THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, OF JOHN HAMILTON, Who was executed at TYBURN On Monday the 10December, for MURDER: BEING THE Second EXECUTION in the Mayoralty OF THE Right Hon. Thomas Rawlinson, Esq .
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession Etc.
BY Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Jail-delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable Thomas Rawlinson, Esq ; Lord-Mayor of the City of London, the Lord Chief Justice Willes, Mr. Justice Dennison, Mr. Baron Smythe, 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, for the said City and County of Middlesex, held at Justice-hall, in the Old Bailey, on Friday the 7th Instant, John Hamilton was capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death immediately upon Conviction, pursuant to the late Act of Parliament to prevent Murders.
The next Day I visited and went to Prayers with him, which he seem'd to be attentive to. Upon talking with him afterwards, I found he was bred a Roman Catholick , and desired to dye such, and afterwards he was attended by a Gentleman of that Profession. He then positively denied the Murder, nay, even being present at it, and further declared, he had never done any Thing to deserve to be hang'd.
John Hamilton was indicted, for that he, together with Allen Latty, on the King's Highway, on Datloff Christopher Crauze did make an Assault, putting him in Fear, Etc. and taking from him 7 Guineas and a Half, on the 17September.
He was also indicted a second Time for the Murder of the said Crauze.
John Hamilton, aged 27, was born, he says, in the North of Ireland, of Irish Roman Catholick Parents, and bred up in that Persuasion himself. He says also he was put out an Apprentice to a Silk-Weaver ; but through Disinclination to Industry, or by reason of youthful Folly, his Mind was taken off from Attention to the Prospect he might have had, of being a useful Member of Society in that Way; and nothing would please him so well when he was about fifteen Years of Age, as entering for a Soldier , to which, long before he did so, he says, his Inclination was (fatally too, God knows) resolutely bent, and at length he put it in Practice, and enter'd in a marching Regiment; so that about 12 Years he has been in the Army, about six or seven of which he was in the Guards, and he belong'd to the third Regiment at the same Time of his being apprehended and taken up upon Suspicion of Murder.
About four Years ago he had the Honour to wait on a worthy Gentleman, an Officer of the Company to which he then belong'd, and at that Time he was looked upon as a Person of an honest Character, and was entrusted in Confidence of being a good Servant .
Within twelve Months after he was out of this Gentleman's Service, he says he was quartered at a House near the Five Fields going to Chelsea, and there it is not without Cause believed, he began to be concerned with a Party that made it their Business to go upon the Highway. Great Diligence has been made Use of in search after Offenders of this Sort, by Gentlemen Officers of the Army, and where Suspicion has fallen, diligent Enquiry is always made, that such Disturbers of the Peace of Society might be brought to Justice. But it is well known, that Offenders against the Laws, act either so privately or so artfully, as to be an Over-match for those who would wish to drive from Society, such as shall appear to be the common Pests and wicked Devisers of all Kind of Villiany and Roguery.
Of this Sort seems the unhappy Person who is the Subject of these
Lines, to have been one; and, tho' a suspected Man for two or three Years past, yet had he the Luck to escape without being overtaken, and cut off in his Wickedness, till very lately; but, for what Purpose? It seems as if it had been so by Providence ordered, that this Punishment might be the more exemplary. And considering his having survived the Danger of those Wounds he received, together with his own Mismanagement, for Fear of Discovery, one might, I think, without incurring the Censure of the World for a rash Opinion, say, he was reserved to be a remarkable Monument of divine Vengeance denounced against the horrid Act of Murder.
The Five Fields going to Chelsea has formerly been a Place where divers Robberies have been committed, as must be remembered. Whether or no he has been used to practise in that Neighbourhood any iniquitous Deeds, is only to be suspected from his great Desire of endeavouring to take off all Suspicion of that Kind, by positively declaring that a Coat taken from, and owned by him, does not belong to a Person in that Neighbourhood. This is an Affair which he seemed more concerned about clearing up than he did the Guilt of his own Conscience, which, in all human Appearance, hung so heavily over his own Head. Whatever may be the Case, of how much soever he may have been concerned in feloniously disturbing the Peace of Mankind, nothing ever, as far as we know, publickly disturbed his own Peace (whatever his Conscience might do privately, for private Sins have generally private Punishment)! till the Month of September last, when he was apprehended upon a violent Suspicion of robbing and barbarously murdering Mr. Datloff Christopher Crauze; which Robbery and Murder deservedly raised the Resentment of all Mankind, so far as to wish that the Perpetrators of that fatal Catrastrophe might be brought to Justice, and for which End no Pains had been spared.
