THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words OF THE MALEFACTORS, Who were Executed at TYBURN, ON FRIDAY the 21st of October, 1743.
Number IV. For the said YEAR.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jail-delivery of Newgate, held (before the Rt. Hon. ROBERT WILLIMOTTE, Esq; Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Hon. Mr. Justice Burnet; the Hon. Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Recorder; and Others, his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer for the City of London, and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Thursday and Friday, the 19th and 20th of May, and in the 16th Year of his Majesty's Reign.
At the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jail-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Hon. Robert Willimotte, Esq; Lord-Mayor of the City of London ; the Right Hon. the Lord Chief Baron Parker; the Hon. Mr. Baron Abney; the Hon. Mr. Justice Wright; and the Hon. Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Recorder of London; and Others, his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer for the City of London, and Justices of Jail-delivery of Newgate, for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 29th and 30th of June, and the 1st of July, and in the 17th Year of his Majesty's Reign.
At the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jail-delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Hon. Robert Willimotte, Esq; Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Right Hon. Lord Chief Justice Wills; the Hon. Mr. Justice Dennison; the Hon. Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Recorder of London, and Others,
his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer for the City of London, and Justices of Jail-delivery, of Newgate, for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice-hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th of September, and in the 17th Year of his Majesty's Reign.
While under Sentence, they were seriously exhorted, to consider their Ways, and turn their Feet unto God's Testimonies; to think upon their natural Corruption, that we are all conceived in Sin, and brought forth in Iniquity, and from this original Guilt, proceed all the innumerable Sins of our Lives, whether of Omission or Commission, neglect of Duty, and actually sinning against a good and gracious God, who is daily loading us with his Benefits, although we are most unthankful, and make no suitable Returns for his infinite Blessings and Mercies.
They were instructed in the principal Christian Grace and Virtue; Faith in Christ, upon whom alone they were to rely for Life and Salvation, seeing there is no other Name under Heaven among Men, whereby we must be saved, but the Name of Jesus, and Him crucified; and says our Saviour, God so loved the World, that He gave his only beloved Son for the World, that whosoever believeth in Him, might not perish, but have eternal Life: And again, This is Life eternal to know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. And, as we must thus believe in Christ, with that Faith which worketh by Love, bringing forth manifold Fruits unto new Obedience, Holiness and Virtue; so we must of Necessity repent of all our Sins, as the Apostle exhorteth, Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your Sins may be blotted out, when the Times of refreshing shall come from the Presence of our Lord: And our Saviour expresly says, Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
They being convicted of Theft and Robbery, were instructed, how contrary such wicked Practices are to all the Rules of Justice and Equity, and that they proceed either from Malice or Covetousness. The malicious Man desires to work his innocent Neighbour Mischief, though he get Nothing by it for himself, as is too often seen. Men make Havock and Spoil of the Goods of one, to whom they bear a Grudge, though they design not to get any thing by it, but propose only the Pleasure of venting their Spite on the other. This is an hellish Humour, like the Devil, who bestows all his Pains and Industry, not to do any Good to himself, but only to ruin and undo others; how contrary this is to Justice and Equity, appears from the Command given by God to the Jews, If thou meet thine Enemies Ox, or his Ass, going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again: If thou see the Ass of him that hateth thee lying under his Burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him:
Exod. xxiii. 45. Where we see it is a Debt we are made to owe to our Enemies, to prevent that Loss and Damage, which by any Accident he is in danger of, and that even with some Labour and Pains to ourselves: The other Motive to practising this Sins is, Covetousness; he that is unjust for greed of Gain, is like to multiply more Acts of this Sin, than he that is so out of Malice; as it is not possible for any Man to have so many Objects of his Malice, as he may have of his Covetousness, no Man having so general a Malignity as to hate every body; but the covetous Man hath as many Objects of his Vice, as there be Things in the World he esteems valuable. This being the great Vice that led them into the Crimes they suffered for, was insisted on, to bring them into a perfect sight and deep sense of their Sin, and consequently into a sincere Repentance for the same.
They were also made to understand the Benefits of the Christian Sacraments, that all of us are early Dedicated to God in Baptism, to deny all Ungodliness and worldly Lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in a present, evil World; and these Obligations they having in innumerable Instances broken, by their scandalous, wicked Lives, they were seriously exhorted to think upon partaking in the blessed Sacrament of our Lord's last Supper, wherein the Body and Blood of Christ are represented and exhibited to us in a visible and lively Manner; for as Bread and Wine nourish our Bodies outwardly for support of the natural Life, so the Body and Blood of Christ applyed to our Souls by a true and lively Faith, do certainly feed our Souls to eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord. And to prepare them for this glorious Feast; they were advised to examine themselves, if they had an Interest in the new Covenant of Grace, if Christ was formed in them, which they might know by their hatred of Sin, by their sincere Love to God and Christ, and by a firm Resolution of Obedience to God's Holy Laws and Ordinances, To the Law and to the Testimony, if it speak not according to this, it is, because there is no Light in them. I . viii. 20.
