THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors, who were Executed on Wednesday the 22d of this Instant December at Tyburn.
AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jayl Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Hon. Sir FRANCIS FORBES, Kt . Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Hon. Judge Fortescue, Mr. Baron Page, John Raby. Esq ; Serjeant at Law , and several of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the City of London and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall, in the Old Baily; on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, and 14th Days of December, in the twelfth Year of his Majesty's Reign, eight Men and two Women were by the Jury found guilty of Capital Offences, and receiv'd Sentence of Death.
Of these ten Persons three Men and one Woman receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve; and the other Woman was by a Jury of Matrons found to be with quick Child, upon which her execution was respited.
While under Sentence, they were instructed in the necessity of true repentance, from the Words of our Saviour, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. From hence I took occasion to show them the lost State and Condition all Men are in by Nature, that being conceiv'd in Sin and brought forth in Iniquity, we coming into the World guilty, and defil'd that from this original curruption, as from an impure Fountain proceed the innumerable actual Sins of Life, and therefore, the Scripture says of Man that every imagination of the thoughts of his Heart is only evil continually: Upon which account a though they had been free from those heinous Crimes, which by the Laws of this Kingdom are made Capital upon just and necessary Reasons, yet they had abundance of other Sins (if not repented of) sufficient to Damn them, for which they had all the reason in the World to repent and mourn before God; more especially considering that Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance unto Life are the principal conditions of the Covenant of Grace. &c. I explain'd to them the original of Right and Property; how very unjust it was, for one Man to defraud another; and how necessary it was for establishing and preserving of good order and Society in the World, to enact Capital Laws, and put 'em in execution against notable Offenders: &c. And because some of them were convicted of Crimes bordering upon Murder, I insisted upon the Barbarity, Impiety and Cruelty, of that horrid Crime, from these Words, Gen. iv. 9. 10. And the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy Brother, and he said, I know not: am I my Brother's Keeper? And he said, what hast thou done? the voice of thy Brothers Blood crieth unto me from the Ground? &c. I Instructed them also in the nature, design and gracious Benefits proceeding from the Sacrament of the Lords Supper from these Words, This do in remembrance of me. St. Luke xxii. 19. &c. While from these and such like considerations, they were instructed; all of them appear'd outwardly very attentive and devout at every occasion, and concurr'd in the Worship with abundance of decency; although at first, when they came to Chappel, they show'd themselves not to have been much accustomed to publick Worship, as not understanding the proper times for kneeling and standing, perhaps this was owing to the confusion they were then seiz'd with: But in a short time they came to make their Responses very regularly, and continu'd, in appearance, to do so in a Christian and becoming manner; yet they did not appear so deeply affected, as People in their Circumstances, upon the very brink of eternity, ought to have been; which is not much to be admir'd in Men of such dissolute Lives, as the generality of common Malefactors are. Bird never appear'd in Chappel but two or three times, being confin'd to the Condemn'd-Hold, by reason of most violent Sickness; but when he was exhorted either publickly or privately, he seem'd (to his capacity) to be attentive and serious.
Upon Thursday, the 16th of December, the Report of the above-mention'd ten Malefactors under Sentence of Death was made to their Excellencies the Lords Justices in
Council, and Thomas Warwick, for Felony, another for Transportation, and a Woman for privately stealing out of a House, and another Woman having been found pregnant, receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious reprieve. If any of the Magistrates on the Bench, or the Jury, or Witnesses, against the said Malefactors, be desirous to know any thing more particularly concerning their Behaviour and confession before Death, or at the time of it, what information, we can give that may be depended upon, is as follows.
