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 01May1758, BEING THE Third EXECUTION in the Mayoralty OF THE Rt. Hon. Sir CHARLES ASGILL, Knt. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.
Servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, & sibi constet. From his first entrance to the closing scene. Let him one equal character maintain.
AS they must be of an odd complexion who go to a Tragedy to laugh, so are they no less who take up this paper with a view to meet an entertaining novel or a merry tale. The calamities inflicted on our fellow creatures for their crimes by way of punishment to themselves, and example to deter others from offending, seem to be a very untoward subject for mirth and laughter; nor should readers expect to find it here; and yet this subject should not be supposed void of all rational entertainment, or profitable improvement. An aweful solemn pleasure attends the passage thro' the deep imbowered grove or the gloomy grotto; though it be of a different cast from that afforded by the enamelled smiling meads, the variegated lawns and so rests, and the fruitful vine-yards and corn fields, which seem to laugh and sing, when the sun-shine brightens them into hope and joy.
Every scene of nature no less than every dispensation of Providence have their various beauties and peculiar uses; though the attentive reader be here led through the valley of the shadow of death, yet need he fear no evil; the rod inflicted on others may be turned into a staff and a stay to save, or recover his steps, and comfort him because he is saved.
It is perhaps better now and then to go to the house of mourning or to take up a serious book or paper than for ever to be in the house of mirth; for by the sadness of the countenance on proper occasions, the heart may be made better; while the laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns vanishing quick into smoke and ashes.
Let this be admitted as an humble apology for not falling into the levity, and giving way to the vein of fiction and romance which adorns and enriches the writings of some of our contemporary fellow-labourers in such subjects as these.
The great use which it is my ambition to make of these unhappy occasions, is to warn and rescue as many as may be from incurring the like sad catastrophe, ever inculcating this incontrovertible maxim of the moral poet, so well established by experience, and history sacred and profane;
Raro antecedentem scelestum Deseruit pede pna claudo.
Yet with sure steps, tho' lame and slow, Vengeance o'crtakes the trembling villian's speed.
which observation as it was made long before Horace's time may be thus expressed in the language of a sacred poet.
Evil shall hunt the wicked person to overthrow him, PSAL. cxl. ver. II.
THE ORDINARY OF NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, Etc.
BY virtue of the King's commission of the peace and oyer and terminer for the city of London, and at the general sessions of goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the city of London and c ounty of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall, in the Old-Bailey, before the Right Hon. Sir Charles Asgill, Lord Mayor , the Right Hon. Lord Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice of the court of King's Bench; Mr. Justice Clive, one of the justices of the court of Common Pleas; the Hon. Mr. Baron Legge, one of the Barons of the Exchequer; Sir William Moreton, Knt. Recorder ; and others his Majesty's justices of oyer and terminer for the said city and county, on Wednesday the 5th, Thursday the 6th, and Friday the 7th of April, in the thirty-first year of his majesty's reign, George Smith, William Stevens, Richard William Vaughan, William Boodger, Henry Strickland, and James Cotes, were capitally convicted for the several crimes in their indictment set forth.
On Tuesday, 25April, the report of these six malefactors was made to his majesty by Mr. recorder, when four were ordered for execution, viz. William stevens, William Boodger, and James Cotes; and on 01May, were accordingly executed; and George Smith for a robbery of some plate out of a
1. William Stevens was indicted for stealing twenty-nine yards of woollen cloth, value 18l. two pieces of linen cloth, value 30l. the goods of William Colethurst, out of his warehouse, Feb. 24, which being proved he was convicted.
He was about 33 years of age, was born in Thames-street, and went to school in Philpot-lane, where he learned to read and write, and was bred to the church of England. He served his apprenticeship of 7 years to Mr. John Gibson, a packer in Coleman-street, and was about 27 years old when out of his time, then worked as a journeyman with several in that business; as with Mrs. Lane and Lewis in Packers-court, Coleman-street, near two years; then in the Old Jewry with Mr. Alchorn, and afterwards with Mr. Alsager, not quite a year; also with Mr. Roberts, in Swan-alley; and Mr. Lock, in Packers-court. As it was strongly suspected he was an incendiary as well as a thief and a robber, the prosecution against him was carried on by order of the directors of the Union-fire-office, and he was apprehended by means of hand-bills dispersed from the said office immediately after the fire was extinguished at Mr. Colethurst's in Basing hall-street, and an advertisement describing the numbers, maker's name, quantity and colour of the cloth; and thereby a woman was stopt as she was offering part of the same to sale, at 7s. a yard. This woman was the daughter of a person with whom he had left the whole piece, and as it was expected he would return to receive the money made of the cloth then sold, proper persons were appointed to wait thereabouts for him and lay hold of him, which was accordingly done; thus did his sin find him out.
On Saturday, April 8, the convicts were visited and prayed with for above an hour, and a proper exhortation used to them all together, and to each of them singly and separately, according to the several crimes they were charged with.
