THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, & Dying Words of the FIVE MALEFACTORS Who were executed at TYBURN On Wednesday the 17th of JUNE, 1747.
NUMBER II. For the said YEAR.
Printed for, and sold by T. PARKER, in Jewin-street, and C. CORBETT, over-against St. Dunstan's Church, in Fleet-street.
As the Welfare of every People depends in great Measure upon the good Tendency of the Actions of every particular Member; so the Detriment thereof arises from a contrary Conduct, and Behaviour of Men. Hence every Piece of Injustice, or Injury done to another, occasions a kind of Resentment in the Breast of every honest Man, and true Christian. Because, as he doubtless wills and wishes every Good to himself, and uses his best Endeavours to prevent, that any Mischief or Harm should be done him; so is be concerned for his Neighbour, that his Property in any Shape may not be ravished from him. And this Inclination is be affected with, not only out of that Respect be chooses to pay to that Golden Rule, as it is called, of willing, and doing to others, as he would they should do by himself; but because the Commands of his God are frequent to this Purpose in several Parts of his revealed Will.
On the other Hand, a Set of Men there are, as is too much experimentally found, who bound by no Obligations or Law of either Divine or Human Institution, led by no Promises to Virtue, and scared by no Threats from Vice, seem averse to all that is Good. These give a Loose to their own licentious Will, and suffer no Restraint in their evil Courses; they boggle at no Degree of Wickedness. Besides, as 'tis said, they train up, and as it were educate, and teach others a Sort of Emulation, who shall be forwardest in the Practice of every evil Work. A sad and melancholy Thought indeed, that there are such sad Instances for the Rigour, and Severity of Justice, and the Laws to be so frequently executed upon; a Calamity scarce sufficiently to be lamented, that so many Men should study, as it were, how to render themselves not only useless Members of Society, but obnoxious to all that Ignominy, Shame, and Disgrace, which are justly due to their atrocious Offences.
And notwithstanding the man fest Vigilance, and Care of the Worthy Magistrates, and Guardians of this great and famous Metropolis, to put a Stop, if possible, to the Growth of those Evils, and to bring Men to a proper Sense of the Laws of the Land, by which the whole, and every Part of the Community is to be protected in their Lives, their Rights, their Liberties, and their Properties; yet, we find, there are, who, deaf to all Invitations to Duty, untouch'd by any Examples of the Vengeance of the Laws, not only disturb the Peace and Order of this City; but by their daily Transgressions, by Robberies, Murders, and the like, seem to aim at breaking asunder the Ligaments of all Society. These Wickednesses, together with the blasphemous Impieties of the Age, are such, and so growing every Day, as to cry aloud for
a proportionable Distribution of Punishments for their Crimes. The Guilty cannot but allow, that their own ill Management and Behaviour in Life brings the deserved Fate of their Iniquities on their own Head, the necessary Consequence of their Wickedness on their own Pate. And those, to whom the Knowledge of Actions being punished according to their Malignity shall by any Means be conveyed, cannot but be pleased to see, or hear, how Justice is dealt forth with an equal and impartial Hand. And now,
As I am about to enter on an Office, or Duty, which may in some Measure be said to be New to me, it seems to be expected I should declare what my Proceedings shall hereafter be with Respect to the unhappy Persons, in that melancholy Situation I shall from Time to Time meet with them. And the Reason for such Expectation may be, not only as 'tis customary, but, as I have before observed, because the Public is partly concerned for the good or evil Tendency of every private Man's Actions, and to provide that Rewardsand Punishments be proportioned to Actions.
In few Words then be it known, that my Attendance shall be constantly and daily, pursuant to the Order of my Worthy Patrons the Lord Mayor, and Court of Aldermen; to whom I beg Leave to take this Opportunity of returning my hearty and sincere Acknowledgments of their Favour, and of assuring them, that the unhappy Prisoners shall from Time to Time be instructed in their Duty publickly and privately, according to the best of my Power. To which may God more and more enable me!