John Hamp, aged 25 Years, came of honest and creditable Parents, in the Parish of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, who gave him a good Education, and suitable to one of his Station: When fit for it he was put Apprentice , but not staying out his Time, went to Sea as a common Sailor ; and was up the Straights for five Years together: Being tyred with this way of Life he quitted the Sea about five Years ago, and took to Lathing of Houses , which was the Business he was sometime Apprentice to: He kept constant to this Employment in and about London, till he and his Comrade were apprehended for the Crime for which they Suffer. He confess'd his Life had been most Vile and Dissolute; that he had been notorious for Whoreing, Drunkenness, Gameing, and Swearing; that the good Admonitions of his Parents and Friends were not only always slighted but despis'd and redicul'd by him; that he had lived without ever Worshiping God, either in public or private; and the Lord's-Day he always broke, and spent worse than any other Day of the Week, which he said now reach'd his Conscience in a dreadful manner; in a Word, he own'd he had been guilty of almost every Crime, except such as are Capital, that human Nature is capable of. He confess'd he never was a Thief only in defrauding his Mother and Sister of some small matters, such as a Tea Spoon or two, for which he had ask'd their Pardon, and obtain'd it. He own'd that all the Money he earn'd by his Labour he had squander'd profusely away in Debauchery; but protested, that by a constant and diligent Application to his lawful Employment, he always got sufficient for such Debauchery, without ever associating with Thieves, or receiving so much as one Farthing in a dishonest way. He most solemnly avouch'd his Innocence, as to the Fact for which he died, and deny'd his being concern'd either in robbing, beating, or stripping the poor Woman in the barbarous cruel manner alledg'd, or in any manner whatever: Upon this I press'd him to be ingenuous and candid in his Confession; put him in mind how fully the Facts were prov'd upon him; and beg'd him if he had any value for his immortal Soul, not to venture into Eternity with a Lye in his right Hand: I represented to him in as aweful Terms as I could, what he was to expect at the Bar of the great God, before whom he must shortly appear if he deny'd the Truth, and that there were no hopes of Pardon or Mercy if he acted insincerely or deceitfully; but all that I could get in return, was, that he wou'd never take that upon him which was in itself untrue, as the charge against him was; that he sincerely repented of all the crying Sins of his Life; that he heartily forgave all the World, and particularly the Woman, who was the principal Evidence against him; even in as full and free a manner, as he himself hop'd for Forgiveness from Almighty God.
James Bird (whom I was forc'd to visit in the Hold) was so grievously opprest with Sickness, that he could give little or no account of himself, being scarce able to speak; he own'd that he had been a great Sinner, and an old Offender, having been several times taken up for Theft. He could neither Read nor Write, and was grosly Ignorant of Religion. I instructed him briefly in the first Principles of Christianity, and exhorted him to confess the Sin for which he was to Suffer; which with ample vehemency as he could, he utterly denied, freely forgiving all Mankind who had offended him, profess'd his Faith in Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour of Sinners, and said he sincerely repented of all his Sins. Both Hamp and Bird declar'd that they never were acquainted, nor saw one another, till, by accident, having met together, they were taken up for beating and robbing this poor Woman.
John Austin was found Guilty, for assaulting and knocking down with a short, round, heavy Club, and robbing a Man of his Coat, in Stepney Fields, about the beginning of November last, at seven a-Clock in the Morning.
John Austin, (37 Years of Age) was descended of honest, but poor Parents, near to London, was taught to Read and Write, and instructed in the knowledge of the Christian Religion; he was put to a Gardiner , which Employment he constantly follow'd, and as he and some of his Friends said, with the character of an honest, industrious Man. He was too Self-conceited, and would make no ingenuous Confession. When I urg'd him to confess and glorify God; and told him, He
who confesseth and forsaketh his Sins shall find Mercy, but whosoever doth otherwise shall not; he peremptorily refus'd to comply, and said, Do not insist upon this, for it is what I will not do. He own'd indeed that he knock'd the Man down; but he said he struck him first with an Iron Rod he had in his Hand. He deny'd that he took the Coat, and reflected on some of the Witnesses, alledging that they knew nothing of the matter, but he freely forgave them. When nothing more could be got from him, I exhorted him to prepare for Death, desired him to pray for Faith in Jesus Christ, and a sincere Repentance towards God; he said, that what I press'd upon him was his only business, and he hop'd to do it well. He complain'd of the ignominious Death he was to suffer, otherwise, he said, that he was no ways afraid to die; I told him, that he need not be offended at it, for if he died a true Penitent, and in the Faith of Jesus, he suffer'd in the same manner (although not for the like cause) as our Lord Jesus did for our Sins. He wou'd neither deny nor confess any intentions of robbing the Man in Stepney Fields, or if he intended to follow such a wicked course of Life, as that of Robbery. He would not acknowledge himself guilty of any heinous Sins, but that sometimes he had been guilty of Drinking too much, and not rightly observing the Lord's Day; for (said he) the Gardiners commonly gather and make ready their Herbs and Fruits on Sunday for Sale against Monday. He seem'd to be very obstinate and obdurate, yet he fell out into a flood of Tears on a sudden, which I wish'd might rather proceed from a true sorrow and grief for his Sins, than from the fears and apprehensions of Death. He said, that he was of the Communion of the Church of England, that he died in Peace with all the World, freely forgiving every Man who had offended him, as one condition, upon which he hop'd Forgiveness from Almighty God.
