THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors who were Executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 18th of Septem. 1727
AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jail Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable Sir JOHN EYLES, Bart . Lord Mayor of the City of London. The Hon. Mr. Baron Thompson, Recorder of the City of London, and John Raby, Esq ; Serjeant at Law ; and others his Majesty's Justices of Jail Delivery, and Oyer and Terminer aforesaid: Together with 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, and Thursday, the 30th, and 31st of August, and Friday, the 1st of September, 1727, in the first Year of his Majesty's Reign.
Five Men, viz. Samuel Hammond, Henry Chaplin, Peter Boother, Thomas Williams, Thomas Johnson, alias Bewley, alias Handy, and one Woman, viz. Elizabeth Gilbert; were by the Jury convicted of capital Offences, and received Sentence of Death.
While under Sentence, they were instructed in the main Articles of Christianity, Faith and Repentance, from Col. 2. 8. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Acts 3. 19. Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your Sins may be blotted out; when the times of Refreshing shall come from the Presence of the Lord. I demonstrated to them the Necessity of an active Faith, working by Love; how that it is not sufficient for a Christian to believe that Christ died for the Sins of the World, for the Devils believe and tremble, as having no Part nor Portion in the evangelical Dispensation by our Lord Jesus Christ; and Faith without Works is dead, being alone; and that Christ's great Design of coming into the World, and vailing himself with Flesh, being to save us, not in, but from our Sins, it follows as a necessary Consequence, that all they who are the true Disciples of the Holy Jesus, must be Holy as God is Holy, and Blameless in all manner of Life and Conversation, since without Holiness no Man can see the Lord. I shew'd them, that the chief Ingredient of true Repentance was to forsake Sin, which seperated betwixt God and us, render'd him, whose natural Propension and Darling attributed to his Mercy a terrible God unto the Workers of Iniquity, who will not abandon their Sins, and turn to God with their whole Hearts, who is willing to receive all Penitent Sinners into Favour, however great or many their Sins be. From these and many other Considerations, I took occasion to press upon them the Necessity of being Holy in Heart and Life, of being like unto Christ in Holiness, which is the only means of attaining to eternal Happiness in and through him. I explain'd to them the original of Right and Property, and that coveting the Goods, Estates, and Properties of others, and unjustly defrauding our Neighbours, was a Sin of a very heinous Nature, held in detestation by all Mankind, as being one of the most atrocious Crimes can be committed, and destructive of human Society, and all Decency and Order. I let them see how they had been Guilty of the Brcach of their baptismal Vows, thro' the whole Course of their Lives; for which they had the greatest Reason in the World to mourn before God; and before they went off the Stage of this miserable World, to put themselves in a fit frame for renewing their baptismal Vows, (and for this Purpose to implore the Grace and Assistance of God's holy Spirit) by receiving the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in the Nature and Design of which I instructed 'em from these Words, 1 Cor. 10. 16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ? the Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? and several other Texts.
While these and such other Instructions were given, those of them who constantly attended in Chappel appear'd to be devout, serious and very grave, yet that deep Concern requisite in Men upon the brink of Eternity could not be discern'd.
Bewley seem'd most affected, expressing great Terrors upon his Spirit, upon the Thoughts of his approaching Dissolution. I us'd proper Motives to encourage him against the Fears of Death, representing to him the Mercy of God, to whose Appointments concerning us we ought chearfully to submit, &c. Although they had been taught to read God's Word, when young, yet they had been so careless of their Duty, that they had almost
wholly forgot what good Things were taught them in their younger Years, and could not make regular Responses.
