THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors who were Executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 20th of Novem. 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 Right Hon. Sir Robert Raymond, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench ; the Hon. Mr. Baron Hale; 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 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the 17th, 18th, and 19th of October, 1727, in the first Year of his Majesty's Reign.
Four Men, viz. Richard Lynn, John Turner, John Johnson, and Samuel Johnson, alias Cabbage; and two Women, viz. Sarah Griffiths, and Elizabeth Murrel, were by the Jury found guilty of Capital Crimes, and received Sentence of Death.
While under Sentence of Death, having instructed them in the necessary Points of Christian Religion, Faith in Christ, and Repentance towards God, the chief Conditions of the Gospel Covenant; I press'd upon them the Necessity of Holiness in Heart and Life, from these Words, St. Matt. 16. 25. Then said Jesus unto his Disciples, If any Man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow me. I shew'd 'em that Faith without Works is dead being alone; that Christ came not to save Sinners in, but from their Sins; that as Christ died to purchase Heaven for us, by the Merits of his Death: so he pass'd a holy exemplary Life in the World, to shew us the Way how we may attain to the End of our Faith, even the eternal Salvation of our Souls. I explain'd to them from the Galatians, 5. 13. &c. and downward, the evil and terrible Nature and Consequences of our Sins there set down, and call'd by the blessed Apostle the Works of the Flesh, as destructive of that heavenly Seed and spiritual Life, which ought to reside in every Man, who professes himself to be the Disciple and Follower of the Holy Jesus: Particularly I enlarg'd upon the Sin of Covetousness, which had brought all their Misery and Misfortune upon them. I inform'd Johnson, that his coining and dispersing false Money, was not only destructive of all Commerce, but as encroaching upon the sacred Prerogative of the King's Majesty, therefore his Crime was so much the greater and liable to severe Punishment. I instructed them in the Nature of the Christian Sacrament, that they being Pledges of the Divine Love and Seals of the New Covenant, the worthy and faithful Receivers are made Partakers of the invisible Grace signified thereby, pardon of their Sins and eternal Life. As from several other Texts, so particularly from Rev. 14. 13. Blessed are the Dead which die in the Lord; yea, saith the Spirit, from henceforth, that they may rest from their Labours and their Works do follow them. I insisted upon Death to prepare 'em for their great Change.
While these and such like Exhortations were given, they all appear'd very devout and serious. Mr. Turner, till a few Days before he died was afflicted with a violent Sickness, being the most Intelligent, was careful in reading and praying for himself and his Fellow-Criminals in the Hold. Johnson seem'd very penitent, sometimes shedding Tears in the Chappel. Sarah Griffiths behav'd with Gravity and Attention, but by Reason of extreme Poverty (having dispos'd of all her Cloaths) and Sickness, she seldom came into the Chappel, and when I visited her in the Hold, she always profest great Penitence. Richard Lynn did not come to Chappel above two or three Days; and when I visited him he look'd like one craz'd, or of a very weak Understanding.
Upon Monday the 13th of November, the Report of the abovemention'd six Malefactors under Sentence of Death, was made to his Majesty in Council, and Elizabeth Murrel of Shoreditch, who was convicted for privately stealing a Silver Watch, value 4 l. and a Handkerchief, value 6 d. on the 4th of October last, the Property of Edward Price, receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve, the remaining Five, viz. Richard Lynn, John Turner, John Johnson, Samuel Johnson, alias Cabbage, and Sarah Griffiths were ordered for Execution.
To those who are desirous to know the last Confessions and Behaviour, the following Account is a brief Narative.
