THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors, who were Executed on Monday the 14th of this Instant March at Tyburn.
At the King's Commission of Cyer and Terminer, and Jayl Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable Sir FRANCIS FORBES, Kt. Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Honourable Justice Denton, Mr. Baron Hale, Sir William Thompson, Knt. Recorder , 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, and Monday, the 2d, 3d, 4th5th and 7th of March, 1726, in the twelfth Year of his Majesty's Reign, Seven Men were by the Jury found guilty of Capital Offences, and receiv’d Sentence of Death.
While under Sentence they were instructed in the first Principles of the Christian Religion; how that Man being made after the Divine Image, in Knowledge, Righteousness, and Holiness, had fallen from his primitive Estate of Perfection by his Apostacy fr God; upon which account he had rendered himself obnoxious to the Penalty denounced against the transgression of God's Laws, and that both in this Life and that which is to come: From this I took occasion to shew them that Man being altogether incapabl of recovering himself, or retrieving the Divine Favour. which he had justly forfeited, then it was that Gd, out of pure Love and Companssion to the Miserable, was pleas'd to remember us in our low Condition, and to give his only Beloved Son for the World, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish but have eternal Life, John iii. 16. And since God had loved us in so wonderful manner, how ought our Hearts to be inflamed with Love to this God who had loved us so undeservedly, and who, if he had not taken pity pon us, might most justly have thrown us into that bottomless Pit of Perdition, there to be reserv'd with the evil and his Angels, i Chains of Darkness, against the Judgment of the great Day, from whence the is not the least hope or possibility of Redemption &c. I exhorted them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that they might be saved; to endeavour to attain that Faith which worketh by Love, bringing, forth manifold Fruits unto new Obedience, Holiness, Virtue, &c. I Shew'd them the necessity of repenting of all their Sins, from Acts iii. 19. Repent ye therefore and be converted, &c. and except we repent we shall all likewise perish. From these Texts of Scripture I endeavour'd to move, them to a hearty and sincere Repentance, as for Sin in general, so particularly for those heinous Sins Whereof they stood convicted, and the vicious Course of Life which they had followed, and whereof their own Consciences could not but accuse them, &c. I demonstrated to them from many undeniable Reasons, that virtuous, and holy Life infinitely excels the most delicate Pleasures of Sin, which are but imaginary, and of a momentary duration, &c. since Wisdom's Ways are Pleasantness; and all her Paths are Peace, &c. I instructed them in the Nature and Designs of the Christian Sacrements, both Baptism and the Lord's Supper, which are two Seals of the Gospel Covenant, and that they having in so many Particulars broken their Baptismal Vows, being now to leave the stage of this World, ought to renew themselves by Repentance, for obtaining which disposition of Soul one special means was to approach Christ in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper by a worthy partaking of which sacred Symbols, as the affections should be wean’d from this World, so should. they be settled upon things in Heaven, and they themselves fitted and prepared for the enjoyment of everlasting Rest, &c.
While these and many other Instructions were given them, scarce any thing of that Seriousness and Devotion, which is more especially requistite in Men in their Circumstances, upon the very brink of Eternity, appear'd, which needs not be thought strange, considering the Dissoluteness of their former Lives, having accustom'd themselves to nothing but Sensuality, so that all of them were grosly ignorant of God and Religion; neither could any of them Read or Write, excepting Hill, who was repriev'd, and they had so little frequent
ed the public Worship, that none of them could make any Responses excepting the said Hill, and Mr. Jones who always appear’d outwardly to be very devout and attentive both to the Prayers and Exortations. Some of em, perticularly Barton, were so little concern’d that after the Dead-Warrant was intimated to them, they augh’d in time of Worship, (as several who saw them inform’d me) for which I Sharply rebuk’d them, &c. The case of these miserable unhappy young Men proves to us the truth of the Wiseman's Assertion, That the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom; and the Knowledge of the Holy is Understanding, Prov. ix. 10.
