THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, Of the TWO MALEFACTORS, Who were executed at TYBURN On Friday the Twenty-second of SEPTEMBER 1752,
NUMBER VIII. 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, the only authorised Printers of the Dying Speeches.
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 Jail-Delivery of Newgate, held before the Rt. Hon. ROBERT ALSOP , Esq ; Lord Mayor of the City of London, RICHARD ADAMS , Esq ; Recorder , and other his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer and Jail-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex, on Thursday the 14th, Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th, Monday the 18th, Tuesday the 19th, and Wednesday the 20th of September, in the twenty-sixth Year of his Majesty's Reign, Randolph Branch and William Descent were capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
The little Time they had to endeavour to make their Peace with God, they seemed to employ in Prayer to God for his Grace, that they might repent of their horrid Guilt, and in reading such Meditations as might bring them into the Way of Salvation, that so they might have Hope through Christ. They behaved well at Chapel both Parts of the Day, and the Morning of Execution, and seemed affected with Remorse and Contrition.
They were indicted on Wednesday Evening last, for assaulting and robbing Mr. Jos. Brown, near Virginia-street, in Well-close Square , of which Indictment, upon very sufficient Evidence, the Jury found them both Guilty. In the Course of the Evidence upon this Indictment, there appeared so strong Proof also of Murder, that the Court thought proper to try them on that Indictment also. And, being charged with the Indictment
Then, as by the late Act for preventing frequent Murders is directed to be done, Mr. Recorder proceeded to pass Sentence of Death upon them, viz. That on the second Day after Conviction, and receiving Sentence, they were to be executed, and their Bodies delivered to Surgeons-Hall to be dissected and anatomized. They seemed to stand upon their Tryal with great Undauntedness, but when they found how the Case stood, and that they were convicted, dreadful Horror began to seize their Minds.
1. Randolph Branch , was almost seventeen Years of Age, born in the Parish of St. Mary, Whitechapple, of reputable Parents, who brought him up tenderly, and taught him to read and write. He was always a sprightly Lad, not a little given to be unlucky, but by the watchful Care his Parents had over him, before he left them, he was kept from running out into those disorderly Ways which his natural Temper inclined him to. He was at length bound out Apprentice to a Boat-Builder and Shipwright , but Work being no Favourite of his, he served only eight Months, and then withdrew himself from his Master.
He went Home to his Mother, who, tho' she much disapproved of his leaving his Trade, and gave him what Advice she thought necessary; yet nothing could prevail with him, but he was resolved to take his own Course and do as he pleased. He now began to get into bad Company both of Men and Women, and there was no Scene of Iniquity and Debauchery, but he was ripe for it at about fourteen Years of Age, if not sooner. And now he commenced Acquaintance at Mrs. Tytchburne's House, which, he says, has been the Ruin of him, and many another poor young Fellow before him, where all Sorts of iniquitous Practices have for many Years been carried on both Day and Night. And, having with some of his new Acquaintance committed a Robbery, he was in Danger of being taken up for it, which coming to the Ears of his Friends, put them upon concerting Measures how to save him from the Gallows. And, accordingly it was resolved, that he should be sent Abroad out of the Way of such bad Company, as he had now taken to His Mother, he says, greatly concerned at his unpromising Entrance into Life, got a Birth for him to go to Newfourdland. So he went on Board, and continued with the Ship Abroad about eighteen Months.
Tho' young of Years as he was, yet old in Iniquity he grew every Day; and, though he underwent some Hardships while Abroad, yet his wicked Spirit was no Way to be tamed, unless by the Means that the Law was obliged to make Use of at last.