John Turner, about 26 Years of Age, descended of honest Parents, who had been People of good Repute in Cornwall: His Parents gave him good Education, but his Father dying when he was young, instead of continuing at Schools, as he said was intended, he was put Apprentice to a Peruke Maker in the City of Exeter; having serv'd most of his Time, after many Disobligations to his Master, at last he robb'd him of a considerable Sum of Money and ran away, but his Master being a near Relation did not prosecute him: He came to London and follow'd his Business, behaving himself honestly and soberly in the Places where he serv'd, so that the Neighbourhood conceiv'd a good Opinion of him; but his Coveteousness and Ambition to appear more fine than his Circumstances wou'd allow, hasten'd his Ruin; for in order to attain his Aim, he went to rob on the Highway, which Course, as he said, he follow'd only six Weeks before he was apprehended, having gone out only four Times, and made but a very small Purchase in all his Adventures. He said, it never enter'd into his Mind to murder or kill any Body, but what Money he got he offer'd it back to the injur'd Party, if they wou'd own they had more need of it than he; thus did he treat whom he robb'd with Civility. He appear'd to be a young Man of a civil complaisant Temper, whence it was, that his Acquaintance commonly call'd him, Civil John; others say, that he got this Appellation from the Gentlemen whom he robb'd, because of the civil Usage he gave them, for he told them that his Name was John: He complain'd that the World gave him a much worse Character than he deserv'd, and altho' he own'd himself to have been a great Sinner, yet he deny'd that ever he was notoriously wicked in those Vices, to which Men of his Profession are addicted. He could not be induc'd to make particular Confessions, only he acknowledg'd the justness of his Sentence according to Law, and said that he was willing to die, chearfully submitting to the Will of God, as a just Punishment for his Sins; he was always very devout in Chappel and appear'd to be a true Penitent, complying fervently with the Prayers, and receiving Instructions with great Earnestness. The Night before the dead Warrant came down, he had a violent fit of Illness, yet notwithstanding, he attended publick Devotion two or three Times, till he cou'd not walk any more, and in the Hold he continu'd very devout and penitent, expressing a great Desire after the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and seem'd very sorrowful that he had formerly neglected it. He died in Peace with all Mankind, expressing a strong Hope and Confidence of obtaining the Pardon of his Sins and eternal Life, through the Merits of Jesus Christ our only Saviour.
JOHN JOHNSON, was indicted for High-Treason, in counterfeiting the current Coin of this Kingdom; in particular thirteen half Crowns, eighteen Shillings and five Six-pences, which he made of Pewter, Lead, and other mix'd Metals, which he endeavour'd to put off for good and lawful Money of Great Britain.
JOHN JOHNSON, (as he said) about 50 Years of Age, was born of honest Parents, in Nottinghamshire, who being mean People, gave him little Education at School, so that he could not read much. When of Age, he was put Apprentice to a Taylor , and coming to London he married, and lived many Years in good Reputation. Not keeping his Health in Town, he went with his Family to Lincolnshire, where his Wages being but small, he found himself straiten'd to maintain a growing Family. After racking his Wit and Invention, a certain Acquaintance of his in the Country communicated to him the Art of coining Money, as the easiest way to supply his Necessities. Having provided himself in Moulds, Crucible, and other Utensils, proper for his Purpose; he said, that he far excell'd his Teacher and Adviser in the Art and Dexterity of making Money. He said, that being thus provided in Instruments, he coin'd his Money so dextrously, that by the sight no Man could discover the Difference betwixt the King's Coin and his. Having made sufficient Quantities he endeavour'd with an Accomplice whom he entrusted with the Secret, to put off his counterfeited Coin, but with indifferent Success; for (as he said) he never put off but two Six-pences, which he spent in Geneva; for immediately after that he was taken up upon his paying two bad Half-Crowns for a pair of Shoes; upon which, he discover'd his two Accomplices and confess'd all. He lamented much for the Ruin he had brought upon his Wife and Family, two of his Children having died while he was in Prison, the third Child with his Wife being cast upon the Parish, although it was his sinful Anxiety for them made him fall upon such a desperately wicked Course. In the former part of his Life he had liv'd innocently and virtuously, for what was visible to the World, both in a single and married State, he and his Wife having frequently taken the Sacrament in Company. I endeavour'd to convince him of the greatness of his Sin, which as it proceeded from a distrust of the all sufficient Providence of God, so the Sin was so much greater in him, who knew better things, as also