William Stevens was told that the fact of which he stood convicted was the least of those crimes he had been guilty of in the general opinion and belief of the town, that to persist in denying of it could be of no service to him in any view, it could only rend to increase his infamy and the general resentment against him here in this world, and exclude him from repentance and pardon for ever, with other like motives; on which he freely declared' he would not persist in denying any part of what he was really guilty: he was farther told that he must have been guilty of many vices to draw him on to so great a degree of wickedness; he was therefore advised to trace back those wrong steps he had taken, and return back with his whole heart to those duties from whence he had fallen; and to pray earnestly for the grace of God to give him true repentance, and enable him to give all the satisfaction in his pow-
er, by a full and true acknowledgment to those whom he has wronged, all which he seemed very forward and ready to comply with, for he said he was sensible his fire had overtaken him, and he hoped to make a good use of this heavy judgment: thus he was daily visited and instructed, and prayed with in order to soften and prepare him by a true sorrow and contrition, to open his crimes as a necessary part of his repentance. After some days being again examined in private, he denied what he had owned at the first visit, seeming to be relapsed into a sullen hardened temper: I beseeched him not to grow worse, but better under the chastising and yet forbearing hand of God; remembering the dreadful doom of impenitent sinners; if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him: adding, Let not the tempter hold you fast in chains, and shut you out from all the means of peace and mercy for ever, Etc. by this and the like motives he then began to relent, and open himself as follows:
He had wrought with Mr. Alsager about two or three months, and was paid off by him that Saturday night before the fire broke out in August last; he was not discharged for any fault, but because not farther wanted at that time. The fire began about two o'clock on Sunday morning, among the bavins or brushy-wood used to heat the irons for packing. About one the prisoner got in at the cellar window, and thro' the cellar got into the counting house, out of which he took some money, about 40 or 50l. and to conceal this robbery set the house on fire, by leaving a piece of lighted paper among the bavins, and getting out of the window. In this fire he acknowledged with horror the life of a servant maid was lost! horresco referens! who can forbear trembling at the dreadful deed! when a little recovered from the shock this amazing degree of wickedness must give, which, had not the divine hand interposed and prevented it, might have spread ruin and murder far and wide on the secure and sleeping inhabitants of this great city; he was told he had not only the losses and damages caused by this fire, but also the blood of this unhappy servant, taken off suddenly and unprepared, now lying on his foul, and if possible, to be repented of: all this he acknowledged with confusion, and even agonies of grief, promising to pray incessantly for grace to repent, and to use his utmost endeavours for obtaining the divine mercy; all which it is hoped he performed to the last moment of his life, being daily assisted with proper prayers and instruction, books and conversation for that purpose.
But this horrid degree of guilt, great as it was, yet was highly aggravated by a second fact of the same kind, perpetrated on February 24 last, at the house of Mr. Colethursh in Basinghall-street, where the fire broke out about six o'clock in the morning, by his getting into the cellar among the bavins, as in the former, of which he gave this account; that on the day he
had been at work there being Wednesday, he had left the window unfastened, which was never discovered till the Friday morning, when the fire appeared; then he stole those goods he is indicted and convicted for, that very morning before the fire began, but said he got no money nor did he attempt it; being asked why? he answer'd he could not remember what thoughts he then had, but something hindered him; at another time I think he said his conscience would not let him: that may be; but it is no breach of charity to suppose his conscience at this time was a false guide, or had little influence over him.
Being farther examined what could tempt him to these black designs and deeds against these good and worthy gentlemen his benefactors and employers? whether he was engaged in any expensive sins, as gaming, drinking, adultery, lewd women or the like; he denied all these, but acknowledged the neglect of his duty to God; in particular his frequent profanation of the Lord's day, disregarding his worship, with the means of grace and instruction thereby administered, had provoked God to forsake and give him up to the tempter: for he could not recollect any particular covetous thoughts prompting him at that time; but that sometimes he was in necessity, and is still in debt.
Thus by laying before him is danger on the one hand if he denied his guilt, and the sweet the blessed fruits of true repentance on the other if he confessed and gave all the satisfaction and reparation in his power: he was at last with difficulty induced to open himself, and to express great sorrow, and hearty contrition for his crimes, especially that of blood-guiltiness for the servant maid burnt to death! how dreadful is it to think of a poor sinner cut off in deep sleep, without a moment's preparation for eternity! how doth this and the like dangers cry aloud, Let not the sun go down on your guilt, nor sleep in the death of sin, left you awake in hell! how does it alarm and excite every order and degree of men in this great city to vigilance and active diligence in the exercise of their several duties, for the suppressing and punishment of wickedness and vice, and promoting and maintaining of true religion and virtue; ever remembering that except the Lord keep the city and the house, the watchman waketh but in vain; that the formidable growth and increase of profaneness, immorality and vice, among the lower class of people, is a sure portent and means of public evils and judgments; and that a city or nation abounding with crimes is no safe place to dwell in:-of which the late atrocious crime of burning the Temporary bridge, to the great loss and damage of this capital, and her appendages is a threatening and striking proof. To this criminal under our consideration, it was recommended is one means of his repentance, to pray for the peace and safety of this city, which by his crimes he had brought into imminent danger; for this purpose a proper prayer was put into his hands, and the
use of the 51st Psalm entire, and verse 14 and 18 especially: and of the 122d Psalm verse 6-9 was pointed out to him.
At the request of several gentlemen, being asked in a strict and solemn manner concerning some pieces of cloth stolen out of Blackwell-hall, viz. three pieces advertised November 16 1751; and that stolen December 29 last, he answered he knew nothing of any of them. This being at a time when he was open to confess, and had really acknowledged much greater crimes; and also after the death warrant was come, and the hopes of a respite vanished, there is great reason to believe he would not conceal it, if guilty.
About this time Stevens was advised to open his guilt to those whom he had injured, and desire their pardon and prayers; this he complied with, as to Mr. Alsager the next opportunity, having seen him for that purpose, who, like a good man, forgave and pray'd for him; as did also Mr. Hammond, being conducted to Stevens to the chapel for that purpose, the evening before execution, when this criminal signed his confession witnessed by two witnesses.
As the convicts are usually examined each morning how they had spent the night, Stevens said on one such occasion that he had been at prayer all night. except about three hours he had slept, that he found himself much relived of his heavy load of guilt, and had good hope and comfort for three or four days past; that tho' the news of the death warrant had damped his spirits, yet thro' the mercy of God he had recovered and got the better of it, and said he trusted and believed his prayer and his repentance should be accepted, and his pardon sealed, to the magnifying of God's infinite mercy to penitents, and the encouragement of the greatest sinners, not to go on in their sins as desperate, but to return speedily while there is hope of pardon.