While thus, and in many other Particulars, they were instructed, they attended in Chapple, and were attentive to Prayers and Exortations: William Brown was under Sentence five or six Weeks by himself before the other two; he gave punctual Attendance, gave no Offence, and was very exact in compliance with divine Worship, took diligent Heed to Instructions, and to all Appearance, was serious in other religious Duties, so that we may hope he was a true Penitent. Richard Warwick gave constant Attendance, but was young, and not so much affected as he ought to have been. John Head came to Chapple a few Days, was quiet and attentive, but was in a bad state of Health; he had been a hard-working Man, and scarce understood any thing of Religion, and on a sudden, he fell so very sick of the Jail-Distemper, that on Sunday Morning the 10th of July, he expired, lock'd up in the Cell by himself. John Bunn, and Joseph Leach, tho' but 14 and 15 Years old, yet behav'd very decently, Leach could not read, but Bunn made
regular Responses with the rest; they did not know much, and were instructed as the Time allowed. James Hanns behaved Christianly and with Submission. Joseph Lewin, and Margaret Stansbury were attentive to Prayers and Exhortations, and its to be hoped they had a true Faith in Christ. All of them were much more decent than many of these unfortunate Creatures are.
Upon Thursday the 13th of October, Report was made to their Excellencies the Lords Justices of the Realm, of the seven Malefactors lying under Sentence of Death in the Cells of Newgate; when William Brown, of St. Paul, Covent Garden, for stealing one Linnen Handkerchief, value 18 d. the Goods of Robert Tracey, Esq ; privately from his Person, May 5th: Richard Warwick, of St. George, in Middlesex, with John Bunn, and Joseph Leach, not then taken, for assaulting James Fennel on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 1 s. a Perriwig, value 2 s. and 16 s. in Money, the Goods and Money of James Fennel, from his Person, and against his Will, June 21. He was also tried and found guilty for stealing two Linnen Table Cloths, 10 Towels, 1 Linnen Cloth, value 6 d. 1 Linnen Sheet, value 2s. 6d. and 1 pair of worsted Stockings, value 12 d the Goods of Nicholas Cunliff, June, 23. He was also tried on another Indictment, with two others, of St. Paul Shadwell, for stealing a Copper Boiler, value 7 s. the Goods of John Rowe, May 29, of this he was acquitted, but the other guilty of Felony, received his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve.
John Head, who was convicted capitally at the Sessions in June last, having died in the Cells a few Days after his Conviction, we shall give of him the following brief Account, as delived by himself before his last Sickness seized him.
John Head, otherwise Offley and Francis Painter, of Enfield, were indicted for stealing two Cows, value 6 Pounds, the Goods of Sir Henry Parker, Bart. and two Cows, value 8 l. the Property of Thomas Inwood, Esq ; May 9.
John Head, otherwise Offley, and Francis Painter, were a second Time indicted for stealing two Heifers, value 5 Pounds, the Goods of John Harvey, and 1 Heifer, value 4 Pounds, the Property of William Crew, May 9. Upon the first they were acquitted; upon the 2d Indictment, Head was found Guilty. Painter acquitted of both.
John Head, 40 Years of Age, born 4 Miles from Barnet, in the Hertford Road; his Father was a Farmer, and bred his Son John in the same Way, who lived in like Manner with the Father, as a Farmer and Husbandman ; he had no Education at School, and could neither read nor write. In the preceeding Part of his Life, he was honest, and of a good Character; as for the crime he was to have suffered for, as he was pleased to say, he sold this Heifer for another Man gone
down to Yorkshire, where, however, no such Person can be found, and all this seems to be a Fiction, and a faint excuse for his Roguery, which is at the same Time no way probable.
John Head came often to Town with Cattle, Sheep, Corn and Hay to market, and wrought for any body, whatever they gave him orders for, and did whatever they had to do; he behaved well when in Chapel, the few Times he came to it, and not having been taught to read or write, neither going much to Church, but being a profane Man, and contemner of Religion, he was grosly ignorant. He had a Wife and six Children, and likewise a poor Parish Child, for whom, they gave him a Sum of Money, betwixt ten and twelve Pounds to keep it, and this, with his own Children are still living with his Wife. No body came after him, the Wife living at a distance in the Country, and having so great a Charge; he still insisted he knew not that the Heifer was stolen, but if longer Time had been granted him, by Divine Providence, it is like he might have made more clear Confessions. He fell desperately sick of a Fever, for four or five Days, and upon Sunday Morning, as it was thought by his fellow Sufferers in the next Cells, he expired, being all alone without any Company, (as is usual to those Persons, under his unhappy Misfortune) and about eight or nine o'Clock when the several Doors of the aforesaid Cells were opened, they found him Dead in his Bed.