Whatever they shall think fit to acquaint me with in Respect to their Life and Conversation, shall faithfully and ingenuously be dealt forth in almost their own Words, as Occasion offers; sometimes indeed begging Allowance for a better Dress, than the Ideas and Thoughts of some of them, who may be altogether illiterate and ignorant, can be supposed by them to be expressed, when delivered to me.
This, I hope, is sufficient for the present. May God continue to me his Grace, and Strength, to pursue my present Undertaking, to help forward the Salvation of such Wretches, as most need Help. And, the Sincerity of my Intentions may be a Reason, why the Public might receive with Candour and Good-Nature the present Sheets, and others that may hereafter come before them from my Hands.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
BY Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER, and TERMINE, and Goal-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable Sir RICHARD HOARE , Knt . Lord-Mayor of the City of London; JOHN STRACEY , Esq ; Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of OYER, and TERMINER, for the City of London, and Justices of Goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall in the Old Bailey, on Wednesday the 3d, Thursday the 4th, and Friday the 5th of September, in the 20th Year of his Majesty's Reign; JOHN PACON, otherwise PIDGEON, was capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
And by Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER, and TERMINER, and Goal-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable WILLIAM BENN , Esq ; Lord-Mayor of the City of London; the Lord Chief Baron PARKER, Mr. Justice FOSTER, Mr. Baron CLIVE, JOHN STRACEY , Esq ; Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of OYER, and TERMINER, of the City of London, and Justices of Goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall in the Old Bailey, on Friday January the 16th, Saturday the 17th, and Monday the 19th, in the 20th Year of his Majesty's Reign; MARY ALLEN, otherwise SMITH, was capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
And by Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER, and TERMINER, and Goal-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable WILLIAM BENN , Esq ; Lord-Mayor of the City of London, the Honourable Mr. Justice WRIGHT, the Honourable Mr. Justice BIRCH, JOHN STRACEY , Esq ; Recorder , and others of his Majusty's Justices, of OYER, and TERMINER, for the City of London, and Justices of Goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall in the Old Bailey, on Wednesday February the 25th, Thursday the 26th, and Friday the 27th; in the 20th Year of his Majesty's Reign; HENRY SIMMS was capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
And by Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER, and TERMINER, and Goal-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable WILLIAM BENN , Esq ; Lord-Mayor of the City of London, the Right Honourable the Ld. Chief Justice WILLES, the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice LEE, Mr. Baron REYNOLDS, JOHN STRACEY , Esq ; Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of OYER, and TERMINER, for the City of London, and Justices of Goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall in the Old Bailey, on Wednesday April the 29th, Thursday the 30th, and Friday May the 1st, in the 20th Year of his Majesty's Reign; JOHN HUDSON, and JOHN EXELBY, were capitally convicted, and received Sentence accordingly.
Since the Time I have been with them, which was just before they had Notice of the Day when they were to be executed, they have all constantly attended at Chappel every Day, Forenoon and Afternoon, (except Henry Simms, who absented one Forenoon, being somewhat indisposed). The Behaviour of every one of them in Time of Divine Service, seemed serious, fervent, and regular.
On Wednesday the 3d of this Instant, the Report of Eight Malefactors was made by Mr. Recorder to his Majesty in Council, when he was pleased to order the Five following for Execution, viz. JOHN PAGON, otherwise PIDGEON, MARY ALLEN, otherwise SMITH, HENRY SIMMS, JOHN HUDSON, and JOHN EXELBY.