Upon Thursday the 10th of March, the Report of these seven Malefactors, under Sentence of Death, was made to the King in Council and Robert Hill for stealing a watch, and William Newman for stealing a Watch, receiv’d his Majesty’s most gracious Reprieve; the other five, William Swift, Benjamin Jones, Francis Baily, John Barton, and William Gates alias Vulcan, were ordered for Execution. As to their Behaviour and Consession before, or at the time of their Death, to all desirous or concern’d to know the same, what follows is an ingenuous Representation.
Benjamin Jones was convicted for breaking open the Shop of Mr. Beesely, a Distiller, in Clare-Market, in the Night-time, and stealing thence Money, some Silver Plate, negotiated Notes, &c. to the value of 400 l. or thereabouts.
Benjamin Jones (o he said )25 Years of Age, had Education at School by his Parents, and in Service of a young Gentleman , which he no ways improv'd; either for want of Capacity, or Slothfulness, and perversity of Temper, taking no delight in his Books, so that if he had learn'd any thing when he was Young, he had almost forgotten it, not being capable to read the Bible, or other Book whatsoever. When of Age, his Friends Intending to bind him to a Vintner in London, or some other Business, (as he affirm'd) he did not love the same, but took himself to the Sea , where he serv’d on Board of one of his Majesty’s Ships and some Merchant for some Years; but weary of this Employment, when he came home some Years ago, he married a Wife, and kept a Publick-House in Ratcliff Highway for some time; his Wife dying, he gave up Housekeeping, and took Lodging in the City, where he hath liv’d for two Years past without Business or any visible way of subsisting himself or his Family. Being ask'd, if he committed the Robbery of which he was convicted? he answer'd, No. I intreated him for Gods’s sake to spek ingenuously, and not to enter into Eternity with a Lye in his right hand, If. xliv. 20. he said that he would till Death deny that Fact of which he was altogether innocent and ignorant. I ask'd him, if he had ever been guilty of any other Robberies? to which he answer’d in the Negative, adding, that he never had the least intention or thought of following such a wicked and sinful Life, that he was not one who could be denominated a wicked Man, having never injur’d any person in their Goods or Property, neither had he ever addicted himself to several vices, which are too commonly practis’d by inconsiderate young Men, and except that sometimes, which happen’d but rarely, he might Drink to excess or Swear a little, he did not indulge any particular Vice. He said, if he had not been taken up for that Robbery, by this time he had been gone for Jamaica to his Brother, who are in good Business there, and had written for him to come over to them. As for the Silver Ladle and Cup which was found in the Necessary-house, as a dying Man, he declar’d that accidentally he found them in the street, as he was coming home te at Night, and that when he was put into the Condemn’d Hold, meeting with Edward Burnworth alias Frazier, and giving him an account of the Crime of which he was Convicted, the said Frazier told him that he was the Person who committed that Robbery in breaking open Mr. Beesely’s Shop, and that as he was going towards Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, meeting the Watchman, he drop’d the Silver Plate and piece of Iron which he had in his Hand, for fear of being taken up, and because of the darnkess of the Night, not well knowing whether it was Silver or not, and being indifferent about it, since he had such plenty of Money and Gold, and some other. Things in his Pockets, which he had taken out of the Shop. This Frazier, as a dying Man not expecting to live many Days, asserted to be the plain Verity, and that he was sorry another should suffer for his Crime. I ask’d Frazier, if this account was true? who said that it was, and that he had written tho full Narrative thereof to Persons of the highest Quality. I frequently exhorted Mr. Jones Condession, since he dying with a Lye in his Mouth, would be a double Guilt, and might provoke God to cast him off for ever. &c. He said that he would never accuse himself falsely, and that his affairs were no otherwise than he had represented them. He was troubled, that he had neglected his Education, which was the caue of his being so ignoraqnt in Matters of Religion, he declar’d his believing in Jesus Christ, as the only Saviour of Sinners, that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, that he dyed in Peace with all the World, and an unworthy Member of the Church of England.