The Evening before they died, I asked Mr. Austin again, if he had knock'd down the Man with an intention of robbing him? After I had represented to him the evil of Dissimulation, and how unprofitable it was, especially for a Man in his Circumstances, and that he could not die with Peace in his own Mind, nor in the Peace of the Church, of which he own'd himself an unworthy Member, unless he freely confess'd his Sin, and gave glory to God; he then ingenuously confess'd that he went to the Fields with intention of Robbing, that he took the Club out of his own House, it having been one of the Instruments used by his Wife, in her Business, who is a Silk-Throwster. He said that he was in a very good way of living, having been married with a dutiful, industrious Woman; but that for sometime past he had been discontented, and in some manner distracted in Mind. I exhorted him to compose himself, and think seriously upon another World, &c. He said, his Sins had not been so great as those of many others; he beg'd Pardon of all the World for the offence he had given, and hop'd to be sav'd thro' the Merits of Jesus Christ. He seem'd much concern'd for the disgrace his ignominious Death should prove to his nearest Relations, who were People of an honest Character and Respect; otherwise he hop'd, that (by the Grace of God) he should die better prepar'd, than if his Death had been natural. He appear'd to be concern'd, broken hearted, and truly penitent for all the heinous Sins of his Life, especially the outragious Crime for which he Suffer'd. He alledg'd, that his beating and robbing the Man was his first and last attempt of that nature; and declar'd that he died in Peace with all Mankind.
John Foster (37 Years of Age) was born near to London, of honest Parents, who gave him Education suitable to his Station, and put him to Sea , which was the Employment he chose to follow. He behav'd himself always very decently at Worship in Chappel; appear'd to be devout and penitent. When I call'd upon him to confer a little in private, he wept and shed Tears very bitterly; I desir'd him to settle his Mind, and compose himself, and to rely upon the Mercy of God in Jesus Christ; he acknowledg'd the Mercy of God to be Infinite, but was afraid that his Sins were so great, that he should never obtain Mercy and Pardon, adding, that he knew no Sin but what he had committed (except Murder.) I ask'd him, if he had been guilty of unnatural Sins? He answer'd, No. I instanc'd to him in Manasseh the wicked King of Judah; in the Apostle Paul, who had been a Blasphemer and a Persecuter; yea in those who had crucify'd the Lord of Life and Glory; all which, although they, with thousands of others, had been most notorious Offenders, yet upon their sincere repentance they obtain'd Mercy; and if he (as they did) would earnestly implore the divine Grace and Mercy, he might be assur'd of being accepted, since Mercy is God's darling Attribute, he having declar'd himself to be a God merciful and gracious, &c. with these and such like Considerations he seem'd to be satisfy'd. He confess'd that he was one of those
who were concern'd in the robbing of Captain Tolson's House; but complain'd, that after he had discover'd some of his Accomplices, upon promise of having his Life sav'd, and being admitted as an Evidence against the rest; notwithstanding which, they had prosecuted him and taken away his Life: For this he blam'd a certain Gentleman, who a few Days before his Tryal had promis'd him safety upon his appearing as Evidence; but otherwise he acknowledg'd the justice of his Sentence, and that although his Punishment had been much more severe, it was a most just Judgment upon him for his Sins, since he had liv'd the most irregular and dissolute Life of any Man in the World. He had more Knowledge than his fellow Criminals, and employ'd himself very much in Reading and Praying to the rest in the Condemn Hold. He was troubled at leaving the Plantations, whither he had voluntarily transported himself, with his Wife, who had been convicted of a Felony, since in these Countries he might have got good business. He submitted to the Will of God in his Misfortunes, appear'd penitent for all his Sins; declar'd, that he died in the Communion of the Church of England, of which he was an unworthy Member, that he entertain'd no grudge in his Heart against any Man, freely forgiving all them who had offended him, and dying in Peace with all the World.