JOHN PAGON, otherwise PIDGEON, aged 34, seemed to be of a close, and not ingenuous Temper; would make no Reply to any Questions put to him, except such as had Respect to his Repentance and Faith. His Behaviour was always at Prayers in the Chappel, and in private, very decent and regular. He chose not to own his Birth, Parentage, or Education by any Means,
and persisted in a Resolution not to do it, as he told me, say what I would to him. He several Times declared, upon the Words of a dying Man, considering himself always in the Presence of Almighty God, as was his own Expression, that he was entirely innocent of the Facts of both Indictments laid against him, upon which he was convicted. And, tho' he dies for what he declares himself not guilty of, is silent as to any thing else, being sensible he has in the Course of Life deserved to be visited for his Offences. He declares he dies in Peace and Forgiveness with all the World, and Henry Simms in particular, who this Morning (Monday the 15th) owned to him, that he had wrote several Letters, which he believed were of great Prejudice to Pagon. Simms asked him therefore Pardon, as he called it, to whom Pagon generously reply'd, He heartily and freely forgave him, and all Men. And, being absolutely resigned to the Will of God, and in Charity with all Men, he hopes Forgiveness of his Sins, and his Expectations of Salvation are founded on the Merits of our Redeemer Jesus Christ.
Notwithstanding Pidgeon's Obstinacy, and determined Resolution not to declare any thing of his Life and Conversation, yet have we been able to gather from among his Friends and Acquaintance the following Account of him: That he drew his first Breath in or near Black-Boy-Alley by Chick-Lane; that he was born of obscure Parents, who could not afford to give him an Education suitable to the Vivacity of his Genius; and that he began very early to discover Proofs of an extraordinary Capacity, for he was hardly ten Years of Age before he became such a Proficient in the Diving Art, that hardly a Pick-pocket in Town but owned him for his Master. For a Series of Years he frequented the Playhouse Passages, and scarce a Night passed but he carried home with him a considerable Booty: So industrious was he in his Business, that he neglected no Game, high or low; for he would aspire to a Lady's Gold Watch or a Gentleman's Sword, or descend so low as a single Handkerchief. In these Adventures he sometimes met with Opposition, but always retained a Number of Dependants, whose Care and Business it was to keep a good Look-out, and if at any Time he came into a Scrape, a Posse was immediately raised, and he was sure to be rescued. At length he became so considerable among them, that he kept a Warehouse on purpose to receive such Goods as from Time to Time those Gentry pick'd up, and a fix'd Price was made for every Sort of Commodity, which they were always sure to receive on Sight; a Gold Watch was fix'd at Five Guineas, a Silver Watch at a Guinea and an half, and so in Proportion for any Sort of Commodity they laid their Hands on; and when a sufficient Cargo was made up, he generally took a Trip to Holland, where he disposed of his ill-gotten Treasure, and returned home to make more.
As frequently as he returned from Holland, so frequent it was his Custom to invite a Number of his Gang to a Treat, in which he was always verygenerous; and it was at one of these Treats he had the Title given him of Sir John, which he carried with him to the Gallows.
At every publick Entertainment, or Shew of any Sort, he was always present; either an Installation, a Clergy's Sons Feast, or any such publick Meeting; he was sure to make one, and sure too to make it worth his while, as the News-Papers soon after testified in the Rewards offered for Watches, &c. lost at those Places, of which he or his Agents generally had a good Share.
In Length of Time his Face began to be pretty well known, and he obliged to appear somewhat more reserved, especially as there happened unluckily for him a Quarrel between one of his Out-Scouts; whom he had cheated out of a Gold Repeating Watch he had stolen from Lady H -. This Chap, whose Name was W -, was so much vexed at losing what he had ventured his Life for, that he was determined at all Events to Squeak, as they call it; which made Sir John, as he knew it was in his Power to hang him, to think of providing for himself; and therefore, as by his going to and from Holland several Times, he had learned the Business of a Sailor, he enter'd himself on Board the Leost off Privateer, Captain Fielding, who had the good Fortune to take Eight Martinico Men, which turned out such extraordinary Prizes, that Pidgeon's Share amounted to between 3 and 400 l.