This was no Warning; but he went to the old Works as soon as he was atLiberty, nor was it many Months before he was taken again. And in December Sessions, 1750, he was once more caught in the Trap, and try'd for another Robbery, but had the good Luck to be again acquitted. After which he was sent to Sea , as above, and came back to Plymouth about May last, where he first became acquainted with Desent, by drinking together on board the Ruby. From Plymouth he came to London again, and return'd to his Mother, but not in the least reformed, as wicked as ever, and soon got acquainted with Signal and Ward, executed in July last, in whose Company he committed Abundance of Robberies, so many that he could not remember the Number; and their Acquaintance was not above a Month, or six Weeks. Their Haunts were chiefly about Stepney, Radcliff, and White-chaple, in which Neighbourhoods they did much Mischief and Injury. The Robbery for which his two Companions above-mentioned suffered, was upon George Derby , in Radcliff Highway, in which Branch was a chief Actor: He stopp'd the Man himself, and had robbed him of what he had got, before they could well come up; but they were upon the same Design, and went out with him on purpose to stop and plunder any one they met with. Upon Account of sharing this Booty, the Money for which the Buckles were sold, they had a Quarrel; and Branch went to the Thief-takers, made Information against them, and they were taken. At the Old Bailey, at the Sessions of last June, he was Evidence against them, and they were executed in Consequence thereof.
After so many Escapes, one would have thought he might take Warning, especially as he was not without Friends, who were able and willing to take care of, and provide for him, if he would but mend his Course of Life. But he was so unhappy as to be determined to his own Ruin, and nothing but Robbery and Debauchery had any Share in engaging his Hours. He was no sooner at Liberty but he returned to his old Haunts; there he spent his Share of the Reward he had for being instrumental in the Conviction of Signal and Ward, in Rioting and Drunkenness, and with lewd Women. And, when this was gone, he turned out again to get more after his accustomed wicked Manner. Many Robberies he acknowledges to have been guilty of, but never was in one attended with Barbarity before; and this indeed was too soon.
They had robbed a Person before in the Neighbourhood, the same Night they perpetrated the horrid Murder of Mr. Brown, who not having much Money about him, they resolved, and Branch spoke the Words, that whoever they met withnext, if he was not a better Booty, they would treat him very ill, if they did not kill him.
Branch acknowledged, that during his Confinement before Trial, he never once thought of dying, but fed himself with Hopes of escaping, by Means of the Evidence not amounting to sufficient Proof. The Fact was done in the Dark between him and his Accomplice; so he thought himself secure, not once recollecting that there is one who sees all, and who brings all hidden Things to Light, especially such atrocious Crimes.
Upon his Trial he appeared with too much Undauntedness and Impudence, arising from the Unthinkingness of his Youth, even tho' he found more Evidence against him than he expected: And it was with no little Difficulty that he was persuaded to forbear being very rude before the Court. When he went from the Bar after Sentence was passed on him, he expressed himself in such Terms as I don't chuse to repeat, such as are enough to shock any one, that heard such Expressions from such an unhappy young Wretch.
He affected Undauntedness ever after, even to the Moment he died; but yet, as far as his Mind could extend to think of what he had done, Horrors and Tremblings were the natural Consequence. And when the heinous Nature of his Offence was laid before him. Tears forced themselves thro' his Eyes, and he could not help betraying true Signs of Fear of the Danger he had brought himself into by Transgression, notwithstanding all his pretended Bravery.
He was a Youth of a very profligate Disposition, and whatever Care had been taken of him must have failed of Success; for he resolved to die as he did, only perhaps he might have Hopes he should have reigned in his Wickedness some Time longer. When he was taken now, he thought to have got off, by turning Evidence; but the Hand of Justice was now heavy upon him to cut him off, and very deservedly. However, what he always said, with Respect to this Robbery, was the Truth, as far as I could find by them both: Branch pointed out the Mark, and robbed the poor Man, after the other had knocked him down, and was repeating his Blows.
