THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words OF JOHN PERROTT, Who was Executed at Smithfield, on Wednesday November 11, 1761, for concealing his Effects as a Bankrupt; AND OF SAMUEL LEE, Who was Executed at Tyburn, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 1761, for Forgery.
LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.
NUMBER I. for the said YEAR.
Printed and sold by J. DIXWELL, in St. Martin's-Lane, near Charing-Cross, for the AUTHOR:
Also Sold by J. MORGAN, at the Globe in Pater-noster-Row.
Corruptio optimi fit pessima.
HOW well confirmed is this maxim, by observations drawn from nature and experience, that a corruption and abuse of the best things, produce the worst effects. Can we be surprised, that the best-intended human laws are perverted to the worst purposes, by fraud and perjury? when we see it fares no better with the great and divine charter of conditional mercy granted to mankind from heaven. Ought we to wonder if the laws in favour of Bankrupts, and for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, have been so long and so frequently abused, to cover and protect fradulent and impious practices, while we can hear, observe, and read the law, and the gospel, wrested and distorted against the clearest sense, and whole tenor of their own words, to plead for Antinomian principles; tortured to become the teachers and patrons of the greatest immoralities, the most profane and abandoned libertinism.
To be more particular, how can we blame a jail-solicitor for advertising the Insolvent Debtor's Act, in order to be prostituted to a fee, and a false oath, on every vacant wall, post, and pillar, within the bills of mortality; while the R - ys and other doughty orators, and authors, are suffered with impunity, even in a city-hall * to preach, print, and explain away the great end, and design of all true religion; viz. to teach us that denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. But they insist on the contrary, that the charter of mercy is unconditional; that we must sin, that grace may abound, and that we may come as sinners to sue for mercy.
What a striking contrast is it, daily to behold the bankrupt and the freed debtor, riding in a chaise or a chariot, adorned with the spoils of his honest creditors! while the indigent and distressed family of the plundered and spoiled creditors, trudge on foot in thread-bare garments, and feel themselves stript of the comforts, the conveniences, perhaps the necessaries of life at home, which their labour and industry had dearly earned; and warily provided against the day of age or adversity.
Such scenes as these, by their frequent representation, become mere sport and farce, to the unthinking populace; though they are in truth subjects, more proper for tragedy, and sad reflection, to the serious and sorrowful sufferers.
When any one, out of a large proportion, of these perverters and abusers of the most benevolent laws, is detected, and legally convicted; what degree of favour can he claim? rather, what degree of a rigorous execution of the laws does he
not justly deserve? can we be surprized, if the just sentence of the law, has changed the Mahometan paradise of these impostors, into a jail, and a cell; metamorphosed their beauteous Houries, and expensive Pandoras, into surrounding keepers of less tempting aspect; their rich, but ill gotten ornaments, into chains and fetters; and their gay vehicles, equipage, and footmen, into death-boding carts, ropes, and executioners. And oh! that their punishment may end with these temporal chastisements.
The dangerous and crying sin of forgery, a theft which no locks, bars, or guards can fend off, seems also to grow bolder, and more frequent among us. On looking back on the executions of a year or two past, the majority of them will be found to be for this one, more than any other single crime. To what but the want, or corruption of principle can this be imputed? and is not this owing to the neglect of a rational, a pious, and truly virtuous education of infancy and youth? is it not owing to the evil habits, and arts of false pleasure, they are so early initiated in.
May I be permitted humbly and with deference to enquire what schools and academies for either sex do now seriously and worthily imbue the young minds of their pupils with the first principles of our holy religion so as to inspire them with the knowledge and love of God and his laws? And what parents ask this question? and are duly answered and satisfied about it, in placing out their children?
Where is that order and discipline, that diligent pursuit and study of the means of unity, peace, and concord, which are essential to the preserving our excellent constitution.
The effects of an imprudent, relaxed; and ill conducted education diffuse themselves into rising life, in both sexes: who by that means instead of being qualified for, and keeping in view the honourable estate of matrimony, (to which alone an healthful and virtuous progeny, a just and good oeconomy, owe their birth and support,) are disqualified to fill and adorn that state by their dissolute way of thinking and acting; and so become mutual seducers, and betrayers of each others felicity, both present, and future.
Of the dire effects of this fashionable vice of keeping we see a notorious and dreadful instance in one of the unhappy victims to it now before us; who, by the evidence of his own answer on oath, squandered away a sum in one year, on one kept mistress, which, well improved, might found a perpetual maintenance for a virtuous family: a sum that would be inexcusable and reproachful, if so spent by a person of the first quality and fortune in our nation. But if this evidence should appear false from the following pages, it is far from lessening his guilt: it only adds a perjury prostituted to avarice, and lewdness, at once.
Let us now relieve our eyes from these shocking scenes, with the pleasing hope and prospect that all such practices are sure to be discountenanced and suppressed to the utmost, in a reign wherein the royal example is a bright transcript of our laws, a firm support and ornament of our happy constitution.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, &c.
BY virtue of the King's Commission of the peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Goal Delivery of Newgate, held for the City of London, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-hall in the Old-Bailey, before the Right Hon. Sir Matthew Blakiston, Knt. Lord-Mayor of the City of London ; the Right Hon. Lord Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench; the Hon. Sir Edward Clive, Knt. one of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas ; the Hon. Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, Knt. one of the Barons of the Exchequer ; Sir William Moreton, Knt. Recorder ; James Eyre, Esq; Deputy Recorder ; and others, of his Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer, of the said City and County; on Wednesday the 21st, Thursday the 22d, Friday the 23d, Saturday the 24th, and Monday the 26th of October, in the first and second years of his Majesty's Reign; John Perrot, and Samuel Lee, were capitally convicted and received sentence of death, for the several crimes in their indictments laid; the former being found guilty of concealing his effects as a bankrupt, was executed in Smithfield, on Wednesday the 11th of November; and the latter executed at Tyburn, on Thursday November the 12th, for forgery.
The whole charge against him in the indictment, being very full, particular, and prolix; specifying the Bank notes, and effects, so concealed, &c. aggravated with the crimes of repeated perjuries, on his several examinations, took a considerable time in reading. A circumstance, which Perrott made very light of (as he seemed to be well apprized of it) a few days before his trial, saying the indictment would take two hours to read it; thinking himself so strongly intrenched within his own lines, that it would be impossible to force him
with all the artillery of law and evidence.
Notwithstanding this person was committed to Newgate April the 20th, 1760, by the acting commissioners of bankruptcy, for not giving answers satisfactory to their questions; yet, he was not considered or treated as a criminal, nor could be charged with any thing capital, until a part of his concealed effects were discovered, which was sometime in or about June last; previous to which advertisements had been published for some time, offering a considerable proportion (40 per cent. if I remember right,) out of such concealed effects, so discovered, and pursuant to which the following advertisement appeared in the Daily Advertiser, June the 29th, 1761.