After his Return from Cruizing, hearing that his Companion W - had been transported, he began again to follow his old Trade, and frequented the Passage leading out of Spring-Garden into the Park; was there generally on Sunday Evening, then being the greatest Concourse of People: His Method was commonly to go with three or four in Company; two of 'em was to be coming out of the Park a-breast, while the others were entering in; and just at that narrow Passage, when a sufficient Number of People were gathered together, who found it impossible by their Obstruction to get backward or forward, Sir John set to work, and whatever he got he immediately handed to his Wife, who generally followed close to him, and she handed to her Maid; so that it was three deep in an Instant, that if it had been miss'd by the Loser, he would of Course have fixed on the Person most near to him, which has been frequently Sir John's Case, when nothing being found upon him, and he genteely dress'd, the Person whose Pocket he had but that Instant pick'd, has been obliged to ask his Pardon. In such Cases the Maid's Instructions were immediately to get off with what she had received; but it no Suspicion happen'd, to stay till her Master went, and then to follow. He has frequently gotten three or four Watches of an Evening in this Manner, till at length he was taken on the Information of his Maid, and capitally convicted.
His Wife also since his Confinement was taken up for robbing a Shoemaker's Shop of a Parcel of Shoes, tried at the Old Bailey, and sentenced for Transportation, which Sentence has been since put in Execution, and she gone abroad.
While Sir John was under Sentence of Death, he set his Engines to work, and by the Help of his Money procured some People to contrive a most iniquitous Scheme to save his Life, which was as follows:
The Maid who swore against him having a Quarrel with another Person, was sued by an Attorney; which being told Sir John, he quickly imagined that Quarrel might be of Use to him, and sending for his Friends, they contrived together, and drew up a strong Affidavit, setting forth, that all which the Maid had sworn at the Old Bailey against him was absolutely false, wicked and malicious, and done with an Intent to take away the Life of her Master out of Malice and Revenge, and that she could not be easy till she had in this Manner discharged her Conscience, by doing all in her Power to express her Sorrow and Repentance for so vile an Act.
This Affidavit being drawn, the next Business was how to get the Maid to swear it: They immediately went to the Person with whom she had the Quarrel, and getting her on their Side, persuaded her to make her Proposals of Peace, which she readily came into, and agreed that General Releases should be drawn; which being done, and read to her, she was content; but being quite ignorant in these Affairs, was told, she was to swear it before a Magistrate, which the Maid, supposing a proper Form, consented to, and accordingly went before one. In the mean time, they had artfully taken away the General Release, and put in its Place the above Affidavit, which they were in Hopes she would have sworn; but when it came to be read to her, she absolutely refused it. On which Disappointment they knew not what to do; but getting another Woman, for a large Sum of Money, who was pretty near like the Maid, they again went to the Magistrate, whom they deceived, he taking her for the real Person who had been before him but a little Time past, and the Affidavit was sworn and signed.
Having now gotten over this difficult Task, the next Thought was how and in what Manner to use this Instrument of Wickedness; but that Way was soon pointed out. Hearing when his Majesty was to receive the Recorder's Report of the Malefactors under Sentence of Death, they got a Petition drawn up, in strong Terms, setting forth the Innocency of Mr. Pidgeon, to which this Affidavit was annexed, and both Petition and Affidavit they procured to be laid before his Majesty in Council; which being read, Mr. Pidgeon was pitied, and his Majesty was pleased to respite him, and he had the Satisfaction to see the other Criminals go to be hang'd, while he remained behind.
But he enjoy'd not long the Success of his Art and Contrivance: This iniquitous Scheme was soon brought to light; for the above Maid being on some Occasion again at the Old Bailey as an Evidence, was questioned about this Affidavit, which she utterly denied, and being then on her Oath declared, that what she had sworn in that Court against Mr. Pidgeon was absolutely the Truth, and nothing but the Truth;
which so much surprized the whole Court, that the Magistrate before whom the Affidavit was sworn was immediately sent for; and after some little Enquiry, the whole Affair was unravelled, and proper Report thereof being made to his Majesty, he was justly and deservedly included in the next Dead-Warrant, and suffered accordingly.
All these Affairs to be sure drained Sir John's Pocket, it having cost him during his Confinement upwards of Twelve Hundred Pounds; nevertheless, 'tis said, that his Companions have publickly declared that they would give a Thousand Pounds still to save him.
