THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words OF FIVE MALEFACTORS, VIZ.
EMANUEL MOUNTAIN for Murder, Executed on Monday January the 17th; MORRIS DELANY and JOHN COLLINS For a Robbery on the High-Way, and WILLIAM CHAMP for Horse-Stealing, Executed on Wednesday February the 9th; AND DANIEL BLAKE for Murder, Executed on Saturday February the 26th, 1763.
LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON .
NUMBER I. for the said Year.
Printed and sold by M. LEWIS, at the Bible and Dove, in Paternoster-Row, near Cheapside, for the AUTHOR.
Also sold by J. HINXMAN, at the Globe, in Paternoster-Row.
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, holden for the city of London and county of Middlesex, at Justice-hall in the Old Baily, before the Right Honourable William Beckford, Esq. Lord Mayor of the City of London , Sir Thomas Parker, Knt. Lord Chief Baron of his Majesty's court of Exchequer ; the Honourable Henry Bathurst, one of the Judges of his Majesty's court of Common Pleas ; Sir J. Eardly Wilmott, one of the Judges of his Majesty's court of King's Bench; Sir William Moreton, Knt. Recorder ; James Eyre, Esq. deputy Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of oyer and terminer of the city of London, and Justices of goal-delivery of Newgate, &c. holden for the said city and county of Middlesex on Friday the 14th, Saturday the 15th, and Monday the 17th of January, in the third year of his Majesty's reign, eight persons were capitally convicted and received sentence of death, for the several crimes in their indictments laid, namely, Emanuel Mountain, Hans Eeg, William Autenreith, Morris Delany, John Collins, William Champ, Thomas Bryant, and George Watson. And on Wednesday February the 2d, the report of the said malefactors being made to his Majesty by Mr. Recorder, William Autenreith, Morris Delany, John Collins, and William Champ, were ordered for Execution on Wednesday the 9th Instant. And Hans Eeg, George Watson, and Thomas Bryant, were respited during his Majesty's pleasure.
The deceased, and the criminal were sailors who lodged at the house beforementioned; the latter, a Portuguese, who spoke little or no English, and therefore was tried by means of an interpreter. Whatever gave rise to this quarrel, whether a fightingbout, which happened the same Day between the prisoner and a Dutchman, whose part the deceased took, as the prisoner pleaded in his defence; or whether it was any other provocation, this fact was attended with circumstances which proved it a cruel and inhuman murder. These two having gone up to two seperate beds in the same room, between ten and eleven o'clock at night, were soon after heard by the landlord and other company, scolding and fighting overhead. They went up and found them entangled with each other in a fierce and obstinate combat, in the dark, on the bed of the deceased, whose shirt was stript off, the prisoner being uppermost, and the face of the deceased bloody. As soon as they were parted, with much difficulty; Carassa said, Father, it is not my fault; then rising from his bed, he cried, Lord, I am a dead man! whilst his bowels were all coming out on his left side - to the quantity of two handfuls. He said, the prisoner gave me a stab on purpose, on which the prisoner attempted to go away, but was prevented. Mr. Thompson, the surgeon who first came to see him in the morning, said also, that he is a dead man, that his bowels were cut, and he would not meddle with him. He was carried to the London-hospital the same morning, and being viewed and examined by another surgeon, Mr. Alder; the patient told him the wound was given wilfully, with a push, by a Portuguese who had been quarrelling with his friend, whose part he took. He died of that wound three quarters of an hour after; this surgeon supposed it to be done with a knife. This was confirmed, by the prisoner's words, to a witness who stopped him in attempting to escape, to whom he said, Me have done this; - with a knife - which lay by the bed, where it was found, being a long clasp knife, all bloody four or five inches deep.
Notwithstanding this clear, consistent and positive evidence against the prisoner, and hardy attempt was made to shield and rescue him from the mortal stroke of it, by one Emanuel Rotherek Corea, who representing himself to be a Portuguese priest, belonging to the ambassador of that nation, deposed, that as he attended the dying man to administer the sacrament to him, he exhorted him to speak the truth, and as he hoped for pardon of God, to pardon the prisoner, if he had offended him; to which the wounded man replied, That there was no offence to pardon the prisoner, for that he himself deserved ten thousand deaths, by being the aggressor in this quarrel; that he pulled the prisoner out of the bed by the legs, and struck him to make him fight with him.
But this effort was of so little weight in the scale, against the opposite united and supported testimonies of six or seven witnesses, that the jury quickly brought in the prisoner guilty, and he was immediately adjudged to be executed on the second day from thence, being Monday the 17th of January following.
