AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on the 10th and 11th of July last, before the Right Honourable Sir GERRARD CONYERS, Knight, Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Lord Chief Baron Montague, Mr. Justice Dormer, Mr. Fortescue Aland; John Raby, Esq; Deputy-Recorder, and several of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the City of London and County of Middlesex; The two Persons abovemention'd, only, receiv'd Sentence of Death.
From the time that Sentence of Condemnation, pass'd upon these Criminals, these unfortunate wretches! due attendance was given in the Chapel Morning and Afternoon, and Instructions administred both in a publick and private Manner, in order to move Them to a speedy Repentance. But such was the Misfortune of Buttler, that (being brought up in the Principles of the Romish Religion) he Obstinately refus'd any Admonitions from Persons of our Holy Order, he had a Priest of his own perswaion, to Attend him, and another Unfortunate Person, of the same Principle (order'd for Execution on Wednesday Se'nnight) at at whose Instigation, I was inform'd; they durst not appear, because he threatn'd, that in Case they did, he would deny them Absolution.
On the Day immediately preceeding Their Execution, (which was the Lord's Day) I preach'd to Them on this Noble and Excellent Subject, viz.
St. JAMES 5. 9. Behold the Judge standeth before the Door!
Which Words I observ'd to them afforded many Excellent and useful Observations, both Sepculative and Prastical; but before I proceeded to these, I thought it necessary to clear the Way, and to make every Thing obvious and indubitable; by Demonstrating;
I. Who this Judge is.
II. Who those are, that are to be Judg'd by him.
III. What it is, they are to be Judg'd for.
I shew'd First, That the Judge here mention'd was no less a Person than Jesus Christ the Son of God himself, who hath told us, that the Father Judgeth no Man, but hath committed all Judgment unto the Son.
Secondly, I proceeded to shew, who those are, that shall be Judged by him: And made it apparent, that in this important Case, there should be no distinction of Persons or Party, Sect or Faction, Nation, or Climate, but that All must Appear, Jew and Greek, Christian and Heathen, Heretic and Orthodox, High and Low, Rich and Poor, Young and Old, as St. John foretels; as well the Chief Captains, as the Kings of the Earth, as well every Bond-man, as every Free-man; For every one of Us, (says St. Paul Rom. xiv, 12.) Shall give an Account of himself to God. The Armies of Princes shall not defend them from Justice, nor the Tatters of the Beggar exclude him the Court; The Treasures of the Indies will not Buy off our Appearance, nor the Coarsest Cottage shroud us from God's Notice: The array of Dives will not dazzle his Eye, nor the Sores of Lazarus make him turn away his Face; But we must All meet together upon equal Terms, (and Read in Characters of the largest Size; THAT THE LORD IS MAKER OF US ALL.) We must All attend the same BAR, and there ALL receive our last Sentence, the just Rewards of our Deeds upon Earth. And this naturally came under the third particular, to shew, What it is we are to be judged for.
We must all appear before the Judgment-Seat of Christ, that every one may receive the Things done in his Body, according to what he hath done, whether Good or Bad. - That is the Great and Terrible Day, the day of Accounts; then is the time, we shall come to a Reckoning, for all our Scores. On this side the Grave, the Distributions of Providence are to us unaccountable; and as it is in the Story of Dives and Lazarus, we see, that Good Men are frequently Afflicted and Despised, whilst the Wicked live in Ease, Luxury, and Prosperity. But this is a time when all Accounts are ballanced, and a sufficient Allowance is made to one as well as the other. Now he is comforted, and thou art tormented; (says Abraham to the Rich Man): Then Vertue and Religion will lift up their Heads with Honour and Applause, whilst the Profane and Vicious shall hide their Faces with Shame and Confusion.
They shall then perceive, that as the Tears of the Righteous are laid up in his Bottle, so the Crimes of the Wicked are noted in his Book; They shall then hear of all their Impieties at once; the black Catalogue of all their Sins will then be display'd; their most private Intrigues; their most deep laid Plots will all be laid open, for the Son of Righteousness.
Then shall we be Naked and Expos'd, stripp'd of our Disguises; depriv'd of our Excuses, and in spight of all Hypocrisy and Dissimulation, God will bring every Work into Judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be Good, or whether it be Evil.
