THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, & Dying Words Of the THREE MALEFACTORS Who were executed at TYBURN On Monday the 21st, and Wednesday the 23d of DECEMBER, 1747
NUMBER II. For the said YEAR.
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THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
BY Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER, and TERMINER, and Goal-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable Sir ROBERT LADBROKE, Knt. Lord-Mayor of the City of London ; the Honourable Sir THOMAS ABNEY, Knt. the Honourable Sir THOMAS DENNISON, Knt . the Honourable Baron CLIVE, JOHN STRACEY, Esq ; Recorder , and other 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 Baily, on Wednesday the 9th, Thursday the 10th, and Friday the "11th of December, in the 21st Year of his Majesty's Reign; SAMUEL AUSTIN, JAMES WALKER, and WILLIAM WARDLOW, were capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
The Behaviour of Samuel Austin somewhat insolent and audacious before; but since receiving Sentence, he thought proper to change the Scene. And tho' the Apprehensions of his approaching Fate persuaded him to be ready to attend at Chapel, and willing with attentive Ears to hearken to
the Prayer, that was made in that Place; yet this his natural Temper wou'd sometimes appear in sullen and morose Terms. However, he, together with James Walker, and William Wardlow, constantly attended divine Service, and seem'd to give what Marks of Sincerity in Repentance was in their Power, or cou'd be expected, from People in their unhappy Situation.
On Thursday the 17th Instant, the Report of the Four Malefactors was made by Mr. Recorder to his Majesty; when he was pleased to order the Three following for Execution, viz. Samuel Austin on Monday the 21st Instant; James Walker, and William Wardlow, on Wednesday the 23d.
1. SAMUEL AUSTIN, was indicted for unlawfully, and feloniously assembling himself with a number of other Persons upon the 5th Day of August last, in the Parish of Lid in the County of Kent, with Fire-Arms, and other offensive Weapons, in running, and carrying off Goods, that are liable to pay Duty, that has not been paid, and secured against the Statute, and against his Majesty's Crown and Dignity.
2. JAMES WALKER, was indicted feloniously assaulting, and robbing, on the 30th of October, James Figgins in the publick Street on the King's Highway, and taking from him a Gold Watch, with a Cornelian Seal set in Gold, and a Steel Chain, the Property of the said James Figgins
3. WILLIAM WARDLOW, was indicted for assaulting on the King's Highway, and putting in bodily Fear Josiah Rogerson, and robbing him of a Silver Watch, Value three Pounds, the Goods of Thomas Walker, and nineteen Shillings in Money, the Property of Josiah Rogerson, the 22d of July, 1746.
1. SAMUEL AUSTIN, aged 26, was born at Hawkhurst in the County of Kent, of Parents who lived in some Repute upon a Farm , yearly rented; but meeting with Misfortunes, his Father, he says, was reduced, and obliged to go to Day-Labour to maintain his Family, which was not small. So that this unhappy young Man received no farther benefit, than the Nourishment and Support of his tender Years of Infancy; having the Advantage of no manner of Education, being taught neither to read nor write. This unhappiness he lamented very much, and said, he was afraid, that therefore it was not in his Power ever to atone for or properly repent him of the evil
Courses of his past Years. Upon this, I thought proper to advise him, not to give himself over to Despair, but still to seek the favour of God, and to put his trust in him, who is able, and willing to do more for us than we can desire, or deserve. I observed to him, that 'twas not the Language of the Lips, so much as the Sincerity of the Heart, which God had respect to; and that true Repentance, and Faith in the Merits of the Sufferings and Death of Christ might avail him much. For to these terms of reconciling an offending God, he has declared;
"your Sins be as red as Scarlet,
"they shall be made white as
"Snow; tho' your Wickednesses
"have gone over your Head, yet
"shall they not be your Destruction.
"And, at the same Time, I endeavoured to make him sensible, that as he had not only neglected all Duty to God, and his own Soul for many Years, but had conspired together with those who had acted in direct opposition to the Laws of God, and his Country, the more free and open Confession of his Offences was necessary; and the more frequent this Application to the Throne of Grace were in private, as well as in public, the more his hopes of God's being reconciled, and inclined to pardon his Offences might grow upon him. To assist him in this grand Concern of Life, he has had the Indulgence of one to read, and pray with him in his Cell, who was furnished with Prayers suited to the Condition of such as are under Sentence of Death.
