THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, OF THE FOUR MALEFACTORS, Who were executed at TYBURN On Monday the First of OCTOBER, 1753.
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 Right Honourable Sir Crisp Gascoyne , Knt . Lord-Mayor of the City of London, the Lord Chief Justice Willes, William Moreton , Esq ; Recorder , and others of His Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer of the City of London, and Justices of Jail-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex, at Justice-hall, in the Old Bailey, on Thursday the 6th, Friday the 7th, Saturday the 8th, and Monday the 10th of September, in the 27th Year of His Majesty's Reign, Edward Johnson, Mary Rimer, John Harriss, Philip Wilson, and Hannah Wilson were capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
The Behaviour of these poor Wretches has been very quiet and decent. They attended the Chapel daily, and seemed to pray to God for Pardon of their Sins in a servant, devout, and becoming Manner.
1. Hannah Wilson , Widow , was indicted, for that she, on the King's Highway, on Elizabeth Toffey , Spinster , did make an Assault, putting her in corporal Fear, and Danger of her Life, 1 Camblet Skirt of a Coat, Val. 12 d. and three Quarters of a Yard of Ribband Val. 6 d. the Goods of the said Elizabeth, did steal, &c. August 21 .
2, 3. John Harriss , and Philip Wilson , were indicted, for that they, on the 25th of July, about the Hour of Twelve in the Night, the Dwelling-House of James Holmes , did break and enter, and steal out thence, 1 Blanket, Val. 12 d. the Property of the said James, 23 Pounds Weight of Sugar, and 1 Tin Cannister, 1 Hat, Val. 2 s. 1 Pint of Rum, and 1 Glass Bottle, the Goods of Nicholas Peterson .
4. Edward Johnson , was indicted, for that He, together with John Wood , not yet taken, on the 5th of September, about the Hour of Two in the Night of the same Day, the Dwelling-House of Lydia Cole , Widow , did break, and enter, with Intent, the Goods of the said Lydia to steal, and taking 3 Silver Spoons, Val. 3 s. 1 Copper Tea-kettle, Val. 5 s. 1 Copper Sauce-pan, Val. 3 s. the Property of the said Lydia .
1. Hannah Wilson said she was about 25 Years of Age, and was born in the Parish of St. Olave, in the Borough of Southwark. Her Parents brought her up tolerably well, and she might have done very well, had it pleased God they had lived to have brought her up, till fit to take care of herself; for, says she, they lived in some Credit and Reputation in their Neighbourhood. She was at School first in the Minories, and afterwards at several other Schools, so that she could read very well, and pretended she could work at her Needle very well as to Plain-work, which might have been of great Use to her, if she had been properly introduced into Life. But her Father and Mother dying soon after one another (when she was only about 11 or 12 Years of Age) she was left to the Care of a Grandmother. This new Guardian of her's soon after took it into her Head to marry, and the Girl growing up
appeared to the new Relation to be a Burthen upon the Family, and so it seems he thought of an Expedient to get rid of her. She was at that Time, she says, about 14 Years of Age, and she had not been long acquainted with her new Relation before he proposed to her a Match. The poor Girl says, she scarce knew what he meant by talking to her of a Husband, but found there was a Resolution to marry her off, and she was obliged to submit to it. So before she was arrived to the Age of fourteen Years, she was dispatched with her Man to be married at the Fleet, where the Job had been done for her Grandmother before; and the Ceremony was performed, she says, in her Presence, tho' she scarce knew what was intended, or the Nature of the Contract she was obliged to engage in.