Having thus clear'd the Way to a plain Understanding of my Text, I came to make some Observations, both Speculative and Practical; the First to inform our Understanding; and the Second to direct our Actions: And having gone through these I drew an Application suitable to the Circumstances of the Miserable Objects, the dying Malefactors.
An Account of them while under Sentence.
WILLIAM DUCE, being a Protestant, and in the Communion of the Church of England, (with whom I have had Publick and private Conferences, as to his manner of Life, and notorious Facts, he had been lately engag'd in with others) was born in the Parish of Woolverhampton, and in the 25th Year of his Age: He had but a small share of Education in the Principles of his Religion, but now extremely desirous of Instructions for the Salvation of his Soul; expressing an utter abhorrence and detetestation of the Crimes he had committed, which now were the Occasion of his terminating and leaving the World in the most ignominious and scandalous Manner. It was his Misfortune (he said) to be committed to the Prison of Newgate for a Debt, by one-Allum, which he was not in a Condition to pay; and lay in that lamentable Place for about fifteen Months and eleven Days, and was at last releas'd; tho' reduced to the utmost Extremity, yet there it was that he contracted a vicious Conversation, and was no sooner at Liberty, than with his Associates, seeking for a Prey. The Robberies he committed (with others) he very frankly declared, upon my extraordinary Sollicitations and Demonstrations, the necessity of such his Confession; and what I shall relate I never committed to my Memory, but penn'd down from his own Mouth, together with the days of the Month (as far as he could remember) and in the Order I shall now present the Readers with, viz.
The Fifth was upon Mr. Holmes at Chelsea, (for which he and Butler Die) from whom they had a Guinea and two-pence; but Dyer kept all the Money, cheated them of it, as he term'd it, and afterwards took away their Lives.
Sixthly, He with two others, Robb'd in the Road to Chelsea, Three Persons in Company, but he neither knew any of them, nor remembered the Sum.
Seventhly, In the same Road, April 29. He with Dyer, Robbed a Coach with two Men and a Woman in it, and he (with some Warmth and Indignation) said, that his Fellow Robber abus'd one Man extremely, and took from the Woman her Head-clothes.
The Eighth, and last, He, as a dying Man declar'd, was in Hampstead Road, with Butler and Dyer, upon a Coachman: He also said, that neither Butler nor he did consent to rob the Man; yet notwithstanding Dyer demanded and receiv'd half a Crown from him, and told him he
would make him amends another time; but neither the Prisoner nor Butler had one Farthing of the Money.
P. S. The Reason Duce desir'd to have Names, &c. as I observed before, concealed, was; that those Persons never had been engag'd with him in any Robbery or evil Action; that he verily believed, by their leaving off that Practice for some time, and according to what they had long ago declar'd, that they would never return to such a miserable way of Living; and also with a great degree of Concern, reply'd, that should he make them Publick, in all probability, it would tend to the Ruin of them, and their Innocent Families.
He also desir'd Forgiveness of the World, and that his Mother might not be reflected upon. He further added, that when Joseph Rice was Kill'd, his Wife was a stranger to their Design upon the Lady Chudleigh, and that Dyer was the only contriver of that Attempt.
Thinking it dangerous for 'em to stay longer in those Parts, they agreed to cross the Countries into Hampshire, where they committed several barbarous Robberies; Murther being grown so habitual to them, that the Life of a Man was no more than that of a Dog, or any other Animal; but this Malefactor, added, That he should not have been so Cruel towards his Fellow Creatures, but was excited frequently by Wade and Darker, and Mead, his Accomplices, who never thought themselves secure, if the Life of the injured Person remain'd.
After they had long robb'd in different Parts of Hampshire, they took to the Portsmouth Road, where their last barbarous Action is well known. They there Assaulted one Mr. Bunch, near a Wood, into which they dragg'd him, and stripp'd him Naked, but not contented with all he had, this Malefactor we are now mentioning, shot at his Head, and the Bullet passing through his Jaw, lodg'd in his Mouth; they were then leaving him, but the wounded Man turning his Face downwards, that the Bullet might fall out of his Mouth, they perceived he was yet a live; Butler upon that turn'd back and was charging his Pistol again; and though the wounded Man begg'd on his Knees for his Life and their Mercy, it was not granted him; whereupon he resumed his Strength, ran from 'em, and escaped. The next Vilage being raised, and soon after the whole Country, they were apprehended, put into Winchester Jayl, and Mead, Wade, and Darking, were found Guilty. But James Butler was removed to Newgate for another Offence, and Convicted at the Old-Baily.
