NUMBER V. 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 Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice WILLES, the Honourable Mr. Justice DENNISON, the Honourable Mr. Baron CLIVE, JOHN STRACEY , Esq ; Recorder of the City of London , 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 Thursday the 26th, Friday the 27th, and Saturday the 28th of May, in the 21st Year of his Majesty's Reign, GEORGE COCK, BENJAMIN THOMAS, and JAMES WATLING, were capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
The Behaviour of these Men has been serious, and composed, since they were convicted; their Attendance at Chapel constant, and tho', lab'ring under so great Illness, and wasting, as scarce to be able tocrawl, they strove hard to do their Duty, and to repair the Breaches they had made.
On Tuesday the 14th Instant, the Report of the three Malefactors was made by Mr. Recorder to the Lords Justices for the Administration of the Goverment, during his Majesty's Absence, when they were pleased to order for Execution, viz. George Cock, Benjamin Thomas, and James Watling, on Wednesday the 22d Instant.
2. BENJAMIN THOMAS of St. Margaret's Westminster, was indicted, for that he on the 30th Day of April 1748, between the Hours of 2 and 3 in the Night of the same Day, the Dwelling House of Samuel Tuffnell , Esq ; did break, and enter, and a Silver Watch of the Value of 3 l. 212 Pieces of Gold Coin, of the proper Coin of this Realm, called Guineas, of the Value of 222 l. 12 s. and one Piece of Gold Coin of the proper Coin of this Realm, called an half Guinea, of the Value of 10 s. 6 d. did feloniously steal, take, and carry away .
There was another Account in the Indictment, that the said Benjamin Thomas, on the 30th Day of April, a Silver Watch, Value 3 l. 212 Guineas, Value 222 l. 12 s. and an half Guinea, Value 10 s. 6 d. in the Dwelling House of the said Samuel Tufnell, Esq ; feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, against the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King.
3. JAMES WATLING (commonly call'd, or known by the Name of Tom Tit) late of Benacre, in the County of Suffolk, was indicted, for that he, with divers other Malefactors (disturbers of the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King) to wit, to the Number of fifty Persons, or more (whose Names are unknown) after the 24th Day of July, in the 19th Year of his Majesty's Reign, to wit, on the 10th Day of September, 1747, and in the 21st Year of his Majesty's Reign, did at Benacre, in the County of Suffolk, with Fire-Arms, and other offensive Weapons, riotously, unlawfully, and feloniously assemble themselves together, in order to be aiding, and assisting in running, landing, and carrying away uncustomed Goods,and Goods liable to pay Duties, which had not been paid or secured, in defiance, and contempt of the King, and his Laws, to the Evil Example of all others, against the Peace of the King, his Crown and Dignity, and against the Form of the Statute in that Case made and provided .
George Cock , when he suffered was 28 Years of Age, born in the Parish of St. Botolph near Aldgate, his Parents when he was fourteen bound him Apprentice to a Barber and Peruke-maker , in hopes of his serving out his Time to a Trade, by which he might afterwards honestly and industriously support himself; but he was too much unsettled in his Temper to think of Servitude, for in the short Space he lived with his Master, (being only one Year he eloped several Times, till at length, he absolutely quitted his Service, to seek an Employment that better suited his Genius. For seven or eight Years after leaving his Master, he lived in many Places, either as an Errand Boy , or in the Capacity of a Livery Servant , as yet having no thieving Inclination, tho' of a roving, unsettled Temper, he declares he never wrong'd any one of the several Masters he lived with in any shape, tho' he had frequent opportunities, by being intrusted with Goods of Value as well as with Cash; however, this honesty of Heart it seems was not to last always, for about nine or ten Months ago being out of Place, he set up a new Trade for himself, which was that of pilfering and thieving whatever he could lay his Hands on, his manner of doing it being a little uncommon, I shall here describe it as he told it me himself: His Way was to go into any Neighbourhood, and by Enquiry, to find out if any Person who lived thereabouts was gone to Sea, and to make himself as much a Master of the Time when they went, where bound to, and other Particulars, as might enable him with an Air of Truth to talk to his Wife or Family, to tell them, he had seen him abroad lately, and that he begg'd him to call with his Love, Respects, &c. and so watch his Opportunity to lay his Hands on a Silver Cup, a Watch, a Spoon, or any other Moveable that came in his Way. Tho' he might have had Opportunity enough to get his living honestly, yet the Devil, he says, laid such fast hold of him, 'twas impossible to get back; 'twas not above ten Months since, that being out of Place, a Gentleman offered to take him with him to the West Indies, and allow him 20 l. for a Years Service, which he refused, not caring for Restraint at any rate, the Gentleman offered it to him again, and again, which he still refusing, he was told he would certainly repent if he did not embrace the Opportunity, which now too late, it plainly appears he had Cause enough to do.
