THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors, who were Executed on Monday the 27th of this Instant June, 1726, at Tyburn.
AT the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London; and on the King's Commission of Jail-Delivery of Newgate, held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, for the City of London, and County of Middlesex, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, being the 25th, 26th, and 27th of May, 1726, in the Twelfth Year of his Majesty's Reign; before the Right Honourable Sir FRANCIS FORBES, Knt . Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Honourable Mr. Baron Page, Sir William Thomson, Knt . Recorder , and John Raby, Esq ; Serjeant at Law , and other his Majesty's Justices of Jail Delivery, and Oyer and Terminer aforesaid, together with his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said City of London.
Six Men were by the Jury found guilty of Capital Offences, and John Murrel, who having been found guilty the preceeding Sessions, (but by reason of a violent Sickness which seiz'd him, so that the Keepers judged him dead, he was not sentenced at that Time) receiv'd Sentence of Death.
As they were under Sentence, some of them having been very ignorant, I explain'd to 'em the Nature of the Christian Religion; how that it being the only Scheme now extant of God's Contrivance and Appointment, in order to obtain eternal Life in an ordinary way, is set in a direct opposition to all Sin and Impurity; and therefore that it is most agreeable to the pure and simple Nature of God, and most adapted to the State and Circumstances of Rational Beings, which are made after the divine Pattern; and consequently, that these who are guilty of atrocious Sins, meriting exemplary Punishments, not only deviate from the express Laws of God, to which their Lives ought to be conformable, but in a manner divesting themselves of Humanity and Reason, they assume the Nature of brutish and savage Animals, at once declaring themselves Enemies to God and all good Men, to every thing which is Religious and Virtuous: Then I proceeded to shew to them the Source and Spring from which the depravity of Men proceeded, viz. the corruption of our Nature, commonly call'd Original Sin, whence all the Errors and Sins of our Life do proceed; but that they might not despair of obtaining Mercy from God, I shew'd to them the Remedy provided, how that by Faith in Jesus Christ, whom God had set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith in his Blood, they might shun eternal Wrath and Vengeance entail'd upon disobedience of the divine Law, and attain to eternal Life, however crying their Guilt had been, if they exercis'd a lively Faith upon the Son of God, attended with good Works, for Faith without Works is dead being alone; and because the time allow'd 'em in this World was too short for evidencing their Repentance by a habit of good Works, I desir'd them to supply that defect by holy Purposes and Resolutions; that if they had been to live any longer time in this World, they would become wholly now Creatures; that whereas formerly they had been the Servants of Sin unto Unrighteousness, they should become the obedient Servants of Righteousness unto Holiness, which was all they could possibly do in the miserable Circumstances they were then in. I explain'd to them from the Eighth Commandment the great Evil and Mischiefs arising from Theft and Robbery, by which Practice one declar'd himself an Enemy to all Men, and endeavour'd, to his Power, the dissolution of human Society, and all good Order; thus reducing the World into the State of the most savage Animals, which are only set upon the Destruction of their Fellow Creatures, and having declar'd some things concerning the Christian Sacraments in general, from the xi Chap. of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, I particularly explain'd to them, that it was a Matter of the highest Importance rightly to understand the great Ends of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and to participate in the same, before they left this World, as being an assured Pledge of eternal Life to all them who truly believe in Jesus Christ as their only Saviour, and sincerely repent of all their Sins, particularly of those crying Sins, which in an especial manner disturb their Minds, as being the immediate Cause of the Misfortunes and Calamities which had befallen them, &c.
While these and many other useful Instructions were given them, they all appear'd to be very attentive, and devout in time of Worship, and such of 'em as could read
made their Responses regularly, and (as in Charity could be judg'd) with abundance of seriousness, particularly William Bourn alias Burn, entertaining no hopes of Life, was very Penitent, and seem'd to be mightily affected both at Prayers and Exhortations. William Still, John Hutchins, and John Murrell, were careful to Read and Pray frequently in the Hold, for the good of their own Souls, and instruction of their Fellow Prisoners, who (excepting James Cherry who could not see to read much by Candle-light because of a Weakness in his Eyes) could not Read.
Upon Thursday the 23d of June, the Report of the above Seven Malefactors under Sentence of Death was made to his Majesty in Council, when William Still, for stealing a silver Tankard val. 8 l. John Hutchins, for stealing a Brown Gelding val. 50 s. and John Thomson, for stealing a Bay Gelding val. 6 l. receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve; the remaining four, viz. William Bourn alias Burn, William Hollis, John Murrel, and James Cherry were ordered for Execution.
