THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and last dying Words of James White, Richard Whiting and James Mackey, otherwise Magie, who were Executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday, the 6th of November, 1723.
ON Wednesday the 16th of October last, began the Commission of Peace, and Oyer and Terminer &c, at Justice Hall in the Old-Baily; before the Right Honourable Sir Gerrard Conyers, Knight , Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Prat, Mr. Justice Tracy, Mr. Baron Price, Sir William Thompson, Knight , Recorder; besides several of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace.
At this Commission of the Peace, four Men were found Guilty of Capital Offences, and received Sentence of Death accordingly, viz. James White, Richard Whiting and James Mackey, otherwise James Magie, Being very illiterate, I had orcasion to visit them the more frequently; at which times, they said their not applying more seriously to the Performance of their Duty, and the Understanding their Religion, was occasion'd by those Incumbrances and Impediments which they met with in that miserable Place where they were confin'd. After some time those Obstacles being in some Measure removed, the three Men who could read, assured me that they spent their whole time, as well Night as Day, in reading to James White, who could neither Read or Write, allowing very little time to themselves for Sleep. But one of them complain'd every Day of White's bad Behaviour, desiring he might be hinder'd from Laughing and foolishly Talking, and from Vices of a very gross Nature, which Whiting and Makey affirm'd him to be guilty of, in the Place of his Confinement, with the Women that were put in to them; threatening the Women, and terrifying them, till they were willing to comply with his wicked Commands and Resolutions.
Being ask'd how he cou'd let such Viciousness enter into his Mind, especially at a time when such miserable Calamities and Disasters lay heavy upon him? He denied not but that he had once or twice perform'd such Actions, but said, he repented and would not so Act any more in the Condemn'd-Hole; which was all he would at any time say about the Matter. But tho' all the Three who were adjudg'd most Guilty, appear'd to all that saw them, to remarkably stupid and unconcern'd, yet after the Warrant for Execution was carry'd to the Prison, their Deportment was very much altered, at least that of Mackey and Whiting, who express'd themselves how much they were greiv'd, that nothing could infuse into White any Appearance of a Concern or Regard. But at last he was so good to himself as to be persuaded to learn the Lord's Prayer and the Apostle's Creed, which he promis'd he would repeat all the way as he went to his Execution.
The Sunday preceeding their Deaths, in the former part of the Day, I preach'd to them from the Words,
Woe unto Us that we have Sinned! LAMENT. 5. 16.
FIRST, Considering from the Words, the woe in General, and the Unhappiness that all Men must expect in this Life, being born so to trouble as the Sparks fly upwards. While Courts Envy and Ambition, Cities have Faction, Villages have Calumny, and even an Established Church its Sects and Divisions, Men must acquiese in that Misery which Adam entail'd upon his Posterity, by taking Satnan's Word before that of God.
SECONDLY, We took notice what a particular Woe and Unhappiness must attend Sinners in this Life. Robbers being never safe nor quiet; but as all Men must naturally look upon such as Persons designing to spoil and prey upon 'em, so they must as naturally look upon all honest Men as their inveterate Enemies, whose business it is to detect them, and bring them to that Justice they are conscious to themselves they deserve. Especially, unhappy must they be, as they well know God and Heaven will be their Enemy, and that Death will prove the Beginning of new Woes to them, and yet expect every Hour to be Discover'd, and hurried to a shameful End: Especially, unhappy are such Men, as they dare not let Thoughts or Reflection take place in their Minds, but carefully stifle them, at the expence of their own Health, by continu'd Drunkenness and Debaucheries: Unhappy, as God does not give a Blessing to their Refreshments and Enjoyments.
THIRDLY, We endeavour'd to show them; how they were to prevent eternal Woe and Misery its faling upon them, altho' a temporal Woe had overtaken them, and loaded with Chains of Affliction, and plunged 'em into a Place of Darkness.
In the After part of the Day, I preach'd to them from the Words of David, Psal. 39. 13.
Oh Spare me! that I may recover Strength, before I go hence and be no more seen.
At which time, among other things, I advis'd them (since the Clemency and Indulgence of their Superiors had spar'd them a little, that they might recover Strength and grow more powerful in Knowledge and Goodness, by shaking off the Load of their Sins before they died,) to God for the Assistance of the Holy Ghost, to enable them to make a proper Use of the Space and Opportunity afforded them, which Opportunity they will so much covet hereafter, if they should die Enemies to their Creator here: Or if they should (as many Malefactors had done before 'em) forgot all Thoughts of suffering, because they suffer'd not so soon as they expected, and because their Acquaintance flatter'd 'em with vain expectations of a Pardon, or Reprieve.
An Account of these Malefactors under Sentence of Death.