Samuel Hammond of the Parish of Bishopsgate, convicted of petty Treason for murdering his Master Thomas Barker, wilfully, barbarously and maliciously, profess'd a very deep Repentance for that excreable Crime. Before the Sessions, he desir'd to be allow'd, by way of Favour, to come up to Chappel, with the Malefactors who were then under Sentence. His Request was granted, and he constantly attended. He was very attentive both to Prayers and Exhortations, only he appear'd something hard hearted and stupid, as not having outward Signs of Contrition for so black a Crime. He ingenuously confess'd his Sin, with its aggravating Circumstances, as committed against a good Master, who had never given him an ill Name, nor beaten him, for the Space of five Years he had been his Apprentice , excepting the Instant before he murder'd him, when he call'd him Blockhead for using a wrong Tool. He said, that the Devil put it into his Heart to murder his Master, from the Time that he had corrected a Girl in the House, for a Fault, with which Maid, Hammond for above half a Year before had kept an unlawful Correspondence. From that time he entertain'd Malice in his Heart against his Master, intending to murder him the first Occasion, which Design he kept in his Mind, without communicating it to any Person, for 18 Days, but upon Wednesday the 19th of July, between 7 and 8 in the Morning, in a most barbarous manner, put his wicked Resolution in Practice. I exhorted him to a strict Repentance for this crying Guilt, to fly to the Blood of Christ, which only could wash him from his uncleanness; and as I discover'd to him the Evil of Murder in general, so particularly, I let him see the Aggravations of this excreable Murder he had committed. When he was tried, he could not stand for Sickness, which never left him; for being carried back to the Condemn'd-Hold, after that Sentence of Death was pronounc'd upon him, he was never able to rise and go to Chappel, but lay in a high Fever, to Thursday, the 7th of September, when about 11 o'Clock at Night he expir'd. When I went to visit him, while under Sentence, he was so afflicted with Sickness, that he could not speak much; yet he appear'd to be very Penitent, and to be of a much more contrite and broken Heart than formerly, complying with the Prayers with great earnestness, seeming well pleas'd with all good Offices done for the good of his Soul, while he had any Senses about him, always Sighing, Mourning and Groaning for the crying Sin of Murder, and his giving loose Reins to those vile sensual Lusts, and brutish Appetites, which prov'd the Occasion of his falling into that mortal, and to him fatal Sin. He acknowledg'd the Justice of his Sentence, and that the Punishment of his Iniquity was infinitely less than what he deserved.
Upon Thursday, the 14th of September, the Report of the five surviving Malefactors was made to his Majesty in Council, when two of them, viz. Thomas Williams for stealing a Horse, value 3 l. on the 19th of August last, the property of Edward Newins; and Elizabeth-Gilbert, of St. Giles's without Cripplegate, who was convicted for privately stealing a Gold-Ring, two Guineas, one Half Guinea, and 40 Shillings in Silver, on the 14th of July last, the property of Nathaniel Page her Master, receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve. The remaining three, viz. Thomas Johnson, alias Bewley, alias Handy, for returning from Transportation, and Henry Chaplin and Peter Boother, two Soldiers , for being concern'd in breaking and robbing a House, and unmercifully beating the Master, and some others of the Family, were order'd for Execution on Friday the 18 Instant. When in Chappel, these three Malefactors were first inform'd that the Dead Warrant was come down directing their Execution to be on the Monday following they were struck with Surprize, especially Bewley, who fell into Tears, as he did sometimes, before, when speaking to me but immediately compos'd himself for Devotion, and Boother who likewise weep't for a long time; Chaplin appear'd more stupid and unconcern'd, which might be imputed partly to his Illness, having endur'd much Sickness in the Prison before his Trial, and being still in a very bad state of Health, that he was like a Skeleton, and yet, excepting one Day, while under Sentence, he constantly attended in Chappel. The following Account is a brief Narrative, for Information of those, who are desirous to know some more Particulars relating to their dying Words and Behaviour.