But to proceed to the Facts: Having now laid aside all thoughts of getting an honest Livelihood, he begins the Scene of those Rogueries which have brought him to his untimely End. The first Fact he says he ever committed was at a Place called May Fair; being acquainted with a young Woman, who was Servant in the above Place, he took an Opportunity when he knew the Family were out of Town, to pay this young Woman a Visit, and while the Girl went to draw him some small Beer, he conveyed a Silver Tea Spoon in his Pocket, which he brought off unsuspected. This Robbery he pretends to call a Modest one, as he took a Thing of so small a Value, when many other portable Things lay in his Way, which he did not touch. His next Affair was in the Country, at Streatham, having learnt by enquiry, that a Lady lived there, whose Son was abroad, he goes boldly and knocks at the Door, desiring to speak with the Lady, being introduced, and paying his Respects, he proceeds to inform her, that he had lately been in Company with a Captain of a Ship just come from abroad where her Son was, who desired him to call to let her know her Son was well, and sent her his most dutiful Respects, she thank'd him, but did not seem to do it heartily as he thought, for he was in hopes of something by way of Gratuity for his News, but being mistaken, he craved however somewhat to regale himself, after having taken a long and tedious Walk on purpose to acquaint her of her Son's Welfare, Orders were accordingly given that what the House afforded might be set before him, which was accordingly done, but while it was doing he made shift to convey into his Pocket a large Silver Spoon, but not so secretly but he was perceived, and was immediately seiz'd, conveyed to Town, and carried before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, who committed him to Bridewell, to be kept to hard Labour, where he remained about twelve or thirteen Weeks, and was then discharged, and had, as he says, a particular Warning given him to take Care of such Practices for the future, lest a worse Thing might befall him; yet he could not forbear, but as soon as he was at Liberty, but like the Sow that was washed, who returned to wallowing in the Mire, so did he again to his wicked Courses.
It was not long after he was released from his Confinement, buthe took a walk into the City, and as he went, his Head ran upon his former Contrivances, and he was determined once more to set his Invention at work; accordingly, having learn'd the Name of a Gentleman, who was then abroad, whose House was in a Court in Bartholomew-lane, behind the Royal Exchange; he went, and boldly knocked at the Door, and being introduced into the Parlour, by a young Gentleman, Son to the Person abroad, he immediately began a Cock and a Bull Story, That he came from a Gentleman who was going to the Place where his Father then was, telling him, if he had any Commands, he was ready to execute them for him. And while the young Gentleman was taking down the sham Direction, Cock took an Opportunity to whip a Silver Cup out of the Window into his Pocket, and as soon as he conveniently could make an End of his forged Tale, took his Leave, and marched off with it undiscovered.
The Produce of this did not last long, he was soon put to his Shifts again; and in his Ramble, happening into Rood-lane, near Fenchurch-street, he found out a Chandler's-shop, kept by a Woman whose Husband was then at Sea, whose Name he had learn'd, as well as the Ship's Name, Station, and whatever else would suit his wicked Purpose; away he goes, enquires for her, and tells her he had been a Shipmate of her Husband's, and had promised to call, to let her know of his Welfare. The Woman, glad to hear any News from her Husband, and, not suspecting Cock's wicked Design, invited him into a little Room she had behind the Shop: After sitting some little time, a Customer came into the Shop, whom the good Woman went to serve, leaving Cock by himself, who immediately finger'd four Silver Tea-spoons, which lay in his Way, and directly went through the Entry, unseen by the Woman, whom he left to bemoan the Loss of her Spoons, and her Husband's sham Shipmate.