This Husband lived with her, she says, about 16 Months only, and died, leaving no Issue, as Providence pleased to order it. Then, she says, she went into Service , and when out of Place went to Day Work , wherever she could get Employment, and was a Widow about four Years. She then met with a Man who took a Fancy to her, and was married a second Time at the aforesaid Place. Her second Husband was a labouring Man, who maintained her pretty well by his Labour, and she, to help out a Maintenance, worked at her Needle, when she could get any Thing to do. She says they lived pretty comfortable together, and by him she had two Children; which Providence was pleased to take to himself while they were very young. Her second Husband died about three or four Years, and again she became a Widow . Since the Death of her last Husband she returned again to Day Work, and the Use of her Needle when she could get any Body to employ her, and, if she speaks Truth, got an honest, tho' mean Livelihood, by her own Industry, as long as she could find Encouragement. She says, being in very low Circumstances, work not being offered to her, as usual, in her former Method of Life, she was advised to go, and hire herself out to gathering of Beans and Peas , during the last Summer Season. She did so, she says about the Neighbourhood of Bethnal-Green, Hackney, &c. and that for 4 or 5 Months last past, before the Crime was committed for which she was convicted, she was employed at a House in Bethnal - Green, to Needle-Work , where she gave such Satisfaction, and behaved so well, as to gain the Favour of those she
worked for, and they would have had her continued; but, she says, she had taken it into her Head to leave this Employ (which she repents of) not without their Promise of giving her a good Character, if she afterwards should want one to go to Service with: And this, she says, was her Intent, when she left Bethnal-Green. Unhappily for her, however, she afterwards got into bad Company, and Drinking, and so spent what little Money she had got during the Summer Season, and then not knowing well which Way to turn herself, she took to pilfering, and, at last, to do what brought her to her unhappy End.
According to her own Story, had she done as her Friends advised her (few as they were) she might yet have lived by the Labour of her own Hands. But somehow she became infatuate to Idleness, and bad Company, which proved her Ruin; and she effected it, if her Story be true, in a very short Time. For, she says, she left Bethnal-Green but the Saturday before the Robbery on the Child was done, which was on the Tuesday following.
She persisted to the last, that she never had done any thing of this Kind before; and her own Words were, she had been drinking that cursed Liquor, called Gin, and was drunk, or she had never have attempted to use the poor Baby ill; to trepan, and rob it of it's Cloaths. But, upon the whole, that she had been loose, and idle, and too much addicted to drink Gin, and keep bad Company, she did not deny. She said she was very sorry for it, and had often reflected on Ways and Means to get rid of such bad Practices; but not being able to get herself into a regular way of Life, she found the Task too difficult to extricate herself from the Miseries, and ill Consequences, that attended her being exposed to Necessity in a wide World, without any one Friend to assist her in getting into any reputable way of Life. As she was a Woman of Pretty good Breeding, so was she also endued with a tolerable Share of Understanding, for one in such unhappy way of living, as had been her Lot.
She says, that three or four Days before she did this fatal Deed, she left the Place, where she had been handsomely employed for four or five Months before at her Needle. And having got into bad Company, where Debauchery of any Kind was scarce absent, in the Neighbourhood of Rag-fair, and Places adjacent, she became as bad as the worst, and got very much in drink on the Monday Night, besides otherwise using Revelling, and Debauchery;and on Tuesday Morning, the 21st of August, was not recovered from the Fumes of that cursed Murderer of Morals, the Liquor called Gin. She was turned out of the Quarters, in the Morning, where she had been all Night, and was obliged to wander, where she knew not, and at last she happened upon this poor Child, for the Abuse of whom she suffered Death.
She says, that she scarce knew what she did, but that she took the Child into Hand, she since has had Reason to recollect. To the best of her Knowledge, she says, she had not carried, or led the Child, above five hundred Yards from the Children in the Wood in White-chapel, before she was taken into Custody for robbing it. She says, she had no particular Design, nor thought to carry her away from the Place, but only to take what she could make Money of in Rag-fair, to support her that Day, having not one half-penny left. She owns the taking of the Child's Things from her; and says, as the Laws have appointed such Punishments to such Deeds, she suffers deservedly.
She pretended upon her Trial, that she had found the Things, the common Pretence of the Guilty. And, to ward against the Declaration of the Evidences finding them upon her, she would have persuaded, she had not Sense of whose they were. But, after Conviction, and Sentence passed, she recovered her lost Sense of Things, and owned the Fact, without endeavouring to extenuate or lessen her Guilt.
She behaved very well under Sentence of Death, and applied herself servently in Prayer to God for Forgiveness.
2. Philip Wilson was about 18 Years of Age, and was born in the Parish of St. Paul's, Shadwell. His Parents gave him no Education; and though he was by Nature of a lively Aspect and Disposition, yet was he totally Ignorant of any Letters. He was bred to no Manner of Business, but lived with his Parents in Idleness, till they died, when he was about 12 or 13 Years of Age. Then having no one to support him, he was taken to work in Rope-walks about Shadwell and Radcliffe, and sailed once to Newcastle.