Francis Barley, aged 39 Years, born in Worcestershire, mean Education, and could neither Read nor Write, that he understood but little of the Christian Religion. was a Baker by Trade, but leaving his Employment went into the Army , and serv’d as a Soldier , Corpo and Serjeant , about 20 or 21 Years: He consess’d mself to have been guilty of a great many Robberies ch might have taken away his Life by the Laws of Land; that out of an idle Humour, and convetousness Money, he had followed such wicked Practices for me Years past; not that he gave over his own Employnt altogether, but sometimes when he thought of a venient Opportunity, and that a Discovery would not dily be made, he broke and plundered Houses, and for what he knew or heard he was never suspected being guilty of such Crimes till he was apprehended the fact for which he died. Being ask’d if he comitted the Robbery of which he stood convicted, he de 'd it. asserting that it was one of the most infamous, cked Women in the World who had sworn away his life, as she had the Life of some others, besides several there whom she had got transported and whipp’d &c. told him that it was to no purpose to dissemble since was within a few Hours of Eternity, and that as God atted all impenitent Sinners, so in a more especial manner yars were detested by him, who is the God of Truth, nd that if he went into Eternity asserting a Lye, this ery Sin unrepented of might be the cause of eternal eperation between God and his Soul. &c. He said that e had not the least expectation of Life, and as whithin a ew Hours he was to answer to his Maker, he knew nohings less or more of the Robbery for which he died, and that the man who robb’d the House, as the Officers came to take him, run away and make his Escape. I ndeavour’d what I could to instruct him is the Principles of Christianity, particularly in the Sacraments of Batism and Lord’s Supper. &c. He express’d an heartly Repentance for all his Sins, acknowledging the Justice of God in bringing him to such a shameful Death for a Life so wicked and ill-spent, but that his ruins was Coetousness and Idleness. He declar’d a strong hope and confidence in being fav’d by the Mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ; that he heartily forgave all Men who had any manner of way injured him, as he expected Mercy from God, and died in Communion of this Church, of which he was an unworthy Member.
William Gates alias Vulcan was found guilty by the jury, and convicted upon an Act of Parliament and Proclamation, by which Deer Stealers were commanded to surrender themselves within 40 Days, which if they neglected to do, if apprehended and found to have been one of them nam’d in the Proclamation, they were to undergo the Penalty of the Act of Parliament, which is Death.
William Gates alias Vulcan, 27 Years of Age, was grosly ignorant of Religion, not understanding to Read or Write, not for any neglect of his Parents or Relations, but because of his own wicked and obstinate Temper when a Boy, as unwilling to be instructed in Things which might be useful with respect both to his present and future Happiness. He confess’d himself to have been guilty of Deer-stealing contrary to Act of Parliament, but thought it too final a Crime to Suffer Death for it. I told him, the King and Parliament were best Judges for that, neither should private subject censure but submit to the Laws they had wisely enacted, more especially, since the late Act against Deer-stealing was made upon most just and wife Reasons yet that wicked parctice not only being a depriving others of their just Right and Property, but frequent Murders and other outragious Villanies ensuing thereupon. He confess’d that he was present where a Man was shot, but knew nothing of it, and had no hand in it. And as to his not surrendering himself, he pretended that when the Proclamation was emitted, he was out of Town at Fairs, and being ignorant, and not understanding to read, he did not consider the dangerous consequence of Disobedience. I advis’d him upon several weighty Reasons to submit to the Will of God, who thought fit thus to chastise him for his Sins; he said, he did so; but complain’d much of the Evidence who appear’d against him, as by far more criminal than himself, and at that time having Deer, which he had stol’n, in his possession in Town; &c. I told him, that these Complaints were to no purpose now, but that it was his Duty to forgive all Men, &c. which he frankly did. He did not appear so tender-hearted for Sin, as was needful, but declar’d, that he died in Peace with all the World, in hopes of being fav’d, only by the Mercy of God, through the Merits of Jesus Christ his Saviour, and in Communion with this Church, of which he said, that he died an unworthy Member.
