THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors, who were executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 16th of this Instant November, 1730.
AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable Sir Richard Brocas, Knt . Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Raymond; the Hon. Mr. Justice Denton; the Hon. Mr. Baron Cummins; Mr. Serjeant Raby, Deputy Recorder of the said City; and others his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer for the City of London, and Justices of Gaol-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, being the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 19th of October 1730, in the fourth Year of his Majesty's Reign.
Seven Men, viz. George Beavis, Humphry Belmosset, James Bryan, alias Brien, alias O Bryen, Robert Johnson, Hugh Morris, Thomas Rivers, and James Rogers, were by the Jury found guilty of capital Offences, and receiv'd Sentence of Death.
They having been most wild and extravagant Youths, I represented to them the Beauty and Excellency of Virtue, in the Nature of the thing itself, and in the excellent Fruits and Consequences thereof: I shew'd them; that God is the Archetype of all Virtue and Goodness, from whom the same flows and shines forth in the Creature, as faint Emanations of Heat and Light diffuse themselves, from the glorious Body of the Sun, to the various Species of Animals, upon this terrestrial Globe. This lets us see, that Virtue is elegible, because of its Author God, in whom all Perfections are to be found either virtually or eminently, and the Creature possess'd of those Rays of the Divinity, is in so far Partaker of the divine Nature. This makes them who are thus dignify'd, compos'd in their Minds, uniform in their Intentions, consistent in their Proposals, constant in their Resolutions, regular in their Actions, reasonable and unshaken in their whole Tenor and Course of Life. And hence it is, that the virtuous and religious Person is justly esteem'd by all Mankind; yea, even those Persons who are void of Virtue themselves, admire it in others. And as it draws Respect from our Fellow Creatures, so it carries its Reward in its own Bosom, reflecting a pleasant Serenity of Mind, and peaceable Tranquility of Conscience, which passeth all Understanding. Of this the Apostle speaks, 2. Cor. 1. 12. For our Rejoycing is this, the Testimony of our Conscience, that with Simplicity and godly Sincerity, not with fleshly Wisdom, but by the Grace of God, we have had our Conversation in the World. This is the Reward of Virtue in this Life, besides a Crown of everlasting Glory superadded in the Life to come. Rom. 2. 6, 7, 10, 11. Who will render to every Man according to his Deeds: To them, who by patient Continuance in well-doing, seek for Glory, Honour, and Immortality; eternal Life: But Glory, Honour and Peace, to every Man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For there is no respect of Persons with God.
From this I took Occasion to represent unto them what a bad choice they had made; that whereas, they had been early Dedicated to God in their Baptismal Vows; They, by following their own wicked Courses, and vicious Inclinations, had devoted themselves to the Service of Sin, and Satan, and to Work all Manner of uncleanness with greediness, &c. I exhorted them to consider from whence they had fallen, and to endeavour in the Short remaining Part of their Time, allow'd them by the lenity of their lawful Superiors, to repair the great loss they had sustain'd, and to be importunate at the Throne of Grace, that God, by his special Grace, and out of his infinite Goodness, for the Sake of Christ, might be pleased to cure the Wound their Souls had received, and to make up the vile dishonour, and reproach brought upon them. I comforted them with the Promises of the Gospel, and encouraged them against Despair, by exhorting them to throw themselves over upon the Mercy of God in Christ; since God had declar'd, yea proclaim'd himself, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. - The Lord, the Lord God, merciful, and gracious, long-Suffering, and abundant in Goodness, and Truth; keeping Mercy for Thousands, forgiving Iniquity, Transgression, and Sin; and who will by no Means clear the Guilty, &c.
I instructed them in the Nature of the Christian Sacraments; and told them, that it was adviseable for them to partake in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as a commemoration of Christ's Death, and Sufferings, as a Pledge of everlasting Life, and as a proper preparative to dispose them, for entring upon that eternal Kingdom of Glory, prepared for the Saints in Light.