MARY ALLEN, otherwise SMITH, aged about 26, was born of honest and reputable Parents, living in Goswell-Street. She appeared of a surly obstinate Disposition, and was resolved to give no Account of herself, she said, because she would have no Speeches made about her when she was dead. She said also it was Grief enough to her Parents that she suffered such an ignominious Death, and she did not choose to say any thing to be repeated after her Death to add to their Afflictions for her unhappy End. It were Pity, indeed, she had not been always of that Way of thinking, then she had not been an Instance of the Resentment of the Laws, and the Cause of the Parents Grief had been taken out of the Way. She confesses the Facts for which she suffers; says she was sorry to have been so long, as till the Warrant came down for her Execution, fed with vain Hopes of a Pardon. She dies however, she says, in Charity with all Men, and hopes for Salvation through the Merits of Christ.
This Mary Allen, otherwise Smith, tho' no more than 26 Years of Age, was an old Offender in the Shoplifting Way, having followed the Business for some Years, and gathered together a large Quantity of Goods of various Kinds, very near sufficient to have furnished a Shop, which it seems was her Intent; which Goods were found in a Room in Park-street, where she lodged with a Man who went for her Husband; but on her being taken up, he denied that he ever was married to her, tho' they lived together as Man and Wife. There were several other Indictments found against her from different Shop-keepers she had robbed; but being capitally convicted on one, the Court thought it needless to try her on any other: Nevertheless, when Sentence came to be pronounced upon her, and she was asked what she had to say, she made a Speech, which lasted some Time, in which she seemed to arraign the Justice of the Court, in not giving her Time or Opportunity to make her proper Defence, by sending for Witnesses, &c. But being told she had allthe Indulgence the Law in such Cases requires, she submitted. The Truth indeed was she knew herself guilty, but foolishly imagined the Punishment of her Crimes did not amount higher than Transportation, and therefore did not take so much Pains in her Defence as she would have done, had she thought her Life was in Danger; however, she at length owned the Justice of her Sentence, and died in Peace.
She seemed to be of a turbulent Spirit, and frequently quarrelled with her Fellow-Prisoners, and being the weaker Vessel, frequently came off damaged. When she was tried she had two black Eyes, which she got in a Quarrel; and when she went to the Place of Execution, she had a black Eye, received but a few Days before in another Skirmish. During her Confinement she contracted a great Fondness for Gentleman Harry, which lasted to the Gallows; for they went off the Stage, after saluting each other several Times, Hand in Hand, with her Head reclining on his Breast.
III. JOHN HUDSON was indicted with WILLIAM BLANKFLOWER , for breaking and entering the Dwelling-House of Joseph Hurst , and stealing from thence one Tea-Cannister, with forty-six Pounds Weight of Tea, the Property of the said Joseph Hurst, about Ten in the Night, April the 3d. Blankflower was acquitted, and Hudson found guilty, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
JOHN HUDSON, aged about 20, was born of honest, tho' poor Parents in Marybone. He had no Manner of Education given him, and being brought up to no Business, lived with them till within these two Years past. In which Time, he says, he was used to be up and down the Streets, idling away his Time, which is too frequently the Forerunner of evil Courses. He owns the Fact for which he dies, and says he has been a very wicked and profligate Boy; has been guilty of breaking the Sabbath, and many other Offences against God and his Neighbour. He was very ignorant, but very willing to be instructed in Religion, and the Duties thereof; and was very desirous of partaking of the Sacrament, which I had from Time to Time given him as much Insight into the Nature of it as I thought convenient, and as the Church of England directs. He declares himself sincerely sorry for the Sins and Offences of his Life; not only (as I gave him to understand his Sorrow ought to be grounded) because they had brought him to his unhappy End, but because they were committed against a good and gracious God. He was always very penitent, and depends for Salvation in the World to come on the alone Merits of Christ Jesus, our Redeemer.