His next Ramble was to Ratcliffe-high-way, which he thought a Place very proper for his Purpose, as he might soon find People enough whose Husbands, Sons, &c. were abroad. He soon got Intelligence to his Purpose, and knocks with Authority at the Door of a House, the Master of which, a Captain of a Ship, he knew was abroad; he enquired for the Captain by his Name, being told he was gone to Sea; he then desired to speak with the Captain's Lady, who happened not to be at home at that time. He seemed to express a good deal of Uneasiness, as he had something particular to say to her. An oldGentlewoman who was there, and the Maid, seeing him so uneasy, pressed him to walk in, telling him, it would not be long before the Lady would come home; accordingly he went with them down into the Kitchen, and sat for some time talking with them on indifferent Matters, till at length he 'spied a Silver Cup upon the Table, at which, he says, his Fingers itch'd, and he could not be easy till he was Master of it; and as he never wanted an Excuse on these Occasions, he desired the Maid to draw him some small Beer; but the Girl had like to have spoiled his Scheme, for she was going to lay hold of the Cup to draw it in; but he had his Wits about him, and prevented her, telling her he was very thirsty, and that the Cup would not hold enough to quench it; on which she took a larger Vessel, and while she was gone, he turned his Back on the old Gentlewoman, and she being also a little dim-sighted, he conveyed the Cup into his Pocket unseen. The Maid returning with the small Beer, he drank it, and then seemed to be in a Hurry, said, he could not well stay any longer now, but would call again another time, and went off undiscovered.
And now, he says, he began to reflect, and was fearful that as he had so often escaped, he might not always have the same good Fortune, but might be catch'd at last, and dearly pay for all, in which, as it now plainly appears, he was truly prophetical, he had it then in his Thoughts to leave off while he was yet unhurt; but his Repentance not taking Root deep enough, nor weighing seriously the ill Consequences that might attend his going on in this Practice, he had not Resolution enough to combat with the Devil, nor was he able to rescue himself from Satan's snares, who now held him too fast, he therefore again set his Invention on the Rack, for new Methods to deceive the Unwary, among other Thoughts that crouded into his Mind, he remembred to have heard of a young Woman who lodged at a Linnen Draper's in Chiswell-street, who took in plain Work, who he was inform'd had some Moveables by her, which might in all probability, by some of his Artifice and Cunning call him Master, in order to effect which, away he goes, enquires for the young Woman, and was shewn up Stairs; as she was not at Home, he told her Servant that he came from a Gentleman, naming a sham Name, who wanted a Parcel of Linen made, the Girl told him her Mistress was not at Home, but she would send for her, and accordingly left Cock in the Room, while she accordingly went to get some body to fetch her Mistress, he in themean Time made bold with a Silver Watch he observed hang there, and when the Maid came again, he told her he must go a little farther, and would call again as he came back, by which Time perhaps her Mistress might be come in, but neither Mistress nor Maid ever heard of him or Watch any more.
In his Way to Spittlefields one Day not thinking of any Mischief, of a sudden the Devil and his own wicked Heart contrived another Scheme, which, tho' an odd one, yet had the Effect he desired; seeing a Servant Maid standing at the Door of a Chandler's-shop, he steps up to her, and ask'd if she knew any Gentlewoman thereabouts whose Husband was abroad, as the Girl knew there were two or three Women in the Neighbourhood, whose Husbands were abroad, asks him particularly if he did not know her Name, to which he cunningly reply'd, he knew it if he heard it, but not being very much acquainted with her he could not immediately recollect it, and added farther, that the Person whom he wanted, was one who lived well in the World; this he mention'd he said, that she might recommend him to the best, if she knew more than one, on which the Girl not knowing his ill Design, told him the Name, and shewed him the House, to which he goes directly, with as much assurance as is usually necessary to such an Undertaking; he knocks at the Door, and enquires for the Mistress of the House, by the Name he had just learnt, is admitted to her, and pretends he is lately come from abroad, and that he had seen her Husband, who was very well, &c. The good Woman no doubt well pleas'd to hear from her Husband, invited him to sit down, which he did, and after some little Discourse, had recourse to his old Expedient, i e. to beg some small Beer, and while it was gone for, he took an Opportunity to pocket two large Silver Spoons, and a little Silver Cup, which he carried away without the least Suspicion.