John Barton was found Guilty by the Jury of two different Indictments, one for breaking and stealing out of Gold-Smith’s Shop, two Gold Chains, five Gold Necklaces, seventeen Snuff-Boxes, seventy two TeaSpoons &c. another, for stealing out of a Shop Goods to the Value of 200l. each of these Robberies, Felony. Upon a third Indictment, he was found Guilty by the Jury of Death, for breaking and entering the House of Sarah Higgs, and stealing from thence 100 pair of
John Barton (as he said) 23 Years of Age, born in London, either wanted Education at School, or did not improve it, so that he could neither Read nor Write. He was a Butcher by Trade, and said, that he had very good Business, by which he might have liv'd and maintain'd his Family very well; but taking himself to idle and thevish Company, he became a noted House-Breaker . He at first denied the Fact For which he died; but when the Dead Warrant came out, he acknowledge the same, that he had led a most dissolute and lewd Life, and that his Sentence was just. He did not seem to have any due Concern upon his Spirit for the miserable Condition he was in, being very ignorant of religious Matters, and unconcern'd about the well being of his Soul, which appear'd in his Carriage at Chappel; where sometimes, once after he knew that the Dead-Warrant was out, he laugh'd, and was thought to be one who provok'd some of the rest to such undecent Carriage. I admonish'd him to be more Serious, and think upon Eternity, since he was in a very short time to appear before God, who would judge him according to his Actions,&c. he said, that he did, according to his little Knowledge, apply himself with the greatest earnestness to the working out of his Salvation with Fear and Trembling, &c. He forgave all Mankind the Injuries they had done him, as he expected Forgiveness from God, &c. He believ'd in Jesus Christ his Saviour; he repented of all his Sins, and died in Communion of the Church of England, of which he own'd himself an unw ember.
William Swift was found guilty by the Jury, for assaulting in an open place near the Highway. Mary Cassel, putting her in Fear, and taking from her four Table-Cloths, eight Napkins, two Smocks, a Gown, and other Things, the Goods of William Andly, Jun . 10, and for assaulting John Hickenbotham, in an open place, near the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him two Smocks, two Napkins, and other Things, the Goods of Frances Parrell, Widow.
William Swift, born in London, aged 27 Years, of poor and mean Parents, had no Education at School, could not Read or write, was grosly ignorant in religious Matters and wept, and trembled, and appear'd to be in great Consternation and Confusion for fear of Death. He was one who drove a WheelBarrow with Fruit about the Streets . He confess, that he had been a great Sinner in Drinking, Whoring, and Swearing, that he liv'd in a place where great Numbers of Thieves and Whores live and haunt; that he frequently saw ‘em going about, convers'd and bare Company with them, and that sometimes he had been Partaker with them in little Thefts and Robberies, but never was guilty of notorious Crimes. He always deny'd the Robbery for which he dy'd, and told that John Barton his Fellow-Prisoner was one of them who committed that Robbery at Islington, which Bartou own'd, and that he was sorry another should suffer for his Crime. Swift complain'd much upon the Woman who swore fasfely against him. I instructed him in the chief Principles of Christianity, in a most easy and familiar Way, and suitable to his Understanding, which was mighty Weak, &c. I comforted him with the Promises of God in Jesus Christ, and taught him the general design the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper and Baptism, &c. and told him that he must forgive all Men who had injur'd him, &c. This will be willingly did, desininig, that he believ'd to be sav’d thro' the Merits, of Jesus only, that he was sorry for all his Sins, and died in Communion of this Church.
Francis Faily at the Place of Execution deliver’d a Paper,importing, that he was of Age 39 Years in June next, born at honel Parents, at Shipstown upon Stow in Wocestershire; that Catherine Berry, alias Willman, alias Gill, alias Bell, alias Dublin Kate sworn two Burglaries against him falsely, which is no novelty to her having sworn seven Mens Lives away before, and transported eight or nine; that she has been burnt in the Hand and transported twice.