This unhappy Youth would sometimes work, and sometimes play, and be amongst loose and disorderly Company, which has hurried him to his Ruin. He had put on the Man, for several Years, though so very a Youth. And, he said, that Sabbath-breaking, Drunkenness, and all kind of Debauchery;he had been too long acquainted with. As to thieving, he at first denied ever having been addicted to it, and strenuously denied the Fact for which he was convicted, and persisted in Denial almost to the End. Though as to Years, little more than a Child himself, he had got himself married at the Fleet about nine Months ago, and has left behind him a sorrowful Widow.
He was committed to Clerkenwell Bridewell for being concerned with one John Bryant in several Robberies. He denied for a good while the Charge, but at length was pleased to own he had done some such Things, but he looked upon all as Trifles, and said they, i.e. the People that carried on the Prosecution against him, could not have hanged him for any other than this, and at this he stole nothing. He owned at last that he had been concerned in several little Robberies, and that he went in Company to have a Share in this, for which he was convicted; but ignorantly persuaded himself, that because he did not go into the House, and take the Things within, the stealing of which he was charged with, he was not the Thief, nor did he expect to be found guilty, though the Robbery was proved.
After Conviction he behaved very well; and though he could not read, was glad of Instruction, and very attentive to the Duties of his deplorable Circumstances. He said to me one Day, that in his unlucky and wicked Tricks, he had often been told he would come to be hanged. And, says he, I can't say, but I sometimes thought so myself from my Company, I had got into, but did not think 'twould soon have proved true.
He says, it was his Acquaintance with John Bryant, the Evidence against him, and John Harris his Fellow - sufferer that first seduced him, and took him off from his Work to Idleness and Debauchery. As his Fate drew nearer, he grew more easy and resigned, and said, he had Hope in Christ, that his short Life here, might be made up to him with Life everlasting, and died in Charity with all Men.
3. John Harris says, he is about twenty Years of Age, and that he was born in Stepney Parish. His Parents, while he was a Child, removed to Shadwell, and there he was brought up, and put to School. But, being an unlucky Genius, he neglected the Advantages which they intended him, and left School, perhaps as ignorant, as he went there. After his Father died, his Mother sent him to Sea , he says, and he
went several Voyages, viz. up the Straits, to Virginia, Norway, and to Newcastle for Coals he had sailed twice. Afterwards he entered on board a Ship to go Abroad; but when he came to Plymouth, not liking his Usage, he got slyly on Shore, and ran away from the Ship. As soon as conveniently he could, he set his Face for London, and after a long Walk returned Home again. And once more, he says, he attempted to go to Sea, and for that Purpose entered for the West-Indies. This, he says, was just upon the latter End of the late War, when Men were scarce. And his Friends made a Bargain for him with the Captain to have 45 s. per Month. But, soon after a Peace ensued, and the Captain wanted to beat him down to 20 s. per Month. Harris not liking this Proposal left the Ship, and came on Shore again without going the Voyage. After this he returned to his old Business, in which he had been employed before he took to going to Sea, and worked for some time in rigging of Ships in the River Thames.
And now, he says, an Opportunity happened, which removed him into a different Scene of Life from what he had ever been used to.
A Butcher in the Neighbourhood of Shadwell, he says, had Occasion for a Servant, and one Day as he met him proposed the Question to him, whether he would bind himself Apprentice to him for five Years. Harris says he immediately consented to it, and the Agreement being immediately entered into, he became a Butcher's Apprentice . He took to the Business, and lived very well, he says, during his first Master's Life-Time; but the Successor and he did not so well agree, and there was an End of his being a Butcher.