Upon Thursday at Night, the Dead Warrant coming to the Prison; then these who were included in it seeing that no hopes of a Reprieve could be any more entertain'd, began to double their Diligence in Preparations for Death, and to apply themselves with the utmost intenseness to think upon their latter End; which was easily discover'd when I visited them in Chapel next Morning, Bourn and Cherry shedding Tears in great plenty, and all of them appearing to be very devout and concern'd both in time of Prayers, and such Exhortations as were then given to direct them after what manner they might most profitably spend the few remaining Hours of their Lives.
On Sunday the 26th of June, a Reprieve came down to Newgate for James Cherry, one of the four ordered for Execution, who was condemn'd for breaking and entering the House of William Gill. I now proceed to the Account of the remaining Three.
WILLIAM BOURN alias BURN, late of the Parish of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate, was indicted, found guilty, and sentenc'd for feloniously and privately stealing, in the Shop of Robert Lovell, 4 Snuff-boxes val. 10 l. 8 silver Medals val. 3 l. a gold tooth-pick Case val. 4 l. 6 pair of gold Buttons val. 5 l. 8 stone Studs set in gold val. 4 l. 5 diamond Rings val. 14 l. 20 pair of stone Ear-rings val. 6 l. 8 gold Lockets val. 4 l. 23 pair of gold Ear-rings val. 12 l. 64 gold Rings val. 40 l. 2 Cornelian seal Rings val. 5 l. 4 strings of Pearl for Necklaces val. 3 l. 8 smelling Bottles val. 3 l. 6 gold enamel'd Rings val. 3 l. 4 stone Rings val. 10 s. a Picture of a Man's Head set in gold val. 3 l. 5 watch Chains val. 30 s. 5 silver scissar Cases, 5 silver needle Cases, 5 silver spunge Boxes, and other Things, the Goods of Robert Lovell, on the 17th of May.
William Bourn alias Burn, as he said, 18 Years of Age, born at Wicklow, was descended of honest Parents, and had People of good Credit to his Relations in that Country. In his younger Years he was put to School, but was obstinate and would not learn, so that he had quite forgot any thing which he was taught, when at School, and could not read. He said, that he liv'd always in good friendship with his Parents, whom he had not disoblig'd or disobey'd at any time in an extraordinary manner, only they were griev'd that he could not learn to read and write. When of Age, he was put Apprentice to a Hatter in the City of Dublin, to whom he serv'd out his Time with approbation; and in a very short time after he had his Freedom, he came to London, for insight in his Business, where he had not been but about two Months, when he committed the Robbery for which he died. He said, that in the preceeding course of his Life, he had liv'd very soberly; that he never was addicted to any notorious Vices; that he never had been guilty of Theft or Robbery, excepting that for which he died; and that he study'd the knowledge of the Christian Religion, going to Church in a regular manner, and having once taken the Sacrament, I told him, that his case was so much the better, if he was not a notorious Sinner in his former Life; he said, that he spoke as a dying Man, having no expectations of a Reprieve; which, considering the greatness of his Crime, he could not entertain any hopes of. I exhorted him to repent sincerely of all his Sins, particularly of the great Sin of Theft and Robbery, whereof he was convicted; by the commission of which, untill renew'd again by a deep Repentance, the former innocency of his Life would be of no avail to him; he said, that he repented of that heinous Sin, and heartily begg'd pardon of God, and Man for it, particularly, Mr. Lovell whom he had so much injur'd; and that the afflictions he underwent upon that account were most deserving, his Crime having been a singular breach of divine and humane Laws. Being ask'd, what mov'd him to commit such a Robbery? he said, that it was not want, he having been in very good Business since he came to London; neither was it any inclination or intention of his own to betake himself to that wicked way of Life; but it was bad Company he met with in his Lodgings, of young lewd Women, who induc'd or advis'd him to set about Robbing or Thieving; as the readiest way to get Money, to spend with them in the height of Profusion and Prodigality. This is a warning to young inconsiderate People, as they tender their own Prosperity, to shun such wicked and naughty Company. He appear'd to be a young Man of a good natural Temper, and to have some disposings to virtue, but to have been corrupted by bad examples or advice. He had more
Knowledge of the principles of Christianity, than what is commonly found in them who are altogether illiterate. While under Sentence, for some Days he could not come to Chappel, because of a violent Sickness, which reduc'd him to great weakness of Body: When he came to Chappel, he appear'd still to be in a very serious devout frame, and to be very tender hearted and penitent for all his Offences. He lamented much the Disgrace his ignominious Death might be to his nearest Kindred and Relations; and particularly, the great Offence he had given to a young, virtuous Wife, whom he left at Dublin, without acquainting her with his Intention of going to London. He was in great Agony and Perplexity. I exhorted him to comfort himself in God, and with the promises of the Gospel through Christ, to give over all thoughts of this World, to set his affections on things above, where Christ sits at the right Hand of God; and that if he forgave all Men the Offences done him, as he expected forgiveness from God: In the first place begging pardon of God for Christ Sake, for all his Sins; and then of all them whom he had offended; that this was the readiest way to die in the Lord. He said that he died in Peace with all the World; begging all those whom he had offended pardon, particularly his poor afflicted Wife; and expecting Salvation through the Mercy of God in Christ Jesus his only Saviour.