When these, and many more proper Instructions were administer'd; they all came to Chappel, and comply'd with the Prayers, and were attentive to the Exhortations; but they were far from that serious Disposition, which was necessary for Men upon the Brink of Eternity, having been so Prophane, that sometimes they laugh'd in Time of Divine Service, although indeed Rivers, and Beavis always behaved gravely, for what I could observe. O Brian was of the Romish Profession, kept the Chappel, and made regular Responses with the rest, till at last they sent some-body to him in Disguise, who indoctrinated him otherways, and then he came but seldom, but when he came, he outwardly comply'd with our Worship. Beavis, and Morris were much afflicted with Sickness, and also Belmosset, although his Disease was rather Poverty: They all profess'd Penitence, and were desirous of Prayers, when I visited them. When the Dead Warrant came out, they appeared to be much more concern'd, and a sensible Alteration was visible in their Countenances.
On Thursday the 12th of November, the Report of the above-nam'd seven Malefactors, under Sentence of Death in Newgate, was made to his Majesty in Council: When George Beavis, of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, for feloniously stealing 145 Guineas, 15 Broad Pieces, three twenty Shilling Pieces, a four Pistole Piece, 2 Watches, divers Gold Rings, a Silver Tobacco Box, and other Goods, in the Dwelling-house of Samuel Gillum, the 8th of September last; James Rogers and Humphrey Belmosset, of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, for assaulting John Broom, in a common Passage, call'd Rose-Alley, near the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Cloth Coat, val. 40 s. a Hat, value 2 s. and 12 s. in Money, the 8th of January last, receiv'd his Majesty's most Gracious Reprieve. The remaining Four, viz. James Bryan, alias Brien, alias O Brian, Robert Johnson, Hugh Morris, and Thomas Rivers, were order'd for Execution.
Hugh Morris, Robert Johnson, James Brian, alias O Brian, of St. Mary le Savoy, were indicted for assaulting Jane Kidd on the King's Highway, putting her in fear of her Life, and taking from her one Gold Ring set with Diamonds, value 15 l. 15 s. one Diamond Ring, value 4 l. one Gold Ring set with a Ruby, value 3 l. one other Ring set with a Garnet and with Diamonds, other Goods, one Guinea, and 6 s. 6 d. in Money, the 18th of July last.
They were all three of them indicted a 3d Time, for assaulting and robbing Abraham Reynardson, Esq ; and taking from him a silver hilted Sword, a Gold Watch, a Gold Headed Cane, and 6 s. in Money, the 16th of July last.
Hugh Morris, with another of St. Martin's in the Fields, was indicted a 4th Time, for breaking the House of Margaret Walton, in the Night-time, and stealing 41 linnen Aprons, and 40 silk Handkerchiefs, the Goods of Elizabeth Justee, the 12th of June last.
Hugh Morris, 17 Years of Age, his Father was once a creditable Shop-keeper in Drury-Lane, and gave him good Education at School, in Reading English, Latin, Writing and Arithmetick, to fit him for Business, and instructed him in the Christian Religion. He was not put out to a Master, when of Age, but his Father having been a Sworn Appraiser, he did Business for him in the Shop , and (as he said) went frequently to the Country upon his Father's Commission, and attended his Affairs in several Places. After his Father's Death, which happen'd about two Years ago, and who fail'd in his Business and left it in Disorder, his Mother put him out Apprentice to an Upholsterer , but having got Acquaintance, he soon was wearied of close Imployment, joyn'd himself to bad Company and stopt at no Extravagancies. He said that his total Ruin was owing to some Places about Chick-Lane, where numbers of the vilest miscreants, Street-Robbers, Thieves, Pick-Pockets, House Breakers, Shop-lifters, and other Monsters of Wickedness, meet in great Companies; and there they Drink and Carouse in a most intemperate manner; then (having got Musicians of their own Kidney) they fall a dancing, Singing, Squeaking and Crying out like so many Pigs and Geese; and often as drink comes in, wit going out, they fall a fighting, beating and tearing one another. In such Hell fire Clubs, where nothing but Blasphemous Oaths and horrid imprecations can be heard, their Money being all spent, then they take themselves to their consultations, about what is proper next to be done, and being in a merry, though diabolical Mood, the advices they give to one another are agreeable to the villainous dispositions of the Person; for the result of all their Deliberations is to go out upon no Purchase, no Pay. Then, as they find the most agreeable Humours, they go out in Pairs, Threes, Fours, Fives, Sixes, &c. like so many little, unchain'd D - ls out of the infernal Pit, upon Satan's Messages, at a dark Hour, about the Works of Darkness, to do mischief to Mankind, to Plunder and Destroy all that come in their Way, and like the D - I to go about seeking whom they may Devour. Here it was in this worthy train, he contracted an intimacy with the two Evidences, who (as he said) advis'd him, and Johnson and O Brien to go out as Partners with them in Robbing and Thieving; which Advice they had not the grace to