After he had receiv'd some gentle Admonitions, and seasonable Advice, and had Time seriously to consider his Case in his solitary Hours of close Confinement after Conviction; he seem'd resolved to do his best Endeavour to make God his Friend, being persuaded that all other Assistance had failed him. He began to make an advance towards Repentance, by frankly confessing he had been a very wicked Man. He says, he began very young, and even before he cou'd mount a Horse, he inlisted among Smuggler s, and seldom was used to any other way of Life, or Business. As he grew older, he became more versed in that pernicious, and now intolerable Practice, of which he has made a Trade, and Gain for several Years past. He has been an Associate, he owns with the Hawkhurst Gang a long time, who have been to the amount of three or four hundred Persons ready to flock together upon any Notice given, or Alarum; that a deal of uncustomed Goods
has been landed, and secured in his Time, and Presence, for the use of those now lawless Men, armed generally some with one offen five Weapon, some with another. Insomuch that they were a Terror wherever they came in Bodies, being known to be resolved to cut down all Opposition. He told me, that he had many times thought, as he lay upon his Bed since Conviction, that being grown so intolerably wicked and troublesome, not only to their near Neighbours, but to others that were distant. He believed, God was so provoked at them, as to deliver up a part to the Punishment of the Law, for a Terror to others, that the whole Country might not be involved in one common Calamity and Ruin. In Words to this Purpose he one Day declared himself to me.
He was apprehended about three or four Months ago, he says, by a Party of Soldiers commonly known by the Name of the Young Buffs. They surprized him alone, having no manner of offensive Weapon about him; tho', he owns, he had not long before put a pair of Pistols out of his Pocket, which he generally used to carry with him. He seem'd to express some Satisfaction, when he told me this Circumstance, that he had so luckily put it out of his own Power to do any Mischief, which might otherwise have been added to the load of his otherSins; for which being great and many, he daily expressed a hearty Sorrow, and begged Pardon of God and his Country.
While he talked to me about this, a Circumstance occurred to his Mind, viz. that there was a report current, and so well credited, as to obtain a Place in the public Papers, that he had shot a Man in the Head at the Time he was apprehended: Which he declared to be false, as those who apprehended him could bear him Witness, and protested never to have had a Hand in shedding of Blood; however wicked and profligate he had been. This he earnestly desired me to give in my Account of him, and repeated his request the very Morning before he was executed.
The Night before he was to be had down to the Old Baily, in order to his Tryal, he found Means to saw the Rivet of his Fetters very ingeniously with a Watch-Spring; but it was found out in the Morning by the People that attended him, and the other Prisoners, before he had an Opportunity of attempting to put his Design in Execution. When first found out, he wou'd have excused it, and covered his Intention, by saying 'twas done, that he might take 'em off o'Nights
for conveniency of lying easier, and since he cou'd not be contented with what he had, some not quite so easy were provided for him.
When I asked him one Day about it, how he could be so foolish as to think of a Project that promised so little Success? He said, he never troubled his Head about the Consequence of being discovered. For, having given over all Hopes of saying Life any other Way, he had meditated an Escape, and he thought no one could blame him for making use of a Method, which he flattered himself tended much to facilitate it. However, he was persuaded, and not without Reason, that 'twas an ill-judged Thing; and that instead of being of Advantage to him, it turn'd out quite the Reverse, as it rather gave the World a stronger Evidence of a guilty Conscience. And indeed, he owns himself to have been very much guilty with respect to that Law, which makes Offences of such a Nature, as he has been accustomed to, punishable by Death.
The Apprehensions of his approaching Fate prompting to it as a dying Man, willing to catch at a Twig to save him from falling into eternal Perdition, and having heard many excellent Things said of Charity, he was willing to be informed, whether or no, saving poor neighbouring Children from starving, by administring frequently to their Necessities (as, he said, had been his custom to do) might not be of Service, and Help towards his Hopes in the World to come. I told him, that indeed such good Deeds were strongly recommended to us; but that was not Matter for our Boasting, but that all the Honour was due to God, who alone enables every Man to do that little Good he does do, and affords the Means. The practise of this Virtue, I gave him to know, was no warrant for daily Transgression of God's Laws, or those of his Country founded thereupon; that, no doubt, God would have a proper Respect to what is done in conformity to his Will and Pleasure, provided the best use in a Man's Power was made of those Means appointed by the Christian Religion to regain the Favour of God, viz. Repentance for whatever he had done forbidden, and for whatever he had left undone commanded thereby, as far as he could recollect. For, though Christ was born, and died to take away the Guilt of Sin, 'twas only the Guilt of those Sins, that were repented of, and forsaken.