2. William Desent , was 29 Years of Age, and was born in the Town of Marazion, alias Market-Jew, in the County of Cornwall. His real Name is William Dustings , and his Parents lived in Credit, and were well respected; though they were not in plentiful Circumstances, they made Shift to bring up this unhappy Man in a Manner to provide for himself, and he might have lived very well, if he had but had the Grace so to do. He
was bred a Barber , and was, besides, used to be employed to work in the Pilchard Fishery , when the Season of the Year served, which is near six Months in the Year. By this Means he might have gotten a very good Livelihood, and nothing but the Wantonness of his own Heart could occasion his coming to such a woful End. He was a young Fellow of a very robust Constitution and Make, and capable of undergoing any Hardships, and, I believe, from his own Account of himself, that he has gone through many Difficulties both by Sea and Land, but for any of these he was never the worse, but might rather have been the better, had he made a proper Use of the Advantages he reaped upon Account of the Labours he endured. Nothing very remarkable happened in his Life, before he left his native Place; but at the Breaking out of the late War with France, he says, he entered into the Service of his Country at Sea. And he first entered on Board the Old Bristol, in which Ship he continued for three Years at Jamaica, and up the Streights, and returning to England in her, was turned over to the Medway. Soon after she went with the Fleet to the East Indies, and there he has been for the Space of eight Years more. The Fellow was a good Sailor , and a very useful Hand on Board, and he says, might have been Mate or Midshipman, and was once made a Midshipman on Board the Medway, but did not long continue to be so, choosing rather to be before the Mast. This does not seem to found well, but I should rather imagine, that his Behaviour being not equal to that Birth, he was reduced to his old Station, as most agreeable to his Character. He says, he underwent many Hardships in the eight Years Time, and, in the Month of May last he came Home to Plymouth, and was paid off, and discharged the Service.
And now, one would think, he might have thought how, in the best Manner, to enjoy the Fruits of his Labours; had he so done, he would surely have gone from Plymouth to his own Country, where he might have lived a long while very prettily upon the Money he has spent in Extravagance, since the Time he arrived in England. And, he says, he believes he should have gone Home to his Friends, but having Prize-Money to receive upon Account of the Medway in London, and not having any Friend in Town to apply to get it for him, he thought it his best Way to come up, and receive it himself: When he came to London he received some Part of his Prize-Money, which, with what he received for his Pay in the Service, amounted to upwards of One Hundred and fifty Pounds, all which he has destroyed in Drunkenness and Debauchery; andbeing one of those unhappy Wretches who are said to get their Money like Horses and spend it like Asses, the Remainder of his Prize-Money, he says, he made over to a Friend a Fortnight before he was convicted, and since he was in Newgate. He confesses that he has been a very profligate Fellow, having passed the three or four Months he has been in London in the utmost Excesses of Rioting, Drunkenness and Debauchery, but declared seriously, he never was concerned in a Robbery till that unhappy Night of the Murder of Mr. Brown.
Desent's first Knowledge of Branch was at Plymouth, in the Month of May last, when they were both just returned from Sea. Branch came on Board the Ship in which Desent had sailed, and drinking together, unhappily for Desent, they contracted some Familiarity and Acquaintance. But Branch left Plymouth first, and came to London, and getting to his old Tricks with Signal and Ward before-mentioned, he was taken up, and put into Clerkenwell Bridewell .
In this Juncture of Time came Desent to London, and upon Enquiry after his Acquaintance Branch, was told where he was, and went to see him. They renewed their Acquaintance here, and Desent coming every now then to see him, kept up his Spirits till he had given Evidence against Signal and Ward, upon which they were convicted, and he once more gained his Liberty.
Desent was all this while rioting and squandering away his Money, which lasted not long, though he says, he had not seen Branch for a Fortnight or three Weeks after his being last discharged. And now his Cash began to run low, who should fall in his Way but Branch. They were together three or four Days off and on, and continued most Part of that Time drinking and playing at Cards, seldom going to Bed regularly, if at all; and at last came the dismal Night in which was perpetrated the cruel and flagitious Murder for which they suffered.