I Was Born in the Parish of St. Ann Soho; was put Apprentice to a Silver-Smith , whom I left in Six Months: I wnet to Sea , and was Bound, (being a Boy) to Capt Andrew Douglas, Commander of the Arundel Man of War. Afterwards I went to my Father in France; soon left him, and went a Voyage to Boston in New-England; but
ran away from Capt. Stew. Powell our Commander, and went to New York; from whence I sailed out in the Station of a Foremast-man, on Board the George Sloop, Capt. Abline Commander. I ran away from the said Sloop, and went to Martinico, and sailed there in the Station of a Linguist for the French Tongue, in a Trading Vessel. Soon after going in another Sloop to Cruize, I had a Quarrel with the Captain, and went to Jamaica, and lived there a Year in Quality of a Clerk, but was then press'd on Board his Majesty's Ship Mary, Capt. Vernon Commander; belong'd to it fifteen Months, and was Paid off at Portsmouth,Aug. 26, 1721.
Being soon after put into Newgate, when I got out, I got acquainted with John Dyer, William Duce, and Joseph Rice; with whom, on the 27th of April, 1723, I robb'd in the Fields near Chelsea: Then we robbed two Men in the King's Road, between that Place and Buckingham-House; then my Lady Chudleigh's Coach at the same Place; in which Action Joseph Rice was Shot. We then rob'd a Coach in Tottenham Court Road, wherein were two Men, a Woman, and a Child, taking from them Ten Shillings; but John Dyer broke the Woman's Head with his Pistol for her Tongue, and carried away her Head-Cloaths. We then rob'd a Man in a Coach on Hampstead Road and took from him Ten Shillings and Six-pence.
After this, I went to a Place called Wansworth, and worked with one Cladins, a poor honest Man, till my Wife was taken up in order to make her discover where I was, and hereupon sent to Clerkenwell Bridewell; and I was forced to leave my Place, and return to Robbing. Edward Wade, John Meads, Alexander Garnes, Christopher Spigget, and my self, attacked four Gentlemen on Gravesend Road, and John Meads shot their Servant in the Breast. The same Night we robed a Man, and the said John Meads shot him too in the Breast; and ordering to go to Gravesend; after mounted on his Horse, he turn'd his Horse the other way from whence he came, and shot the Man a second time in the Face, the Bullet lodging in his Neck; so that I hear he is Dead.
We then went to Chiswick, and staid one Night with J. Meads Friends, and then went to get some Support, I having some Money due to me from one Mr. Smith; But not having wherewith (through our extravagant living) to reach to him) we about Farnham attack'd the Man whom I shot very foolishly through the Check, but who is since recovered.
For these Cruelties, I beg of all Men not to reflect upon any of my Relations, who are not guilty with me; in particular my Wife, who after I was married to her, hearing I had before been guilty of certain Facts, begged daily of me to lead a sober Life; and also Mrs. Raddission I return my last Thanks to, who trusted me many Pounds, and never would make any Demands, lest they should drive me to any Inconveniencies. I desire that Mercy of God which I refused to Man. I make Attonement with my Blood. I die a Roman-Catholick. Signed by me in the Presence of Witnesses,
N. B. William Duce left a LETTER with the Printer of the Dying Speeches, Directed to the Evidence Dyer, wherein he forgave him as he hop'd for Forgiveness; Exhorted him earnestly to Repentance, and made Use of the best Perswasions he was Master of, to Reflect upon what was past, and to bid a final Adieu to such Impious proceedings as they had been Notoriously engag'd in. And
To the same Effect almost he left another Letter directed to One Mr R. W. whose Name he desired might be Conceal'd, being as he said) fully Convinced he would not be guilty any more of such Enormous Practices, and that now his Shameful Death would Effectually work a Compleat Conviction and Reformation in him.
This is all the Account that can be given by me
T. PURNEY, Ordinary, and Chaplain.