The particular Fact, for which he was convicted, he would by no means be persuaded to own, but insisted on his being at another Placeat that Time charged against him; tho' he owned, he had been at that Place several other Times, and carrying Arms. When I observed to him, that his own Evidence gave such an Account of Things, and of himself particularly, as rendered all he had to say invalid, and to no purpose, in the general Opinion of the Court, and of all, who heard his Examination. He still said, that himself, and that Evidence were at the Fair together (as is particularly recited in the Sessions Paper) but as to his so possitively denying all Relationship, and persisting so audaciously in it, he did not expect to have heard it. The Evidence, he confesses was directed to conceal, and not immediately to declare himself to be Son-in-law to him, left that Relationship might destroy the Force of what he should have to say, and bespeak Partiality; little thinking that Matter would have been so narrowly look'd into, though in the Event it proved so material. But, better had his Case been, had nothing but the Truth been spoken in his Behalf, as that must have borne the Light. For, when what was thus artfully intended to turn out for his Good, was searched to the Bottom, it became unto him an Occasion of Falling.
This Affair being represented to him, he expressed a good deal of Sorrow, not only upon his own Account, but that of the poor Youth, whom he had suffered so to abuse his Conscience in this first Appearance, as it were, in the World; as by wilfull and corrupt Perjury to incur the Penalty of the Law, besides highly offending against God, whose Denunciations against False Swearing both the Law of Moses, and the Gospel of Christ declare.
He has confessed himself to be a great Offender. His Words and Behaviour make some shew of his having been sensibly affected for the Consequence of his evil Deeds. He repeated it to me, every time I talked to him, that he truly and heartily repented of all his many, and grievous Offences against God, and his Country, and died in Charity, forgiving all Men, as he hoped Forgiveness at the Hands of God for Christ's Sake.
JAMES WALKER, aged about 30, was born at Brentford in the County of Middlesex. His Parents he says no more of, but that they bound him an Apprentice to a Butcher near Aldgate, with whom he lived, and served about four Years and half. But not liking that Service, and rather inclined to Idleness, he left his Master, and would needs fix upon an Employ for himself. His Character even at that Time
not being such, as would recommend him to any body else, he found little Business or Encouragement in that way of Life, which those who wish'd well to him, wou'd have had him to continue in. However, he found an Invention to get support; but in such a way, as scarce one in many who follow such Courses, as he is reported to have done by those who had some knowledge of him; but comes to pay dear for it at the last.
He owned himself, that he had no settled Business in his Trade, either to assist others, or for himself, but was ferreted from Place to Place, if ever he pretended Business; for which he wou'd give no other Reason, but that People had an ill Thought of him, which he never deserved, that he never wronged Man, Woman, nor Child, and several other such idle Excuses not worth relating; nor shou'd I relate them; would they gain Credit with the honest Part of the World. For having gone on undiscovered so long, he was so foolish as to think his evil Practices were a profound Secret: What Education he had before he was bound an Apprentice, he did not choose to own. I have reason to believe, 'twas but little, if any; but whatever it was, he made very little use of it. Fortune or Business he pretended to none; yet after leaving his Service, he is reported always to have appeared well drest; tho' no body could tell how he contrivedit: Sometimes he was accoutred with Boots, and Silver Spurs, which he pretended was occasioned by his being a dealer in Horses. How these things cou'd be without having any visible means of a Livelihood, he wou'd give no Account, but waved all Discourse of that kind. To all Interrogatories, that might tend to discover, how or by what means he had gone on, and made his way thro' Life; he kept himself very close, and wou'd make no manner of answer. And, tho' he wou'd not, or cou'd not perhaps give such Account of himself, as wou'd tend to make the World believe him an Innocent Man; yet frequently wou'd he express himself in these Terms; That he had always lived very reputably. Tho' it does not appear, that he had lived among any Neighbours that wou'd say a word in his Behalf; and one of them, who was perhaps inclined to it, cou'd not but own, he had heard, that Walker kept a House of ill Fame, but he had never been in it. Some who had been Neighbours to him, might perhaps have been rather too severe upon him. But, be that as it will, all cou'd not be supposed to be mistaken in lookingupon him, as a suspected Person; as there's seldom a deal of Smoke, without some Fire. He told me, the Gentleman, that was robbed, had sent to him to desire that he wou'd give him Information, what was become of the Watch; and to provoke him to speak, had said, that he might yet find Means to be of Service to him, and save his Life, if he wou'd declare the Truth: The Watch being what he had a particular Value for, and if he might, wou'd recover it again cost what it wou'd. Walker replied only, that 'twas in vain for the Gentleman to expect any Information from him; for he neither took the Watch, nor knew, who did; he neither saw it, nor cou'd give any account of it. Nay, obstinately did he deny it to the last, that he was present at the Robbery, as one, who had any Design, or a party concern'd.