Cock had in this Manner ran a very great Length, till at last his Devil forsook him, and he was discovered, brought to a Trial, and deservedly executed, for the last Fact he committed, which was as follows. Having learn'd that the Husband of Mrs. Susanna Jones , (who lived in the Parish of Whitechapel) was abroad, he went to her House, pretending a Message from one Captain Johnson in Soho-square, about her Husband, and still making Use of his old Custom, to beg small Beer, she went out of the Room to fetch it, while he in the mean Time took a Watch that hung up over a Chimney-piece in the Parlour, which Watch Mrs. Jones miss'd immediately after he was gone, and pursued him, seiz'd him, and had him brought back to her House; when he was there, (as she swore upon her Evidence) she saw him take the Watch from under his Coat, and lay it down in a Chair, upon which she sent immediately for a Constable, charg'd him with Cock, and had him carried before a Justice.'Tis very remarkable, that in their Way to the Justice's House, another Woman, from whom he had some Time before stolen a Watch, saw him, knew him, and went with them to the Justice's, before whom she swore that Cock came to her Room up two Pair of Stairs where she lay sick, telling her a long counterfeit Story about her Husband, and stole her Husband's Watch, upon which the Justice committed him to Newgate and upon the Evidence of these two Women, and others, he was upon his Tryal found Guilty, and very deservedly forfeits his Life to Justice, and the Laws of his Country.
Thus, tho' it was in a low and mean Way that he managed his Affairs, yet had he wicked cunning enough to impose too frequently on the Unwary; let me therefore take this Opportunity to caution Mankind, from those Instances, to beware of being too credulous of such idle Stories, never to trust People who come on such frivolous Messages, but to be well satisfied before they alienate any Part of their Property
He seems to be sensible of the many Villanies he has committed, and professes sincere Repentance for the evil Examples he has set to the World; wishes others would, by his Fate, take that Warning he himself neglected to do, and shun such Courses as must inevitably, if not forsaken, terminate in an ignominious Death. He lamented most justly his neglecting to take the Advice and kind Admonition given him on his Discharge from Bridewell. Having Reason sufficient, He declares himself heartily sorry for all the Crimes and Offences he has committed against God and his Neighbour, acknowledges it but just to be ashamed for himself, and wishes it were in his Power to make Reparation to the many he has wrong'd; so putting his Trust in God, and taking Refuge under the Wings of his Mercy, he has humble Confidence, that the great Merits of Christ's Sufferings, are, and will be, sufficient to take away his numerous Offences.
Benjamin Thomas , aged 32, was born at Arden, in Flintshire, being bred to Husbandry , and Agriculture : He laboured hard for some Years for an honest Livelihood. But, not content in that Station, he came up to London about ten Yearsago; and has since lived in Service with one Master three, another two, and with Samuel Tuffnel, Esq ; he says, between three and four Years. He declares it never once entered into his Thoughts to defraud any one, till this unhappy Time, and even this he looks upon as too soon; being sensible of the heinous Nature of his Crime, and the bad Example he has set to his Fellow-servants, if the Grace of God be not with them. He says he prays to God, and heartily wishes that his Punishment may be an Exemplary Warning to debarr all others from injuring those to whom, under God, they owe their Subsistence, and every thing they enjoy.
He was discharged the Service of Samuel Tuffnel, Esq ; about six Months before this Fact; and was a Servant at an Oil-shop since, in which Service, he got, he says, ten Shillings per Week; upon which he and his Wife lived very easy and comfortably till this unhappy Affair.
He has all along declared, he had no Accomplice in this Robbery; he never was prompted to it by any one, nor did any one Person know when he committed the Fact, upon his Word, as he was a dying Man, and hoped to appear in the Presence of that God who searcheth the Secrets of all Hearts. He says, he never once thought of doing this Wickedness, till the very Day he put it in Practice: 'Twas a sudden Temptation he fell under, and the false Prospect of Advantage so blinded his Eyes, that he could not look unto the End and Consequence of this evil Action; but he run into the Pit that was made for him, without seeing the Danger. He knew his Master wanted not Money, and he resolved to run the Risk of finding it; and his Heart was so captivated with the Success proposed, that he never thought of a Discovery, nor gave himself Liberty to think whether he was going to do Good, or to do Evil. And, he believes verily, had he considered it in this Light, he never should have committed the Robbery. But as one who builds Castles in the Air, promises himself to do great Things, if he succeed so and so, and his Hopes at last evaporate; so he had proposed to himself this Scheme, which not only proved ineffectual to his Wishes, but cost him his Life, the dearest Price Man can pay for any of the World's Goods. He proposed to himself, when he had gotten the Money, to set up a Publick-house, or Ale-house, and to trade with it, till he was in such a Way of Business as to be able to spare it again; and then, he says, his Way of Thinking was to have return'd it again. To expose the Absurdity of this, I need not be at the Pains, every one must see and discover the Ignorance and Folly of a Man who could offer to build upon so sandy a Foundation. But this, he says was his Purpose, and accordingly the Success he promised to himself led him on to put this Scheme in Practise; and he went to his Master's House, broke open the Bureau, and took out of it the Moneis and Watch, as they were found upon him, and as laid in the Indictment against him.