On the evening before execution a smart methodist exhorter met Stevens on the stairs, going down from chapel, and without farther preface stopt him, and said are you sure you are saved? to which he answered with a becoming humility, that he had strove and applied with all the care he could for it, but dare not say more than that he earnestly hoped he should be saved: to which the other replied, can I be sure I have this hat in my hand? intimating, so sure may you now be of your salvation. Such crude assertions as these, from a stranger to a stranger, whose crimes, repentance, faith, and whole spiritual state he was utterly ignorant of shew a forward presumption at least, and that they know not what spirit they are of; so far from being safe and sure guides to others, that they know not how to conduct themselves; and if the blind lead the blind, you know the dreadful consequence! and yet such instances as these we have in the prison from the same quarter almost daily; some of which being reported to one of their ringleaders by one of the more sensible convicts who was guarded against them, he is said to have disapproved of their proceed-
ings, saying, that was beginning at the wrong end first. But then who is to be blamed for them; who but they, who excite and set to work such ignorant fellow-labourers, who had much better follow the advice and precept of an apostle who was truly inspired, that they study to be quiet and to do their own business; or that seasonable caution of our English poet,
Beware what spirit rules within your breast, For one inspired, ten thousand are possest.
But who can tell but wolves are permitted, to excite the care and vigilance of shepherds.
Poor Stevens, with his vessel well nigh wreck'd endeavouring to get into the haven where he would be, and to steer clear of those two dangerous rocks called presumption and despair, is met by a forward ignorant pilot, who if he cannot push him on the former, will run him on the latter.
2. Richard William Vaughan was indicted for feloniously forging and counterfeiting a bank note, for the payment of 20l. to John Cornwallis, and also for putting away the same with intent to defraud the governor and company of the Bank of England, March 23.
He was about 27 years of age, born in Staffordshire, of a good and reputable family, and being well educated in proportion, was put apprentice to a near relation, who hoping to raise him to a better degree, tried his capacity and diligence at Pembroke-Hall, Oxford, for some time, about 7 years ago, but that not proving agreeable to him, he returned to business: besides his dealings at Stafford in the wholesale linen -way, he had taken a place in Aldersgate-street, and put in 5 or 600l worth of goods, when a statute was taken out against him, about a year ago. His father has been dead several years; but his mother is still alive: (may heaven support her under this affliction)
At the first visit he said he was very sensible of the fatal error he had fallen into, as he had an education which should have taught him better; at the same time he seemed to palliate this fact with such pretexts and colours as made it appear less deformed to himself than it should have done, saying it was intended only as an artifice to gain Mr. B-'s consent for his marrying the young lady, which once done, his creditors promised to sign his certificate, and his friends engaged to do for him; and that he never intended to make any farther use of it. Whatever had been sworn by Mr. Balanger, of his intent to pass off notes, was on a mistake of some discourse he had with him concerning some real notes and bills, which his friends had promised to send him.
In other respects he behaved decently, and spoke properly, said he was endeavouring to prepare himself for the holy communion and his sudden change, and hoped he should be allowed a reasonable time; on which
I promised him all necessary helps to so good a purpose.
April 14, in a second conference with Mr Vaughan, he persisted in saying he did not extenuate his guilt in what he said before concerning those bills, and went on to explain himself farther, "that he never thought of it till the month of March last, and that the plan and execution of it was begun and finished between Monday and Friday." Being asked whether he met with no difficulties among the engravers? he answered, none at all; that the first part passed as for himself going into trade, and the second, For the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, was done by a very young man, who made no scruple of it. He observed the engravers should be incorporated into a company, and be obliged to do nothing injurious to public credit, especially the Bank of England; but that they were under no such obligations, and generally unwary and ignorant. He asserted still that his conversation with Balanger, sworn on his trial, was quite mistaken as to the design of it, for it happened in February last, when he had never thought of this unhappy scheme, which was never meant for more than a finesse to gain his mistress; that he never had, nor never intended to publish them as real bills, and that it was the severe terms imposed on him by Mr. B-to double her portion of 300l. and settle it on her which put him on this fatal device. He owned he was drawn into it by the juvenile passion of love, but never intended an injury to any one by it, for he had a promise of his certificate to be signed after marriage, which as he paid and should have paid about 15s. 6d.. in the pound, and dealt largely as a linen-factor, would intitle him by the lawful discount to 250l. and his friends promised him as much more, which wound enable him to make good his marriage articles and burn the false bills.
When he requested that no account of him or his dying words, Etc. might be published, that his family might not suffer; he was answered, it was as impossible as to stop the mouth of common same; that the trials being in print had already recorded it, Etc. But it must be owned, his gentle manners, his agreeable behaviour, his person and character seemed to deserve and promise a very different fate.
April 18, Mr. Vaughan came to consult me in doubts of his spiritual state and the possiblity of his repentance for having been guilty of wilful sins after having received the holy communion grounded on Heb. vi. ver 4.-6. and x. 26, 27. and 2 Pet. ii 20.-22. which he had drawn out on a sheet of paper: I endeavoured to explain the meaning of those texts to him, that they signify, 1. Either a total falling away from the Christian faith; or, 2. The great difficulty, not the absolute impossiblity of repenting after repeated relapses under the use of all the means of grace. Having enlarged on this subject in several conversations with him,
so as to clear his doubts and abate his fears, he grew more light and easy, more composed, patient and resigned.