As to the Fact for which he was convicted, he wou'd not declare otherwise to his last Moment; tho' that he was so very innocent of it, I am apt to think, will not pass for Truth. His outward Behaviour, as before observ'd, was however every way agreeable to the Circumstance of a Person in his melancholy Case. As to the inward Conscience, that is, what none knoweth but God alone. So let us leave him here to his unfortunate End, and the Mercies of God, who is infinite in Goodness, only adding these few words.
By his own Confession, he made himself out to have been a vile and profligate Sinner from his Youth up, having followed the evil and destructive Ways of Wickedness; but in what particular Circumstances was silent, though never so much intreated to declare: And though some Company, which came about him, was not without Reason suspected to be bad, I do not draw Inferences from thence, but leave that to every one's own Way of thinking; because every one knows the old Maxim, Noscitur ex Socio, vel Socia. And St. Paul says, Evil Communication corrupt good Manners, and I dare believe make bad worse.
There scarce passed a Day since his Conviction, but we had some Discourse, and I always found him in the same Way, ready to express himself in Words to this Effect: I find I am to lose my Life, and am resigned, and content to do it; and added, that he repented heartily, and was sorry for his mispent Life, and would continue to seek Forgiveness from God so long as Breath lasted. The Morning he was executed, before I gave him the Sacrament,I would have had a few Words with him, but he prevented, by saying he had already said what he had to say, and desired I would ask him no more Questions, and that he might receive the Sacrament. He said he forfeited his Life willingly, and hoped that God would have Mercy on his Soul.
3. WILLIAM WARDLOW, aged about 28, was born in St. Martin's, Westminster, of honest and reputable Parents, and bred up in St. Giles's Parish. He was bound Apprentice to a Salesman in Monmouth-Street, where he served his Time out. Afterwards he set up in a Shop for himself in the same Way of Business, and in the same Parish; but not being over and above careful, but rather too much inclining to Idleness, or youthful Pleasures, he continued not a long while his own Master, but hired himself out to a Person in Chick-Lane as a Cryer or Hawker of Goods .
During this Time, it is supposed, it was that he began to deal, and became acquainted with that infamous Crew in Black-Boy-Alley, that antient Sink of Pickpockets and Thieves. From this Time, it is probable, he might date the AEra of his evil Practices, which have at last worked his Ruin as to temporal Things: For though as his own Friends, who came to see him, could not but allow he had some Tricks before, yet by their good Advice, and importunate Endeavours to reclaim him, which were frequent, he might have been brought into the right Way: But as he was inlisted in that devilish Service, no Admonitions could be long of any avail. If they one Day dissuaded him from evil and wicked Company, the next Day perhaps he fell into it again some how or other, and all they had done was presently knocked on the Head, and Temptations so strong were laid in his Way, as his weak Resolutions could not but yield to. Such was the Case of this poor unhappy young Man; and such is the Case of too many, who mind not their own Business and Duty either to God or Man, who break the Sabbath, and blaspheme the Name and Ordinances of God.
That he has been a loose, idle young Man , straggling up and down the Town, he was so ingenuous as to own: And though I heard his own Friends to tell him, how often he had refused their Counsel, which designed only his own Good, and was intended to save him from Ruin, and to upbraid him for it, yet was he so tenacious of his own Secrets, as if he had been sworn to it, nor would heconfess any one Offence he had in his Life-time been guilty of; no, not so much as whether the Fact, for which he was convicted, was the first or not. However, it seems, it was the first Time he was taken, and that he might think much too soon, though no Body else should concur in Opinion with him; for the Hand of Justice now overtaking him, hath perhaps prevented further Mischiefs he might have been guilty of.