IV. JOHN EXELBY was indicted for feloniously breaking the House of Francis and Thomas Caryl , and stealing from thence Seventeen Pieces of Shalloon, Value 20 l. Seventeen Boards Value 18 d. The Goods and Chattels of the above Francis and Thomas Caryl , February 26 .
He was a second Time indicted for stealing two Pieces of striped Silk Cotton, Value 28 s. fifteen Yards of Seusee, Value 33 s. thirteen Yards of Checqued Linnen, Value 7 s. the Goods of Elizabeth Morgan , out of her dwelling House, November 9 .
JOHN EXELBY , aged 28, was born of honest and reputable Parents in St. John's-Street, Clerkenwell, who gave him an Education, as he says, to their own Business, which had he made a right use of, he had never been in those unhappy Circumstances, he now labours under. That he has followed Courses directly contrary to his own Knowledge of Things, he cannot but own, tho' he wou'd not declare by what Means he was led aside. He was very frank at last in acknowledging himself to be guilty of the Breach of all the Commandments, except Murder. Upon which I took occasion to mention to him the barbarous Manner of his cutting the Woman's Arm, which I told him shew'd a very revengeful Spirit, tending towards Murder, and such an one as was very unbecoming any Man, more especially one who was already convicted, and might expect to die soon. He told me the Circumstances of this Affair, and endeavoured to palliate the Offence, by saying, she used provoking Words to him; which he being in some Measure concern'd in Liquor, as he call'd it, soon rais'd his Passion, and hurried him on to that cruel Act, otherwise he believes he had not been so wicked. He protests to be very sorry for this, and all the Offences of his Life, dies in Peace and Good-will with all the World, and desires to rely on the Merits of Christ Jesus for the Forgiveness of his Sins, and hopes for Salvation by him.
He has been a Thief for a Number of Years, and has been several Times Tryed for different Crimes, and has been once Transported, if not twice. The Manner of his Cutting the Woman's Hand, which he did most terribly, was as follows. She was the Person whom he cohabited with as a Wife, and who was taken in Bed with him when he was apprehended for the Robbery on which he was convicted, she was a principal Evidence against him, and he conceived against her on that Account a most inviolable Hatred, she came to see him in Newgate while under Sentence, and went with him into his Cell, and as he has since confess'd, he would have murdered her if he had a proper Instrument; however he then conceal'd his Design, not being able to put it Execution, and invited her to come again the next Day, which she promised, and was so good as her Word; but there having been some hints of his Design dropp'd, the Turnkey when she came, absolutely refus'd her Admittance, finding she could not go in, she put her Hand thro' the Door to shake Hands with him, and he drew a Knife, and in a Butcherly Manner hack'd it in such a Manner, that 'tis supposed the use of it is intirely taken away.
V. HENRY SIMMS was indicted for assaulting on the King's Highway, on the 18th of October last, in the County of Middlesex, Mr. Fran. Sleep , putting him in Fear, and taking from him one Silver Watch, Value 3 l. and 6 s. in Money .
HENRY SIMMS, alias Gentleman Harry , aged 30, was born in the Parish of St. Martin's in the Fields. His Parents dying when he was very young, he was brought up by a Grandmother; he serv'd no Apprenticeship to any Trade, only about a Month with a Breeches Maker . He lived in several Gentlemen's Service as a Postilion , and drove Hackney Coaches for several Masters; being always a gay and sprightly Youth, he soon became acquainted with a Number of the Ladies of the Town, who for a length of Time supported him. But by his keeping them Company he contracted such a Habit of Idleness, Extravagance and Debauchery, as well as an Acquaintance with a Number of noted Thieves and Pickpockets, that in order to support that Extravagance, committed abundance of Robberies, till he became as famous a Thief as ever yet adorn'd the Gallows. The Money he gain'd by Robbing he generally spent among the Whores about Covent-Garden, and as he generally wear very genteely dress'd, they gave him the Title of Gentleman Harry.