Thomas Johnson, alias Bewley, alias Handy, (whose true Name, as he told me, was Thomas Bewley) said he was about 26 Years of age, was born (as he believ'd) in the Parish of St. Giles in the Fields, of mean Parents, who either could not, or would not give him any Education at all. For, his Father, when he was new-born, went to Sea, and never return'd, and his Mother, when he was a Child of two or three Years old, left or laid him down to the Mercy of the World: By which means, he fell upon the Parish of Stepney, who took care of him, put him to the Charity-School, and kept him till he was 14 or 15 Years of age. Then they desir'd him to go and Shift for himself, as being grown
to a good Size and able to Work. When he was a Year and an half old, his Right Arm and Hand had been bruis'd, so that being distorted, they decay'd and were only of the bigness of a Child's Arm and Hand, neither had he the Use of them, having no strength and scarce any Motion in them. This he pleaded as a Reason, why the Parish should take Care of him, by appointing for him some small Weekly Allowance; which with what he might earn'd would as (he said) have made him live in a Sober way. But the leading Men there thinking him a big strong young Fellow, and capable of doing several Things for his Subsistence with one Hand only, would not undertake to do any more for him. Upon which he went of't upon his Shifts, and own'd that he could have fallen upon Means to live; But going in with bad Company, who advis'd him to turn Thief and Housebreaker, which hellish Counsel he following, made considerable proficiency, and turn'd dexterous in his Profession, being known among his Companions by the Nickname of Handy, because of his having but the Use of one Hand: This Course of Life, which he could not get out of, prov'd his Ruin. After he had follow'd his Trade of Stealing and House-breaking for a considerable time, he was taken up, and sent Abroad to see if he would learn better Manners in his Travels. He commended the Captain of the Ship for his Kindness and Civility to him, but when in the Country, whither he was Transported, No body would Buy him, because he wanted a Hand, so that when the Captain, who employ'd him as Cook , and look after the Ship went off, as he alledg'd, he was forc'd to come Home, since No body there would employ or give him any Thing. He had a Wife and two or three Children, whom he commended as a virtuous Woman and dutiful Wife, who had done much for the Support of his Family, and knew nothing of his indirect and thevish Courses; but she sometimes suspecting that he did not get Money in an honest way, he denied it, and never told her any thing of the Robberies he committed. He was a Fellow of pretty good natural Parts, and was capable of doing Business, if Opportunity had offer'd and he apply'd himself accordingly, but the loss of his Right Hand was irreparable, rendring him incapable of Working and Labouring as other Men do. He confess'd, that he had led a very wick'd Life, his main Business from his Childhood, at least the Time he left the Charity-School, having been to break Houses, to Pick or Steal, as he found Opportunity; at other times he carried a little Pack with small Things, which way of Trading, it seems, did not answer his Wishes. He said that sometimes he drunk too much, but was not often guilty of that, nor of Swearing much, nor of accompanying with lewd Wo-Women: Although he was not free from these Vices, yet he was not such a Slave to them, as Men of his Profession commonly are: But as he said, he kept at Home in the Night time with his Wife, unless he went out upon Purchase, and provided for his Family as he could in his way, giving to his Wife what he could get, having been always very kind to her, whom he call'd, a deserving good Wife. When he came from Transportation, he was taken up for House-breaking, and found Guilty of single Felony; but upon his Trial he told the Court, that he had return'd from Transportation, upon which an Indictment was order'd against him, to which he pleaded Guilty. Being ask'd the Reason why he did so? he said that he knew they intended to carry him to some Place in the Country, in order to try him for a Crime committed there, and that he was indifferent about his Life; but added, that he was confus'd, and did not think upon what he was saying. Bewley could read but little, and when he was examin'd upon Principles of Religion, I found that he knew not much.
I endeavour'd to instruct him in the fundamental Articles of Christianity, to which he was very attentive, and attain'd some further Knowledge of necessary Points. He cried bitterly, when he thought upon Death, and declar'd that if he were to live any longer, resolved against those wicked Courses which he had follow'd. I exhorted him to endeavour by the Grace of God to repair the Loss he sustain'd by his wicked Life, in improving his remaining Moments, in making up his Peace with God, by an unfeign'd Faith in Christ, a deep Repentance for all his Sins, especially that heinous one for which he suffer'd. He said, that he firmly believ'd in Christ as the only Saviour of Sinners, that he sincerely Repented of all his Sins, and that he was in Peace with all Mankind, expecting Salvation only through the Merits of Jesus Christ his Saviour.
HENRY CHAPLIN, PETER BOOTHER, and Henry Girdler, (not yet taken) were Indicted for breaking into the House of Daniel Lyver in the Night time, on the 17th of July last, taking thence 10 Pewter Dishes, 30 Pewter Plates, one Guinea, and 7 Shillings and 6 d. in Silver.