Reject, but willingly embracing the same, they went out with a Resolution of commencing furious and undaunted Street-Robbers, but all the three were soon cropt in the Bud, Providence not suffering them to continue in this Way above two Months, about the end of which time they were taken up, and brought to answer for their Miscarriages. Morris gave me a Paper containing some of their chief Robberies. On a Sunday-night, they stopt a Gentleman near Bloomsbury-Square, but the Gentleman drew a Sword and would have kill'd Morris, had he not shot a Pistol to Surprize him, and then the Gentleman made such a noise, the Watch being near, that they were fain to take themselves to their Heels. Next they stopt a Man in Long-Acre, and took the Buckles out of his Shoes, but finding them to be Brass, they broke and threw them away. The same Night they Robb'd a Man lying asleep in Carnaby Street, of his Hat and two Shillings, the Man awaking they went off. The next was a Man in New Bond-Street, from whom they took a black Box, his Hat, aud some other small Things, and left him. On a Tuesday-night, they stopt a Coach in King-Street, and took one stone Ring with 5 Sparks, the middle Stone being out, a Brass Mourning Ring, half a Guinea and 3 Shillings in a Green Purse. The same Night they stopt a Coach in Shug-Lane, and took a plain Gold Ring, and one with 3 Sparks, and a Crown in Money One Friday-night, they stopt a Gentleman in Holbourn, and took from him a Gold Watch his Silver-hilted Sword, a Gold-headed Cane, and 7 Shillings in Money. The same Night, they stopt a Coach in the Strand, near the Savoy Gate , and took from two Gentlewomen, 4 Rings, in 2 Pockets, a Guinea in Gold, some Silver, a Silver Nutmeg, and a Silver Seal, with a Griffin upon it. The two last seem to be two of the Robberies in the Indictments. There was a talking, that they had a Design of an unheard off, Impudent, Sacrilegious and Traiterous Robbery, when they went to Windsor: But all three Denied that they ever entertain'd or knew of any such Design, only they said, the other two had been saying between themselves, before they were acquainted with them, that such a thing might possibly be put in Practice. Morris laugh'd and provoked some of the rest to do so once in Chappel, for which I reproved him sharp
ly, and he behav'd always afterwards with great respect. He was much afflicted with Sickness, which greatly humbl'd him, and brought him to a deeper Sense of Religion, so that he exprest a vehement Desire to receive the blessed Sacrament. He had been a little, Impudent, Bold, Daring and a knowing Fellow, considering his Youth. He declar'd, that he believ'd in Christ, Repented of all his Sins and was in Peace with all the World.
Robert Johnson, not full 20 Years of Age, of Honest Parents; his Father having been an Officer in Drury-Lane who gave him good Education at School, to Read, Write and cast Accompts, and got him instructed in Christian Principles. When of Age, he was put to a Lock-Smith near Hanover-Square, with whom (as he said) he serv'd 5 Years and an half, and then weary of confinement, he went to Sea , and was on board one of his Majesty's Ships at the late Siege of Gibraltar, and at Spithead. He said that his Captain (a Gentleman of honour, whom he greatly commended) was very kind to him, and favour'd him with many good Advices, which he had neither Sense nor Grace to follow. He was Book'd to go to Jamaica with the same Captain again, but designedly slipt the Ship, that he might attend his lovely Company and win the Gallows to himself. He liv'd with a young Woman, who was his Father's Maid, when he died about nine Months ago, who had a Child by him while he was under Sentence, but was not Married, though he call'd her his Wife. He was profoundly idle and unwilling to Work. He idl'd away his time with wicked Company about Town, and was addicted to all manner of Vices. He was disobedient to his Parents, a Sabbath-breaker, a Swearer and Blasphemer, a Drunkard and a Whore-master, &c. in short, he was such a proficient in Wickedness, that he said he was guilty of all Sins, but unnatural Ones and Murder. Once as he was attempting to rob a Gentleman in a Street in Holbourn, the Gentleman threw him down, and would have taken him, had he not shot a Pistol by the Gentleman, which surpriz'd him so as he let him go, and then he thought fit to make the best of his way. When he was young, he pick'd and pilfer'd small things. His Company was the other two and the two Evidences, with whom he continued only two Months, till he was taken. Upon Wednesday the 11th of November, in time of divine Service, he with O'Brien, and one or two more interrupted the reading of the Psalms, for which I exclaimed, telling them, that they had no sence of God upon their Spirits, nor of the danger of Hellfire they were in, which they deserv'd for that one Wicked indiscretion, and that they merited no favour from Man. Next Day Johnson and Rogers threw the whole blame upon O' Brien, who provok'd them in contempt of our Worship, but he obstinately deny'd it, and said that they were equally guilty with him. He profess'd himself a deep Penitent, writ Letters to all those who had any grudge at him, declar'd that he believ'd in Christ his only Saviour, and died in Peace with all Mankind.