This Prisoner was born of honest but poor Parents in London, who might (as he believed) have gotten him into a Charity-School, had they endeavour'd it, and by that means have given him that Learning which their Poverty prevented their affording him themselves. He work'd he said, when a Lad, for several Persons, as they would employ him, but carry'd Goods from the Thames in Carts , &c. when he was first apprehended for stealing near 30 Pounds of Tobacco, the property of Mr. Perrey a Virginia Merchant. For that Offence being committed to Newgate, and try'd and convicted at the Old-Bailey, Feb. 15. 1721-2, and soon after Transported.
While he lay in Prison, he met with enough to have turn'd his Heart from the Vanities of this World, and to have put a little Reflection into him; above four Weeks, he said, he liv'd only on a Portion of Bread and Water; and tho' he had a Blanket to ly upon, it was for a time taken from him, by one, who besides that beat him till he made him Lame, and often used him very cruelly only for Sport.
But when he was enter'd in the Transport Vessel, their Allowance was, he said, a Pint and a half of fresh Water, and a quantity of Salt Meat, each Day; and the chief Misery he then sustained, proceeded from the Close Hole in which they were lock'd under Deck, for security; it being necessary to tye them two and two together, to prevent those Attempts which Transport Fellons have frequently made. When the Ship arriv'd in America, the Supercargo (as this Prisoner affirm'd) having been Sick, and owing his Physician a Sum of Money, went off, and left about six Felons to themselves. He being one of them, travel'd several hundred Miles about the Country, living upon whatever he could get, as sometimes Hens, Chickens, Pigs, &c. sometimes on Basses, Hollibuts, Clams, &c. which he found by the Rivers and the Sea Shores. He said, he was above six Months in this manner independant; till he met with some Indians, who liv'd he believ'd always in Woods, and they reliev'd him. Soon after he assisted some English Servants in their Work, and telling them how he was Transported, and
knew not which way to turn himself, they frequently brought him Victuals, without acquainting their Mistress at home with it. But he was soon after, hired by a Planter , and tho' he labour'd very hard, 'twas a comfortable Life, for he had Food sufficient, and all Necessaries; till his Employment being to carry fresh Water over the Rocks, for the use of Ships, that were bound for England, the sharp Stones so cut his Legs; That the Salt Water and the Gravel prejudicing the Wounds. He lost the use of his Feet; and tho' the Planters Wife heal'd one Legs for a time, it grew again so bad that he was unable to Work, and his Master was therefore unwilling longer to maintain him.
After this, he said, he suffer'd again a World of Misery. Till lighting upon a Master of a Vessel, who was willing, for the little Work he could do, to bring him to England, he gladly enter'd the Vessel, and went to his Friends in Cripplegate Parish, London. He then, he said sold Fruit publickly about the Streets, till he was apprehended for Returning Home, and again committed to Newgate. When Sentence was pronunc'd upon him, at the Sessions in the Old-Bailey, he could plead nothing in his own behalf, but that he was a young Man, affirming that he would certainly continue in America if the Court would extend any Mercy toward him.
As for the time that he lay under Condemnation, I have already given some Account of his Behaviour at the first; I shall omit some other particulars, which can be imputed only to his want of Knowledge of his Duty. 'Tis more satisfaction to me to remember, that before he died, his Mind was in a great Measure chang'd, and he began to consider how Great and Momentuous a thing it was to Die, and to enter into the Presence of God; desiring that a Person, who is himself under Confinement, might be in the same Place of Confinement with him, to Read and Pray with him, at those Hours when he was not at the Prayers in the Chapel.
2. RICHARD WHITING, was Convicted for robbing his Master C. Sanderson, Esq; of silver Candlesticks, a silver Tea-pot, Cups, &c. to the value of upwards of one Hundred Pounds, besides other Goods, the Property of Mr. Saunderson, Junior, on the 21st of Austust last, by feloniously entering his Dwelling House in Lincolon's-Inn Fields.