On the 19September, the second Day after the Robbery and Murder, Hamilton was apprehended in a Situation very suspicious of his being conscious of having done something he ought not to have done, in a Closet in a Two Pair of Stairs Room, with his Shoes in his Hand, ready, as he vainly thought, to escape his Pursuers, and to fly from the Hands of Justice. I Scarce need remark it was on the 17September, that this most barbarous Affair was transacted; but choose to do it, because it will suggest to the Reader's Mind, that the Foot of Justice trod close upon his Heels. And, the Circumstances of the Case
seem to say, it was necessary it should be so, and are such as shew that the Hand of Providence is directed to trace out the Footsteps of the Guilty, and to discover their Lurking-Places.
To proceed then to the Case in Hand. 'T was on the 17Septemberlast, that Mr. Crauze set out from Petersham in the Evening, by Order of his Right Honourable Master, to attend upon his Duty and Business at London. He rode pretty briskly, little suspecting what was to befall him, till he came pretty near London, in the Dusk of the Evening. He was seen by a Man that keeps a Publick-house at Bloody-bridge, riding by upon a Gallop. Shortly after he heard Three Pistols go off, which was about a Quarter after 7 o'Clock, in the Night of the 17September, which was about Five Minutes after he saw Mr. Crauze ride by his House. Upon this, in about a Quarter of an Hour after, he went out to see what was the Matter, but could see nobody.
However, the Report which this Person heard, was made by a Pistol which Mr. Crauze fired at the Rogues, and Two others fired, by each of them one, as he related the Matter. This was the unhappy Minute this dismal Catastrophe was acted, which cost him his Life unmerited, and the Robbers theirs deservedly.
Soon after Mr. Crauze had passed Bloody-bridge, he stopped his Horse, and rode gently; when on a sudden Two Men started out of the Ditches, in which they had lurked for the Purpose of Robbery, one on each Side of him, and demanded his Money; upon which he drew a Pistol out of the Holster, and fired it at the Villains, and they fired each one at him; then they laid violent Hands on him, and by Force took him down from his Horse, and threw him on his Back to the Ground; then they robbed him of his Money and Watch; but he recollecting his Knife, which he generally carried about him, took it out of his Pocket, and wounded one of the Two; upon which the Knife was taken from him, and himself was wounded; then he, somehow in the Struggle he had with the Robbers, regained the Knife, and gave the Person he had wounded before Two other Wounds. The Knife was then wrested from him again, and made use of against its Owner; but the Man he had wounded went at a Distance, and calling to his Comrade, said, ' He ' had done for me; stamp upon ' him, kill him, tread his Guts out.' The other Villain, who staid behind with him, did as the wounded had
bid him, and they left him for dead. Mr. Crauze, in the Scuffle with the other Man, had got Hold of his Hand, and bit his Thumb, as appeared when he was apprehended. These wicked Wretches having given him several Wounds, one on the Head, another in his Side, a Third on his Lip, and beat out Four of his Teeth, stamped upon his Belly till they had most miserably bruised his Bowels, Etc. and then leaving him for dead, made the best of their Way to escape; which they did for a short Time.
Mr. Crauze recovering his Spirits a little, rose up, and, with his Two Hands holding his Belly, walked as far as the King's-Head, about Half a Mile on this Side Bloody-bridge, where several People saw him, one after another, as they came in. The Landlord asked him, What was the Matter? He said he had been robb'd by Two Men in dark-colour'd Cloaths, and miserably abused. Having armed themselves, several People went out to look after the Villains. And the Landlord advised Mr. Crauze to go to the Hospital. He did go to The Duke's-Hospital, and had his Wounds dressed. After which he was carried Home to his own House that Night, and lay in a miserable Condition till 2 o'Clock next Afternoon, when he died, after having grievously complained of his Bowels, miserably bruised by the Stamping, which exceeded the Pain of the Wounds.