" Whereas a warrant was on Thursday last sent to Newgate by John Fielding, Esq; for detaining John Perrott, late of Ludgate-hill, merchant , a bankrupt; on account of his having feloniously concealed from his creditors, a great part of his estate and effects; and whereas, previous to the granting such warrant of detainer, moieties of several Bank notes, the property of his creditors, were found in the custody of the said John Perrott, on a proper search made in Newgate for that purpose; and the other moities of several of such Bank notes, were found in the possession of another person, (Mrs. F - rne,) by virtue of a proper search warrant for that purpose. But the moieties of other Bank notes, so found in the custody of the said John Perrott, have not yet been discovered. This is therefore to desire all persons, who know any thing concerning the effects of the said John Perrott, or can give any account of any Bank notes, exchanged with, or on account of the said John Perrott, to apply to Mr. Thomas Cobb, attorney at law , at Sadlers-hall, Cheap-side, and give immediate information thereof, to the said Thomas Cobb, in order that the said John Perrott may be dealt with according to law, and they shall receive a reasonable satisfaction for their trouble."
It appears from hence, that much still remained to be discovered, and done, in order to his conviction. Many difficulties were to be surmounted; not only the Bank notes, but the effects were to be traced out, in order to prove their property in him. The readers of his trial, will judge for themselves, how far (they think) this point was attained. The court and the jury, were unanimous in the affirmative; and that without the least apparent doubt, or the hesitation and debate even of a few minutes, among the jury. And it is a question, whether there did, or could remain a doubt, with any one who heard the trial. However, the prisoner affected to make a doubt of it to the last, both at the time of his receiving sentence, and the very morning he suffered, saying he was convicted upon circumstances, and that there was much to be said pro and con; although he had before implicitely, and at last, expressly, and confessedly gave up this point.
From his first commitment, his behaviour was of a piece with his plan, close, secret, silent, distant, hiding his whole guilt under his tongue, as if it were a sweet morsel never to be parted with. In the mean time, carrying the appearance of a regular and quiet behaviour, attending the chapel when it suited his
convenience, and his hours, which were not very early, and when he had no company to detain him more agreeably. But when he did attend the service, he behaved with outward decency, made the responses, and read his part with an audible voice. This induced me to hope well of his case for a time, and to lead him towards a conversation upon it, but he kept aloof, and would not be touched or approached in that sore and tender part; to avoid which, he would not so much as admit me into his chamber; gave short answers, and referred all to his trial, yet complained now and then of hard treatment, made efforts by all means to oppose it, and recover his liberty, which in effect, served only to rivet his chains the faster.
He was visited from the first, by a gay dressy lady, whom in my simplicity and ignorance, I took for his wife, and I asked him that question? but he gave me no satisfaction. This specious figure of alluring aspect, and well coloured cheek, usually came several times i a week, in a coach, or post-chaise, attended by a servant in livery, or a maid servant, or both, in order to keep up his spirits. Such constant friendship from that quarter, must be deemed very generous to a poor destitute bankrupt, or suspected to be not entirely disinterested.
But to save appearances, there was kept up a face of parsimony, and humble indigence in the prison; she sometimes condescending to dress a chop in his apartment, and he to clean his own knives. But these flimsy pretences did not prevent the prosecutors from following this clue, till they discovered what came out on the trial; wherein it is proved, as a foundation for the charge in the indictment, that he was a trader, and kept a linen-draper's shop on Ludgate-hill, and dealt in other articles. That he owed a debt, upon which a commission could be taken out. That such a commission was taken out, January the 19th, 1760, when the major part of the commissioners named and authorized therein, did find upon good proof, upon oath, that before the date and issuing of the said commission, the said John Perrott did become a bankrupt; and they did adjudge and declare him a bankrupt accordingly. Also that at the same time and place, viz. at Guildhall, he did surrender and submit himself to be examined by the said commissioners, from time to time, touching a disclosure and discovery of his estate and effects: and to conform to the several statutes made concerning bankrupts: and particularly to the act passed in the fifth year of his late Majesty's reign: entituled, an act to prevent the committing of frauds, by bankrupts, to which surrender and submission he signed his name.
This is here mentioned, to obviate a report that prevailed among ignorant persons before his trial, that he would lay his defence in a denial of his having surrendered and acknowledged himself a bankrupt.
It is farther proved, that the time for making a full disclosure and discovery of his effects being enlarged on the said bankrupt's petition, for forty-six days, viz. from March the 4th, to April the 19th at Guildhall, he did then and there, answer and deliver in on oath, (what he calls) a full and true account, disclosure, and discovery, of all his effects and estate, real and per
sonal, &c. and that he had not removed, concealed, or embezzled, any part of his estate, or any books of account, papers, or writings relating thereunto, with intent to defraud his creditors. And this account in goods, debts, and other effects, amounted in the whole to little more than 7000l. It appears at the next examination of the 5th of June, at the Half-moon Tavern, Cheap-side, that after giving him credit, for all sums of money paid by him, and making him debtor, for all goods sold and delivered to him, from his first entring into trade, to the time of his bankruptcy, there is a deficiency of the sum of 13,513 l. of which, being required to give a true and particular account, how, and in what manner he had applied and disposed thereof; he gave in the following answer, here recited and specified, to give a sketch of that course of life, and those scenes of extravagance in dress, and unwarrantable pleasures, too glaring in some articles, which led him on to this fatal end.
The manner in which I have disposed of and applied the said sum of 13,513l. is as follows:
Rent and boys wages, during my stay there - - 100
Travelling expences during the same - - 100
My own diet during that time - - 125
Cloaths, hats, wigs, and other wearing necessaries 200
Furnishing the same - - - 200
House-keeping during my stay there, with rent, taxes, and servants wages 2700
Cloaths, hats, wigs, and shoes, and other wearing apparel, during my stay there - -720
Tavern expences, coffee-house expences, and places of diversion, during the above time - - 920
Expences attending the connection I had with the fair sex – 5500
Paid Mr. Thompson, for selling goods by commission – 300
Forgave him a debt in consideration of his trouble and time, in geting bills accepted, &c. - -30
Lost by goods and mourning - - 3000
Total . . �. 15,030
It is manifest from his assertion, that this account of the deficiency on the creditor's side, was not made from any entry of his expences in any book, or other writing, excepting some few house-hold and warehouse expences, entered by his servants, that it was made from memory; or what is more probable in the opinion of his creditors, &c. from imagination also, and the power of invention.
And this probability rises near to certainty, from several other considerations well known to the commissioners of bankruptcy, who first committed him to Newgate, for not giving answers satisfactory to account for this great deficiency of 13000l. and upwards; from the acount he gives, in a subsequent examination of March the 21st, 1761, wherein he attempts to account for 5000l. given in large sums, during the several months of one year only, to one Sarah Powell, otherwise Taylor, one of the fair sex, with whom he had connection five or six years; an account without witness or voucher, and full of incredibilities in all its parts, obvious to every observing reader of the trial.