Richard Scurrier being 18 Years of Age, was born at Kingston upon Thames, had Christian Education, and for some time follow'd the Trade of a Blacksmith , which was his Father's Business; but being of a vicious disposition, weary of a Set and constant Employment, and not complying with the Advice of his Father, he left Kingston and came to London, where for a long time he drove a Hackney Coach; which was the first occasion of all the misfortunes which befell him; for (said he) many of the Hackney-Coachmen are the worst Men upon Earth, and from them it was, that he first learn'd all manner of wickedness and debauchery afterwards betaking himself to a loose way of living, he wholly apply'd himself to picking and stealing, till at length he was committed and convicted of a petty Felony; and before any Corporal punishment was inflicted, he (with several others, some little time ago) made his Escape out of Newgate: Being at freedom, he apply'd himself to his former wicked trade of Life. He confess'd himself to have made advancements in wickedness inferiour to few Men of his Years; namely, in Whoring drinking, swearing, stealing, &c. He wept bitterly and lamented over his misspent Time, especially that Providenee had cut him off in his Youth, before he had arriv'd at the Years of a Man, and that because of his extraordinary impieties, having cast off all fear of God or regard to Man. I comforted him with reflections upon the infinite love of God, how he takes compassion upon the miserable and those that are out of the Way; &c. Upon which he seem'd more compos'd and better satisfy'd. He confess'd the Justice of his Sentence; and declar'd that he dy'd in the Communion of the Church of England, of which he was an unworthy Member; that he forgave all injuries which had been done to him any manner of way, as he expected forgiveness at the Hands of a good and gracious God; that he believ'd he should be saved only through the merits of Jesus Christ, and that he was in peace with all Mankind.
The Evening before the Execution, I ask'd John Hamp again, if he was concern'd in beating unmercifully and robbing the Woman? He answer'd, that upon the words of a dying Man who was to answer in a few hours to his great Judge, he knew nothing of it; that he never committed any Robberies; but he acknowledg'd, that he had been a lewd liver, in spending the Money he gain'd foolishly and wickedly: He added, that the occasion of his meeting with Bird that Night (upon which they were apprehended) was, The Woman, who past for Bird's Wife, or rather Whore, encountering him accidentally, she invited him to her Mother's House; he went along with her, and being very Drunk when he came into the House, he immediately fell into a deep Sleep, out of which he did not awake, till they came and carried Bird and him away for being in a disorderly House, and that afterwards the Witnesses fix'd the Robbery and cruel treatment of the Woman upon them: Before this time, he said, that he never saw Bird. The same Evening, I went to the Hold to see Bird, who was in a most miserable and sick Condition; I pray'd for him, and exhorted him to repent of his Sins, and make an ingenuous Confession. He persisted also in denying the Fact of which he was Convicted, or that he knew any thing of them who were thrown into Tower-Ditch or of a Robbery committed in Burr street. When I told him of his wicked Life, and was exhorting him accordingly, he spoke like to one Craz'd, and in a high Fever; so that did not think him fit for any farther Conference.
At the place of Execution.] All the Prisoners adher'd to their former Confessions, and said that they had n thing more to add. Ham and Bird to their last Moment deny'd their knowing any thing about the unmerciful beating and robbing the poor Woman near Rag. Fair. The rest of 'em acknowledg'd the Facts for which they Suffer'd. Mr. Austin declar'd again he never was concern'd in any Robbery but this which he now Suffer'd for. Bird appear'd to be either Discontented, or Craz'd. All of them seem'd to be very Devout and Serious, breathing out their last in Praises and Prayers to Almighty God for the Pardon of all their Sins through the Merits of Jesus Christ.
This is the real Account given by me