Their Senses were intoxicated, and their Spirits raised to a Degree of Madness, when Money being all spent, Branch proposed to Desent to go upon the Lay, as the cant Term is, i.e. to go a robbing. Branch was now grown desperate, and knew, if he was taken again, he must swing; so he chose Desent for his Companion, who, being a very stout Fellow, he thought might be a Sort of Bulwark for him, and save him in Case of Opposition. In this Situation, drunk and mad, they went out, resolved to attack any one they met; Mr. Brown unluckily falling into their Hands, as soon as Branch had said to him, There's the Mark, Desent felled him to the Ground withone Blow of a very large Oaken Plant, and barbarously repeating the Blows over the Head; when Branch had taken his Watch and Money, they left him for dead, and away they went off the Ground.
They had applied to Mrs. Tytchburn, they both say, to know if she would take any Thing if they got it; and she said, she would take whatever they got. So as soon as they had done the bloody Deed, they carried the Watch to her, which she bought of them, and they divided the Money between them.
The Fact was of so heinous a Nature, and the Barbarity used to the poor Man, so detestable, that the divine Providence seemed to direct the Pursuers to the Footsteps of these Fugitives from Justice. The several Traces thro' which the Discovery was made, seem to intimate, that the All-seeing Eye had communicated its Decrees of Vengeance upon the Murderer to those who were the Instruments of detecting these Miscreants. They had, in the first Place, been in Company with one who had been an Offender this Way, but has reformed, and set up a Resolution of being better for the future: With him they drank, till being enraged with strong Drink, they determined to go seek after their Prey. This Man appeared against them, and proved them to be together the Night Mr. Brown was murdered; and said, after they had drank together some Time, they were so free in his Company, as to say, they were going out upon the Lay, and would have him go along with them; but he refused, and went Home.
The next Morning Desent, and another Person, were walking together, to whom he frequently shewed his Oaken Stick with which the horrid Fact was done: And, upon the other's Enquiry what he meant by shewing him the Stick, so often in a particular Manner; he told him, that with that Stick the Job was done in Well-close-Square the Night before, alluding to the Murder of Mr. Brown, as the other declared he understood it; upon which he had him secured, and when taken, he had the same Oaken Stick in his Hand. He would have laid it upon Branch, when under Examination; but, Branch being taken, laid it upon Desent: Their Guilt was so great, that both would have flung the Imputation of it from himself; they were ashamed to own their Barbarity, tho' they had Hearts hardened enough to commit so cruel a Murder. And, if it were possible to describe the Pangs, the Remorse, that these two Murderers underwent before they suffered, I believe, I may venture to affirm, it would be a Warning to every thinking Man, to beware how he gave such Way to the Allurements of the Devil, in what Disguise soever hemight represent them, as to go on in Sin, till he had finished his Course, and undone himself.
A most cruel and horrid Murder it was, and the Mischief Mr. Brown received must be by heavy Blows, frequently repeated; but Desent says, it was owing to the Rage of Liquor; he could have no Malice against him, because he had never before seen him, and nothing could have prompted to it but the Rage of strong Drink, and the Devil taking Advantage of it, and driving him on to Ruin. And, tho' it was generally reported that their Motive for murdering thus cruelly the poor Man, was, because they knew him, and he them; yet they both absolutely denied they had ever had any Knowledge of, or seen him before. Again, the Circumstance of the Watch being lent to Mr. Brown, of which he was robbed, and Desent's confessing where it was sold, gave another strong circumstantial Proof of their being the Robbers, and Murderers: All these Circumstances put together left no Room for any Doubt, whether they were the Perpetrators of that bloody Act; and after Convicton, they were neither of them hardened enough, or so stubborn, as to deny the Share they had in his Destruction. Branch owned his robbing him, while Desent unmercifully beat him; and Desent as freely owned his cruel Treatment of the poor Man, in all its aggravating Circumstances.