As this prisoner did not agree with us in his religion, nor understand our language, he was not brought to chapel, nor could it answer any purpose for me to visit him in his cell; hearing also that no clerical person of his own persuasion had yet visited him, on Sunday at noon it was by me earnestly recommended to
one of the runners, to go and find out a proper gentleman to visit him. This was done on Sunday evening and Monday morning. After which he was taken from Newgate, between nine and eleven, to the usual place of execution; and after a few minutes delay, wherein enquiry was made among the people, by order of the under sheriff on duty, whether any one who could speak his language were present? such a person did offer himself, and speak to him a little while. He is said to have behaved with a sullen silence in the way, and at the place. After execution, the body was brought back to Surgeon's-hall, to be dissected and anatomized, pursuant to his sentence.
2 and 3. Morris Delany and John Collins were indicted, for that they on William Toulmin did make an assault, on the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and violently taking from his person one silver salve-box value 27s. one guinea, one 18s. piece, one quarter guinea, and three shillings in money, numbered, his property, and against his will, December the 31st.
The circumstances most considerable in this fact, for the caution of honest and well-meaning people, and the warning of daring criminals were these: It appears from the evidence of the coachman, who drove the prosecutor and his wife from Wapping towards Whitechapel, that these two adventurers, and a boy (supposed to be George Watson, now respited) had watched and dog'd the coach from the prosecutor's door in Old Gravel-lane, to the middle of the Newroad, where they stopped and robbed the coach; that the boy acted as a spy, slily questioned the coachman where he was going, and who were his fare? which he as unwarily told him; that the moon-light betrayed them; the salve-box discovered them, and their own pistols were turned against them: for each of these were means to detect and convict them, as appears very clearly on the trial. How little did these blind and hardened transgressors consider, that while they were lying in wait for their prey, they were lurking privily for their own blood; and pulling down on their own heads that swift vengeance, which, before the next setting sun, overtook them.
Morris Delany, about 30 years of age, was born in the county of Carlow in Ireland, went to sea about his twentieth year, and on his return, about three years ago, was employed in the river Thames, working at ballast, and other labour of loading and unloading ships . He was sometimes also engaged at the west end of the town, as a partner in carrying a sedan chair ; for which his robust frame and size bespoke him well adapted. Happy, if he had never betaken himself to any worse employment! But not being content with an honest, laborious course of life, he gave way to the temptations of vice and villainy; to which he is now fallen a prey in the prime of his years. For this fact, charged in the indictment, he was pursued next morning by the coachman, whose coach and fare he had robbed; but the hand of justice had prevented him. He was taken the night before on suspicion, as he lay in bed in a new lodging he had gone to, having a pistol under his arm, and a powder-horn about him at his entrance into the house; and when searched at the watch-house, the silver salve-box, with the name of Toulmin inscribed, was found upon him. Soon after conviction, he was visited in his cell, and invited to come to chapel, with a view and desire to do him all possible good offices which his circumstances
required and could admit of; he expressed his intention to attend there, with thanks; but being quickly after visited by a priest of his own persuasion, viz. of the church of Rome, he never came to chapel. At another visit he was reminded, that it was his indispensable duty to confess any other facts he had been guilty of, so as to give the best satisfaction he could to the injured, and acquit the innocent, who might otherwise be charged or suspected; - that no private or auricular confession could excuse him from doing this. He was charged therefore to answer as a dying man, and as he hoped for mercy, Whether he was guilty of the charge (for which he was formerly tried) of breaking and entering the dwelling house of Thomas Combe, and thence stealing goods to a considerable value? he declared to me, he was not the person, nor knew where the house stands; and that some gentlemen had been with him to make the same enquiry, and he had answered them in the same manner. It appears however on the trial of George Watson, that he was guilty of another burglary and robbery in the shop of Mr. Rogers, haberdasher and hosier, in Whitechapel; for which Watson was to have been admitted an evidence against him, if he had not been already convicted on the present indictment. And this is supposed to be one reason why Watson was respited; to which another added some weight, namely, because the said Watson had returned and put out the lamp left in the shop, after the robbery, lest the house and family should be burned. So well and wisely is any alleviating circumstance laid hold of in favour of a criminal, which can open a door for extending mercy, to him.
But tho' this criminal did not accept of our assistance in spiritual things, yet was he not neglected in the distribution of those reliefs of money and provision, which the severity of the season excited many good people to contribute to the prisoners in this distress, with an abundant charity, proportioned to their necessity.