This account is also inconsistent with his temper, course, and manner of life, well known to some of his creditors, and by which he insinuated himself into their good opinion and credit; for he was observed to be sober, and frugal, to have a turn rather to covetousness, and was generally to be found at home in the evening. As to his house-keeping, he gave a guinea, or thereabouts, to his maid servant weekly, and she returned him an exact account of the expences in the week, in a little account book, which seldom rose to twenty-six or twenty-seven shillings a week; there being but three in family: and his whole annual expences are not believed to exceed 200 or 250 l.
It throws a strong light on the design of this bankrupt, to observe, that the bulk of his debts were contracted within twelve, nine, or eight months before his failure; in which time he had contracted a weight of credit of 26 or 27000l. for which sum he failed. Whereas it was known from his shop books, that he did not owe more than 3000 l. rather less, in any one preceding year of his dealings.
The state of his books when he failed, seem to prove the same design; for, although the ledger, journal, porter's book, &c. had been very exact, till within six months before he failed, and the porter used to sign his book, yet there was no entries in them for six months preceding that period. And farther, some little time before that, he had, by his application to business and his friends, procured letters of credit to Bristol, on account of which he took up 2000l. worth of goods. There were also goods to the value of 500l. coming to him from Ireland, at the time he became a bankrupt, which were stopt at the waggon inns, on that occasion.
It may be thought a dark and unaccountable affair, how he disposed of such goods thus gotten: but the manner was, by sending them out under cover of night to his agent, H. T - n, mentioned in the trial, to have sold goods for him, and who kept a little house in Monkwell-Street, whither he invited some of the principal traders to look at them as goods consigned to him, from
some ports, or places of manufacture. Seldom was any price set on them, but what the buyers fairly thought them worth, and fixed them at; which was taken for the sake of ready cash. Thus he bought and sold, and lived by the loss, not of himself, but of his creditors.
It follows therefore, that the evidence of Mr. I - n (if living,) which he so much regretted the loss of, in his defence, would have been greatly against him; as he must have discovered his underhand and fraudulent manner of disposing of goods, turned into cash at any rate; this he might easily throw into his iron chest, and when amassed to the sum he intended, perhaps bordering on 10,000l. give notice to his creditors, that he was a bankrupt, after which in a proper time, he might emerge a new man, better, in his own account, than ever.
If such be the scheme and method of nineteen in twenty of our modern bankruptcies, as gentlemen of experience are apt to suspect, from such contrivances, may Heaven deliver us, and all honest men.
It may be inferred from this account, that he put on two opposite characters at different times; the first, of a sober, careful, regular trader, before his failure; but after that, on his examinations, he affected the character of an extravagant spendthrift; both tending to the same thing, to blind the eyes of his creditors, and defraud them of a ge sum.
When under examination, no part of his conduct was more generally blameable and odious, than his ill-treatment of Mr. Wh - tt - n. This gentleman was a lace merchant at Northampton, who had left off business with reputation, and a fortune of 20, or 30,000 l. He, without any other tie than fancy, took a liking to Perrott from a child, and made it a pleasure to oblige and assist him, with more than his interest and good wishes; at Perrott's request he lent him a sum of about 4000l. on easy terms; which he had just received and thought to put into the funds. When the commission was out, Perrott charged on oath this friend of his (whom he has been heard to boast of as a very uncommon friend) with usury, in taking excessive interest of 10 per cent. and would have rewarded him, not only with infamy, and the loss of his debt, but with a prosecution. Thus aiming to sink the sum of 4500 l. principal and interest, apparently for the benefit of the other creditors, but finally for his own. This greatly affected Mr. W - tt - n, so far as to touch his health, for he had such a regard for Perrott as to name him an executor in his last will. He set about however to defend himself against this calumny, and employing an able sollicitor effected it; proving that he had taken for some time, less than 5 per cent. never more; on which he was admitted by the commissioners to to prove his debt; and his character cleared.
The discovery of the bank notes concealed, half with him and half with Mrs. Ferne, seems remarkably providential. It was owing to a casual meeting of Mr. H - t, a principal creditor, with Mary Harris (late servant to Mrs. Ferne) on the terrass-walk of Lincoln's-Inn-Garden; where, leaning over the wall with dejected looks, she was observed
by him, though an utter stranger to her, and asked, what ailed her? She told him, she had been turned out of her service by one Mrs. Ferne, and knew not where to go. This name excited his enquiry; in consequence of which, she was directed to Mr. Cobb, attorney for the assignees, and taken care of, 'till she gave her evidence on the trial. She first informed them, that several half-bank notes were concealed somewhere in Perrott's room in Newgate; and, that the other half were with Mrs. Ferne in her house; to whom also Perrott had given the half of a 1000l. note, in order to purchase the house of sir John Smith in Queen's-square, then to be sold by auction. This, together with his talk of keeping a pair of horses, and his large promises to her, when he should get out of Newgate, of 300 l. to be laid out on her, beside presenting her with diamond-buckles, and ear-rings, and his saying, " as you have a mind for the house, my dear, my life for it, you shall have it." These all prove he was possessed of some fund, sufficient to supply these great expences.
The event of finding the notes, confirmed the truth of M. Harris's information, and her evidence proving Mrs. F - rne to be the daughter of a poor farmer in Derbyshire; that she had lived a servant in Watling-street, and afterwards lodged near Temple-bar, in a condition, destitute of money and cloaths; that her sudden exaltation was owing to this person in Newgate, the original of a picture which Ferne, shewed hanging in her house, which original Harris knew, and afterwards saw her master Perrot to be; these put together, obviate and defeat his only defence, that these bank notes so found upon him, were Mrs. Ferne's property, deposited with him, in Newgate, merely for safe custody against thieves.
Besides, when Ferne's house was searched (which, by the way, was furnished in a superb taste, - with an organ to play to her at dinner, &c.) the half-notes were found there, in a small copper chest, known to have been Perrott's. And, what is somewhat curious, when taken before justice Fielding, in order to be examined, and give an account how she came by those notes, she told the justice, in presence of the company (some of title and figure) that, one day taking the air in Hyde-park, on horse-back, (describing her horse and trappings, a fine palfry, with a white network over him) she was taken notice of by a gentleman richly dressed in blue, trimmed with gold, who invited her to go with him; and, for the pleasure of her company, made her a present of a bill of 500 l. She particularly described another person, who met her walking in St. James's-Park, with whom she had another adventure of the like sort; the reward of which was another bill of the same value. And a third adventure, she spoke of, produced a bill of 1000l. Thus she accounted for 2000l. property in herself, in a manner as credible as her friend Perrott's account of a much larger sum; to whose story I return.
On the discovery of these bank notes, being then charged capitally, he was put in irons; the weight of which he now and then complained of, saying there was no occasion to secure him in that manner, who had been so long confined
without them, and never attempted an escape.