It seems to me, that Desent was more concerned for having done the Fact than Branch was, tho' upon the whole, they were both equally guilty, as to the Matter of Fact; nor did he behave with that daring Insolence as Branch did, either upon Trial or afterwards. He had indeed an unhappy Countenance, and Branch a more engaging one: But the latter was bred a Thief almost from his Cradle; the former perhaps stumbled into this Way of Wickedness at the Instance and Instigation of the latter; for, he declared, as he was a dying Man, he neverhad been in a Robbery before, and never was concerned but with Branch, the unhappy Night of this Murder. However, happy for the Publick it is, that two such are taken from among Men, and very deservedly.
Notwitstanding the late Endeavours of the Legislative Power to prevent the Perpetration of the horrid Crime of Murder, by ordaining such a severe, dreadful, and almost immediate Punishment, for the same; yet the fresh Instance of the Conviction and Execution of the two Persons, who are the Subject of these Sheets, both equally guilty of this so heinous Offence, so soon after so wholesome a Law enacted, seems to shew, that it yet wants to be impressed on the Minds of Men, how cruel and unchristian such as Act is from one Man to another. And every Method ofso doing seems necessary to warn a Set of unthinking Wretches against this so dreadful a Crime. With the Candid therefore, and well-disposed, it will not be taken amiss, we presume, if we take up a few Pages to supply the Defect of Matter from the Passages of their Lives, in endeavouring to set forth a brief Dissertation, which may tend to suppress this barbarous and unchristian Spirit, of late too prevalent among the degenerate Part of Mankind, and in observing the general Vengeance that is sure to attend it in this and the World to come.
Besides what the Laws of Man have provided in Order to suppress Murder, there is an absolute Command of God, Thou shalt not kill; which how Men can forget seems somewhat strange. The Command is express, and very easy to be remembered, being delivered in few Words.'Tis to be observed indeed, that no sooner was Man created, and began to generate, than even our unhappy first Parent found his first-born guilty of this abominable Crime, committed thro' Envy upon his own Brother: And, tho' on Account of peopling the Earth, perhaps, God did not think fit to inflict on him the Punishment afterwards decreed by the Law to the Commission of the same Crime; yet, to shew that it should not escape Vengeance, God pronounced a more dreadful Sentence upon him, than that of suffering immediate Death. What hast thou done? says God, The Voice of thy Brother's Blood crieth unto me from the Ground. And now art thou cursed from the Earth, which hath opened her Mouth to receive thy Brother's Blood from thy Hand: When thou tillest the Ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her Strength. A Fugitive and a Vagabond shalt thou be on the Earth. Gen. iv. 10, 11, 12. Cain, conscious of the Horridness of his Guilt in committing this Sin, and being more sensibly affected with the Heinousness of his Crime, cries out, ver. 13. My Punishment is greater than I can bear. And, he goes on to expatiate thus farther upon the dismal Weight of the Sentence pronounced on him, in these Words: Behold thou hast driven me out this Day from the Face of the Earth, and from thy Face shall I be hid; i.e. I shall lose thy Favour and Protection. And, tho' Cain was sensible he merited to have his own Blood shed, for imbruing his Hands in his Brother's Gore; yet this not being the Purpose of God at that Time, a particular Mark only was affixed on him, left any finding him should kill him. ver. 15. And he was left to range the World with this Mark on him, a walking Monument of God's Resentment against Murder.
Afterwards, when the Law was given, I say, the Commandmentwas, Thou shalt not kill: And, as Men are bound to take all due Care for the preserving their own Lives, so were they also to strive to preserve others, instead of destroying them. Tygers and Wolves may destroy one another; but why should Man put himself upon a Level with the Beasts? There is neither Humanity nor Christianity in Murder; and as there is an absolute Command against it, there certainly must be a Punishment annexed to the Breach of that Commandment.