James Bryan, alias Brien, alias O Brien, near 20 Years of Age, born in Dublin, but came over to London with his Parents, when he was about a Year old. His Father put him to School, and got him taught to read and cast Accompts. When of Age, he did not go to a Trade, but follow'd his Father's Employment, who was a Plaisterer in Drury-Lane, but this Business he took no Pleasure in, and never came to understand any thing of it to Perfection, having always had his Inclinations to go abroad, in order to game and spend his Time with idle and wicked Company, and to act the Black-guard, which was his whole Delight. When wearied of an idle Life, at last with much ado he went to Service , and continu'd for some Time with a Gentleman or two, and serv'd them honestly, with the Approbation of his Masters: But soon weary of this as too settled a Way, for one of his roving Disposition, in a short Time he left his Master, and went to Sea on Board one of his Majesty's Ships , where he serv'd at the Siege of Gibraltar. When he came home from that Expedition, he serv'd a little while in another Man of War, but after his second Return, he did not incline to apply himself to any honest industrious Way for the future. When he was to set out to his last Business which soon put an End to him, he engag'd with a Mistress, a Lady of the Town, who past for his Wife, and whom he much commended for her Care of him. He went to some of those Houses about the Town, where he enjoy'd himself with his Companions, and took on the Resolution of going on the Highway with them, and this Design he put in Execution without Delay, and had the same Success with his Companions, for two Months Time put the finishing Stroke to all of them. He had never been a Thief or Robber, as he said, but during the said Time, and in Company of his Fellow sufferers and the Evidences. He said, he always disdain'd and thought it below him to commit petty Thefts, such as Pick-pocketing, &c. but thought it more becoming a manly Spirit to attack Coaches and such People as he met upon the Highway. He said, that they who upon his Trial swore in his Favour, minded not what they said in order to serve him. As to his Religion, he profess'd himself a Roman Catholick , but said he lov'd the Church of England, and would have died in our Communion, if some of his Friends had not importun'd and press'd upon him to adhere to their Faith; although one may think, he had not so much Religion as that it was worth the contending for. When he came to Chapel, he made Responses and sung Psalms with the rest, and sometimes he read in a small Manual. He was notoriously disobedient to his Parents, and one of the most perverse Boys that ever was. He believ'd himself to have been one of the most wicked young Fellows in the World, and to have been Guilty of all Sins but Murder. He was an impudent, bold young Fellow, and if he had not been prevented might have been Capable of doing much Mischief. He declar'd, that he heartily forgave all Injuries done him, and repented of his Sins. The following is a Copy of a Letter sent by him to his Father and Mother, a few Days before his Death.