He was then reminded of what was advertised, relating to the bank-notes found on him, and another person: He told me, that other person was Mrs. Ferne, whose property the notes were; and who had deposited the half of them in his hands for good reasons, the truth of all which would appear on the trial. About this time (July) it was rumoured, that Mrs. F - and her confidante had quarrelled, and that she discovered the concealment of the notes. Mean-time he seemed healthy and chearful, boldly referring the clearing of his innocence to his trial. When he came to chapel, the scriptures in course were applied to him, and other prisoners promiscuously; instructing them to trust in God only, in truth and sincerity of heart, and not to mistake their prosecutors, and the ministers of justice, for their enemies; exhorting them also to an acknowledgement and restitution as occasion required. But neither these instructions, nor the example of others preparing for death, seemed to make a due impression upon him.
Thus the time past, 'till September sessions, when the putting off his trial by the prosecutors for want of an absent witness, seemed to give him fresh hopes of a victory and triumph over truth and justice.
But alas! how weak and short-sighted are vain hopes! The fate of the hypocrite's hope is long since determined by undoubted authority. - It shall perish. The day of trial is come; all his outworks of - and - are carried: and a train of proofs of the property of the notes being in him brought, which he was unprepared to resist. The dreadful word guilty is pronounced, and the awful sentence of death is passed: notwithstanding, in answer to the usual question previous to it, he read a paper setting forth, that he was convicted on circumstances only, and objecting to some parts of the evidence. At the same time pathetically lamenting a fate so incongruous to the manner of living he was accustomed to. Yet the whole of this he put so little trust in, as an apology, that he never let me see it, though he had promised it; but when that promise was claimed, told me he had burnt it with other papers of no use.
It is true, he often cautioned me, in a high tone, to take care what I wrote of him; in answer to which, he was told the account of him should be fair and impartial; and if he would give those proofs of a true repentance, by making all possible satisfaction and restitution to his injured creditors, always recommended to him, or furnish me with any authentick matter for his vindication, it should be inserted.
From the day of conviction Perrott was moved from his chamber to a cell; in which he contracted a cold and hoarseness, became more fretful, impatient, and querulous, than he had ever appeared before. Though he daily attended the chapel when called upon, he complained that he was not visited at his own hours, and as often as he appointed. Under this apparent zeal for more frequent, publick prayers, he had a scheme concealed, and not clearly opened to me, 'till after his execution. With this secret design in his head, he teized me so much, whenever I went in to visit him, as rendered this duty of at
tending obstinate criminals, (rksome at best) much more grievous to me on his account. He threatened he would send for some worthy clergyman, who would attend him better, and at his own time. In answer to this, he was told, I should be always glad of good assistance, that I must make allowance for his unhappy situation which ruffled his temper; that it was my earnest desire to assist him, and improve his time as much as possible, if he would comply with my directions, which he defeated by disturbing me, and himself. - That if he had made good use of his chastisement, which he was so often warned to do, for eighteen months past, he need not be hurried now. He went on daily complaining, till about November the first or second, orders were given by Mr. A - that the two convicts should be confined to their cells closer than ever, and not permitted to be out longer than they continued at chapel. This was owing to some secret intelligence, or other cause unknown to me. This, Lee enquired of me, but I could not satisfy him. At the same time a hint was given to me, by Mr. A - to visit them no more than once a day, and that in open day-light, and at uncertain hours.
Mean time notice was given, and endeavours used daily to prepare them for the Holy Communion. They had both desired it to be administred to them thrice before death, and first on November the 7th or 8th, and seemed now very anxious to receive it, though they had hitherto wholly neglected it, since their confinement. In this view they were instructed November the 3d, from the Psalms of the day, Psalm xv. 1. In the qualifications of such as should dwell in the tabernacle, and rest in the holy hill of God. 3. " Even he that leadeth " an uncorrupt life, and doeth the thing " which is right and speaketh the truth " from his heart. 3. He that hath used " no deceit in his tongue, nor done evil to " his neighbour, &c."
In the next place they were taught by what hopes, and by what means they who had grievously fallen from these duties could be raised up again and restored.
They were also taught from Ps. xvi. verse 8. To thank the Lord for giving them this warning, by an affliction comparatively light and momentary to rescue them from that which can never end. They were warned of the dreadful doom of ungodly and wicked men, (from Ps. xvii. vers. 12, - 14) who have their protion in this life, that they will be finally disappointed and cast down. The first lesson, Eccus. xix. was a lesson to them without any comment. These remarkable words, especially verse 2. " Wine " and women will make men of understanding to fall away, and he that " cleaveth to harlots will become impudent."
From some parts of the 2d lesson St. Luke xix. two points of doctrine were raised and applied to them; first, from the case of Zaccheus, verse 8, 9. The duty of restitution was urged and enforced. And from the weeping of Christ over Jerusalem - because she knew not the time of her visitation, it was shewn, that the day of grace is determined and set, on those who refuse to know and make a good use of their time of visitation, verse 41, &c.
After prayers, Mr. Perrot being called to the closet in order to have some
private conversation with him, would not come in, so as to let the door be shut; but asked angrily, what I wanted with him? for there should be no secrets between us two; speaking so loud, that the people at a distance in the chapel heard and remarked it. To this, it was answered, God help you I want none of your secrets, they are now too well known; but be not angry with me for dealing truly and plainly with your soul, this is the only true friendship I can now shew you, without which, you will have cause to curse me when too late. He would scarce hear me speak, but interrupting, asked me again in the same high tone, did I want him to confess his sins to me like a papist, and challenged me to shew where the Bible or Church of England required any such thing? no, not like a papist, but like an humble penitent. I forthwith opened his own prayer-book which he had in his hand, and pointed out to him some rubricks, and the first exhortation to be read before the administration of the Holy Communion. The rubricks first read to him, were those prefixed to the Communion Office, in which are these words: “ If any of these be an open “ and notorious evil liver or have done “ any wrong to his neighbours by word “ or deed, - the curate shall call him, “ and advertise him, that in any wise “ he presume not to come to the Lord's “ table, until he hath openly declared “ himself to have truly repented and “ amended his former naughty life, - “ and that he hath recompensed the “ parties to whom he hath done wrong; “ or at least declare himself to be in “ full purpose so to do, as soon as he “ conveniently may.”
In the next rubrick, a power is granted to repel an obstinate person. And in the exhortation, “ they who “ want comfort or counsel, are invited “ to come to the minister, and open “ their grief. - That by the ministry of “ God's holy word, they may receive the “ benefit of absolution, together with “ ghostly counsel and advice, to the “ quieting of their conscience." - Further, the same rubrick may be applied to persons under sentence of death as to the sick, which prescribes, “ that the “ person be moved to make a special “ confession of his sins, if he feel his “ conscience troubled with any weighty “ matter, in order to obtain absolution “ (if he humbly and heartily desire it”) And if in the case of criminals convicts they neither feel the weight and grief of their guilt, nor humbly and heartily desire to be absolved and freed from it, it seems to be a symptom of a seared conscience.