John Collins, (otherwise N - e) the other principal in this fact, was the person who first attacked Mr. Toulmin with a pistol, opened the coach door, and robbed him of the money mentioned in the indictment: and being apprehended the next day in another fact of the like nature, and brought before the justice, confessed his part in the robbery, and desired to be transported.
When first visited, after conviction, he shewed all the symptoms of sorrow unrestrained, and for the present inconsolable; he wept a flood of tears, he cried aloud, he wrung his hands and bitterly bewailed his sad lot, that he must be cut off in a moment, in the vigour of his youth; that he dared not acquaint his friends, already too much offended by his undutiful behaviour: that he must fall unpitied, unlamented, at a distance from his friends, now ashamed to own him, confounded to hear of his dire fate.
Well would it be if the young adventurers, now dismissed from sea or land service, and tempted by their vices into this high-way to a shameful death and sure destruction, had beheld and considered this sad scene of distress! anguish and horror painted in their faces; and perhaps not one good thought in their hearts to support them. Surely they would be warned, not to perpetrate any fact to disgrace themselves and their friends; to sink the services they have done, or for
feit the honour they have gained from their applauding king and country, ever kind and beneficent to the brave and honest mariner and soldier. Above all, they would not distrust that good providence which has hitherto preserved them in the midst of dangers, nor provoke that almighty power which led them through fire and water, protected them in the fire of battle and the raging tempests, still leading them on to victory. - Plumed as they are with the honours of a successful war, will they stain themselves with deeds of the vilest cowardice, and turn their weapons against their unarmed fellow-subjects? Prevent it, heaven! and let every good principle of honesty and truth within them oppose the base attempt. And if such motives of virtue and honour will not restrain them, let them set before their eyes the desperate hazard they run of being plunged into quick perdition in the midst of their sins: as appears but too probably to be the case of a footpad lately mentioned in all the news-papers under the name of John Dixon, belonging to captain Long, shot through the breast (expiring with only two groans, in his attempt to rob the Portsmouth stage-coach) by Mr. Thomas Young, master-gunner of his majesty's ship Neptune . And should they escape such a sudden stroke as this, let them still look forward to the sure (though perhaps a little slower) fate of a gibbet. These reflexions naturally arise from the case of this and some other of these convicts, who told me they had served his majesty at sea .
Collins (a fictitious name) was the son of a reputable tradesman at Bristol, and had a suitable education. Having been to sea before this last war, he was early impressed into the service in the beginning of it; he then entered a volunteer; and his father encouraging and assisting him, he was made a midshipman on board the Edgar, in which he served three years. After this he served on board the Lark, captain Shiley. This he told me; though a witness to his character on the trial, describes him to be only a boatswain's mate in a frigate. He, with the other convicts who attended the chapel, five in number, had daily instructions given them, adapted to their particular cases and circumstances, to which they seemed to give diligent attention, to join seriously and devoutly in the prayers, and to make a hopeful progress in their penitence.
When questioned about the several facts he was charged with, he persisted in declaring that he never attempted any such thing till the Friday December 31, and was taken on the Saturday January 1, being partly drawn in by others; one of which was under the same sentence with him, though he freely owned he was as forward as the other. He was farther examined concerning that heinous crime mentioned in his first commitment by Sir John Fielding, on oath of Jeremiah Keeble, " for assaulting him on " the high-way, with intent to rob him, " and also for wilfully and maliciously " firing a loaded pistol at him, with intent to kill and murder him;" he endeavoured to soften and explain away the force of this charge, by insisting that the pistol went off accidentally, by his falling when pursued by Keeble in order to apprehend him, and that it was charged only with gunpowder. He was farther pressed at other times, to confess the truth, as he hoped for mercy in heaven. To which he answered, this is the truth, and that the other account was only a mistake or misrepresentation of the fact; and in this assertion he persisted, even after he
knew himself included in the deathwarrant.
He continued daily to lam�nt, with the most pungent grief and dejection of spirit, the cnes he had thus rashly and suddenly fallen into; which he owned were much aggravated, by being perpetrated after his recovery from a fit of sickness. The consciousness of his ingratitude for this mercy, ut him (as he expressed it) so deep, that he found it very difficult for some time to receive any consolation or hope. In farther conversation with him, he described the manner and occasion of his being drawn in to commit these facts - that after his recovery from sickness, by which he was drained of his money and run in debt, sitting idle, in the way of temptation, at the Cooper's Arms, St. Catharines, near the Tower, a drunken sailor came in, and would make him drink some hot. Morris Delany dropt in, and drank with them; after which it was proposed to go out, meaning on the high-way: to which Collins agreed; this was on Friday when they robbed Mr. Toulmin, whose money he confessed he received in his hat; that on sight of it, he said to him, with threats, you give nothing but copper; to which he replied, there is gold and silver among it, and I have nothing left but this silver salve box, offering it to Collins, but he refused it, though Delany afterwards took it unknown to him; and this, it appears, was chiefly instrumental in detecting and convicting them. Among the money taken (he said) they found an eighten shilling piece, a guinea, and a quarter guinea; out of which Delany claimed, first, a guinea, to pay for the pair of pistols just before bought for this purpose; that on this, each took his pistol, and then they, differing about dividing the remainder, parted that night.