Honoured Father and Mother,
THE uneasiness I give you, is more Terror to me then the thoughts of Death, but pray make your selves as easy as you can, for I hope I am going to a better Place, for God is my Refuge and my Strength, and my
helper in time of Tribulation, and pray take Care of my Brother now whilst he is Young, and make him serve God, and keep him out of bad Company; if I had served God as I ought to have done, and kept out of bad Company, I had not come to this unhappy Misfortune, but I hope it is for the good of my Soul, it is good I hope what God has at present ordained for me, for there is Mercy in the foresight of Death, and in the time God has given me to prepare for it; a natural Death might have had less Terror, for in that I might have wanted many Advantages which are now granted me. My trust is in God, and I hope he won't reward me according to my Deserts; all that I can suffer here, must have an End, for this Life is short, so are all the Sufferings of it, but the next Life is Eternal. Pray give my Love to my Sister, and desire her not to neglect her Duty to God. I hope you are all well as I am at present, I thank God.
So no more at present from your unhappy and undutyful Son,
Thomas Rivers, of St. Botolph's Aldgate, was indicted for Burglariously Breaking the House of Nicholas Fenwick, Esq ; and stealing divers pieces of Plate, to the value of 85 l. 19 s. Holland Shirts, value 20 l. and other Goods of the said Nicholas Fenwick, Esq ; the 8th of September last. Thomas Rivers, 26 Years of Age, descended of Honest Parents in Berkshire, about 50 Miles from Town. His Father was a Farmer and died, when he was but a Year old. Thus being left an Orphan, he was kept by an Uncle in the Country, and there being no School near, his Education was intirely Neglected. He applied himself to Country Work and Labour, and was put to no Trade, but as he came to Age, he left the Country and went to the City of Oxford, where, as he said, he had several very near Relations, and there he serv'd 6 or 7 Years in Coffee-houses honestly. Then he came to London, and kept himself by his former kind of Service in Coffee-houses with approbation. He married a Servant Maid, took Lodgings and liv'd a while with her, but not being able to maintain her, they both went to Service again. John Girst who was Evidence against him, and associate with him in the Robbery for which he Died, learn'd him to make Gloves, by which way of Business (as he said) he would have liv'd very well with his Wife, if he had not been drawn into the fatal Misfortune, which was his overthrow. He wept often, and sadly lamented his Ignorance, for he could neither Read nor Write. I comforted him with the Divine Promises, and told him that God would not require any more at his Hands than what was given him. He own'd his carrying away the Goods of Mr. Fenwick in Burr-street, as mention'd in the Indictment, and that he had dispos'd of some of them, and for that he beg'd Pardon of God and Man. And withal he added, that he was over persuaded by Girst, the other Person concern'd with him in the said Robbery. He said, he never had been vicious in his Life excepting this Instance. He was apparently very Penitent, not having been harden'd and obdur'd, as many of them are, but tearing and crying for his Sins. He seem'd to have been a good-humour'd Fellow, but had fallen into bad Company, which prov'd his Ruin. He declar'd his Faith in Christ, a Sincere Repentance for all his Sins, and that he heartily forgave all Men, as he expected forgiveness from God.
All of them own'd the Justice of their Sentence.
Sunday, the Day before there Execution, I receiv'd a Letter sign'd W. W. desiring to ask Thomas Rivers, If he did not take some Things, or any Money from his Master W. W. in Q - S. when he liv'd with him last Spring: he said, he did not, and made some Reflections about a Promise made him to deliver a Petition, but added, that he retain'd no Prejudice, and heartily forgave every Body.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
O'BRIAN read in a Book of his own so loud, that I was oblig'd to desire him to read lower and not to interrupt our Worship; he cried to God and Christ to receive his Soul; and also to the Saints, to Paul and Peter who has the keys of Heaven to receive his Soul. I desired him to speak to himself and worship God. He desired me to inform the World, that they had no design of executing any extraordinary wicked attempt at Windsor, as was given out. The rest had no more to add to their former Confessions, only they were willing I should make it known, that their Parents, Wives, Friends or Relations knew nothing of their Villainous enterprizes, and therefore they hop'd the World would not make any uncharitable reflections on them, upon their Account. Their design of going to Windsor, as they pretended, was to wait on and bring a Mistress of O'brian's to Town, and in that unlucky expedition; each of them had his City Mistress. They were very Serious in complying with Prayers; desir'd a Psalm to be Sung, and went off the Stage crying out, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.
This is all the Account given by me,
N. B. The farther Account of the several Robberies committed by O'Brian, will be Publish'd in Applebee's Original Weekly Journal next Saturday; with a Copy of Verses which he wrote to his Sister two Nights before his Execution.