The Cause of their Parting was, he says, that on one unhappy Night he was out drinking with some loose young Fellows, like himself, and forgot to go Home at a proper Time: He staid so long that when he went Home it was between 12 and 1 o'Clock in the Morning; the Doors were shut, and he could not get in. Next Day, he says, he had a Message brought him, that for staying out of his Masters House all Night, he was to be sent to Bridewell; and least he might be so served, as he said he had Reason to expect he should be, he chose not to give his Master an Opportunity for so doing: But to avoid what he at that Time most dreaded, he forsook both Master and Business, and never went to the Shop more. From this Time, he says, he returned again to workupon the River in rigging of Ships , as he could get Employ, and at other Times to work in Rope-Walks . And now I came to understand that he had got a Wife too, which was also made a Present of to him at the Fleet: For he says that he (having left the Butcher the latter End of Summer, or Beginning of Winter last) and his Wife were both taken very ill, and for six Weeks, or two Months, lived on Nothing but Turnips and a little Salt, as they gathered them out of the Fields. It was a long Time before he could get Work to get a Bit of Bread; but when he got Abroad to work, and procured a little Subsistence, they both recovered, and he worked hard all the Rest of the Winter to get a Maintenance.
He says too, it was John Bryant , the Evidence, that put him first upon going a Thieving, and at last was induced to own, that he had been concerned in divers Felonies besides this for which he was convicted; tho', for some Time he denied any Concern.
This poor Fellow, as well as Wilson, was committed to Clerkenwell- Bridewell , upon Bryant's Oath, for being concerned with him in several Robberies, was convicted for a Burglary in a Publick-House, in New-street, Shadwell, just by where they had been both bred, and lived most Part of their Days. Harris had been a naughty Youth, but seemed to die penitent and resigned.
They had been at work with Bryant the Day before they went upon this Robbery at Night; and both Wilson and Harris told me they had not the least Apprehension of being convicted; for that the People concerned in the Prosecution frequently came to them in Clerkenwell- Bridewell , and told them they need not trouble their Friends to appear for them at the Old-Bailey; they might rest satisfied no Prosecutor would appear. To this they trusted, and pretend it was the Reason why they were not provided with any Defence, nor had any Friends to appear for them: But Bryant, having been in Clerkenwell- Bridewell , informed against these two, and, in Order to save himself, must have them convicted, as they were, upon full Evidence.
4. Edward Johnson , was about 50 Years of Age, and was born at Bury St. Edmund's, in the County of Suffolk. Tho' he had no School Education, his Parents took care to provide him with a good Business to get his Livelihood by, and had the Grace of God had any Share in his Conduct, he might, by the
Labour of his Hands, have maintained himself, and his Family. He was bred a Bricklayer , he says, and served an Apprenticeship of 7 Years to that Business, in the Town where he first drew the Breath of Life, and served out his Time to the Satisfaction of his Master; insomuch as, he says, his Master, being in great Business, chose, and entrusted him to work for him after his Time was out, at most of the Gentlemen's Houses in the Neighbourhood of that County; and he continued in Credit and Esteem, he says, with his Master, and wheresoever he went to do any Work for his Master's Customers, which was till he was upwards of 30 Years of Age.
It is about 17 Years since he came to Town. Why he left the Country, in which he was so well respected, as he pretends, and was likely to do well, he does not say; only that his Mind led him to go Abroad, and among other Places, London raised his Curiosity to visit it. He says, he thought to have returned Home; but having a Wife and Child or two, he met with some Encouragement, and so resolved to settle to work in Town.
He says he has worked for most of the Master Bricklayers in and about Town, to the Satisfaction of all, nor ever wronged any of them; that he might have had constant Employ, and got a very good Livelihood, if he could but have been content with his Wages, and continued to follow his lawful Calling.
About three Years ago, he says, he worked at his Trade together with the Father of John Wood, (not yet taken) who was Accomplice with him in the Robbery for which he was convicted. Johnson says, about that Time the Father, and he who were drinking together, when the Son came to see the Father. They all three drank together, and when he was gone, the Father told Johnson, that he was his Son. And, from thence arose their first Acquaintance, which from Time to Time has been cultivated to a very great Intimacy and Confidence in each other, to the Detriment of the Publick. But, Johnson could never settle well to work after he understood, what Method of Life John Wood followed, and how he was at present advantaged by it. He met John Wood in Bartholomew-Fair, and after they had done what Mischief they could, and drank pretty plentfully, they went together to Wood's House, and drank at an Alehouse just by at the Bottom of Tower-hill till 12 or 1 o'Clock. This Scheme was before concerted, and agreed on. And
to work they went, when they thought proper Time was come, opened the Street-door, with Picklock Keys, not expecting to find any Body in the House. Wood staid below in the Kitchen; and, he says, whatever was lost from thence, he must take it. For, he sent him up with a Sack to clear all above, as soon as they came into the House; but being disappointed by finding People in the House, contrary to their Expectation, his Heart misgave him, and he thought best to make off the Ground, as fast as he could, without taking away any Booty, and was glad to get away himself. However, it pleased God, he was soon overtaken, and apprehended, and brought to the Watch-house. And, being taken before a Justice of the Peace, he did not deny the Fact, because 'twas in was so to do, and was committed to Newgate.