The People who saw Mr. Crauze at the King's-Head, made diligent Search after the Actors of this tragical Affair; but nobody was to be met with; only in a Gravel-Pit, upon looking about with Lanthorns, were found Three Pistols, the Case of the fatal Knife, with a Needle, used in larding Fowls, Etc. and some Keys; which being brought o him, Mr. Crauze owned one of the Pistols, and the other Things. They were what the Villains took from him, besides his Money and Watch. But, we suppose, thinking these Things might discover and cry out against them, they thought proper to leave them behind, and threw 'em into the Pit. To these Persons he had declared himself to have been robbed, and used thus barbarously. He said, they were Two Men in dark-coloured Cloaths, near of the same Height; that he had wounded one of them in Three Place, the Breast, the Side, and Thigh; and that he had bit the other's Thumb; so that if he was taken, he was sure the Mark must remain visible. As to these Circumstances, there were no less than Eight Witnesses to depose to the Truth of his having told them so before he died. And, some of them did declare, he
particularly bid them remember the Bite of the Thumb; and to shew he was sure he had wounded the other, he said he felt the Blood run down upon him warm, after he had given the Wounds.
His Descriptions of the Matter were very particular, and such as could not but dwell upon the Mind of such as he related it to. There was scarce any Difference in the Account of any of them. It was so deeply impressed upon his own Mind, that he could scarce vary his Relation of the sad Transaction. And they who received it from him, appeared to deliver this Account of it again in Court, with a strict and nice Regard to the Truth.
The Perpetrators of this bloody Act betook themselves to Hiding-places. And, it being Hamilton's Turn next Morning to mount Guard, of course he did not attend, being wounded, as before related. However, Latty, his Companion, was dispatched for his Regimentals to the House where he had left them the Day before, and receiving them, brought them to him at the House of one O'Neal, where he had taken Shelter.
Hamilton's Wife went the next Day of fetch a Person, who was a Surgeon and Apothecary, to dress his Wounds, who, when he came to him, found him very weak, and he shewed him a Wound under the Right Breast; but upon turning up his Shirt, to come at that to dress it the more easily, he saw another in the Side of the Belly. Upon Enquiry how he came by them, Hamilton said, he received them from a Comrade in a Scuffle, by a Scimitar. The Surgeon would have it they were by a Knife; but he confidently said. ' T was with a Sci' mitar. And he was advised to go to the Hospital; but his Wife said, 'No, for then his Pay would ' cease; and she would see him paid ' for his Trouble.' The Surgeon said, ' He was afraid he had got ' them some other Way;' and intimated some Suspicion, saying, ' His Wounds, he believed, were ' not fairly come by.' This Gentleman promised to see him next Morning, and intended to have him apprehended on Suspicion, having by this Time heard of the Death of Mr. Crauze. He drest Hamilton on Tuesday Night; but when he came next Morning Hamilton was removed. Here his Conscience seemed to press him with Fear, that Vengeance was at Hand, and he got out of the Way to avoid it.
The next Day another was sent for to dress his Wounds; to whom he said, ' He received them in a ' Fray; ' who having dressed his Wounds, after assisted in taking of
him at one Kenneday's, in a Closet up two Pair of Stairs with his Shoes in his Hand. This Person was fetched to him by Latty, Hamilton's Companion. To others he said, he had received his Wounds in a Duel with a Brother Soldier; and a third Story he told, which was, that he pick'd up a Girl, or she him, and going to drink with her, three Russians fell on him in Broad St. Giles, near Tyburn Road, and wounded him in that Manner. To this he seemed to stick by to the last, for he made this Pretence to the Gentleman that attended him to the last, as he informed me, and this he pretended when I talked to him.