tending to the Ruin of all Commerce, being an Imposition upon all Mankind, the heinousness of that Sin particularly consisting in its being an encroachment upon the King's Prerogative, who is set over us, for the Punishment of evil Doers, and Encouragement of those that do well. The Truth of all which he own'd, together with the Justice of his Sentence. He was kept in Prison a considerable Time before his Trial, and still behav'd himself like a Christian, preparing for Death with great Application. He appear'd to have been a true Penitent for all his Sins, particularly the heinous one for which he died, declaring himself in Peace with all Mankind, and expressing a firm Confidence of having his Sins pardoned, and attaining to everlasting Life, by the Mercy of God, through the Merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Samuel Johnson, alias Cabbage, 30 Years of Age, descended of honest PARENTS, who gave him good Education suitable to his Station, which he made very bad Improvement of, proving a disobedient and perverse Child: Upon which Account, and neglecting God, and his ways, he was left so far to himself, that he associated with wicked Company, who advis'd him to pilfering and stealing, for which he was Transported; but returning before the End of seven Years, he was taken up, and imprison'd for making an Attempt to break open a House; but being discover'd in Newgate Prison that he had return'd within the time limited by Act of Parliament, he was tried and convicted for the same. He said, that the Reason he return'd from Transportation, was, that he had some Hurt or Bruise about his Body, of which he could not be cur'd, till he return'd to England, and that upon that Account no Body would buy him, and he must have starv'd, if he had staid abroad. He had not such signs of Repentance, as Turner and Johnson, but was always very grave and decent in his Carriage. He complain'd much upon some Person, who, in the Week before the Dead Warrant came out against him, put it in some of the publick Papers, that a free Pardon was order'd for him. This he call'd a malicious Story. I desir'd him to be compos'd, and to settle his Thoughts upon God, and another World; He pray'd God to forgive them for puting the Thoughts of Death too much out of his Mind. He acknowledg'd in general, that he had been a young Man abandon'd to every thing that was good, and that having neglected his Duty to God, he had justly suffer'd him to fall into those Crimes, which brought upon him all his Calamities. He did not seem any way tender hearted for his Sins, although he was grave and attentive to Prayers and Exhortations, but with too much apparent Indifferency. He had been to Sea for some Time, but leaving that Business, he took himself to the driving of Hackney-Coaches , and at other times idling away his Time about the Town, and when he got a little Money by Thieving, he squander'd it away in a riotous Manner. At first he said he had no design of breaking open the House, for which he was taken up, but when past all hopes of Life, he could not deny it. He declar'd, that he was Penitent for all his Sins, that he forgave all Men the Injuries done him, as he expected forgiveness at the hand of God, and that he believ'd in Christ, as his only Saviour, through whose Merits he expected eternal Life and Salvation.
RICHARD LYNN, of St. Sepulchre's London, was indicted for Felony and Burglary, in breaking open the House of John Boyce, on the 24th of July last, in the Night Time, and taking thence a Suit of Cloaths, a Hat, a Pair of Sheets, and four Napkins.
Richard Lynn, about 24 Years of Age, descended of honest but poor Parents, had a tolerable good Education, altho' brought up by the Charity of other People, in reading, writing, and instructed in the necessary Principles of Christianity. When of Age, he was put out Apprentice to an Ivory Turner , and prov'd a very unruly Servant, always stealing either from his Master and Mistress, or his Fellow Apprentices. When he was out of his Time, tho' he could earn two Shillings, or half a Crown a Day, yet he was so bewitch'd with the worst of Company, that he would not apply himself to his Business, altho' his Conscience often check'd him, and he frequently made Resolutions of Amendments; but when he came among his wicked Companions, he had neither Power nor Grace to resist their Solicitations. He attended the publick Prayers and Exhortations only two or three Days after Sentence, but lay in a Corner of the Condemn'd-Hold in a miserable Manner, and by no Means could be persuaded to rise and go up to Chappel, tho' no ways restrain'd therefrom, by Sickness, or other Impediments, for he walk'd about the Condemn'd Hold, and when he pleas'd, went to the Door to speak with his Friends, whensoever they call'd him. He was the most obstinate and obdurate Fellow I have ever met with in his Condition; and continually loitering, sleeping, and snoring on the Floor, in a most shameful Manner, where he greedily devour'd such Provision as was brought him. When Mr. Turner and the rest endeavour'd to awake him to Prayers, he curs'd them, and once swore he would stab them with a Knife. By his Behaviour he appear'd to have been craz'd and foolish. He acknowledg'd the Fact for which he died, only said that he did not take all the Things which were sworn against him; and also that he did not
break open the Door of the House; he acknowledg'd to have been very wicked in keeping bad Company which prov'd his Ruin. I exhorted him to Repentance, by representing the terrible Wrath and Vengeance which was due to obstinate and incorrigible Sinners, and frequently us'd all possible Motives to persuade him to attend the publick Worship of God, but nothing could prevail, yet he declar'd himself penitent for his Sins, that he died in Peace with all Mankind, and that he believed in Christ through whose Merits he hop'd to be sav'd. Two or three Days before he died, he behaved himself with a more even Temper and Calmness in the Hold than he had done before.