While under Sentence of Death, his fertile Brain was continually contriving Schemes in hopes to save his Life. He wrote several Letters to the Secretaries of State, and even to his Majesty himself, offering to discover a most horrid Plot against his most Sacred Majesty's Life, and even went so far as to write down a Circumstantial Account of the Rise and Progress of a most wicked Design of assassinating his Majesty as he came from the Opera-House, which he was to have a large Sum of Money for, named several Persons as Aiders and Abettors thereof, and at length gained such Belief that a Gentleman was sent by Order of the Secretary of State to Newgate, to take down the Account from his own Mouth, and he told his Story with such a seeming Probability, that one Person was actually taken up and confined some Days on that Account, and Warrants issued against others; but on the Person's being examined who was taken up, and his making his Innocency fully appear he was discharged, and the Affair vanished in Smoke.
The Robbery of Mr. Smith in the Borough having made much Noise in the World, and that Gentleman having, besides his very great Loss, suffered extremely in his Character on that account, Simms was particularly question'd in Relation to the Affair, and confessed that he really was one of the Persons who committed it, and gave the following Account thereof.
That neither Swift, Cavenagh Gibbs , nor Black Sam, were concerned therein; but the whole was transacted by himself and William Bullimore , Thomas Casey , and John England ; and tho' he Swore at first against the others out of Spite and Malice, yet on the Trial at Croydon his Conscience prick'd him, and in giving his Evidence he flatly
denied the whole he had before Sworn, terrified at the Thoughts of being the Cause of taking away the Lives of so many innocent Persons, which must have been the Case had he persisted in his Evidence. The whole Court was astonished at his Behaviour, and he was remanded back to the New-Goal in Southwark, to be tried for Perjury, and the Prisoners were discharged.
The Manner of Committing the Robbery was, that he and William Bullimore, Thomas Casey, and John England, on the 20th of December met together in the Mint, and agreed that Night to break open the House of Mr. Nathan Smith , in the Borough; and between Twelve and One, being provided with a Jacob, i.e. a Ladder of Ropes, artfully contrived and fixed to a long Pole, which opened by a Spring, that by it they could ascend so high as Two Pair of Stairs, Bullimore mounted first, and entred the Chamber where Mrs. Smith lay (Mr. Smith being then out of Town) whom he ordered to get up or he would Murder her; which she did, and put on her Things; he then demanded her Money, and made her unlock her Drawers, which he examined; carried her into another Room; where he obliged her to unlock a Press, which contained some Goods, from behind which he pulled out two Bags of Money, which contained upwards of Four Hundred Pounds, and a Twenty Pound Bank Note: He asked her if that was all the Money in the House, she told him Yes; and he swore Bitterly, if she told him a Lie, and he found any more, he would absolutely Murder her; he all this while, had a large drawn Cutlass in his Hand, after he had taken the Money, he demanded all her Keys, then obliged her to go down Stairs, at the Foot of which was a Door, which he opened, made her immediately goin and bolted it after her; then came up Stairs, and let in his Companions, when we immediately began to rifle the Shop, and cramed such Goods as we could find into Bags, and carried them to a House in the Mint, where we lodged our first Parcel, and came back a second and third Time for more; we found likewise in the House some Plate, a Pair of Salts, some Silver Spoons and a Pepper Box, the Cash we equally divided at the House in the Mint; but the Goods we carried to a House near the Pinder of Wakefield by Pancras, where they remained some Days; and then my Companions proposed going to Ireland to sell them, promising to remit me my Share, which I consented to, and from that Day have never seen or heard of them.
A few Days before Harry's Execution, Mr. Smith himself, with two Friends, came to Newgate, to question him about the Robbery, which he directly owned in all its Circumstances, and enquired how poor Mrs. Smith did; He was told that she now lay in a melancholy and languishing Condition, her Death hourly expected, being given over by the Physicians, having never been well since that unfortunate Time. He expressed a most hearty Sorrow for it; but said, 'twas now too late to recall past Time; he had but few Days to live, and as a dying Man he could do no more than relate the Truth, which he should do with his latest Breath; and, for the Satisfaction ofMr. Smith, immediately drew up and signed the following short Note, which was directly witnessed by Mr. Smith's two Friends who came with him.