This Prisoner was brought up with his Parents in Somersetshire, (the Place of his Birth) till he was above 20 Years old; his Father who is a Farmer, having a sufficiency of Business for him even at the Time that he left him: But he said, he did not commit any Ill Action that occasion'd his leaving his Friends and Acquaintance, but having been always the Favourite and Darling of his Mother, upon her Decease he could not endure his Home any longer, fancying that his Father had more Affection for his Sister than for him; but now he said, he greatly wished that he had not ventur'd into the wide World, but had liv'd and died where he was born. The first Place he went to, he said, was the Bath, where he assisted a Gardiner , and liv'd much to his Satisfaction: But having once left home, he had a Mind continually roving and unsettled; so that going 30 Miles towards London, to repair a Garden for a Clergyman there, he acquainted
the Gardiner with his great Inclination to go to London, to try his Fortune, and the Gardiner thereupon recommended him, so that he was hired immediately by a Councellour, and coutinu'd his Servant , till larger Wages induced him to remove to Mr. Saunderson's; where he acknowledg'd he lived perfectly happy and serv'd the best of Masters. Being ask'd then how he came so barely to reward him, as to betray and lay him open to Plunderers, and to form so vile a Conspiracy against one who had taken him under his Roof and entrusted him with his House? He showed a very great Concern, and said his Ruin was owing to bad Company, for having gotten Acquaintance with two Irishmen, who were with him in the Fact, they persuaded him to so wicked and ungrateful a part; he added, that he was two Nights without any sleep, considering whither he should prove faithless and treacherous to his Master and Benefactor or not. But he did not deny but that afterwards he mention'd to them a Voyage to New-England or Maryland, for he had entertain'd a Thought of going beyond the Seas for a good while, and this being started to him, gave him an Opportunity, he thought, of going in such a Manner as to be a Gentleman there, having been told, That some Hundreds of Acres of Land might be purchased for one Hundred of Pounds. So that, he said, he insensibly fell into the Contrivance, out of a Desire to live easie and free from all manner of Business.
Being asked by a Gentleman, why he did not (when he was apprehended on Suspicion) rather betray his Comrades than his Master? He answer'd, That seeing, in New-Prison, the Misery of Confinement, he trembled to think that if he confess'd, he must be dispatch'd to Newgate, and suffer Death, because he believ'd it would be impossible for him to discover his Accomplices, so that they might be apprehended, not knowing whither they were fled.
He said farther, that he was oblig'd to a Person in Holbourn, with whom he liv'd a while, for Bailing him out of New-Prison; But yet, he had not receiv'd any Encouragement, or Countenance, he believ'd he should have Confess'd, to his Master, the wrong he had done him.
During the time that he lay under Condemnation, he behav'd himself with a great deal of seriousness, and with much Devotion at the Publick Prayers; endeavouring to understand the Nature of the Sacrament, and to prepare himself for the Reception of it. The nearer he approach'd to his End, the less value he had for this World; and the more certain he was to suffer, the more easie he grew at the Thoughts of Death.
This Malefactor was brought, when young from Waterford in Ireland, where he was born. In England he work'd with his Relations, as a Butcher for many Years (being at the time of his Committing this Fact about 36 Years of Age) and was always esteemed a faithful and industrious Person; till growing weary of Labour, he immagin'd he deserv'd something better in Life; but being unsettled, and not knowing which way to turn, he enter'd himself in the Foot Guards : Ha
ving an Allowance for it, he lodg'd himself, and became acquainted with Richard Wilkinson (who was Evidence against him) they being as he said, born in the same Town in Ireland; but so great was their Friendship, and seemingly sincere, That he little thought one would have occasion'd the others Death.
He at first appear'd strangely uneasie, that he, who was not (as he said) in the Fact, but was in the middle of Lincoln's-Inn Fields during the Commission of it, must suffer Death, &c. He defy'd the World to lay any Injustice to his Charge, and said Vengeance would light on the Authors of his Misfortunes. But he did not long continue in such Notions and Sentiments. He after a while set himself very earestly to the Performance of his Duty; but constantly complained of the Ill Behaviour of James White, as a Nusance and Disturbance to them; tho' he said he continually offer'd to Read by him, and tender'd him such Instructions as he was capable of giving him. He said that when a Soldier and otherwise, he had seen the various Workings of Providence, and the Hand of the Creator, but yet was at last so blind to them, as to fall to a base and ignominious Death; a Death which Dogs endur'd; but yet he; added, he did not doubt, but he should be enabled from above, to bear the hock as became a Man and a Christian; for he perceiv'd those Terrors, which he always believed to be the Forerunners of Death, to make no great Impression upon him; but as all Men receiv'd Life upon Condition of resigning it again, he was willing and ready to do so, since Fate and his Lot in Life seem'd to demand it, and to call upon him for it.
THE Morning of their Execution, James Mackey declared himself a Roman Catholick ; and James White appearing to be Unqualify'd for the Reception of the Holy Sacrament, it was receiv'd by Richard Whiteing alone, who with many Tears and much Fervency and Devotion, applyed himself to his Duty. All being carried in one Cart to the Place of Execution, They only desired the Prayers of every Body, and recommended their Souls to God; Then resigned their Breath, Mackey and White immediately, but Richard Whiting seem'd to be longer in Dying, lifting up his Hands to Heaven as long as any Power of Motion remain'd.
This is all the Account that can be given by me
T. PURNEY, Ordinary, and Chaplain.