James Hanns, was Indicted for assaulting Richard Cole on the Highway, puting him in fear, and taking from him a Silver Watch, value 40 s. one Guinea in gold, and 20 s. in Silver, the Property of Richard Cole, July the 9th.
He was a Second Time Indicted, for assaulting John Pierson on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Silver Watch, value 40 s. half a Guinea in Gold, and three Shillings and six pence in Silver, the Property of John Pierson, July the 9th. This Evidence was almost alike with the former, and he was also found guilty of this Indictment. Death.
1. James Hanns, 39 or 40 Years of Age, born in Somersetshire, had good Education at School, to Read, Write and cast Accompts, and was instructed in Christian Faith, when of Age, he did not go to any Trade, for his Father being a considerable Farmer , he also followed that way of Business; he married a Wife, by whom he has several Children now living; he then rented a Farm for himself, for which he annually paid 250 l. whereby he maintained himself and Family in a reputable manner, and was at that Time reckoned worth a Thousand Pound; but Business not answering his expectation, and having sustained several Losses, thought of changing his Place of residence, and thereupon resolved within himself to come nearer to London, which he some Years ago accordingly did, with his Wife, three Sons and Daughter, the eldest of whom is about 17 Years of Age, and the youngest doth not exceed 7, whom are now living. He kept the Crown Ale-House at Lessen-Green, near Paddington, and with that also a pretty little Farm, and in these two Ways he made a Comfortable Living, for himself and Family, so that had he been
spared, as he said, they were in a very good middling Way of Business, and might have done very well, beginning to recover his Losses, and having very good Business in his Publick-house; but what ruins all of them, had the same Effect upon Hanns, for he grew acquainted with, and haunted vicious, idle Company, who immediately hurried him to his Destruction; for they took him to rob on the Highway, and this entailed inevitable Disgrace and a shameful Catastrophe upon him. He insisted, that he was a sober Man, and not given to Debauchery, kept to going to the Church regularly with his Family, and sometimes received the holy Sacrament. He did not plainly confess the Robberies he died for, though it cannot be doubted but he was the Man that committed them, for both the Prosecutors swore to his Face, it being committed in the Sun-shine Time of the Day, and Hanns having no Crape or Mask upon his Face, so that it can scarce be supposed they were in any Mistake; they did swear to another Robber who was on the opposite side of the Chaise, but his Face they could not swear to, being covered with a Crape: they threatened both the Persons in a desperate Manner, holding their Pistols to their Ears, and putting them in a terrible Consternation. These two Robberies were done in one Day, at one Time, and the two Men being in one Chair, in which they went out together for an Airing. Hanns received the blessed Sacrament sometimes in a devout Manner, and encouraged some of the rest to take it with him. He behaved Decently and Christianly, and it is to be hoped he died in the true Faith of Christ, repenting sincerely of all his Sins, and died in Peace with all Mankind.
Joseph Lewin, late of the Parish of West-Ham, in the County of Middlesex, Labourer , was indicted, for, That whereas, at a Sessions of Oyer and Terminer, held at Chelmsford, in the County of Essex, on Thursday the 11th Day of March, in the 13th Year of his present Majesty, with Force and Arms, in the said Parish, in the said County, sixty-four Yards of Cloth made of Linnen, Cotton, and Yarn mixed, of the Value of 6 l. the Goods and Chattels of one Richard Cross, out of the Whitening Grounds of Peter Bobin, and Simon Bordeaux, did feloniously steal, &c. That to this Indictment he pleaded Guilty, put himself upon the Mercy of the Court, and received Sentence of Transportation for the Term of seven Years, according to the Form of the Statute, in that Case made and provided, as by the Record does more fully appear; and the Indictment charges him, that afterwards, viz. Upon the 7th Day of August, in the 17th Year of his present Majesty, feloniously, and without any lawful Cause, he was seen at large in Great-Britain, to wit, in the Parish of St. Botolph, without Aldgate, in London, before the Expiration of the Term of seven Years, for which he was ordered to be transported; against the Form of the Statute, and against his Majesty's Peace, his Crown, and Dignity.