John Murrel, as he said, 45 or 46 Years of Age, descended of honest Parents in Yorkshire, had Education at School, suitable to his Station, and could read and write pretty well, and understood the principles of Religion indifferently. He follow'd Country-Business of Tillage and Pasturage , having farm'd in Yorkshire a Grazing room, for which, as he said, he paid near 100 l. per Ann, and dealt in Horses and Cattle to a considerable value. He married a virtuous Woman in the Country, with whom he got a considerable Sum of Money, and who bare to him several Children, with whom she still lives in the Country upon some little thing of her own. He kept House with his Wife and Children for several Years, but prov'd a bad Husband, and prodigally squander'd away his Wifes Fortune; and at last failing in his Business, he left his Wife in discontent and came to London, where (as he confess'd) falling in with bad Company, he married, or liv'd as if he had been married with another Woman, giving out that his true Wife was dead; which she getting account of, she was so perplex'd and troubl'd, that she was like to die of Grief; yet desirous to reclaim her Husband from such a wicked course of Life, she sought after him, till she found him, but he to her Face denied her to be his Wife, obliging his Son to deny her for his Mother, when she ask'd him, am not I your Mother? the Boy, out of fear or by perswasion of his Father, said, you're not my Mother, I do not know you, upon which the poor Wife was forc'd to go away oppress'd with Grief and Sorrow. I told Murrel, that however little he might think the Crime for which he died, yet God's just Vengeance had now overtaken him, for the Cruelty and Barbarity he had us'd to his Wife and Children, in deserting them, and taking up with another Woman, who, to be sure, was not comparable to his own Wife, either for virtue or honesty. I press'd him most earnestly to repent heartily of such a dissolute Life, otherwise he could not expect that God would forgive him; admonishing him also of his Dissimulation, in formerly denying that he had been a wicked Liver, and how dangerous a thing it was to enter upon Eternity with a Lye in his Right Hand; for how could he appear before the God of Truth who hateth Liars, whose Portion, if they do not sincerely repent, is in that Lake which burneth with Fire and Brimstone for ever. I urg'd him also to make an ingenious Confession of his Sins, which is one condition of our obtaining Mercy from God, as the wise Man informs us, He that covereth his Sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have Mercy, Prov. xxviii. 13. And that as we ought to confess our Sins chiefly and in the first place to God, so where the Offence and Scandal is also given to Man, especially when we can make him no other Reparation for the Injury done to him; we ought also to confess the Crimes committed against one another, according to the Advice of St. James, Jam. v. 16. Confess your Faults one to another, and pray one for another, &c. He said, that he did not leave his Wife and Family till he was afraid of being imprison'd for Debt. I ask'd him why he conceal'd such notorious Wickedness, being to die so very soon, when the concealing of these things could be of no avail to him, but that now being discovered by others he could not deny 'em? I suppose that by this time the conscience of his Guilt came fresh in his Mind, for he wept most bitterly, and confess'd himself to have been a very great Sinner, and very much lamented the keeping of bad Company, which had occasion'd his living dissolutely, and, for a considerable time in the Sin of Uncleanness. As to a Man in Town, who said that he had run away with a Mare of his about two Years ago; he said that he borrow'd the Mare from that Man, carry'd her off and sold her, because she was his own Mare, which he had sold to the other Man about two or three Months before he borrow'd her, but that, for what he remember'd, never any thing at all having been paid for her, he thought fit to dispose of her as if she had been still his own; as to the Man's pursuing after him through the most part of England and Wales, he said
he knew nothing of it, for he never saw him again till in Newgate. He complain'd much that his Son, and nearest Relations came not to see or visit him, and that they did nothing for him. I told him, that in that very thing he might read his Sin in his Punishment; since as he had unjustly and cruelly deserted his Family, so now God in his just Providence had brought things about in so wonderful a manner, that some of his nearest Relations slighted and neglected him in the height of Calamity and Poverty; the Truth of this he own'd, and hoped, that though all Men had forsaken him, yet God, who is the helper of the Helpless, would stand by and have Mercy on him. Murrel confess'd the Justice of his Sentence; he own'd that God in justice had afflicted him for the preceeding Wickedness of his Life; he declar'd himself truly penitent for all his Sins, particularly the Crime for which he died, and his heinous Sin of deserting his Wife and Family, and passing such a wicked Course of Life, in the worst of Company, which had prov'd his Ruin; he denied that he had practis'd the stealing, or running away with Horses at any time, excepting the Horse at Newcastle Fair, for which he suffer'd: He died in the Faith of being sav'd only by the Mercy of God, thro' the merits of Jesus Christ his Saviour, and in Peace with all Mankind.