SARAH GRIFFITHS, of St. Ann's Westminster, was indicted for Felony and Burglary, in breaking open a Box in the House of Daniel Turner, and taking thence a Silver Spoon, value 10 s. five Gold Rings, and 49 l. in Money on the 13th of September last, the Property of Daniel Turner aforesaid.
Sarah Griffiths, was as she said, 30 Years of Age, born at Bewly in Worcestershire, of mean Parents, her Father left her young, and her Mother took care of educating her at School, so that she understood the first Principles of Christianity indifferently well; when she was 14 or 15 Year old she went to Service, and was a faithful and laborious Servant , and had some Sense of Religion upon her Spirits, having several Times receiv'd the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Country, (before she came to London) about 7 or 8 Years ago, after she had committed the Robbery aforesaid, she fled to Worcestershire with Mr. Turner's Money, which she squander'd away most extravagantly upon Cloaths and luxurious living; she declar'd that she had always liv'd soberly and religiously, free from Whoring, Drinking, and Swearing, Vices generally incident to Women who are guilty of thieving, this being the first Crime she ever committed; she said it was a violent Temptation of the D - l, without thinking of the great Sin and Danger, which prompted her to commit such a vile Action; but the first who put it in her Head was a Woman who lodg'd in the House, who persuaded her with much Reluctancy to rob her Master, no doubt but in Hopes to get some of the Booty, in which she was disappointed, for Griffiths spent it all in fine Cloaths, &c. which now (as they writ from the Country to her) are sequester'd by the Lord of the Mannor, at least in his Hands, excepting one or two Guineas, and four of the Rings which her Master hath recover'd, the fifth Ring she having given it away to a Friend of hers a Shoe-maker. The Judgement of God was visibly seen upon her, for altho' she had stolen above 50 l. by the time she was taken, which was about four or five Weeks after, it was almost all wasted and spent in a luxurious Manner. While under Sentence she dispos'd of all her Cloaths for Necessaries of Life; and when she was recover'd from her Sickness, she was forced to be naked in the Hold with an old clouted Matt about her, which kept her from publick Worship, till within two or three Days of her Execution, when a Woman brought her a few of her own old Cloaths; she commended her Master and Mistress as good and kind People to her, in being so careful of her in her Sickness, a very short Time before she robb'd them. She acknowledg'd her great Ingratitude and Baseness in committing that Fact, and some Days before she died, express'd a great Desire to see them, to beg Pardon for the Injury and Injustice she had done them; she declar'd herself sorry and penitent for her Sins, that she heartily forgave the Injuries done her, as she expected Forgiveness from God, and that she believed in Jesus Christ our Lord, thro' whose Merits she expected eternal Life and Salvation.
N. B. The Silver Spoon in the Indictment, she said, she did not take, and as for the Money, she did not think there was so much of it, but added withal, that she never counted it.
At the Place of Execution,
THEY all behav'd with great seriousness and apparent Devotion, and had nothing to add to their former Confessions. When publick Prayers were ended, John Turner desir'd me to pray for him, he not having been able to stand to hear by reason of a violent Sickness upon him. I recommended him and the rest, to God by fervent Prayer, and concluded. They died, praying to God and crying to Jesus Christ to receive their Spirits. Johnson, the false Coiner, died in his Shroud, having been drawn from Newgate in a Sledge to the Place of Execution.
This is all the Account given by me,