These reasons silenced him for the present, but had no other effect than to make him behave a little less insolently for a few days after; when upon his, and Lee's repeated request to have the Communion administered to them, he was again reminded of what had been set before him; and the actual practice of it required of him, by sending for the representatives of his creditors, making the fullest acknowledgement and satisfaction he could to them, asking their pardon, and obtaining it if possible.
In consequence of these conversations, it is to be supposed, he did write to some of the assignees and others, not only to come to him, but also to send him another minister, who, he hoped, might be
more indulgent to his wrong opinions and obstinacy.
He was also kindly visited by some worthy persons of his former acquaintance, to whom, perhaps, he made the like complaint; for by one of them an overture was made to me, that another clergyman might visit him; whose assistance I gladly accepted, and desired, not only as a relief but an honour done me. But among the several ministers who visited him, there arose no difference of sentiment about his case.
When visited November 5, the morning after the death warrant was come, and I condoled with Perrott, he said, " The will of God be done. - I have " suffered much in this world, I hope " soon to change it for a world of glory " and joy." He and Lee appeared easy and chearful, they both readily went up to chapel; where, after some discourse with each of them, we began with proper prayers, and then went through the service: to which, when called the two following days, each of them expressed much uneasiness at being kept up in their cells, closer than any other convicts - even for murder; debarred the sight of all their friends and acquaintance. This, they said, interrupted their devotions by fretting and vexing them. But it may be presumed, they were conscious of the true reason; for Lee immediately added, he hoped to convince the world, he had no thoughts of avoiding this death, by attempting an escape, and the murder of his keepers, but should die like a man and a Christian. This he spoke in the hearing of some of the runners.
The following particulars relating to Mr. Perrott came to my knowledge, partly from himself about this time, and partly from his acquaintance.
He was born at Newport Pagnell, in Buckinghamshire, (about sixty miles from London, northward) of creditable parents, in good circumstances, by whom he was intitled to a pretty fortune, of about 1500 l. Some say only 1100l. he lost his father at the age of seven, and a very fond indulgent mother at the age of nine years. After which he was educated, under the care of a guardian, at the Foundation-School of Gillsborough, in Northamptonshire; after five years continuance there, he was put apprentice to his half-brother at Hempsted in Hertfordshire. Having served his time there, he came to London about the year 1747, and placed himself with a gentleman of great business, credit and character in Cheapside, more for the sake of experience than as a mere servant: he was not there known to be given to any folly or vice, except an over-fondness for dress, to which he devoted too much of his time, even that which should be sacred to a far superior care, on the Lord's-day. From hence, after two years stay, he moved to Blow-bladder-street, hired a house, and dealt for himself; here he gave some umbrage to his late master, by not being strictly honourable, in drawing away his customers. After two years and a half abode there, he moved to Ludgate-hill, where he lived nine years; what his apparent course of life was there, has been touched before. He is said to have been too elegant and expensive, as to his palate and dress. Here Mrs. F - - lived with him some time. He is reported to have fared, delicately, and eat pease at 5 s. a quart, even in Newgate; and, though he did not seem
to be a man of a humourous turn, he affected the state of a king even there; not suffering the servant in waiting to turn her back on him at any time, but she must retire with her face toward him. He was about his 38th year when he suffered: some few days before which, he owned, he had not been at church seven times in seven years. He was very shallow and ignorant in matters of religion, and thought, he ape'd some of his betters in making a jest of it, in his prosperity. However, he seemed to think, in his latter days, if there were any value in the form of godliness, and the outward parts and appearances of it, he would secure that, by conforming to them.
Sunday morning, November 8, when he expected to receive the holy sacrament, he was told, I must first have some private conversation with him; which he now consented to. He had often, before, been put open examining and judging himself on the heinous crime of perjury, which involved him in the transgression of the third and ninth commandments, and was the highest aggravation of all his other guilt; that he should, therefore, most importunately deprecate the severe sentence denounced, that, the Lord will not hold him guiltless. That he should also recollect the infamous articles of account given in to the commissioners, reexamine himself upon them, and set all right between himself and creditors to his utmost power. - That, if he would reflect on the fair and plausible appearanaces he affected to put on, in order to gain credit thereby, he would find his guilt much more aggravated than that of an open prodigal; because this added hypocrisy to his iniquity, and gave great occasion to the enemies of truth and virtue to blaspheme, and strengthen themselves in their folly. He saw I was determined to probe his wounds to the bottom, and bore it with more patience than I expected; he even acknowledged the truth of it, in saying that he had thought on all this, and was deeply sensible of it: I have confessed, added he, all my sins to my good God, and repented of them. He had said, indeed, more than once in his own vindication, that he had summoned all his creditors, before they knew his circumstances were bad, and given them up 10,000l which paid them 5 s. in the pound; that they had his all, and now they must have his life too, for they would not be satisfied, if he should pay them 19 s. 6 d. in the pound. But pray consider, Sir, what your creditors will reply to all this, that you did it with a fraudulent design, as it now appears. To this he made no reply. He was then told, that I could not yet administer to them 'till they had humbled themselves yet more, and made peace with the injured parties; for which they were advised to set apart the next day for more earnest prayer, with fasting and humiliation; and they were attended early the next morning, the 9th instant, for that purpose; when the Litany, the Commination, and other suitable prayers, were offered up for them: and, doubtless, their unhappy situation must have contributed greatly to turn this day of joy and festivity to most others in this vast metropolis, into a day of weeping, mourning, and real mortification to them; unless they can be supposed to have overcome this world with the faith and hope of a far better.
Next day the 10th Perrott was visited at different hours by two of the assignees, at his own request made by letters to them; and also by several clergymen, who all endeavoured to bring him to some acknowledgments for the satisfaction of the injured.
To Mr. Hewit who visited him in the morning, and with a compassion truly christian, forgave him, he behaved with great submission and thankfulness, praying for him and blessing him; and then answered him a particular question in my hearing, relating to the half of the bank note for 1000l. found in his chamber; and seemed so open that he declared he would answer me any question. This was before I admitted him to the communion, which soon after followed, and where he declared in presence of a worthy clergyman, that he had given up his all to the creditors, and that it would be great joy to him if he could add to it, if it were but 20 l. He lamented that he had never been a communicant before, and both the convicts joined in declaring that in the midst of all their vices, and wrong pursuits, they never found any true satisfaction; but felt a something, which told them they were doing wrong, and imbittered their enjoyments. They both expressed a lively hope, and seemed to receive great consolation in the benefit received.