After much Entreaty to be ingenuous, and being told it was the only Satisfaction he could make the World, for the Evils and Mischiefs he had been the Cause of in it: He confessed indeed that Fact with all its Circumstance, and owned every particular to be just that was alledged against him at his Trial; that he and another Man met the Prosecutor, and robbed him of a Silver Watch, and nineteen Shillings in Silver. But finding a Stir made about the Watch, and that it was advertised in the publick Papers, they were not a little alarmed, and thought proper to march off the Ground awhile, till the Scent was worn off, for they narrowly escaped being taken immediately, which raised their Fears, and set them a contriving how to get out of Harm's Way. At last they agreed both to go to Sea, and the other Man, he says, has been abroad ever since; but as to himself, he has been backward and forward several times in Town, and might have been taken before. And, he had hopes, as the Robbery had been committed so long ago, as July 22d, 1746, and he had heard no more of it, that the Storm had been blown over, and he had been pretty safe. But, since God had been pleased to order it otherwise, he declares himself content therewith, and resigned to his Will. He acknowledges the righteousness of his Judgments, and had he escaped this, he says, he had resolved within himself to do no more thus wickedly. As he expected nothing but Death, so he frequently prayed to God to fit him for it; asked Pardon for his Offences, and hoped that God wou'd have Mercy upon him thro' Jesus Christ.
These are not the first, who have gone on their Crimes for Years, and at last met with their deserved Fate. And there are Numbers yet of the same Stamp, that Justice awaits, and must one Day meet with. For, scarce any warning can recall such, as have given themselves up to work all Uncleanness and Wickedness with Greediness. The frequent Examples, which are made of these Nusances to all Society and Laws, scarce lessens their Numbers.For now-a-days since Youth are trained up to Thievery as if it were permitted by us, as it was by the Spartan Law; whenever an old Offender, tho' perhaps a young Man, goes off the Stage, there's no want of another to succeed him. Uno avulso non defuit alter malus. And how infrequent is an Example of one, who is brought to condign Punishment, who will do any thing towards discovering Combinations in Wickedness, tho' never so well acquainted with them, or towards preventing evil Practices, tho' never so frequently or strenuously urged, and admonished to it. To such a Pitch is the Wickedness of these Men grown, so much do they suffer it to have the Dominion over them. But yet Vice and Injustice to our Neighbours, or Injury done to any Man, Profaneness and Debauchery, and such like, are Things so absolutely odious in their own Nature, that however they insinuate themselves into the Practice, yet they can never gain to themselves the Judgment and Approbation of Mankind. They who do evil, yet cannot but see, and approve what is good; and condemn in others what they blindly allow in themselves. For tho' Men rob and plunder others, or in any Shape injure a Man, they wou'd not choose to be so served themselves: Nay, frequent Instances occur, where they cannot choose but condemn themselves also, and that not without great Disorder and Uneasiness of Mind, in those very Things wherein they were wont to allow themselves. But when Men are so hardened, that they have no Stings of Conscience, no Remorse and Anguish of Mind, by reflecting afterwards on the Sins they have committed, this is the last and saddest Token of entire Subjection to Sin, which is absolute Enmity with God. And this makes the Sinner's Cafe very near desperate.
This is that dreadful Hardness of Heart, in which a long Custom of finning does sometimes end, the conquering of which the Prophet Jeremiah resembles to a natural impossible; for Sin is in itself so base and dishonourable, is also attended with so many temporal Inconveniences, and will certainly be followed with so dreadful a Destruction hereafter, that he with whom these Things have no Weight, no not so far as to make him start at his Danger, or question his Security, or reproach himself for the doing what the Laws and Reasoning of all Mankind in all Ages have marked as infamous, such an one whose Conscience is thus feared as it were with a hot Iron, is above all othersthat can be named in the very Gall of Bitterness, and Bonds of Iniquity. When he is thus forsaken of God, and suffered to pursue his Follies with Blindness and Fury without Remorse, and without Reflection; if his Care is not quite desperate, yet is it a very forlorn one; and if the Power of Sin has not wholly destroyed the Man, it has certainly so endangered him, that he of all others must be looked upon as under the Dominion of Sin, against which David prayed heartily, and so would every Man that gives himself Time to think of these Things; for no Pleasure in Sin can countervail even those Stings and Remorses of Conscience, which must attend every acceptable Repentance.
At the PLACE of EXECUTION.
ABOUT Nine o'Clock, on Monday Morning last, Samuel Austin went in a Cart from Newgate to the Place of Execution, attended by a Draught of about forty Men of the Second Regiment of Foot Guards, to that Place; and afterwards to a Place called Shepherd's Bush, where his Body was hanged up in Chains. And between Nine and Ten o'Clock on Wednesday Morning, James Walker and William Wardlow went, the former in a Mourning Coach, and the latter in a Cart, to the Place of Execution, They behaved decently, and having joined in Prayer with me for some Time, were turned off, to the last Calling on God to have Mercy on them.