break thro' and steal; where are Crowns of Glory and Pleasures at the Right Hand of God for evermore.
1. JOHN JAMES, alias Eaton, alias John the Grinder, was Convicted of Robbing Elizabeth Knowles, in Long-Lane, and taking from her a Watch and Chain, and a Snuff-Box, valued together at 5l. 18s. which were after-wards Pawn'd for a Guinea; in Company with Thomas Eades (an Evidence) who kick'd up her Legs, Tho. Picket, who snatch'd the Pocket to give to John James and Henry Avery Accquitted by the Jury.
While he lay under Condemnation, he always declar'd that he perform'd to the utmost of his Abilities, in making his Peace with God; but he exceedingly lamented his being compel'd to leave the World and his Relations, at 18 Years of Age, saying, That he perceiv'd and was then satisfy'd, that too much Liberty was really Bondage; and he wish'd his Father had compell'd him to an Apprenticeship, having then discover'd so much of his natural Temper, as to be convinc'd, that nothing but a severe and curbing Reign, could possibly have prevented the natural Tendency of his Mind towards vicious Courses.
It was difficult to convince him, that the Fact he was condemn'd for, was any more than a very slight and trivial Fault; alledging, that No Body bore their All about them, nor could be much detrimented by so small a Loss, as that of a few odd things they carried in their Pockets; not being without some Malice against some whose Offences he immagin'd much greater than his own, and who yet obtain'd a Reprieve.
Before he died, he said he thought it his Duty to declare, that his Parents very frequently advised him to consider whither he was hurrying, knowing no more of his loose way of Life, than his often Lying out o' Nights, frequenting leud Houses, and associating with vicious Women; he added that he was greatly more grieved for his Parents, who could not come to see him for sorrow, and for his Sisters, than for being forced to leave this World, and his vicious Acquaintance, whom he wish'd he had sooner and voluntarily forsaken.
2. JAMES APPLETON, alias Applebie, alias John Doe, was Convicted of breaking the House of Alice Merchant, on the 19th of Novem. Last, and taking thence two Suits of Headcloths, six Guineas, &c. in Company with Richard Jones (an Evidence) who broke the Shutter, so that Appleton took down the Glass Window and enter'd thereat, having first crept thro' the Entry, and discover'd that no one was in the House, but Alice Merchant, it being one Sunday Night, and the House-Door left open.
This Prisoner was about 29 Years old, Born in London, but his Father dying when he was 8 Years of Age, he 4 Years after, was sent to Sea , where he said he met with an infinite deal of Barbarity and Cruelty, from those who should have been his Masters, but were really his Tyrants or Butchers, being scourged and lashed and salted, &c. which hard'ned his Mind, and made him hate and defy almost all Mankind. So that returning to England, he was no sooner set on Shore, but he cast in his Mind, how most easily to keep himself, on the Expence of others, and by spoiling and preying on all whom he thought he could with security; He added, that he was about Twenty two Years old when he was apprehended at his Trade of House-breaking, committed to Newgate, tryed, and condemned; but receiving fortunately the Benefit of an Act of Grace, he obtain'd a Reprieve and the free Liberty of Transporting himself to any Part of His Majesty's Empire in America; but not having Money to do that, he was obliged to contract for his Passage over, at the Price of being sold, when at the End of his Voyage, for a Four-Years-Servant , as the Custom is: He
said also, that being accordingly sold in Maryland, he suffered no less than before, at a publick House, chiefly from Sickness, the Country he said being Moorish and watery, and inclining to Agues; and also being often in fear of Pyratical Plunderers; the Governours House at Anapolis being many Miles distant, and their Town consisting but of eight Familes, unable to defend themselves. Returning once more to England he said, that having no Trade or Occupation to subsist by, he was preparing to go again to Sea, but in the mean time, lighting into a Publick House, where he met with Minds like his own, that had not much difficult to encline him to their Purposes; so that he spent the Year and a Half since his return from Maryland, mostly in Plundering and Stealing, adding, that he Stole from Thomas Wedhal, Esq; at his Chambers in Gray's Inn some Whigs and Shoes in the Night time, on the first of January last, as was alledged against him. He also said, that he wished it was in his Power to do any good before he went out of the World, as by informing People of their Goods, or the like, but said, he could only earnestly conjure all Men to take warning by him, not to think to live otherways than by Labour and Industry, for he sadly found the Words of David true, That a sinner must not live out half his Days.