But in the afternoon, on occasion of a visit paid him for the same charitable purpose by another assignee, Mr. M - n - d, the prospect was again clouded. That gentleman who saw him with equal tenderness and compassion as the other, forgave and prayed, for him, was at first received by Perrott with the same apparent sense of humility and gratitude. But, when in consequence, some particular questions were put to him by this gentleman, who now justly expected he had no secret reserve in his breast relating to his creditors, after a deep pause, Perrott said, I have this day received the holy sacrament; and, I will answer no more questions. Whereas the inference he drew, should have been the contrary: I will answer you any question for your satisfaction. This I endeavoured to convince him of, both now and heretofore, setting before him the case of Achan (Joshua, chap. vii.) who, by a criminal concealing of a treasure, brought a curse on himself and his people; whom Joshua thus exhorted, (v. 19.) " My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him, and tell me, now what thou hast done, hide it not from me." (v. 20.) and Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed, I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus, and thus, have I done. - But Perrott would answer no more particular questions; not even relating to the injuries done to Mr. Whitton - evading it, by saying if Mr. W - were present, I would answer him. On this change of his behaviour, relapsing into that obstinacy which ruined him, I had great doubt and perplexity, whether I should again administer the holy sacrament to him next morning. On this case, having consulted some neighbouring clergy, who had visited him that day, it was brought to this point, that, if he would not acknowledge the justice of his sentence, he should not be admitted.
On the Morning of Execution.
HE now acknowledged with some difficulty the justice of his sentence; his objection not seeming to arise from an opinion of his innocence; but from the illegality of the witnesses being interested in the issue, and the
manner of convicting him upon circumstances, as he said; which I told him more than once, were points of law determined by an authority in which he ought to acquiesce. He also consented to ask pardon of Mr. Whitton, and confess his hearty sorrow for all the injuries he had done him. For a few days before he suffered, and to the last, he shewed a particular care and anxiety about his burial, which he desired to be in the church, at the place of his birth; and had chosen out some chapters and psalms to be used, with a text for his funeral sermon, which at my request he allowed me to copy, and are as follow.
Lessons 23d of S. Luke. 25th S. Matt.
Text, 34th psalm, 1st 2d verses.
Proper psalms, 25th and 90th. Singing psalm 42. verses 1, 2, 3, 4.
As I had read and explained to him the 25th and 90th Psalms, several times before, so I applied them this morning for the last time. And instead of his two lessons which were both out of the New Testament, I chose part of Genesis 22d for the first, and St. Luke 23d for the second lesson. Proper prayers were also added to the morning service. Both the prisoners behaved with devotion and resignation, and with an apparent strength of mind; they both received the holy communion. This took up more time than usual, agreeable to Perrott's request, that the time might be enlarged in the chapel, and shortened at the place of execution. The former was from eight to three quarters past nine, after which, half an hour was taken up in knocking off his irons and tying his arms, in which interval he and Lee parted in the press-yard, with mutual embraces, and other marks of the utmost affection. When Perrot was carried out a quarter after ten, and put in the cart, some observed he looked to he much dismayed and terrified, as he also appeared to me, when he first stood up under the tree, but soon recovered himself. When I first went up to him he was looking round him, and enquiring where his hearse was, about which, being satisfied, he then called to a person on horseback, gave him a letter to Mr. Burton, and a red chequered handkerchief for Samuel Lee, which said he, I promised him for a token. Being asked if he was well supported and comforted, he answered, " I am, I bless God." Proper prayers were again offered up for him, in which a vast surrounding multitude seemed to join at his request; being asked at intervals, whether he had any thing more to discover, for the benefit of his creditors, he declared he had not. In his prayers, he particularly mentioned his friend Samuel Lee, and all those in the like circumstances. After the last blessing, he, at parting, thanked, prayed for, and blessed me; soon after which, (about 11 o'clock) he was launched into the boundless ocean of eternity.
Soon after his execution, the strict order for close confinement to the cells, mentioned to be given about ten days since, and his imperious behaviour to me, relating to my attendance at the prisoner's option, was explained and accounted for, by a piece of authentick intelligence, viz. that a party of seamen were hired to come and rescue him, (and probably his fellow-convict too) in the day-time, when brought down from the cells, for chapel; by first securing the turn-key at the gate, forcing the keys from him, and then, carrying off the prisoner.
Notice has been taken before of their great uneasiness on this new order of close confinement, they threatned to petition to the sheriffs, desired to speak to the keeper, and among other enquiries, asked him particularly, whether it was in consequence of any complaint from the Ordinary? which he did, as he could with truth declare, it was not.
The ordinary having made no remonstrance of their misbehaviour, but to themselves.
It was now farther asserted; the creditors are convinced he had it in his power to make a discovery of effects, to the value of 3, or 4000l. more. But, when closely pressed to it by Mr. A - he replied, no, I am to die for it, that is restitution enough. Need it be repeated that he was often taught otherwise? but he was wiser in his own conceit, than his teachers.
Another little anecdote was omitted in its proper place; being asked after conviction, are you not of opinion, that when you thought of going into business for yourself, you had better have married some good and well-educated daughter of a creditable family, than followed the courses you did? he answered with that keen sense of his error, which they usually feel, who have smarted for it: " that is the very rock I " split upon."
II. SAMUEL LEE was indicted for feloniously uttering and publishing as true, a false bill of exchange, with the name Benjamin Sutton thereunto subscribed, bearing date at Leicester, 17th of October, 1760; for the payment of 50 l. with intention to defraud John Price. It was laid also to defraud Messrs. Freame and Co. December 20, 1760.
When this young adventurer was first brought to Newgate on this charge, about July the 10th, his dress was above that of one, who had been clerk to a merchant ; and was since that confined for debt, as he had been; he appeared in blue trimmed with gold. His visitors were many, of different appearances, as he had a numerous acquaintance, and many more came out of curiosity. And, although, on his first committal, he seemed to be struck with the apprehensions of death, and owned to some that he expected it, as also made many professions and promises of a hearty repentance for all his past follies, declaring to me, he was now a better Christian than ever, and would give daily proofs of it; yet, was he too often borne away with the stream of his own inclinations and company, who detained him from more proper and necessary exercise, to drink his bottle, and drown his serious reflexions.
He had half a guinea sent him every Monday morning from the charitable and forgiving hand of an injured master, whence he had least reason to expect it; but is reported to have made an ill use even of that, and usually saw the last of it before Tuesday night: he seems to have had a turn to expence and extravagance, and to have recourse to such evil means, as he is here charged with to supply them; otherwise, it is not to be imagined, how a youth in his station, with a moderate salary, could keep company, and horses, and be very nice, and whimsical in this latter article, frequently swapping and changing them. And, yet, it is somewhat unaccountable what a fair character he held among several of his acquaintance, who said he was remarkably well-behaved, no swearer, nor foolish talker, but would reprove others of that turn, when he happened in company with them. This the witnesses to his character, seem to confirm.