The Heinousness of this Man's Crime was so much the more aggravated by the particular Obligations he lay under to a kind indulgent Master. In robbing him, he not only acted against the Law of God and his Country, but against Common Law and Gratitude, to eat his Master's Bread, to receive from him Food and Rayment, and in Return to behave with Villany and Perfidy, is the blackest Ingratitude. Whereas Faithfulness is every where in Scripture commanded, where the relative Duties of Master and Servant are consider'd, and positive Injunction laid on Servants not to purloin. He shou'd be careful for his Master's Good, and as thrifty and diligent in doing the Work of his Family, as if it were the Work of his own. Therefore when a Man giveth another Wages, convenient Food, and all other Things needful to the Support of Life, in Hopes to be helped by his Faithfulness and Diligence; then for him, who is thus supported, to deceive, where he is trusted, or any way to reward Good with Evil, is such odious Theft, as is against the Law of Nature, and all Nations, and is sure to meet with proper and deserved Punishment, whenever it is detected.
The Crime, he cou'd not but acknowledge, with all its aggravating Circumstances, and tho' he had Reason sufficient to be sorry and repent of all his Offences, of this particularly for which he suffered, and that he deserved to die for it. But hoping that God might be gracious unto him in the future Life, he put his Trust in his Mercy, and thro' the Merits of Jesus waited the Pardon of all Sins.
James Watling , aged 28, was born at Wingfield in the County of Suffolk, where he was a Shoemaker , and followed that Trade several Years. For four or five Years of his Time, he says, he hired himself out to labour in Husbandry , but finding that too hard for his Strength, he return'd again to his own Business.
About the Middle of March last past, four Officers of the Customs, he says came to Wingfield to apprehend another Person,a reputed Smuggler, for whom he made Shoes; and being in Company together at that Time, were both taken, and conveyed to Yarmouth, where Leader saw him, and swore against him; accordingly they were put on board a Vessel, and brought to Town. That he had been concerned in Smuggling he would not deny, nor would he directly own it; but that he was innocent of the Fact for which he suffered, he always positively asserted. He lamented his hard Fate very much; and to others, in a particular Manner, declares his Innocence, and said, Pray God pardon my Accuser.
In all other Respects, he was very reserved to the Last, nor indeed could he well be expected to be otherwise, being ignorant of Letters: Though being very attentive to Prayer and Exhortation, he retained in his Memory some necessary Articles of Duty to God, his Neighbour, and himself; and he would say with hearty Zeal, Should it please God he might live longer, he would mend his Ways, and lead a new Life. But as all Hope disappear'd, he desired his Soul might be recommended to God, and he was content to trust himself to the Mercy of God, through Jesus Christ.
At the PLACE of EXECUTION.
ABOUT Nine o'Clock on Wednesday Morning June 22d George Cock , Benjamin Thomas , and James Watling , went from Newgate to the Place of Execution in a Cart, when having put up their Prayers to God for Pardon of their Sins, they resigned their Breath without great Difficulty and Struggle.
Cock earnestly bid all Men take Warning by his untimely End, and those of his Fellow-Sufferers. He said he had lived with a Woman for some Time without being married; but he had since been married to her for some Months. He declared, that neither she, nor any body else, persuaded him to, nor had a Hand with him in his Cheats and Robberies; begging, that no body would reflect on her, for that she was innocent in this Point. He said farther, that he had another Wife, who was blind, and seem'd to give a tacit Consent that he used her ill, by saying, he hoped she wou'd forgive him. Having staid a convenient Time, they were turned off, calling on God to have Mercy on them.