He laboured very hard with the Justice to be admitted Evidence, but to no Purpose. After he had made Confession of the Fact, and put his Mark to it, he wanted the Justice to convert it into an Information; but what was done, that Gentleman did not think proper to alter.
Upon his Trial, being called upon to say, what Defence he had to make, he proceeded to confess the whole Affair, just as the Prosecutor set it forth, and he had before confessed to the Justice.
After Conviction he behaved very quietly, and seemed to take on the Appearance of Sorrow. He was very loath to own any intimate Friendship he had with Wood at the first, and pretended only a very slight Acquaintance, as if he had seen him very seldom, and that accidentally. But before he died, he did own, that he had been for some Time past made a Tool of by Wood, and others, that accustom themselves to that most wicked, and terrifying Practice of House-breaking, whereby great Advantage had accrued to Wood, and others, and he had only such an Allowance out of their Booty, as they thought proper to give him. He says, that Wood has a House furnished with all Manner of the best of Goods, obtained by this most flagrant Practice, carried on to the great Prejudice of many unguarded People, who, retired from the Hurry and Business of the World, little think of such unwelcome and dangerous Visitors.
He says, these sort of People, who thus by Night disturb the Repose of, and pay these felonious Visits to their Neighbours, have a very deep laid Scheme, whereby to carry on these Male Practices. Some among them, who can read, perusethe News-Papers, to find out what Families are gone into the Country, and then they watch the Houses to see, whether they are entirely shut up, or whether any of the Servants remain behind, and manage Things accordingly. They keep Picklock-keys, and wrenching Irons for the Purpose. And, if they find a House shut up, as this was, they visit it in the Dead of Night, and ten to one but they succeed, and plunder at their Pleasure. But, if it so happens, that none of their Keys will touch the Lock, they find out, where they are wanting, and against the next Opportunity are sure to suit a Key, that shall do the Work. This, he says, has been a Practice of those, he has been concerned with, and great has the Mischief been, which he has had Knowledge of, since he was concerned in House-breaking. Thus Wood told him that House was empty, and tempted him, by saying, He could put Money in his Pocket. His own Account of the Fact, upon his Trial, seemed to argue that he was a Novice to these Ways, as he had not learned to put any Gloss upon the Matter, nor to call any to Character.
But this Opinion soon went off when we came to converse together a little more closely, and his evasive Methods of disclaiming any great Knowledge of his old Acquaintance, or their Ways, appeared more and more. And he thought the better of the Matter at last, and would have opened more largely the wicked Ways he had been in, had not Defect of Memory, and the greater Care for Hereafter employed the Time. He seemed to be Penitent, and put his Trust in the Promises of God through Christ.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
ON Monday the 1st Instant, about Nine o'Clock in the Morning, John Harris , and Philip Wilson , in one Cart; Edward Johnson , and Hannah Wilson , in another; were carried from Newgate to the Place of Execution. When they were come there the Executioner put them into one Cart, and tied them up to the fatal Tree.
After which, some Time was spent in recommending their Souls to their Maker, while they seemed very attentive, and repeated some Prayers to God, imploring the Forgiveness of their Transgressions against him, and seeking the Protection of the Lord Jesus: Thus, the Cart being drawn from under them, ended the Lives of these 4 poor unfortunate Wretches. While I was in the Cart with them, I could not help observing a large Wound on the Left Side of Johnson's Breast, fresh, and lately heal'd up, which seemed to have been received from a Sword, or Cutlass.
Neither of them said any Thing, that I heard, particular, or worth Notice; but met their fate very quietly. Their Bodies were disposed to their Friends; and the whole dismal Scene passed on without any Hurry or Disturbance.