William Yates, also deliver’d a Paper signifying, that he was 27 Years of Age, of honest Parents, at Southgate in Edmonton Parish, Middlesex; that he always from his Youth delighted in Deer-Stealing, which he would by no means forbear upon the reiterated Admonishments of his Parents; that when Will Cosens was shot, he had no Weapons or Arms about him, which Humphrey Buckle, Henry Bell, alias Bests, swore falsely against him. This he decld to be the truth, upon the Words of a dying Man. These two Papers were confus’d but they desiring them to be publish’d this is the substance of what they contain’d
The Day which they were executed, when I came to Newgate to give ‘em their last Exhortations and Prayers, they would not allow any Person to come near them, having gt in an Iron Crow to the Prison, with which they had forc’d oe stones of a prodigious bigness and had made the Breach tow Foot deep in the Wall, and they built up the Stones at the back of the Door of the Condemn’d. Hold o that no Body could get at them; The Keepers spoke to them th the Door, but they were inflexible, and would by no Entreaties yield. I spoke to them also, representing to them, how that such oolish an impracticable Projects interrupted their Repentance, and special care they should have take in improving their few remaining Moments to the best Advantage, but they seem’d inexorable. I said that I hp’d they had no Quarrel with me? They answer’d no Sir, God bless you, for you have been very careful of us. Baily saild, that they would not surrender, till they either kill’d or were kill. It was at Night before they began this Enterprize, and to conceal the Purpose from the Keepers, while part of them were Working, rest sung Psalms, that the Nosie might not be heard.
Sir Jeremiah Morden, Knight , one of the present Sheriffs , of London and Middlesex, came with proper Attendence, and desiring them to open Door, they refus’d it: upon which they were oblig’d to go up to the Room above the Hold, where there is a little place th opens, which is made in case of such Distrubances; this Shutter they open’d but the Prisoners continuing obstinate, they fir’d fifteen Pistols with small Shot among them, not to kill but to wound and disable'em; they retir'd to the remotest part of the Room, where the shot could not reach them, yet Barlon, and Yates the Deer-stealer were slightly wounded in the Arm; at last Sir Jeremiah Merden spoke seriously to em thro’ the little Hole above, desiring to surrender Parton ask’d, who are you? Sir Jeremiah answer’d I am one of the principal Sheriffs: show us your Chain, says Barton; Sir Jeremiah was so good as to show him his Gold Chain thro’ the little Hole; upon which the consuted and aggreed to surrender.
After this they remov’d the Stones from the back Door, and the Keepers entering Batron soap’d a steel Tobacco-Box in the Face of one of ‘em, which made a little like the snapping of a Pocket-Pistol, and then he gave him the Box, saying D-me, you was afraid. They desir’d a Minister might be allow’d to pray for their Souls for half an Hour. Which Request was readly granted them. Sir Jermiah sent for me, and condeended so far as to go himself, with the Depy sherff and another Gentleman or two, to the Chappel, where Prayers were rea to them. After this Jones and the rest express’d great desire to receive the sacrement, and hop’d they should not be deprived of that Benefit which was commonly granted to Criminals.I told them, that they had not made due Perepartion, having been bued otherwise; they said it was only out of a desire of self Preservation. and because so little time allowed ‘em to repent I ask’d ‘em if Ed, Burnaworth, alias Frazer, had put them up on such adsp rare Course? they answer’d that they were all equally deirous Liberry, upon which account they desir’d to be excus’d
At the Place of Execution. All of them aker’d to their former consissions without the least variation; only Sw fry’d aloud ‘Good People. I die as innocent of the 'Crime for which I Suffer, at the Child that’s unborn; which Barton rm’d with a loud Voice, saying, ‘I am the Man, who in Company with two or three where when be nam’d particularly one Capel, who committed the Robbery for which dies.