2. Joseph Lewin, 27 Years of Age, born towards Bow, of honest, mean Parents, who gave him good Education at School, to read, write, and cast Accompts to fit him for Business, and instructed him in Christian Principles, though its to be feared that he minded too little. When of Age, he was put out to a Printer of Callicoes ; he served his Time, but not compleatly, being a perverse, disobedient, evil-disposed Boy, and falling in with bad Company, took to thieving and stealing, by which means he contracted such vicious Habits, that it was next to an Impossibility to eradicate them; being averse to all Industry and working; he could not be confined to his Trade, but getting in with the Gangs of Thieves, Pickpockets, and infamous Women plying about Wapping, Shadwell, Stepney, Bow, &c. where he was best acquainted, being abandoned to all Vices, gave himself up to all Manner of Wickedness, stealing, thieving, picking Pockets, drinking, spending his Time idlely and unprofitably, cursing, swearing and blaspheming; disobeying his Parents, despising every Thing that's good, neglecting the Ordinances of God, never going to Church, where we have the Means of of Salvation; and thus forsaking God, God left him to himself, and he became a Reprobate to every good Word and Work; lost all Credit and Character. And having stolen and embezelled some Things of his Master, he was confined sometime in Newgate; from whence, at last getting his Freedom, he sculk'd about the skirts of the Town; then went down to Essex, where following his old Trade of a Thief, he stole a Web of Cloth or Stuff, of 64 Yards, for which he was taken up, convicted, and transported for seven Years; the Sentence of Transportation was prov'd, and that he was seen at large in Great-Britain, the Term of seven Years not being expired; for which Crime, according to the Act of Parliament made to that Effect, he received Sentence of Death, and was accordingly executed.
Joseph Lewin gave Account of himself, that somewhat more than 2 Years ago, he was transported to Merryland, where a very rigid, severe Master purchased him, who beat him cruelly and unmercifully: Joseph unacquainted with and not willing to bear such hard Treatment, was desirous of a Change, and it happened, that a Widow Gentlewoman of Pensilvania wanting a Servant, was pleased to buy Joseph of his hard Task-Master; with this Widow, Lewin liv'd in a better Agreement, for she treated him very gently, and they were in very good Terms; he gave the Widow good Words, and she was mighty kind to him. He owned that he had been very wicked, but faithfully promised all Obsequiousness and Observance for the future; accordingly, they made it up, and were actually married; the Gentlewoman had 7 or 8 Children, all well provided for, who constantly upbraided her Mother for marrying a transported Thief; yet Joseph being married, his Wife gave him a pretty large Estate in Land, with a good many Blacks to cultivate it; being ill-provided in Cloaths, she gave him 25 l. to buy some; Lewin went to Philadelphia, but instead of
equipping himself, so as to make a little Appearance, he associated with the vilest, and most infamous People of the Place, squandered away his Money prodigally, in Drinking, and other Debaucheries, and then he was ashamed to return to his Wife. He then entered on board a Ship, which, as they gave out to him, was bound to New-England, and from thence, to Leith in Scotland; but their first Landing was in the Thames, and Joseph finding himself at Home again, came straight to London, to a poor old Father; after which he was apprehended, as before related.
His Mother-in-law came to visit him sometimes while under Sentence; but the Father was like to die of Grief and Sorrow, and Poverty, but mostly thro' his Concern for his unfortunate, wicked Son.
Notwithstanding this Account he gave of his foreign Marriage, yet, while he was under Sentence, a poor young Woman came often to the Press-yard Door to see him, solemnly declaring they were married, and that she living in and about Rag-fair, kept three Children whom she had by him, in great Misery and Distress; this Marriage he at first denied, alledging, they only had lived for some time together; but being afterwards press'd to declare the Truth, he own'd they were married, adding withal, what does it signify? I was married to several Wives.
He behaved while under Sentence, tollerably well, professing Repentance, and it is to be hoped, he died a true Penitent. He owned the justice of his Sentence, according to Law, and that he suffered most deservedly, for an abandoned, vicious Life. He believed in CHRIST our only Saviour, repented of all his Sins, and forgave all Men, as he expected Forgiveness from God.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
THE Day before they died, they, with Mrs. Stansbury, Wm. Brown, and another of the Criminals, received the Sacrament of our blessed Lord's last Supper, with great Devotion; and these who were to die, solemnly declared, they had no more to add to their former Confessions.
The Morning of their Execution, they came betimes to Chappel, and behaved seriously and devoutly at Prayers and Exhortations; and afterwards, the two Criminals were ordered down, and put into one Cart, and convey'd to the Place of Execution.
Both of them, when they came there, appeared deeply concerned, serious and devout; they were very attentive to Prayers, and desired to sing a Psalm, which was accordingly done suitable to their Circumstances. Being asked again, if they had any more to say, both of them answered, they had declared what was needful. Mr. Hanns was asked particularly, if he knew any Thing of the Murder of Mr. Misobin at Marybone? He answered, He could not know any Thing of that, since, at the Time the said Gentleman was murdered coming from the Illuminations and Musick in Marybone-Gardens, he knew nothing of Marybone, and was not come to live in the Neighbour
hood at the Time the Murder was committed.