He is said to have been apprehended by a hint given to the Bank from one of the engravers which he had employed; and indeed when one reflects on his manner of transacting the affair with the engravers, as it appears on the trial, how much he laid himself open to their surmises and suspicions, it should seem next to a miracle if he escaped; and it looks as unaccountable how they could be induced to work for him, or he to employ them, without being either accomplices, or under any tye of secrecy.
But the reader will best perceive his own sense of the charge, trial and conviction, from a paper delivered me in his own hand writing, as follows.
' THE papers which I deposited in ' the hands of Miss B-were ' deposited, sealed up with my seal, ' and Miss B-engaged in the most ' solemn manner to deliver them back ' to me unopened, after our marriage, when I should have destroyed them; ' and I do declare that I did not intend ' to defraud Miss B-or the Bank ' of England thereby. And that I ' never intended to put off, negotiate or ' dispose of the same in payment, but ' would have destroyed them ' immediately after my marriage with Miss ' B-. And as to those papers ' which were found upon me. I ' declare I did not intend to make any use of them at all, but really ' designed (even before the time of my ' being apprehended) to have destroyed ' them, but thro' gross neglect and ' carelessness I omitted to do it: how ' far soever I have fallen under the ' law, my intentions were innocent in ' regard to these papers. I am sorry ' to say that I think the verdict against ' me was not just; it was not proved ' at my trial that the hand writing ' with which the papers were filled up ' was my hand writting; that I ever ' negotiated them, or put any of them ' off in payment, except the deposit ' made in the hands of Miss B-; ' and as they were under my seal and ' she was so near being my wife, and ' was to give them to me back again ' as soon as she became so, I looked upon ' their being in her custody the same ' as if they had remained in my own; ' and do not look upon the deposit as ' any act of negociation or putting off ' in payment: and unless the hand ' writing in these papers had been ' proved to have been my hand, or some act of negociation had been ' proved against me, I think I ought ' to he been acquitted.-The ' verdict against me was said to be ' brought in upon circumstances or ' presumption, as my intentions were ' innocent, I think it was the harder to take away my life upon ' circumstances: and in a case like mine, to ' find a man guilty of death upon 'presumption, I think was severe; but ' I freely forgive the jury and all the ' world, and die in charity with all ' mankind.'
3. William Boodger was indicted for forging an inland bill of Exchange, purporting to be signed by James Goring, bearing date at Covenham, Feb 1 1758, for the payment of 40l. to James Ellis, or order; and for publishing the same knowing it to have been forged, with intention to defraud, Feb 7.
He was born at Bath, in the year 1728, where having had the usual education at schools, he entered in the year 1745, as a private man in general Read's regiment of foot , then at Portmabon; was there half a year, and came from thence to Gibraltar, and staid there 'till the conclusion of the war. Being respected by his officer he was made a serjeant , and at the relief of the garrison there, he came home, landing first in Ireland, where he was married. A short time after he went a recruiting to Nottingham where he fell in love with a woman there, and by the temptation of the devil, as he said) married her in 1755. He went from thence to Chester, where he soon got acquainted with one Mrs. A-, a young widow, about 19 years of age, who had been married to an old man of 80, and by whom she had about 200l. settled upon her; being perswaded to make a prize of this young widow and her fortune, he quickly got her consent and married her, settling 100l. out of the 200l. upon her, for (as he expressed it himself) his conscience would not let him take the whole, for which (as he said) he was blamed by many of his acquaintance. She went with him to London, where he left her after 8 days to shift for herself, and being pregnant, and her travail approaching she was admitted into the lying-inn hospital, in Brownlow-street, where she was taken great care of; and as the ill treatment she had from him provoked her to aggravate his faults and expose him, by her means he was advertised to have 19 wives.
In the year 1756 he was made a lieutenant in general Cornwellis's regiment, then lying at Nottingham; he was sent a recruiting into Lancaster, and there listed a number of since men; but the wife at Nottingham had made herself known to the regiment, and was looked upon the respected as such. Another wife as at his mother's, and he knowing that as soon as he joined the regiment she would there come to him, he could not bear the thoughts of the reflection of his officers, so he resolved therefore never to join the regiment, but only sent his party to it, and intended to go abroad; for he thought the scandal he brought on himself was far beneath the station he was then in; and as he was going to Liverpool for that purpose he met one Miss I-, near Eastham, a very agreeable young lady, of good family and reputation, who had been at Chester to receive her fortune, she being just come to age; they fell into discourse till they came to the ferry, they drank a glass of wine together, and he pulling a playbook out of his pocket, she desired to look at it, for she said she delighted in reading plays; he took much notice
of her reading, that she did it admirably well; then he began to be fond of her, and took particular care of her out of the boat, and when landed she courteously returned him thanks and so parted. But when he came to the inn, where he put up at Liverpool, he reflected much upon his former life, thinking he should retrieve it and be happy if he could get into favour with this young lady; and more especially (as he said) he was then so struck with her that he could not be at rest till he saw her again.
He soon found out where she lived, and waited on her one morning, where he was very genteelly received, and breakfasted with her, and in return he invited her that evening to see a play; from thence their intimacy increased, and he loved her to that degree that he could not be easy without her, so resolved to marry her, and to go with her to Holland and settle there, He got her consent, and they were married on a Friday, and the Sunday following they set out for Ireland: he said he was willing to settle her fortune upon her, and declares he did not know that she had any money or notes with her (tho' she had a note of 200l.) till they came to Ireland: for he said he had no design of depriving her of her fortune, nor to lessen it.
Her mother soon after, hearing that he had a wife at Chester, and more elsewhere, she went in pursuit of them, and made a great disturbance, which prevented his carrying his design of going to Holland into execution: they went therefore to Belfast, where she shewed him the note of 200 l. Her mother found them there, and on his promising her 10l. she dropt all prosecutions, and it was published in the Dublin gazette that it was all false, and misrepresentation of facts, that were raised against him.