And, though Murder first made its Entrance upon Earth in the Shape of Envy and Malice, yet are there many other desperate Motives inducing to the Perpetration of it, of which Men ought to be aware; such as are Pride, Drunkenness, Gaming, Robbery, and the like too fashionable Follies and Vices of the Age. And Reason plain enough there is, why Murder of all Kinds is forbidden by God, even because God only, who gave Life, has the sole Authority to take it away; and no Man, of his own Will, can shew any Right he has to commit this horrid Act on himself, or on any one of his Fellow-Creatures, because of the Decree which God has affixed to it, (Gen. ix.6.) Whoso sheddeth Man's Blood, by Man shall his Blood be shed. But however we cannot but observe, that this Commandment is not an absolute Prohibition, that upon no Cause whatever Life shall be taken away: No! Public Justice requires it; it is lawful for Magistrates, them that are in Authority, to take away the Life of an Offender, but especially in the Case of Murder; such is the Direction of the Lord himself, as above. God haveing the sole Power of Life, may take it away how he pleases, either by himself, or by the Direction of whom he appoints to execute his Will; and Rulers are on Purpose appointed to be a Terror to the evil Doer. Thus Abraham was about to kill his Son, because God bade him so to do. And Moses, for the same Reason, caused the Idolators to be put to Death. And thus might Phineas execute, by his own Hand, Zimri and Cosbi, because they had done Things worthy of Death. And God having given the Law, (Numb. xxxi. 31.) Ye shall take no Satisfaction for the Life of a Murderer, which is guilty of Death, but he shall surely be put to Death, hath thereby delegated the Power of the Sword to the Magistrate; and not only permits, but makes it lawful, for them to use it upon Occasion. Could the Law inflict anything too severe for the Punishment of two such Murderers as these? Had it been consistent with the Constitution of this Land, a much sorer Punishment they deserved, who so inhumanly butcher'd a poor Man, by knocking him down like an Ox, and leaving him in the Condition they did, than was immediateDeath, and Dissection of their Bodies. In such Case 'tis not only lawful, but expedient, to take away the Life of such Offenders, not only for the Sake of public Justice, but to deter others, if Example can be of any Use to such as daringly oppose all Law, and every Thing that is good. The famous Tully, writing to his Son Marcus, bids him be careful of his own Life, but not to injure any one. But this, which was only in him fatherly and affectionate Advice, is to us a Commandment from our heavenly Parent, to whom we owe our Life, and every Thing, and who can punish Disobedience with eternal Banishment from his Presence; which is a Hell of itself. But,
As I observed before, there are several Motives that produce this fatal and wicked Deed, such as Pride, Drunkenness, Robbery, Gaming, and the like; 'tis too well known to be denied. Pride breeds Contention, and sometimes causes the best of Friends, after engaging together too warmly in Drinking, or Gaming, to rush headlong on one another to their Destruction. And the unhappy Malefactors were first induced to this atrocious and cruel Murder thro' Drunkenness, and a View to Rapine and Robbery. Being overcome with Liquor, and not meeting with such Booty as their unreasonable Demands expected, they let loose their Revenge on the next Person they met, and madly destroyed him, who was unguarded and inoffensive, not considering what they were about. In perpetrating which Fact they lifted their Hand as well against themselves as the poor Man, which, had it been at the Instant considered, the dreadful Thought might have stay'd the bloody Hand. And,
Thus the Case stands, when a Man resigns his Reason to the Power of strong Drink, which, as Scripture says, is raging, scarce any Sin, Vice, or Folly, comes amiss to him; altho', upon Recovery of his Senses, he cannot but lament his abandoning himself to the Destroyer. Than this, few stronger Allurements hath the Devil to draw Manking into a Snare; few more prevalent, but none more productive of abhorrent Consequences. And now,
As Vengeance generally treads upon the Heels of the Murderer, and sooner or later will overtake him, if Men did but consider this, alass, what Fear, what Trembling, must needs attend the Guilty! For soon after the Promulgation of the Law on Mount Sinai, God, to shew his Abhorrence of the Breach of the sixth Commandment, expressly declares, that the Avenger of Blood, i.e. the Magistrate, in our Style, shall slay, or cause to be slain, the Murderer. (Numb. xxxv. 19) And in the same Chapter he positively decrees, as I before observed, no Satisfactionshall be taken for the Life of a Murderer, (Ver. 31.) And, as God has thus declared against the Offence, how can the Offender hope to escape?