Henry Chaplin, as he said, about 27 Years of Age, descended of honest Parents in Warwickshire, who put him to School, when he was young, but he being of a cross Temper, did not keep it well and profitted little. His Father also taught him his own Employment of Ribband-weaving , but he being 15 Years old left his Father and listed in the Army . He was a young Man of a very vicious Life, having been very much addicted to Drinking, Swearing, and Whoring, but he said that he was never guilty of Robbery or Stealing, but in the single
Instance whereof he was Convicted; but follow'd his own ade, and attended his Duty punctually. He said Norcoat the Evidence against them, and Girdler, advis'd them first to go and take Fowls, altho' he swore otherwise. Chaplin own'd he was present at the Robbery, but that it was against his Will they committed it, for both he and Boother said, that they held the other Two, when they were attempting to break the House, but that they would not be hindred, and both of them complain'd upon the Barbarity of Nortcoat and Girdler, who hath fled, in beating unmercifully the Master of the House, and two Women, because they had not Money to give them; they said it was the other two who rifled and robbed the House, yet staid in expectation of being Sharers in the Booty. I told them they were all equally Guilty, as willingly consenting to go a Thieving. They own'd this, but said, they thought the other two more Guilty than themselves, as persisting obstinate in their wicked Resolution, which they earnestly desir'd 'em to desist from and go home.
Chaplin had been much afflicted with Sickness, while in Prison, yet he appear'd to be a Man of more Resolution than his Companion, being more compos'd and settled in his Behaviour, and giving a better Account of his Faith, and the Hope that was in him, with reference to a future State. He said, tho' he had been a very wicked Liver, yet he always firmly believed the Doctrines of Christiany, the Wickedness of his Life proceeding from the want of Consideration, and a desire to satisfie his sensual Appetite and Lusts. I exhorted him to repent of his Sins, and particularly that great Sin for which he died. He said he endeavour'd what he could to be reconcil'd to God, whom he had greatly offended. He acknowledg'd he had been among the chief of Sinners, but exprest himself, as if he had entertain'd strong Hopes of Mercy, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, that he truly belved Jesus Christ the Son of God to be the only Saviour of lost Man, that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, being heartily sorry for Offences he had committed, as well against God, as Man, dying in Peace with all the World, and in Communion of the Church wherein he was baptiz'd, of which he own'd himself an unworthy Member.
Peter Boother, about 21 Years of Age, descended of honest but very poor Parents, about 14 Miles from this Town his Father having been a mean Labourer in the Country, he had no Education at School, but when capable follow'd the same Business in the Country. He said he had never been notoriously Wicked in the preceeding part of his Life, yet had been led aside to the Commission of such vile Practices as he was convicted off. He was very ignorant in the first Principles of Religion, and after I had been at great Pains in instructing him, he answer'd like a Child of 4 or 5 Years old. This proceeded partly from his not being Educated at School, and perhaps the ignorance or neglect of them with whom he was in Company; I charg'd him with neglecting the Duties Ordinances of Religion, at that his ignorance was inexcuseable, being brought up in a Christian land, where the House of God was open to every Body, willing to receive Instruction, either by godly Prayers, or Orthodox Doctrines. As to the Crime of which he was convicted, said, that he with Chaplin endeavour'd to keep Girdler and Norcoat from committing it, but that it was not in their Power to restrain them; and Boother affirm'd he did not enter the House, but waited about the Doors, not till it was done, when they came out, and forc'd him to carry off Plates, threatening to knock him down if he refus'd. Excepting this Burglary and Robbery for which he died, he said, that to his Knowledge, he never wrong'd Man or Woman. I exhorted him to Repent of the Breaches of his Baptismal Vows, to believe in Jesus Christ; the Son of God, as the only Saviour of Sinners, to Repent of all his Sins, so as heartily to for sake, and resolve against them, to entertain no Malice or hatred in his Heart against any Person, and to deny himself wholly to the Vanities of this World, and to raise his Thoughts towards heavenly and Divine Things, which if he did not attain to, he was in Danger of being instantly thrown into the Pit of eternal Destruction, with Devils and damn'd Spirits. He with many Tears confess'd himself among the chief of Sinners, and said that his perturbation did not proceed from fear of Death, but the uncertainty of that future State hew as to enter upon. I encourag'd him with proper Motives taken from the infinite Mercy of God in Christ, &c. He declar'd himself truly Penitent for all his Offences, that he hop'd to be sav'd thro' the Merits of Christ only, and that he died in Peace with all the World.
At the Place of Execution,
THey adher'd to their former Confessions, and said, that they had no more to add. Only Thomas Bewley, alias Handy exclaim'd against one who Transported Felons, saying that after he had caused them to Work for him in these foreign Countries; he brought them Home to England in the same Ship which he had carried them off; and that the Reason of his returning was, because No body would Buy him, and that he must have starv'd there and that when at Home he had no way to get his Bread because he wanted his Right Hand to enable him for Work.
This all the Account given by me,