Now he found himself at liberty again to go where he pleased, and as his own cash was all gone, and her note changed, he reflected that all would be soon spent, so resolved to go to Wales and leave her and the remainder of her money there, telling her, that he would go and join his regimentThey parted with mutual grief, for he said he never loved a wife like her, and promised to write to her by every opportunity. However, his real design was to go to the East Indies, but the temptation of the devil still overpowering him, or his thoughts continually running upon this last beloved wife, insomuch that he was almost distracted, he came back again to Wales to see for her; but there found that an uncle of her's had a full account of his past life, and that he should by no means see her.
He then came again to London, with an intent (as he said to banish himself for life, but the devil being still busy with him, he fell upon the fatal trick of forging bills on Mr. Colcraft in capt. Goring's name, for which Mr. N-received the cash and paid him what he thought proper: as to the last bill, said to be presented by Mr. N-, he knew nothing of it, being out of town. This is said to have been offered at Mr. Colcraft's on a Monday even-
ing, after the office was shut, otherwise would have been paid, but not being brought again, caused a suspicion, and so a detection of the whole, by writing to capt. Goring, and receiving his answer, that he had drawn no such bills. On this 'tis obvious to suppose Boodger was advertised, and by that discovered and apprehended, at the Isle of Wight, by five persons who knew him by the advertisement, when he was about making his escape; he was committed to Winchester goal, and in about eight days brought to Newgate.
He was affected with what was said to him at the first visit and conversation with him, after his conviction; felt with deep sorrow and tears, the ill use he had made of all the advantages of life he had been blest with, his healthy and good constitution, his comely person, his agreeable behaviour; these talents of mind and body, all prostituted and abused, only to ensnare and betray those whom he ought to have protected: that liberty which he had so misapplied, now changed to a close cell, and heavy irons.
He was advised to try his own sincerity in his penitence, with this question; Whether if he were at liberty he would not run the same course he had done before?-he shook his head, and said he hoped he would not; he promised to make the best use he could of the little time he had to live.
His mother came up the 12th of April, being sent for by him, having something particular to say to her. She says he was a very sober boy, and was advanced by a Right Honourable Gentlemen, then member of Parliament for Bath, now a peer.
Being asked if he had been a communicant? he answered he had, I said you must be so of course to be qualified for your commission; but hope that was not your only reason and qualification for receiving the holy communion; you considered, it is to hoped, that you are a man, a christian, and christian soldier, that you acted like what you profess to be, and duly consider'd the danger of receiving that holy sacrament, unworthily. He made me no answer, but looked much troubled and dismayed. Well, but there is yet, I hope, repentance for you, tho' you have abused all former opportunities, and involved yourself in all these calamities by your offences, and perhaps in a more special manner by your abuse of divine ordinances. I told him I had left with Mr. Vaughan. his companion in the cell, a book of preparation for the communion, for the use of both, which I desired he would make good use of, he thanked me and promised he would, and his mother, at my request, promised to come and join with us in prayers at the chapel at eleven o'clock.
Oh! the piercing sorrow of the afflicted mother at the sight of her son in chains, destined to this ignominious death.-He came down to her from his cell, to which he had retired immediately after chapel, with his head hung down like a fading flower; she wringing her hands and shedding a
stood of tears at the sight of him. Oh! there he comes, said she, the cause of all my grief! would to God I could die for thee, my son! my son!
Ye gay and frolic youth who grieve your parents by your ungoverned wildness, come and see this mother and her son!-she travails again with him, and for him, with more than the pangs of a woman in travail? and will you, can you give your tender, affectionate, careful, loving parents, such repeated throes of pain. Do not, do not, I beseech you, left they be returned tenfold upon your own heads and hearts.
Honour your parents, so shall your days be long here on earth, and your felicity ensured forever; if you honour them in sincere obedience and reverence to the laws of your heavenly father.
April 19, when the exhortation to the holy communion was given them for Thursday the 27th, I enquried of Mr Boodger, whether at his request Mr. Wwas desired to visit him, by an application to the sheriffs from lady H? he answered it was the first he heard of lady Hor Mr. W's concerning themselves about him, that he knew not how it could happen, unless by a friend of his, who was his comrade and fellow soldier abroad, whom he thought to be now a follower of W's, and with whom he had gone to hear him last general fast day, and who seemed desirous that Mr. Boodger should follow him also. Or else, perhaps he said Mr. Wmight remember him personally since he rescued him from the violence of the mowhen preaching in Dublin; when representing the affair to his commanding officer in the barracks there, he was protected by that officer, and permitted to preach in the barracks.
Mr. Boodger produced to me a letter sent him by a Methodist (as it seems) signed C. D. pressing him to repentance, saith, and prayer, in that sort of high flights by which they distinguish themselves, without any clear scriptural account of the terms of salvation accommodated to persons in his circumstances, such as have frequently been laid before them in the course of my ministry to them. On reading of this, I put it to him, whether any new means of salvation were delivered in it, that had not been before proposed to him daily? he answered none. Whether the benefit of absolution and forgiveness of sins be not daily ministered and pronounced to them, by proper authority, on their complying with the terms of it?- and whether it is not a dangerous delusion to teach them their sins are forgiven, without fulfilling those conditions?-reminding them what those conditionse, viz. besides the known and necessary means of a true repentance and a lively saith. an open acknowledgement of the justice of their sentence, and the sins they suffer for, making all the satisfaction in their power to the injured parties and to the world, and begging their forgiveness and their joint prayers to God for pardon, Etc. and lastly, whether a man
who was broke the vows and promises at his ordination, is a good and safe guide of souls?-if you think so, much good may it do you, Etc.-my duty is to warn you against false teachers: if you refuse, at your peril be it; if you want further assistance, comfort or counsel, there are learned divines of the church of England ready to assist, without having recourse to disorderly persons, who are disturbers and slanderers of the church and her genuine sons. Notwithstanding these just representations; on Sunday, April 23,
Mr. Ashewed me a letter signed by Boodger and vaughan, desiring him to admit Mr. W, or they could have no peace till he complied with this reasonable request
Next day Mr. Vaughan, of his own accord, explained the reason of his being induced to sign this, which he said was owing to the wretched uneasiness, the teazing and importunity of Mr. Boodger, who having been told that a lady of title, whom he mistook for a dss, and consequently a person of interest had wrote that Mr, Wmight be admitted to him, seem'd equally surprized and pleased, so that it was easy to see the sudden hope of a reprieve flash in his face, tho' he then assured me it was the first he had heard of such an application, and therefore it certainly did not come from him first, whatever was pretended by those who made it.