Being apprehended, he was carried before a Justice of the Peace, who, among other Things, ask'd him what Cloaths he wore the 17th, the Day of the Robbery and Murder? To which he reply'd, his Regimentals. But this certainly was false, for two People prov'd his leaving his Regimentals that Day at their House, and putting on brown Cloaths. They swore upon Trial, his Regimentals were at their House that Night, and the Latty fetch'd them away next Morning about seven o'Clock. Being ask'd what was become of the dark Cloaths which he had on that Day? said, he had sold them, but to whom he did not know. As to the Wounds, when Enquiry was made after them, he own'd one in the Breast, and said he had no more; but on Search, the Wounds as described by the Deceased were found, and answered in all Respects, such Wounds as might be given by a two-edg'd Knife, but by no other Instrument, such was the Knife used in this unhappy Transaction. Being ask'd, how he came to deny the other Wounds? he reply'd because they did not pain him so much as that in his Breast.
A Serjeant of the Regiment he belong'd to, swore upon his Tryal, he saw Hamilton in the Strand, Monday the 17th, between two and three in the Afternoon, and that he had seen Latty and him together, Latty and Hamilton were Countrymen, and the latter own'd to me, that for twelve Months past, they had been intimately acquainted. And now to recollect the Sum of what is past, we shall observe, as to the Wounds, Mr. Crauze's Declaration, before he died, to several Persons, (all which have declared the same upon Oath) those found on Hamilton exactly answered, as well as the Bite on Latty's Thumb. He said the two Men that so miserably abused him, were in brown Cloaths. Two Persons swore upon the Tryal, that Hamilton was in brown Cloaths on the 17th Day of
September, that fatal Day, that he shifted off his Regimentals, and left them in their House, and that he went out from their House in brown Cloaths. And a Person swore also on Tryal, that he saw him in the Strand between two and three o'Clock the same Afternoon, as above.
What says Hamilton in order to hide his Guilt from Man? Why, he was in Regimentals all that Day. The contrary of which seems to be the Truth of the Matter; and they that declare it, could have no other Motive but to declare the Truth. He had not injur'd them, therefore it is not to be supposed they should combine together by Perjury to take away his Life; and after having heard such a Number of Witnesses declare such a Number of Circumstances, which nothing but Truth could support; and which, and they not concurr'd so well together, would never have induced a Jury to convict him. How he could persist in the Denial of having any Concern in the Robbery and Murder of Mr. Crauze, is to me somewhat surprizing; and, I believe, I may venture to say, I do not stand single in my Opinion.
Hamilton was indicted last October Sessions, together with Allen Latty, for two different Robberies. The Prosecutors of these Indictments, were positive to Latty, who died before the Sessions, or else he might very likely have been then convicted for Robbery; and one of them said, he could swear to the Hands and Voice of Hamilton, but could not take upon him to swear to his Face. These Robberies were committed not far from that fatal Place, call'd Bloody-Bridge, and that Latty was one of the two Men that committed those Robberies, there was positively Evidence; whether Hamilton was the other or no, we leave to any one to determine their own Opinion: However, he was acquitted of both those Indictments, there not being Evidence sufficient to support the Charge against him.
Upon which, there was a Motion made, that Hamilton might be detained till the next Sessions. The Council for the Crown acquainted the Court, that farther Evidence was expected by that Time to come out against him, with Respect to the Murder of Mr. Crauze, and by the Diligence of the Managers of the Prosecution for the King, as no other Proof could be sufficient, circumstantial Evidence has appear'd to convince, that Hamilton was greatly concerned in the Robbery and Murder, if not the very Perpetrator of the barbarous
Act, as I am afraid will be strongly evinced by and by, when we come to make use of his own Words.