He said that he was put Apprentice to a Carpenter , (being proper for Labour, thro' the great strength of his Body, and Robustness of his Constitution) but that he had not the good Fortune to please very well his Master, being often out at Nights upon vicious Pranks, and on Sundays during divine Service with Maid Servants who were left at home, and were glad to receive him.
After this, he said, he went to Sea , his Friends advising him to it, to prevent his coming to an untimely End; that he was in the Ship of Commodore Cavendish by Cales in Spain, where they had an Engagement that lasted many Hours, and he was taken notice of for his Resolution: But this having a wrong effect upon him, by puffing up his Mind with some little Vanity; he grew weary of the Sea, not finding that encouragement he thought his Courage and Activity deserved; meeting sometimes with Checks and Contempt from those, who tho' Superior to him in Station, were yet (as he then thought) not equal to him in Worth.
He added, being landed in England, he found no Method of arriving at an easy and hardsom Fortune but by Robbing on the Highway, which he did in Hamstead Road and other Places; fully intending (as he said) to abandon and forsake that Course, when his Circumstances were become easy; affirming, that he well knew the Effects and certain Consequences of vicious Courses; and would therefore send an earnest Request to his Wife to continue in an honest and regular Course, that she might draw down on her the Blessing of God, and educate the Babe she was with Child of by him, in the Principles of Virtue, but not to let it be ever acquainted with the wretch'd Fate of its Father, lest desparing of being on the same Level with other People, or led by the Example of him the Father, It would throw up its Rudiments of goodness and follow Vice; expressing at the same time, how shocking the Thoughts was to him, Of bringing into the World a Fire-brand for Hell.
He also said, that he detested the Thoughts of Breaking from a Goal, at the Expence of shedding Blood, and adding, Crime to Crime, nor should any solicitations ever draw him to it; but that when he broke out of New-Prison, with Nathaniel Haws and a Woman, they did it by Cunning, having open'd the Door, and so made the best of their Ways over two or three Walls.
He likewise declar'd, That he was most uneasy at two Things, viz. At having lengthened out his Life to encrease his Sins, by being an Evidence against Reading another of his Comrades, who were executed, and at his having endeavour'd also this last time to save his Life, by the Means of one Strickland and Ashworth, whose Evidences he said were false and suborn'd, but not sought by him.
Of all the Persons in this sad Estate, as he had perhaps been the greatest Offender, he was the heartiest Penitent, being never easy (as I was inform'd) in the Condemn'd-Hold, but when he had a Book in his Hand; continually either Reading to, or Praying with his Fellow-Prisoners, Before he dyed, his Behaviour was neither Dejected nor Presumptious, but even and serious; Asserting that he rather coveted to Die than to Live, for he went not then to Heaven, he fear'd he should never arrive at that Blessed Place, tho' he should live fifty Years. He received the Sacrament the Morning before his Execution with much Earnestness and Devotion.
4. THOMAS PICKET, of St. Bartholomew, was convicted of assualting Elizabeth Knowles, in the Streets of London, and Robbing her of a Watch, a Snuff-Box, &c. He said he could give no other Account of himself, that he was a single Man, 18 Years old, born in St. Giles's Parish, never put Apprentice, being the only Son of his Father, who never visited him in the Prison, but gave him Advice to prepare for a Future State, and not flatter himself with vain Expectations of Life, for their was no hopes of any Reprieve, adding, that he had been given to Ill-Actions about two Years, such as Drunkenness and leud Women, which he hoped his Repentance would attone for: The Morning before he died, he wept most severely, which Sorrow he continued to the Time of his Death.