He was born and educated at Spalding in Lincolnshire, where his parents and family live in a reputable rank, in the farming or grassing business; with whom he was virtuously brought up, till about seven years ago, when he was sent to London. - The place, which he charges, in his last words, with seducing his youth into folly and vanity, and corrupting his morals; earnestly warning all youth to flee from those snares in which he was taken. Of these seven
years, he lived four with Mr. Price, and was now in the 23d year of his age.
As he wrote an excellent hand for business, he is reported to have been remarkably expert in the imitation of handwritings, whether good or bad. And, that he had no mean understanding, appears from his questions, objections, and defence on the trial, by which it seems he endeavoured, both there, and in the transaction, to evade the edge of the law. He sharply cross-examined George Arnold, the waiter, at the Amsterdam coffee-house, who positively swore to him, as the person who gave him the (forged) bill, of 50 l. to be received at Freame and Barclays, where he did receive the cash for it, and brought it back to the prisoner, who was eagerly lookng out for him at the door, met him in the alley, and asked him if he had got the money. This waiter had seen him before and after this: and, with this very suspicious circumstance; about six or eight days after payment, he called on this waiter at the coffee-house, and cautioned him, that, if any person should question him about the bill; he should say, he received it of a fat, lusty, broadshouldered gentleman, the very reverse of Lee's person and figure.
In the next place, he objected to the prosecution, as not knowing who the prosecutor was; though he supposed it was Freame and Co. and, on that supposition, complained after his conviction, that his life was taken away without an oath, a groundless insinuation! For, all the witnesses against him were sworn: and, the court fully answered this objection, telling him, that the prosecution was at the suit of the publick against all such offences. His main objection was, that he was a close prisoner in the King's Bench prison, from December 3, 1760, 'till February. This, if true, made it impossible for him to be guilty of this indictment, in the manner sworn against him by George Arnold: to support his evidence, therefore, Richard Absolom proves, that he saw the prisoner at the cock-alehouse, the corner of Sherborne-Lane, on the said 20th day of December, where he, the prisoner gave him a bill of 10 l. to be received of Mr. John Price, in the name of one Welden.
He made another objection also, taken from the possible failure of Mr. Price's memory, and his being subject to error in accounts. This, he chiefly enlarged on in the paper read to the court, before he received sentence, in which the reader may be desirous to see how he pleads for his innocence and life, in his own words.
" As I now stand, before this honourable court, convicted of a fact I am really innocent of, I humbly hope your lordship, and you gentlemen of the jury, will consider the circumstances that appeared against me, might have had some weight in my favour; as I have known Mr. Price before, to have made misstakes; and, that he has directed a bill for payment at his bankers, when I have two hours after asked him the value of the bill he so directed for payment, he, (Mr. Price) has forgot, that he has accepted any such bill, or, that ever it had been in his hands; and, I have known an instance or two, that in hurry of business, a bill from Mr. Sutton, has come into the counting-house, when Mr. Price has directed it for payment, without its being entered in the book; and has lain at the bankers three or four months; when it has come from the bankers, Mr. Price and I, have neither of us recollected, that any such bill ever had come to hand, but as knowing it was Mr. Sutton's hand-writing passed it to account. Mr. Sutton always sends up his
accounts to Mr. Price, for account of Mr. Powser, sometimes of two years standing or more; and, generally with mistakes, bills drawn have been short in accounts sometimes more than has been paid by Mr. Price, when, after a mature examination they have been so settled, as both parties to agree; now, if such a mistake should be the consequence of this circumstance; and, after that, they should prove this to be an error; what an unhappy event will it be! when, alas! it will be then too late: now, this transaction never being discovered 'till ten months after the bills being paid; and, doubtless, a bill might have been drawn, accepted, and paid, and ten months after the whole circumstance, have been forgot; I humbly refer my unhappy case to the consideration of your Lordship and you gentlemen of the jury. My humble request is, to think on my poor afflicted aged parents, whose calamities are too obvious and unparalleled for my unhappy fate; the sorrows I feel are on their account, I am ready and willing to calmly submit myself to the sentence this honourable court shall think meet to pass on me; but for my poor parents, I could with pleasure, undismayed, smile on the fatal stroke of death, though now but in the twenty-second year of my age, having three virtuous sisters, and one of the tenderest and best of brothers; if my sentence is fatal, it must inevitably leave a lasting shame and disgrace on them; the thoughts of which now fills my mind with the utmost distraction. Without doubt, there are gentlemen now in this court, who have children of their own. Let sympathy move you to some compassion towards my most unhappy parents, for the pangs they feel: if tender partiality, from the above circumstances, may implore a more merciful sentence, let me humbly hope, this honourable court would take into their worthy consideration, this my most dreadful case, so as to terminate into a more tender sentence whan that the act implies. Facts, I know, are death; but circumstances, I humbly hope, will meet with mercy; so now, I again humbly submit myself to your lordship, that your lordship will represent in a favourable light to his majesty these circumstances; and, if possible, snatch from death, a youth, whose life shall be employed in perpetual prayer for your mercy."
After his conviction, sentence was pronounced in an awful and solemn manner, on Perrott and Lee, together with a recapitulation of their guilt, in its several aggravating circumstances, and a persuasive to repentance: He seemed to see death, and a judgment infinitely more important at hand; he now began to apply himself in earnest to what he had before promised, but neglected to perform: He daily attended prayer and instruction; he was warned not to trust in any efforts, however great and powerful, for temporal mercy; but, to build his hopes on those mercies which never fail the true penitent. He was reminded of his neglect of duty before trial, which, as it had been put off one session, so it afforded him the better opportunity to improve his repentance. He partly acknowledged this neglect with sorrow; and partly excused it by an ill state of health, which his confinement, fretting, and other causes, had increased.
Some days after sentence, he was asked whether he considered that paper read to the honourable court, as a just defence of his innocence, or an humble plea for mercy: He answered, that he did not rely on it as the former, but meant it as the latter; and still hoped he might have some good interest, and plea offered to his majesty to spare his life; being asked what that is? He replied, because it was merely from want and the pressures of a prison, that he was tempted to
this rash deed, for which he was cast. But were there not other indictments against you for facts of the same nature? He seemed to make light of these, as if they were upon uncertain suppositions, and incapable of proof. He was farther told, that interest alone, without some favourable circumstances to represent in his favour, would not save him. This he seemed sensible of, and when disappointed of all hope, by the news of his death warrant, lamented the fatal truth. He owned to me the first mention of that dreadful summons brought to him by one of the runners, greatly shocked him; but, having recourse to God in mental prayer, he was recovered. On this occasion he was again urged to make all the satisfaction in his power to every injured party, at least by an humble acknowledgement, and asking forgiveness; but he evaded the confession of any other facts of this kind, by indirect answers; - that he had wrote to the injured parties, acknowledged his particular guilt to them, asked their pardon, and they had forgiven him. In this I acquiesced; as I could not disprove what he told me, and had no proof of any other fact of this kind, except that for which he stood convicted; the guilt of which he no longer denied. For about this time, he shewed me those thoughts in writing with which he intended to warn others, especially youth, against the false and pernicious steps he had taken; a duty which had been recommended to him; as also to write proper letters on this occasion to his friends in the country, which he promised to do.