But when once this measure was put in his head by some people that came about him, he seem'd much more anxious and earnest for compassing this end, than for fulfilling the terms of obtaining true pardon and peace with his creator; a change for the worse, which gave his pastor much real concern and trouble. Instead of that complying temper, that hearing ear, that towardly disposition, which he had hitherto shewn, he grew sullen and silent, obstinate and petulant, in proportion as he supposed his spiritual guide was the means of guarding him from false hopes, and false signs of repentance and faith.
Mr. Vaughan, for his part, instead of signing a second letter, which Boodger wrote to have this new teacher admitted to him, answered, he was sorry he had been over persuaded to sign the first letter, and would have no more to do with it; for that it would be a reproach to him among all who knew him to be in union and communion with the church; he used several good reasons to preserve Mr. Boodger in the same, and hoped he had satisfied and done him good in that particular, mean time they both constantly attended the chapel.
April 25, St. Mark's day: finding Mr. Boodger reading Mr. Parsons's funeral sermon on the Earl of Rochester, told him it was very proper for him, and hoped he received benefit by it.
At my request he went up with me to the chapel, and in the closet join'd in such select devotions for one troubled in mind, for contrition, Etc. as seem'd suited to his present disposition; he told me he had been more easy the preceding night, and seemed truly af-
fected with the prayers and conversation we had together; he attended the morning service with a serious sorrow, and attentive tho' dejected air. The service for the day, viz. the psalms, lessons, epistle and gospel affording proper matter for the circumstance and peculiar instruction of the prisoners, select portions were explained and applied to them, as Psalm 119. ' Before I was troubled I went wrong; ' but now have I kept thy word.' And again, ' It is good for me that I have ' been in trouble: that I may learn thy ' statutes. O! think upon thy servant ' as concerning thy word, wherein thou ' hast caused me to put my trust. The ' same is my comfort in my trouble, for ' thy word hath quickened me.'
The first lesson being Ecclus. iv. was applied as a lesson of wisdom, and directions for their recovery. And particularly the collect, epistle and gospel, were made use of, as providentially seasonable, and happily intervening to guard these straying sheep against all false teachers.-Let me refer the reader to a few strong expressions and cautions, out of many to this purpose. The collect being for St. Mark's day, runs thus: 'O almighty God, who ' hast instructed thy holy church with ' the heavenly doctrine of thy ' evangelist St. Mark, give us grace, that ' being not like children carried away ' with every blast of vain doctrine, ' we may be established in the truth ' of thy holy gospel, thro' Jesus Christ ' our Lord. Amen.' Which petition is collected from the epistle for that day, Ephes. iv. 13, 14, 15. ' Till ' we all come in the unity of faith, and ' of the knowledge of the son of God, ' unto a perfect man, unto the measure ' of the statute of the fulness of Christ: ' That we henceforth be no more ' children, tossed to and fro, and carried ' about with every wind of doctrine, by ' the sleight of men, and cunning ' crafliness, whereby they lie in wait to ' deceive: but speaking the truth in love, ' may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.'
It was observable on this occasion that the original Greek expression used here by the apostle, seemed as if the spirit of God taught him to warn the world against the Methodisms of men, their sleight and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive. The words are more than prophetic, they are as descriptive of the modern weathercock and wavering temper of untaught people, so artfully managed by seducers in religion, as if he saw it with his eyes. This is expressed by, sleight of hand, like that of a gamester;, crafts of every kind; and, the methodism of error. The same apostle, in a farewel sermon, thus warned the clergy and people, Acts xx. 28, 29, 30, 31. ' Take heed ' therefore unto yourselves, and to all the ' stock, over which the Holy Ghost hath ' made you overseers, to feed the church ' of God, which he hath purchased with ' his own blood. For I know this, that ' after my departing shall grievous ' wolves enter in among you, not ' sparing the stock. Also of your ownselves ' shall men arise, speaking perverse
' things, to draw away disciples after ' them. Therefore watch, and remember ' that by the space of three years I ' ceased not to warn every one night and ' day with tears.' The same apostle, who warned the Romans xvi 17. ' Now ' I beseech you, brethren, mark them ' which cause divisions and offences, ' contrary to the doctrine which ye have ' learned, and avoid them.'
The gospel for the day was applied to shew them the design of our heavenly Father in afflicting us; the use of affliction; and chiefly the necessity of union with the body of Christ in order to with the body of Christ in order to bring forth those good fruits which a right use of afflictions can only produce in those who are living branches, united to the true vine, and receiving nourishment from it. What effect this might have, must be left to him who knoweth the heart, and giveth the increase.