Such was the Law of Moses in Point of Satisfaction for this Crime; nor can anything in this World expiate the Guilt; nothing but the Blood of the immaculate Lamb can be an Atonement in this Case. And how the Matter, with respect to Eternity, is to be determined, God only knows.'Tis intolerable to think of what shall be the Offender's Portion; for if God pardon not, how shall he dwell in everlasting Burnings! Though the Murderer escapes the Punishment of the Law on this Side the Grave, he is nevertheless not a Whit more secure, for he must fall into the Hands of the living God, when he has passed thro' the Grave, and the Time is come that he must appear at the last Tribunal, to receive according to what he hath done in the Body, whether good or bad; when the Wicked shall go into everlasting Punishment, but the Righteous into Life eternal.
From a serious and due Consideration of what is gone before, it might be thought, that every Man would do his utmost Endeavour to keep himself free from the Pollution and foul Stain of Blood; that Dye which Oceans of Water shall never clearly wash out. Provocations there may be many, and Motives strong, but what are they when compared and weighed in the Balance with the Loss of a Man's Body and Soul. No Sort of Passion therefore, nor any Provocation or Motive ought to have such Influence on a Man's Reason, as to induce him to imbrue his Hands in the Blood of his Fellow-Creature. And as for the detestable Crime of Robbery, it is too injurious in its own Nature to require further Aggravation. These Observations, reduced to Practice, might avail towards taking away this foul Imputation from a Land. And, oh! 'tis, I dare say, the hearty Wish of every good Man, that the Example made of these two poor unhappy Wretches might deter others from the like Offence, and that this might prove the last sad Spectacle which the Laws of our Country might be obliged to exhibit to the World.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
ON Friday Morning, the 22d Instant, about Nine o'Clock, Randolph Branch and William Desent were taken out of Newgate, and carried in a Cart to the Place of Execution. When they were come there, being ty'd up to the fatal Tree, some Time was spent as usual in Prayer, and recommending their Souls to God. Soon after which the Cart drew from under them, and they were turned off, calling on God and Jesus to receive their Souls. Branch in particular seemed to endeavour to put on all the Shew of Unconcern that his little Resolution would give him Leave to do; tho', to observe him narrowly, the utmost Uneasiness and Dread at the same Time sat upon his Brow; his Colour frequently went off, and returned, which are sure Marks of Disturbance within. Desent appeared with a steady Countenance, and being of a very swarthy Complexion, after Eight Years being in the East-Indies, it was not easy to discover whether he changed Colour or not; but this I may venture to say, after Conviction, to the Time of Death, he was inwardly, and with great Reason, strongly affected with a Sense of the Barbarity he had been guilty of. And, whatever Appearance of Undauntedness might be faintly shewn by them, their Fears they had before expressed could never leave them upon so sudden an Execution. Besides, that Part of their Sentence sat very heavy on their Minds, that their Bodies must be anatomized, when they had Friends that would very gladly have buried them. Their Bodies being cut down, were put into a Coach provided for the Purpose, and very quietly carried to Surgeon's-Hall, the Mob scarce taking any Notice of it. And the whole Ceremony of the Execution of the Law was done without the least Confusion.
Just Published, Price 4 d. And may be had of C. CORBETT, in Fleet-street, THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, of THOMAS WILFORD , For the Barbarous Murder of his Wife.