Both of them, all the Time they were under Sentence of Death, behaved decently and Christianly, and in Charity, and we are bound to think, they died in the true Faith of Christ. They departed this Life, crying unto God, to have Mercy upon them, and Lord Jesus receive my Spirit, with the Proto-Martyr Stephen.
This is all the ACCOUNT,
Given by ME,
Ordinary of Newgate .
A Day or two after the Robbery was committed, one of the Persons who had lost his Watch and Money, came accidentally into the Kitchen of the George-Inn, in Piccadilly, where he found Hanns drinking. He was standing with his Hand upon the back of a Chair; and as he had his Face bare when he committed the Robbery, the Man was perfectly clear, that he was the Highwayman. He went out of the Kitchen without saying any Thing, or betraying the least Concern or Emotion; for going into the Yard, he asked for the Landlady, and when she came, demanded if she knew the Man that was leaning on the Chair. She answered, that she knew him very well by sight, but insisted upon knowing why he asked her. That Man, answered the injured Person, robb'd me and another Man, a few Days ago upon Hounslow-Heath; pray do you know where he lives? No, replied she, but I believe my Husband does. Upon this, he was called, and being made acquainted with the Affair, told the Man, that this Hanns kept the Crown Alehouse by Lisson-Green, near Paddington, where they might find him at any Time.
After some Consultation, it was resolved to defer the Thing till next Morning, which was Sunday, and then the two Persons that were robbed, and the Man who kept the George-Inn, went to Hanns's House, where they called for a Pot of Beer, which Hanns himself brought them, and having staid long enough to see and consider him attentively, they returned to Town, and going to Col. De Veil, upon their positive Swearing that Hanns was the Person who robbed them, that his Face was bare at the time of his committing the Robbery, though his Companions was covered with a Crape. The Colonel thought fit to grant them a Warrant, and to direct them to apprehend him immediately.
When they had got the Warrant, they went to a Constable with it; whereupon, they all returned again to Hanns's House, and as soon as they saw him, the Persons who were robbed, told the Constable, that was his Prisoner, meaning Hanns; upon which, he was very
much surpriz'd; and when he had recovered himself of it, he slipp'd his Hand into one of his Pockets, and convey'd something to his Wife, and she immediately run up Stairs with it, and the Constable after her; but she having a better pair of Heels, got into the Room, and locked the Door after her; but Curiosity led the Constable to look through a Crevis, and there saw her put something into a Chest of Drawers, and then locked it up; and it is supposed, were those Watches which he took from Passengers, that Day he and his Companion robbed on Hounslow-Heath, for they did commit several Robberies that Day; and amongst them they had a Gold Watch or two. When they brought him to Town, they carried him before Col. De Veil, and after an Examination of some Time, the Colonel committed him to Newgate, and was tried in September Sessions, where he met with his just Deserts.
The following Letter James Hanns sent to Colonel De Veil.
I Hearing that a Person is sent to Prison concerning the Robbing of Pearson and his Friend; this is to inform you, that he knows nothing of the Thing, for here I have sent one of the Watches, and would have wrote before, but my Companion is gone to Sea with the other; but as soon as ever I see him again, the other shall be sent in the like Manner; so, I desire your Worship to send this to the Owner, and you'll oblige,
Your Humble Servant,
I Sent your Watch to Justice De Veil, and desired him to send it to you; I sent it by the Penny-Post, for it came from Bristol, and I told him, that you should have your Friend's Watch the same Way as he had that, for my Partner is gone to Sea, and as soon as he comes Home, you shall be sure of the other. I am sorry you have sent the wrong Man to Prison, for I assure you he is not Guilty of the Robbery you have laid to his Charge, and desire you to call upon the Justice for it, as soon as you receive this, if you have not got it.
From your unknown Friend, And Servant.
The following short Prayer, Hanns read in the Cart as he was going to the Place of Execution.
I Am going to appear before the living God; I trust in his Mercy, that he will forgive all my Sins committed to this last Moment of my Life. God is just in all his Judgements, and I accept of this Death as the Punishment of all my Iniquities. I forgive all my Enemies, and hope, through a hearty Repentance, and the Mercy of my Saviour to obtain Mercy.
Have Mercy on me, O Father of Mercy, and thro' thy only Son, forgive me all my Sins.
A short Exhortation of JOSEPH LEWIN, to all Young Persons, more especially those of his own Business, to deter them from such vicious Courses, which at first contribute to, and at length terminated in his own final Ruin and Destruction.