However, in some degree, this appeared in the consequence, for both Mr. Boodger and Vaughan declared from first to last that they were in communion with the church of England, fully satisfied with the ministry of it, and the means of salvation afforded them in it; and their demeanour, so far as it fell under my observation, proved it to their last moments, excepting in these instances now related of Boodger.
As to his polygamy, I could not learn he had married more than four wives, tho' common same had multiplied them to four times, five times, and even eight times that number; but he was sensible of the great mischiefs brought on himself, and the injuries done to others, by transgressing so far, against the law of God and his country. On this subject he was reminded on the horror of that presumptuous sin against Almighty God, before pointed out to him, of refusing to be warned, nay, despising the judgment of God, set before him in the beginning of the office of matrimony. 'I require ' and charge you both, as ye will answer ' it at the dreadful day of judgment, ' (when the secrets of all hearts shall ' be disclosed) that if either of you ' know any impediment, why ye may ' not be lawfully joined together in ' matrimony, ye do now confess it,-' Etc.'
This, he was sensible, was a heavy charge against him, attended with the most terrible aggravations; that he was overtaken already by the divine judgments in this life: and I heartily wish he made such use of them as to avert them in the future, and for ever.
One of his letters out of many which he wrote, and dated from his cell, to obtain pardon of those whom he had injured, will be some proof of his repentance.
A Copy of a letter of Miss M.- J- ' Dear Molly,
' RIghteous is the Lord, and just ' are all his judgments; his hand ' hath at last overtaken me, his hand ' of justice to out short my life, and I ' hope his hand of mercy to save my ' soul: You for one, can witness the ' justice of my sentence; were it in ' my power, I would gladly make you
' and every one else, amends, whom ' I have any ways injured in their ' persons or credit; but, seeing it is not, ' I humbly ask forgiveness for the ' wrongs I have done you, and trust ' in God, to whom I owe this duty ' first, that you and every one else will ' accept of my willing mind to make ' full restitution. I am too well ' convinced what you have undergone on ' my account, not to be concerned for ' you. Oh! that I had sufficiently ' considered this before I had brought ' so much trouble on you. The wrong ' I have done you lies more upon my ' conscience than any other thing I ' ever acted, but in hopes of a free ' pardon from the Almighty, I now ' commend you to God's grace and ' protection, and earnestly request your ' prayers; from
P. S. ' It is my constant prayers to ' God that the ill-natured world may never reflect on you, who was innocent of the injury you received from me, and as such led by me: I hope you got the things left at Ruthin, there beng many things of value. God forgive Dr. E, and so do I; and could give you a surprizing account of his behavionr; he told the colonel he gave me seventy pound for my commission; but if he had said seventy-pence he would have exceeded it: I should never done as I did only for him, and I leave it to his conscience; and burnt the two notes he sent me the night before I came away.
' Our meeting was both our ruin. ' Adieu for ever.
4. James Cotes was indicted for that he in a certain field or open place, near the king's highway, on James Dunier did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person one silver watch, value 3l. his property, 27February.
He was born at Haverill in Suffolk, missed his learning by his childish aversion to a school, being indulged by his father, tho' against his mother's will, who in this was the more prudent person, and the best friend to her son. He was put apprentice to a weaver , but not liking that, after 2 years he quitted it, and went to husbandry ; afterwards he was a builder's labourer , and lately took to sawing stones: he entered himself for a soldier in April1746, and served 3 years in the first battalion of the second regiment of foot-guards, having listed only for that time, provided the war was then over, he was discharged according to his own desire, and listed in the horse grenadiers, but discharged again from thence (upon some discontent) at his own request, and went to work as he did before for three or four years; but about last Michaelmas hearing that his majesty wanted men he enlisted into the first battalion of the Coldstream regiment.
He was married about eight years ago to a woman that goes out a nursing, a very sober good wise to him, by whom
he had a girl, who is now living, about 7 years of age.
After his conviction, and when sentence was pronounced, he said he was as innocent as the child unborn; to which he was answered by the court, if he could make us believe that, he might undertake to persuade us to any one thing in the world, how absurd soever: And for some weeks after, notwithstanding all the reasons and motives applied both in common with the rest of the convicts, and in private to himself, he continued to deny the fact and assert his innocence, urging in answer to all appearances and arguments against him, that himself best knew and was the best judge of his own innocence.
About 14 April, Cotes and some private conversation with Smith about breaking out of prison, said he had heard such things had been done, and that James or Jack Sheppard for one, had got out so: Smith answered, that must have been before conviction, when he was in a different part of the goal, but no such thing could be effected from the cells or press-yard; advised him therefore to say nor think no more of it, but prepare for his approaching death, for that they should all be the worse treated, and he himself chained down if any whisper of that kind were heard. But he was deaf to this advice, proposed it again to Stevens, who not only rebuked him, but also told one of the under-keeepers, on which he was confined to a cell by himself, and thereby lost the benefit which he had set too light by, of a companion who read good books to him, and prayed with him.
This poor hardened and ignorant creature still persisted in denying the fact he was convicted of, tho' he was conscious it would be of no service to him, that the world will not believe him innocent, and that it is highly dangerous, if not destructive of his peace and happiness. At the same time I was well informed that he said in private, he knows there is no good to be got by confessing his sins to man; that whatever he had been guilty of should die in his own breast.
When Smith, his companion in the cell, used to read to him, he interrupted him either by crying, or lamenting the loss of his mother and sister, that he should see them no more, or else fell asleep.
No pains were spared either in the chapel or the closet to awaken him to a sense of his guilt and danger, and rescue and save him from both, but he long resisted them, as to an open and full confession.