He was about 26 Years of Age; put Apprentice to a Gunlock-maker when 13 Years old, but went from thence to Sea up the Straights, but continuing a while in the Mediterranean, near Messina, their Ship being afterwards ordered Home, and cashier'd, he enter'd himself aboard another Ship, for the Baltick; but that too being paid off, he had no way to subsist, and took to Robbing on Foot, some Creditors threat'ning to arrest him for Debt, so that not being able to settle to Labour, to avoid a Prison he most effectually threw himself into One. But before he died, when he found himself included in the Warrant, he discover'd all the Tokens of a sincere and hearty Repentance.
6. REYNOLDS WINTER, was Condemned for stealing from the Shop of John Siddal, 72 Dozen of Bathmetal Rings, and 4 Dozen of Sword-belt-Locks, valued together 3 l. 9 s. which Goods he took off the Compter in Company with one Yeomans. He was also Convicted of Robbing the Shop of John Waterson of a Chints Gown, and other Goods, (which he sold in Rag-Fair) Thomas Yeoman's standing to Watch on the other Side of the Way, while Winter stole the Goods from off the Dyer's Compter.
This unhappy Man, tho' Young, was so loaded with sad Distempers, that he was thereby much obstructed in his compleating that Work, which he otherwise seem'd enclin'd and disposed to set about, and his Pains and Cries not only molesting himself, but disturbing likewise all those who were near him.
As they went to Execution, they were exceeding Earnest and Penitent, refusing to drink when ask'd to do it; the three eldest in one Cart, reading and praying all the Way, and the three youngest singing Psalms. As Roberts stept out of the Cart he was carry'd in, into that from which he was to dye, some People saying, They pity'd the youngest of those Malefactors; he said, That they had all resign'd this World, and were none of them too young to go to Heaven. William Burridge having been ask'd about a particular Robbery, deny'd it; but said he robb'd a Clergyman beyond Barnet in Hartfordshire, of a Watch, &c. which he sold to a Goldsmith in Leicester. He also said, that he forgot to mention, in the Paper which he gave me at the Sacrament, his earnest Request that no one would be so wicked as to reflect on his Parents for his ignominious Death, notwithstanding what he express'd in that Paper, which he thought then he had writ too severe. The Paper was as follows:
I William Burridge was born in West Haden in Northamptonshire, put Apprentice to my Father a Carpenter ; but my Parents being too tender of me, when 10 or 12 Years old, and giving way to my youthful Follies, I was then Guilty of such Things as might seem to exceed my Years: My Parents then going to curb me, when it was too late, at 14 or 15 Years of Age, I took to running away, and often lay about the Country, in Hay-Lofts, &c. taking Hens and what came in my way for Sustenance. After a time, I came to Finchley and worked at my Trade for a Year and a Half; I went to Sea , and wholly forsook my Parents, whom I have not a long time seen; I heartily thank them for their Indulgence; but I leg all Parents not to indulge their Children, for it will bring a good Mind to Wickedness and a shameful Death. I hope my Misfortunes will be a Warning to all Youth, especially some whom I wish well; I will not name them, but hope, if they see this, they will take it to themselves, I die in Charity, and, as I forgive others, I hope others will forgive Me. William Burridge.
Before he died, he show'd me several Stanza's which he had Written, and seem'd to take a particular Delight in; the following I took of him the Morning of his Death.
O Heavenly Father, God most dear,
vouchsafe a tender Eye,
On Me a wretch, who prostrate here
Beneath thy Footstool lye.
Distill thy tender Oil of Grace,
into a grieved Breast,
And let the Drops of Love efface
My Wickedness confest.
My vexed Soul depressed low,
With careful clogs of Pain,
In humble sort most humbly sues
Thy pity to obtain.
The blessed God I've much displeas'd
By pleasuring my Mind;
Too long I have my God forgot,
Too much to Earth enclin'd.
But now I sigh, alas I sob,
And sadly do lament,
That ever my licencious Life,
So wickedly was spent.
Restore to Life my sinful Soul,
Lest with my Body it die,
So to thy Mercy shall my Tongue
Sing Praise eternally.
This is the Account to be given of the MALEFACTORS, By
T. PURNEY, Ordinary, and Chaplain.
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