On these and other hopeful proofs of a true repentance, a lively faith, a fervent charity, and other requisites, he was admitted to the holy sacrament, the three last mornings of his life, to his manifest support, and great comfort, in this most dreadful trial and conflict; for he repeatedly told me he was strongly persuaded he had a portion in the merits of Christ, now interceding for him at the right hand of God, in virtue of which he should be happy hereafter.
On the Morning of Execution.
HE again told me that he was very easy, and quite resigned, because he believed he was going to meet a reconciled God; he again declared that he heartily renounced this vain and wicked world. - Nay further - that he hated and despised it.
He had asked me the evening before, how Perrott behaved himself in his last moments? and was much pleased to hear that he prayed for him, and enquired, whether there were any hopes of a respite for him, and that he had sent him a handkerchief for a token, giving his love and duty to all friends. That token, said he, the messenger never brought, thinking I presume, it would be of little use to me, but of some to himself.
I renounce this world, added he, not because I am going to leave it, and from the fears of death, but from a thorough conviction of its vanity, and the far supeior excellency of piety and true religion. He said, he had wrote to his friends, to comfort them with these sentiments.
Being asked how he had spent the preceding night? he said he had slept from nine to twelve or one, and then rose to prayer, to his great peace and consolation; in this temper I found him this morning, when he joined in the prayers, and received the holy communion with serious devotion.
In the way to the place of Execution, he told one who accompanied him, that his fears of death were removed, and that he found true consolation, but if any fear remained it was only that of the first pains, to bear these with patience
he trusted in God for strength. Accordingly, when he first appeared under the tree, he was smiling even in the face of death, and declared his hope to be soon happy: he called to one Mr. M'Neal, whom he saw near him on horseback, asked his pardon, and was assured of it by that person.
After he had joined in prayer the usual time, and read his last warning to the people, he observed several weeping around him: he comforted them, saying, I shall soon be happy.
The last EXHORTATION and PRAYER, spoken immediately before he suffered.
AS my hour of dissolution is now come, and that I am going to pay my last grand debt to the Almighty, who gave me that life I have so much abused, by a series of repeated and dreadful offences against his divine Majesty! What mercies can I expect now at the hand of an offended God, whose wrath can plunge me instantly into an abyss of never-ceasing woe, but from the merits of my ever pitying, compassionate Redeemer, there to take refuge, and lay the burden of my sins at a Saviour's feet.
From my unhappy fate, misguided youth, take warning; let not the giddy shadows of vanity, lay too deep hold on your weak minds. Make virtue your leading principle; in the strict pursuits of which, with fervent prayer, God will bless you. 'Tis an easy matter to resolve on any thing, but without the divine assistance of the Almighty, you will find your strength but vain. Let me humbly beg of you all here present, to weigh this my last request, suffer not your passions to reign predominant over your reason. If you find at any time a will inclining to piety, pursue it with prayer for God's help, and you will find his strengthening grace diffuse its choicest comforts in your soul, to resist the destructive power of our grand enemy. Read frequently the holy scriptures, and lay up your treasures in heaven. Think, gentle youths, how soon you may be called hence, and summoned to eternity, either of happiness or misery! an awful consideration. Eternity! thou amazing thought! what idea can reach thy vast tremendous depth; ages, succeeding ages, millions and millions of years revolving, begin but thee.
I would recommend to you contentment in all conditions in life; that's the greatest riches we can enjoy on earth; for though we may not all of us be blessed with prosperity, 'tis an incumbent duty to be satisfied with the fortune or estate in which it hath pleased the allwise Creator to place you.
Oh, let me here lament my sad and fallen state! Had I not been intoxicated with the deceiving concupiscence, or desire, for that property I knew was not my own, I had then lived, and enjoyed an happiness unspeakable. I do not attribute my lost and forfeited life to any other, than an insensible desire of appearing in a gay and genteel course of temporal pleasures, so destructive to the soul. It diverts our thoughts from the duty we owe to God, which, when neglected, is sure to prove our bane. This exposes our weakest parts to the grand deceiver of mankind; he attacks us in various shapes, till he leads us subordinate to his will: Oh woeful slavery, how can we think to claim those mercies, promised by a tender pleading Saviour, whom we daily crucify by our enormous offences. Consider this, and think what an awful and fearful thing it must be, to fall into the hands of a living God. I am fully convinced, my repeated breaches of the divine laws of God, have justly incurred his almighty wrath, and brought this punishment down, the just
reward of sin. And now I die with pleasure, a victim to justice, as well as public example; not without a full and perfect assurance of dying a happy monument of the mercies of God, and of my blessed Saviour. - Pity not me, but my poor afflicted parents, whose sorrows have brought them to the verge of life, from my unparallelled misfortunes. Tender, too tender, were they always of me; whilst I was under their parental care, I lived in a state of perfect innocence and tranquility: but, alas, I advanced in the world too soon, before morality was deeply rooted in my mind: London, the bane of youth, soon filled my flattering heart with vain desires of aspiring to things out of my reach; though I must say no action of my life, before these dreadful events, could ever impeach me of the least premeditated hurt to mankind. I do freely forgive all those who were the instruments of taking away my life, they were obliged to it by the laws of their country, and now calmly resign myself to the divine will of God, I beg you will join with me in this short prayer.
Oh Almighty God, whose mercies are ever toward those, that truly repent them of their manifold sins; pitying behold me from thy glorious throne imploring mercy: permit me, gracious God; in this my hour of dissolution, as it hath pleased thee to call me hence, to submit myself chearfully, and to say not my will good Lord, but thine be done: and do thou, O Lord support and strengthen me under this dreadful conflict of death; and though I here suffer a shameful and ignominious death, suffer me not, O Lord, to meet thee on thy heavenly throne but with compassion and divine love. Oh! ever blessed and holy Jesus, thou didst once vouchsafe to pardon a sinner, even in his expiring moment. Oh let me, a lost sinner, humbly claim thy promise, and fly to thee in eternal bliss. My manifold sins indeed have justly provoked thee, O God, to anger, and kindled thy wrath against me; who can I fly to but my ever living Saviour, who, humble and obedient came down from heaven to deliver us from the heavy curse that sin has brought into the world. Graciously look on my infirmities, and deliver me, O Lord, from the heavy burden of my guilt, that when my soul departs this earthly body, it, may be rendered unto thee pure and without spot, an everlasting monument of thy divine mercy, for the sake of my ever blessed Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.
Oh may God of his infinite mercy and goodness grant that this short and imperfect exhortation may leave a lasting impression on all your minds. And now vain world farewel.
Novemb. 12, 1761.
This is all the account given by me,
Ordinary of Newgate.