Newgate, June 9, 1747.
"I confess, that I was concerned in
"robbing the Dwelling-house of Mr.
"and, as I am a dying Man, William
"Robbery; for it was committed by
"me and the Persons abovemention'd,
"as I shall answer at the great Day
It being suspected that Black Sam was really concerned in the above Robbery, as Part of the Plate was found in the Custody of his Wife, who was tried for receiving as knowing them to be stolen; Simms entirely cleared him, acknowledging that the Plate was actually sold them by him and his Companions.
After the Affair at Croydon, Simms was removed to Newgate, and tried at the Old Bailey, for robbing a Barber in the Hay-market; for which he was transported, but staid not long abroad, came home, and did a Multitude of Robberies in different Parts of the Kingdom, (the Particulars whereof will be recited at large in a Book entitled, The Life of Henry Simms, from his Birth to his Exit; all wrote with his own Hand while under Condemnation in Newgate.)
The same Day that he committed the Robbery upon Mr. Sleep (on which he was tried and condemned) he robbed the Warrington Stage-Coach, for which he was taken and committed to Bedford Goal , where he remained about four Months, and was removed by Habeas Corpus under a strong Guard to Newgate.
While under Sentence he came constantly to Chappel, except once, being indisposed, and while there behaved well; but still seemed found of the gay Part of Life, having a Number of Ladies coming frequently to see him, and did not appear so much concerned as one in his Circumstances should be; seemed very fond of his Fellow-Sufferer Mary Allen, as she was also of him, though they sometimes fell out, when Simms generally beat her.
The Day before his Execution he seem'd determined to make away with himself, and had gotten a Knife for that Purpose; which being told the Keeper, he was examined, reprimanded, and the Knife taken from him.
At the PLACE of EXECUTION.
THE Morning of their Execution, after going up to Chappel, where they all behaved very devoutly, they were brought down into the Press-Yard, had their Fetters knock'd off, and was then convey'd to Tyburn; Pidgeon and Exelby in the first Mourning Coach, Mary Allen in the second, and Simms and Hudson in a Cart. Simms was cleanly dress'd in a White
Fustian Frock, White Stockings, and White Drawers; and just as he got into the Cart at Newgate, threw off his Shoes. Being arrived at the Place of Execution, some Time was spent in Devotion, in which they all most heartily joined.
PIDGEON wept bitterly, and denied to the last his committing the two Robberies on which he was convicted; but owned he had in other Respects been a wicked Sinner, and justly deserved to die.
SIMMS happening to see in the Crowd the Person who was taken into Custody on his Information concerning a Plot to assassinate the King, he most heartily ask'd his Pardon; and declared at the same time, that the whole was a Scheme form'd in his own Brain, in hopes to save his Life. The Person told him he forgave him with all his Heart; he then addressing himself to the People again owned the Robbery of Mr. Smith in the Borough.
ALLEN Wept a good deal, and own'd the Robbery for which she died.
EXELBY and HUDSON both own'd the Justice of their Sentence.
And they all went off the Stage calling to the Lord to have Mercy on their Souls.
Just before they were turn'd off, Simms and Allen saluted each other; and then joyning Hands, went off, taking hold of each other.
THAT the Publick may not be imposed on by any false Accounts of me, I do hereby declare, as a dying Man, that I have given no Account to any Person whatsoever but to the Printers of the Dying Speeches, Mr. Thomas Parker and Mr. Charles Corbett, into whose Hands I have this Day deliver'd a full and true Narrative of my Life, from my Birth to this Time, which contains the Particulars of the Robberies I have committed, either by myself or in Company; all wrote by my own hand, while under Condemnation in my Cell in Newgate; which I desire may be printed and published, for the Benefit of Mankind. Witness my Hand,
All Wrote with his own Hand.
N. B. For the Satisfaction of the Curious, the Original Copy wrote by Gentleman Harry, consisting of near 30 Sheets, may be seen at the above C. Corbett's.