27April, when the communion was administered to three of the convicts with other prisoners, Cotes was repelled for not declaring the justice of his sentence, tho' he did not directly deny it, and from circumstances permitted me to collect it, but for his vow sake, would not expressly own it. But in the evening Stevens told me with great joy, that Cotes was ready to confess all his guilt, sensibly touched with the repulse from the holy communion. Accordingly Cotes coming into the closet to me, acknowledged
that he felt great sorrow and remorse at being excluded from communicating with the rest of his fellow convicts; that after he had withdrawn from the chapel, he was so uneasy he could not bear it, having had such strong impressions of the necessity of this duty, and high expectations of the benefits to be received thereby. And when Stevens came into the cell to him and expressed the joy and comfort he received and felt after partaking of the blessed sacrament; he could no longer stand out to deny the fact, but resolved immediately to confess all his guilt; which he now did, to my great joy and satisfaction at recovering him. Thus rescued out of the power of the tempter, and turned (it is to be hoped) from Satan unto God-he now said he had a fair trial, and had perpetrated the robbery for which he was convicted, and was truly sorry that he had denied it so long; owned he had thought that by a private confession to God alone he had made his peace, but found therein a false comfort only, and was sure he was then mistaken; he was now as urgent and in haste to be admitted to the blessed sacrament, as he had been before hard and obstinate, to prepare and qualify himself to receive it worthily.
After prayers he returned to acquaint me that he had forgot to warn all his companions and fellow soldiers against gaming, card-playing, cock-sighting, and every idle wicked diversion; for these led him to commit this robbery, and he thought it his duty earnestly to warn all men to mind their honest employments, and not such wicked amusements, by which he lost his time and money (which came in plentifully while he was well employed) and then betrayed him to the fact he died for. Being asked if he was guilty of any other such facts? He did not at this time acknowledge any more of this kind, tho' he did afterwards.
I was now convinced of the rectitude of a minister's persisting steadily to do his duty, and not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good, since by the happy effect of this conduct, it is to be hoped, this sinner was snatched out of the fire.
He was very much inclined to gaming, an instance of which happened while he was in New Prison; his sister brought him 2 guineas to relieve him therein, out of which he quickly lost 16s. at playing hussle in the hat.
April 28, Cotes confessed he had bought the horse pistol found on him; that he committed another robbery with it the same night, besides that for which he was convicted; that this success so encouraged him, that had he escaped, he should have got a horse and robbed, perhaps, 500 more; but he now heartily thanks God that he was so suddenly taken, and prevented from doing farther mischief, and probably from being cut off in his sins, and sent into perdition without remedy.
He farther acknowledged he had been passionate, rough, and abusive to his poor wife, who (he says) is one of the best of women, but on acknowledging his fault and declaring his sorrow for it, she forgave and prayed for him.
He duly attended divine service in the chapel, and by a blessing on the means grew daily more attentive and devout, as the day of his death approached: he devoutly received the holy communion on Sunday, April the 30th, and on May the 1st, for which we endeavoured to prepare him by instructions in the chapel, and by one reading to him at other intervals.
The morning of execution they were visited and called up to chapel, where some proper devotions for the day of execution, with the litany, were offered up; and then the holy sacrament administered to them (I trust) to their spiritual comfort and support, in this last conflict and hour of trial. They were again reminded to look up to the cross, and follow the great and glorious example of Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, the victor of sin and death; to meditate on the articles of this precious faith, the sweet support and consolation of which in proportion as they wanted and desired, they would now perceive and taste more than ever; especially that of the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. They were directed also to feed in their hearts on the bread of life which they had just received, repeating earnestly and dwelling on the several petitions of the Lord's Prayer, and applying each to themselves, thy kingdom come; give us this day our daily bread, viz. that bread of life which came down from heaven.
At the Place of EXECUTION. May 1 1758.
HAVING, at their request, desired the people to join in prayer, prayed with them a considerable time, and repeated the belief in which they all joined with hearty affection and an audible voice; each was asked if he had any thing farther to confess or say.
Mr. Boodger being questioned, acknowledged he had forged four notes with his own hand, the cash for which was received; but knew nothing of the fifth said to be presented for payment.
Stevens added nothing to his former confessions, said he could give no other reason or account how he was tempted and drawn into those crimes but what he had said before; " that God " had forsaken him because he had " first forsaken God, and that he was " left to the power of the devil.'
Mr. Vaughan said he would speak a word or two to the multitude, but that his spirits were too weak and low to bear him out, and desired that they might all be warned to believe in, to fear and to love the Lord their God with all their heart. with all their mind, and with all their soul, and to keep his commandments, for this is the only way to true felicity here and forever; adding, for the Lord he is the God, the Lord he is the God." He was remarkably servant in uttering these words as well as in joining with the other devotions, but all with decent composure.
Cotes added something to his confession which he had not said before, viz. that he had robbed in the street or road, squire, whose name he could not recollect, but lives in Marybone parish and who was with him after he was apprehended, and before his trial to examine him, but he then denied it. He also now confessed that he had broke in at a pastry-cook's window in the same parish and robbed him; but this last never came to enquire of him, so that he had no opportunity of confessing to him: he was told it was wrong that he had not confessed these crimes sooner; he answered he was sorry he had not, but added in his mistaken way, he hoped he had heartily repented, and begged forgiveness of God for them: this was no time to dispute and inculcate the duty of acknowledgment, confession and reconciliation to his injured neighbour which had been often urged to him before, and now at last wrought this his dying confession, it is humbly hoped, to his final pardon.
He desired again that the people might be warned by his sad fate against idleness, gaming, cock-sighting, and such diversions, which brought him to this shameful death, and especially he added his desire of warning them against following lewd women.
They were now again once more prayed for, and earnestly recommended to the mercy and protection of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and having taken an affectionate farewel of them expressing a lively hope to meet again in joy and celestial happiness, we parted. They spent a few moments in private prayer, and commending their spirits to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus they resigned their lives.