THe many Snares and Temptations which your juvenile Years are expos'd to, and the natural Bent and Propensity of your own Hearts to that which is Evil, are sufficient Arguments to induce me at this Time, to write something by way of Caution and Advice, to such of you, who are either now inconsiderately travelling on in the Paths of Death, or to others again, who thro' Blindness and Inexperience, are about to step therein. As I am myself a fearful Instance, of the Truth of what I am about to recommend to you, I am the rather persuaded it will have the more Weight, with all those whose Eyes are far opened, as to behold Things as they are in themselves, divested of those false Colourings, and borrowed Ornaments, wherein they usually betray and delude the Unwary. I remember well, that when I first turned aside from the Paths of Honesty and Regularity, I purposed with myself not to wander far; but no sooner had I set my Foot in this fatal Way, but all Thoughts of retreating back again was banished my Mind, I found myself presently hurried to the Summit of Licentiousness, and from thence cast down with an Irresistable Precipitancy.
Let me therefore entreat those of you, my Friends, who are now engaged, as I was once, in seeking Happiness in forbidden Tracts, to return 'ere it be found too late, for be assured, that although Wickedness has many Ways, yet she has but one End, and a Continuance therein, however delightful they may seem, will inevitably lodge you in the Jaws of Misery and Distress. With Respect to my own Experience, in the
Ways of Sin, I must needs confess, I met with nothing but continual Sorrow, Uneasiness, and at last, Death itself; and if you abide therein, your Acquisition also will be found the same: But I trust, you will so far regard my friendly Admonition, by ceasing to follow my iniquitous Courses, that you may thereby happily escape my miserable End. Pray rest satisfied with that Station of Life wherein the Providence of God has placed you, and go not about, as I foolishly did, to change a better for a worse. Remember your Life consists not in the Abundance of the Things you possess, and therefore to seek Happiness in the Creature, is to seek the Living among the Dead. Be careful and diligent in your several Vocations, studiously watching against all Manner of Idleness, and while you are labouring for the Bread that perisheth, be not unmindful of that which endureth unto everlasting Life. And let me exhort you, as a dying Friend, to be so far wise to your own eternal Interests, as to chuse for your Portion Christ, the One Thing needful; for if you get Him, it is no Matter what else you lose, and if you lose Him, it is no Matter what else you get. My Time being very short, I must conclude myself,
Oct. 9, 1743.
THIS comes with my Duty to you, hoping you are well, as I am at present, Thanks be to God for it; and this comes for to let you know of my unhappy Circumstances, which I now lay under; but I suppose you have heard of it before now. I sent you a Letter, but I have had no Answer; I hope you will bear it with Christian Patience, as I must do; if I had been ruled by you, I need not come to this unhappy Death, as I must shortly suffer; which is hard for to die for coming to my Native Place. We were told on Tuesday, the Dead-Warrant was come down, and I, and three more was in it; but afterward we found it was no such Thing; but it will be made a Friday or Tuesday next without fail. So, I hope I shall hear from you as soon as possible. Pray send the Letter by the Coach, for Money is scarce with me. Uncle, I wish you will be so good, as for to ask some of my Relations for to send me a Shirt to die in. Give my Duty to my Uncle Richard, and give my kind Love to my Cousin Binfield, and all my Cousins
in general. So no more, but I rest your living, as well as dying Cousin.
The following Letter Lewin gave to an intimate Friend of his, the Morning of his Execution.
I Return you many Thanks for your good Will towards me, in giving me your good Advice, and your Love in sending me Books. Sir, I have left your Books with a Friend, who will safely restore them to you. I hope your Prayers have been incessant for me, From,
Your dying Friend,
' I Write this to take my Leave of you ' for ever. Custom and Duty, make ' it fit for me to take my Leave of you ' in this Manner, tho' I know not what ' to say, or how to give you any Comfort; I am very sensible, the unkind ' World will be severe in its Reflections ' on you, how little soever you deserve ' them. I am Sorry to be the Occasion, ' but I trust that your Conduct will shew ' them to be groundless; I sincerely assure you, that among the many Miseries I fell, there is none that wounds ' me deeper, than the Thoughts of what ' you, though innocent, must undergo ' on my Account. I hope however you ' will have the Charity to forgive me, ' and not think hardly of me when I am ' gone, whatever ill Example you have ' had from my Life, will be be atton'd ' for by my Death. I am very soon to ' pass out of this miserable World, which ' is the only happiness I have to wish. ' All I desire of you is to take care of ' yourself and your Family, that nothing ' you do hereafter may provoke the calling to Mind my miserable End. I beg ' you to bear it Patiently. Your Affliction cannot retrieve mine, but while ' I am here will increase it. I hope your ' Friends and mine, will be kind to you, ' and not slight you on account of my ' Misfortunes, I have brought them on ' myself, and therefore I expect the less ' Pity; but as you have had no Share in ' them, I wish they may raise Compassion for you, which with every other ' Wish for your Safety and Peace here, ' and eternal Peace hereafter, is all ' from
Your distress'd and Dying Husband.