On Friday last Hamilton was brought to the Bar, and called to his Tryal, upon Indictments as above; to which he pleaded, Not Guilty. The cruel Case being opened, and amply spoken to by the Council for the Crown, the Evidence called proved the Case sufficiently, to the Satisfaction of both Court and Jury, and he was brought in guilty of the Indictments; which though they consisted of two Facts, the one Robbery, the other Murder, yet were the Circumstances given in Evidence so blended together, as, in general, to tend to the Proof of both; as both were the dark Scene of but one Time of Action. However, he declared himself innocent before he went from the Bar, to the Surprize of every Hearer. When I saw him the next Day, he said, he knew nothing of the Matter; that he was not concerned in this or any other Robbery, with Latty, nor any Body else. Strange! that there should be so much Smoke without any Fire. Before we parted, I found he was of Irish Roman Catholick Parents, was himself bred that Way, and was so still, though he had been in the Army above 12 Years. The Gentleman that attended him the next Day, as such, said He denied not only the Fact for which he was convicted, and suffered, but every Fact of Robbery or Murder that ever was Accusation against him for. Good God! How is this to be accounted for? Can any Man scarce think, a Wretch under these unhappy Circumstances, once to acknowledge, and afterwards persist to his last Gasp to deny the Truth and Justice of his Suffering? Yet here's an Instance; and I am sorry to say it. God best knows how such a Contradiction is to be accounted for. For, after Conviction, and Sentence being passed upon him, Hamilton was brought from the Old Bailey, to be locked up in a Cell in the Press-yard. He came up with two others who had been convicted, and the Person who had the Charge of locking them up in the Cells: That Person says, and is willing to make Oath of it, that Hamilton spoke, as they were going along the Passage, in a Sort of Soliloque, (no-body having said any thing to him about the Affair) in these Words; viz. 'It is over with ' me; if I had not killed the Cook, ' the Cook would have killed me; ' but he gave me the first Stab.' Whom did he mean? Mr. Crauze, no doubt!
What shall we say to this? Is this denying the Fact? If this be a Truth, (and the Man is ready to
give his Oath to the Truth of it), what shall we say? Or, what can any one think of the Person, who after having, as above, plainly admitted the Fact, goes out of the World with his last Breath denying what himself had before admitted to be true? We shall not pretend, nor attempt to account for this palpable Contradiction. 'Tis strange! 'tis wondrous strange! But, the Lord only knoweth the Secrets of the Heart, and the Counsels of Men, that they are but vain, oftener calculated for their own Interest, than for the Purposes of real Good.
Here then, we shall leave the poor deluded Wretch, to whom may God shew more Mercy than he did, or was likely to do, to his fellow Creature. If he was not guilty, all here said will not make him so. But, if he was, as his own Words admit, and strong Circumstances prove, 'tis pity a Man should leave the World, not taking his own Shame upon himself. What could be his Hopes of Hereafter, to comfort him in his dying Moments?
And now, I think, we neither can, nor need say any more of the unhappy Malefactor; but leaving him in the Hands of Him who is merciful, tho' just, whose Goodness is to us an incomprehensible Attribute; we shall add a few Words upon the Nature of Murder, and its ill Consequences, horrid and detestable.
Murder, in its most extensive Signification, denotes all Cruelty, in Thought, Word, or Deed. In a more restrained Sense, it signifies the taking away of a Man's Life unlawfully. And, if the Murder of Mr. Crauze is not an unlawful Murder, a Murder committed in consequence of an unlawful Act, what, in God's Name, may be termed Murder? 'T was committed with such Circumstances, as shew it to be a voluntary Murder, which was always punished with Death.
The Ceremony used by the Israelites, when a dead Body was found in the Fields, slain by a Murderer unknown, is recorded in the 21st Chapter of Deut. (from 1 to the 9th Verse) and may inform Mankind what Idea they had of the Heinousness of Murder, and the Horror they conceived at this Crime. There likewise we see the Fear they were in, that God might take Vengeance for it on the whole Country. It also sets forth the Pollution that the Country was supposed to contract, by the Blood that was spilt in it, unless it were expiated, or revenged upon him that was the Occasion of it, if he should happen to be discovered.
Such Evidence as could be come at, proves, and Hamilton owns in private, though not publickly, ' He ' murdered the Cook, or the Cook ' would have murdered him.' Who then can justly think, much less speak any thing against the Justice of his being put to Death?
At the Place of EXECUTION.
ON Monday the 10th Instant, about Nine o' Clock, John Hamilton was put into a Cart, and carried from Newgate to the Place of Execution. When he came there, he read by himself in a Manual which he had for that Purpose, about a Quarter of an Hour, denying the Fact for which he suffered, but just before the Cart drew from under him. Afterwards his Body was carried back to Surgeon's-Hall, in order to dissected, as the late Act of Parliament, to prevent Murder, has directed.
This is all the Account given by me,