WILLIAM HOLLIS, of St. James's Westminster, was indicted for breaking and entering the House of John Mattison, and stealing from thence 140 silver Buckles val. 5 l. the Goods of Samuel Ashmelay, on the 23d of April last, about the Hour of 9 in the Night, and for the said Crime he was convicted and found guilty by the Jury.
William Hollis, as he said, 16 or 17 Years of Age, was born in Portugal while the British Army was in that Country, his Father having been a Drum-Major of a Regiment there, gave him no Education, so that he could neither read nor write. His Father took him along with him, when he was young, wheresoever the Regiment went both by Sea and Land, he having been up the Mediterranean with the Fleet; but his Father dying 2 or 3 Years ago, he was left a poor miserable Boy, having no body to take care of him but a Mother-in-Law, whose Advices and Instructions he regarded not, but left her, and took himself to the cleaning of Shoes , and while he follow'd that Employment he fell in with bad Company, and got a habit of Gaming, Swearing and Drinking; which loose way of living made him covetous of Money, to prosecute a most licentious, disorderly, and wicked manner of Life. He was grosly ignorant of Religious Principles, and confess'd, that he had never thought seriously upon God, or what should become of him in a future State, and appear'd to be somewhat stupid and unconcern'd. He blam'd the Evidence in swearing more upon him than he took, as he affirm'd, he having only stolen 14 pair of Buckles, some of which were scarce of any Value, and turn'd the Key which was in the Room-door as he went in, and that he did not take it off a Pin, where it was hanging, as the Evidence swore; otherwise he said he never was guilty of Theft or Robbery. I told him, that it was needless to complain upon the Evidence, since he own'd the Fact, only with little difference of Circumstances which were not material, and that the Law upon commission of the Conviction for such a Crime, took away his Life. Upon this he own'd the Justice of his Sentence, adding, that he entertain'd not the least grudge against any Person. By frequently inculcating upon him the first principles of Christianity, he attain'd some little knowledge of Religion, and told me that he did what he could to make up his Peace with God, by praying that God would pardon all his Sins, for Christ's sake, and constantly with all seriousness concurring with the Worship of God, and taking diligent heed to all the Instructions and Exhortations which were given him, whether publickly in the Chappel or privately in the Closet. He also said that he omitted no opportunities of Devotion, and hearing good Books read in the Condemn'd-Hold by his Fellow Prisoners, and that, as he was directed, he frequently repeated the Belief, and the Lord's-Prayer. He declar'd that he expected Salvation, only upon account of the Merits and Sufferings of Christ Jesus, in whom he believ'd as his only Saviour; that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, particularly the Enormities of his Life formerly mention'd excepting which he had not been guilty of any other, and the Crime for which died; that he forgave all Men the injuries they had done him, as he expected forgiveness from God, and that he died in Communion of this Church.
At the Place of Execution
Mr. Murrell, adher'd to his former Confessions, but express'd himself, so as he thought the Crime none of the most heinous, for which he died. William Bourn alias Burn, said he had nothing to add to his Confessions already made, which were the largest and most ingenuous ever he had made at any other time, and that he died in the Communion of the Church of Rome . William Hollis advis'd all young People to beware of wicked Company, Gaming, and Swearing, which vices were his Ruin, when but a Child for Age, having been disobedient to his Mother-in-Law, who was always ready to give him good advices, and who never knew of any of his vicious Practices of Thieving, &c. he having altogether deserted her House and Company, more than a Year before his Death. All of them, to appearance, died very penitent for their many Sins.
This is all the Account given by me,