' I Am, tho' a dying miserable Wretch, ' still your Father, and therefore I ' hope you will have some Regard to ' what I say; my Follies and Crimes have ' made me Miserable, and will certainly ' bring many Reproaches upon you, ' but let not this dispirit you; if you ' are a just and honest Woman, this will ' do you no Hurt, but fall back on those ' that disturb you without a Cause, by ' mentioning Misfortunes you had no ' Share in. This is a very wicked, as ' well as very wretched World, and you ' will be exposed in it to many Temptations, but remember how I have ' Suffered by yeilding to them, and let ' the Thoughts of it keep you out of the ' Snare. Think what it is to offend God, ' and how speedily People fall from one ' Sin to another; be a dutiful Child to ' your Mother, and act so as to make ' her take Comfort in you, for the Miseries I have brought on you both; remember that all I have to bestow on ' you is a little good Advice, think that ' I steal this Time to write to you, from ' the Care of my own precious Soul, and ' from this judge, how much I am concerned for yours. Beware I say, of all ' Evil Company, and of all Shews, Fairs, ' and public Diversions, which serve only ' to lead People in your Circumstances ' into extravagant Expences, and many ' Temptations. The Miseries I fell are ' in a great Measure owing to them, and ' if you go to them, you will only expose ' yourself to the hearing those Miseries ' repeated, and yourself pointed at, for ' being the Daughter of such a one. ' And now what shall I say more, be ' honest and industrious, dutiful and ' obliging, shun Idleness, serve God, and ' obey your Mother, and the Blessing ' of God rest upon you unto your Life's ' End. These are the last Words of
Your wretched, dying, and still Loving Father,
To C – G - t,
' I Am very far from regretting your ' Escape from this melancholly Place, ' but rather wish you may always Escape ' it, tho' I doubt you will not. There ' is a fatal Necessity that urges us when ' we have once fallen into one Fact, to ' continue the Trade till we meet with ' its just Reward. If any Thing could ' reclaim a Man long, used to such a way ' of Life, it must be the Sight of an old ' Acquaintance, brought to ignominious ' Punishment, for Offences jointly committed. It is from an apprehension of ' this, that I trouble you with these ' Lines, hoping, that as I have been in
' some Measure, the Author of your ' misdeeds in my Life Time, I may be ' a means of bringing you to Repentance ' by the manner of my Death. The little ' Satisfaction you can enjoy, in your ' Way of passing your Time, must now ' & then leave you a Season for Thought, ' and then my sad Fate, and your own ' narrow Escape from it, may employ ' your Reflections. Indeed, this is the ' very best Subject you can think on, ' because it is the only one that I doubt ' can lead you to Reformation. O! were ' you sensible of the Sorrows and Agonies of a Wretch in my Condition, the ' many Miseries which here I undergo, ' and the Terrors I have of hereafter, ' the stinging Sense of Shame, Reproach ' and Infamy, which I have brought ' upon myself, and the Thoughts of ' having them all ended by a yet greater ' Misery, that of an ignominious Death, ' sure you would make a right use of that ' Liberty you now possess, and for which ' were you in my Condition, you would ' most willingly give the whole World, ' if it was in your Power to give, and ' think it a cheap Purchase. I can say ' no more, but beseech you for God's ' sake, and the sake of your Soul, let ' me prove a warning to you, leave off ' your wicked Courses, and then you ' may be as happy as I am miserable. ' Remember these are the last Words of ' your old Companion, now a condemn'd ' Malefactor, who in a few Hours must ' pass into Eternity, there to answer for ' all I have done, and which must be ' your own Case some Time or other; ' tho' I hope through God's Mercy, not ' in the same shameful way.
I am Your Sincere, wretched Friend, and hearty well wisher.
As the Danger of Bad-Houses, such as entertain ill Women, their Bullies, profess'd Pick-pockets, and Thieves, has been much talk'd off of late, and yet seem to be but indifferently understood; it is hoped the following ACCOUNT will be as kindly received, as it is honestly intended, for promoting the common safety of Mankind, and exposing the Artifices used to screen the most Notorious Offenders from Justice.
THese Houses of ill Fame, have generally three or four Women, and two or three Men, which are their Bullies to protect them, if they happen to be Detected in Picking a Gentleman's-pocket. About the Hours of Seven and Eight, these Women of the Town be
gin to set out, in order to make a Prey of any Person that looks any thing like a Gentleman; and especially, if they see him at all in Liquor: They walk by him for sometime, till they have an opportunity to speak to him; and that they don't do, till they are almost by the House where she designs to carry the Gentleman; and if he is so unfortunate to go in, he is certainly robb'd of both his Money and (if he has one about him) of his Watch; and if he misses it before he goes out of the House, and offers to make any Noise, than up comes (if he is up Stairs) one of their Bullies. Who after a Volley of Oaths, Demands, Sir, What Business have you with my Wife? The Gentleman not willing to have his Character brought into Question; and likewise for fear of being Murder'd, leaves his Money and Watch with those Wretches, to be shar'd amongst them, and glad he could get off with his Life. This is the common Practice every Evening in the Bad-houses in Fleet-street; especially, in Hanging-Sword-Alley; there is scarce a Night, but some Person or other is robb'd in these Houses. Sometimes they are afraid the Gentleman that they have us'd Ill wou'd Prosecute them; in order to find out that, there are always Runners attending at such Houses, where these Robberies are committed, to watch any Gentleman that is Robb'd, that they may come to know where he Lives; these Fellows are generally known by the Name of POSTLOLLERS, and are very often to be seen in the Evening, lolling over some of the Post's near Water-lane, Fleet-street, with Woollen Caps on their Heads; having at the same Time Wiggs in their Pockets; in this Disguise they are dress'd, in order that any Gentleman who was robb'd might not know them; and if on such Inquiries they find he is a Person that Lives in any Credit, then they are afraid of no Prosecution.
There is another noted House, as bad or rather much worse than that was in Hanging-Sword-Alley, and that is called, The Hempen-Widows Club, on Saffron-Hill, and when any Person enters into that Club, they take an Oath, to observe all the Articles of the Confederacy, amongst which are these, viz.
I. That every Member, or as many of them as shall be thought convenient by the Steward, shall be ready, on all Occasions, to swear any Thing necessary to save each other from being Scragg'd, i. e. Hanged.
II. They shall at all Times be ready to Swear themselves substantial House-Keepers, and worth a hundred Pounds, when all their Debts are Paid. In order to Bail any Member that shall be Apprehended for any Bailable Offence And,
III. If any worthy Member shall be in Confinement, for any Offence, (except Fighting or Quarrelling) they shall be allowed seven Shillings per Week, out of the Box, until they are Tried, or Discharged; and for one Week after.
The rest of these Honest Articles, are chiefly relating to Rules and Orders to be observed in the Club.
It is a great Pity, that Authority does not exert itself to suppress such Houses; or that the Constables of each Parish, in this great City, do not take more Care, and visit them oftner than they do, when they are upon their Duty. To the Credit be it spoken of the present Constables of St. Bride's Parish, and likewise to those of St. Dunstan's in the West, where those Gentlemen have spared no Dilligence to suppress such sort of Houses; and I hope the rest of the Gentlemen for the future, who serve that Office, will follow their good Examples; and if so, it would save many Gentlemen from being robb'd, if not murdered; and likewise many Tradesmen Apprentices from being Ruined.
The suppressing such infamous Houses, seems to be so necessary a Work, that I presume a few additional Observations on this Subject, may not seem tedious. By means of such Gangs, dispersed in different Corners of the Town, this Trade of Thieving and picking Pockets, is brought into such a Method, and is so well Supported, that Honest People are afraid to secure and detect Offenders. It is the Custom of these wicked Fellows, to make Examples, as they call it, of such as bring any of their Companions to the Reward due to their Crimes, which so terrifies others, that about St. Dunstan's Church formerly, and at present, about Temple-Bar, and several places in the Strand, near both the Play-Houses, towards Soho, and in St. Giles's, People are forced to be Passive, and are even obliged to Connive at the Rogueries of these Villains, to prevent their Houses from being fired, and their Persons from Danger.
By procuring this sort of Security, these Gangs are daily increas'd, for nothing fortifies young Fellows in their Resolution of taking ill Courses, so much as the Hopes and Prospect of Impunity. For say these Fellows to a Stranger, you run no great Risque, you may go on in this Way long enough before you are catch'd, and if you are taken, we shall be either strong enough to rescue you out of the Hands of the Constable, or we will get you out upon Bail, or else maintain you in Prison, and come and give Evidence for you at your Tryal. These Promises seduce wild Lads to practices they would not otherwise dare to think of; and when they are once in, they make it their Business to seduce others, that by strengthening the Society, they may be the more safe themselves, and of this there are frequent, I might say Daily Examples.
But if by a Presentment of the Grand Jury, or some other legal and effectual Method, the Quarters of these Plunderers could be beaten up, and such Houses be entirely destroyed, by punishing
those who keep them in an exemplary Way, the Consequence would be that these Gangs must dissolve, and every Rogue shift for himself, which he could not long do, for then as it is every Body's Duty, so every Body would be willing to detect and bring them to Justice. These Hints are most humby submitted to the Wisdom of better Judges, and all I shall Subjoin further is, that as the Facts before-mentioned are not certain only, but notorious, it seems to be more than Time that they were taken Notice of, for as the Winter comes on, we shall otherwise have the public Streets so infected, that we can scarce expect to walk them in any Safety, after it is once Dark. And how great an Inconvenience! how just a Reproach, this would be to the Justice of the Nation, I leave every intelligent Reader to judge.