In his next attempt, the following day or night, which was against a Stratford coach, with four or five men passengers in it, he was apprehended, by their being too quick for him, and his falling down, as before mentioned. But he declared he did not express the words, your life or your money, as sworn before Sir John Fielding.
The convicts were daily visited and brought up to chapel. Collins among the rest, behaved with a becoming seriousness; and as he could read well, performed his part in the service with an attentive fervency. In his cell, he undertook to assist his fellow-convict, William Champ, wholly illiterate, by reading to him and praying with him, who for that purpose was shut up in the same cell with him. Being asked how Champ behaved on that occasion? he said, he was very ignorant and stupid, and much inclined to sink into sleep when he should attend to instruction or prayer. While they were duly instructed in the design, use and benefit of this chastisement, and other points most pertinent to their several cases, each of them, especially Collins, seemed to improve under the affliction; yet he found it very difficult to resign himself with patience, after the death-warrant came, to his sad lot; and when after two or three days he had well nigh subdued his reluctance, and reconciled himself to his fate, a new temptation sprung up, by the application of some of his friends to the throne for mercy; which failing of success, threw him back, on the day he heard it, into fresh agonies of sorrow and anguish of soul, opened all his wounds, and afforded no easy task to stop the current of his grief; to compose him to submission and resignation.
As notice had been given, at a proper interval of time, for them to prepare for
the holy communion, they were daily instructed for that purpose; and this subject duly opened, applied and impressed, assisted greatly in restoring him to peace and a calm spirit; so far that I judged it proper to administer to him and Champ, the day before execution, Champ having been diligently instructed in his preparation in the plainest terms, adapted to his capacity.
On the same day William Fredrick Autenreith was admitted to the holy communion by a very worthy and intelligent Lutheran divine of his own country and mode of worship, having first made a full confession of his guilt in the affair, for which he is convicted, in presence of his prosecutors, to the great satisfaction of us all, who had earnestly laboured to bring about this salutary and desirable effect.
The prisoner had wrought as a labourer with the prosecutor at Little Chelsea, and was discharged three days before the felony; he was met by the prosecutor, who was in quest of him, December the 10th, at the halfway house, between Kensington and Knightsbridge; to whom, after a little prevarication, he freely confessed the fact with all its circumstances, so that the owner recovered his horse. However, this poor simple fellow was committed to New-Prison, prosecuted, and on his trial convicted; nor could his character of an industrious, inoffensive man before this fact, given him by five masters, for whom he had wrought, save him from execution, tho' the prosecutor was one of the five.
He was born at Shatton in Wiltshire, within four miles of Highworth, being a little turned of thirty years of age; has left a wife and three children; was bred up to labouring work and husbandry, and might, if he had been transported, have become a very useful hand in the new conquests or colonies. He has wrought in the neighbourhood of London four or five years; before which he did labouring work in his native country. He did not deny the fact for which he is convicted, but declared this is the first fact in which he ever wronged another in any respect; nor can give a reason why he was induced to perpetrate this. He complained privately to his fellow-convict that his wife was turbulent, when he was at home with her, and had behaved ill in his absence; but did not say this tempted him to the fact.
Being questioned frequently about his state of mind, he seemed to become daily more resigned and hopeful of mercy, calmly and regularly prepared for his last hour, and believed he should find rest.
Morning of Execution.
IT was told me, by one of the turnkeys, that Autenreith was respited and when they went up to acquaint him of it, about nine o'clock last night, they found him hard at work, burning thro' the door of his cell. Whether his design was to endeavour to burn himself and the convicts, or (if they could) to escape, seemed uncertain. When I went up to view the place, and see Autenreith, he was greatly confused, explained it, that it was a design, concerted among these three convicts, to break thro' his own door first, and then to endeavour to open that of the other cell, and attempt to get thro' the ceiling; and he charged the other two with this to their face. Collins
walked about his cell in great disorder, and with a countenance so disturbed, as spoke the anguish of his soul; did not directly deny his being privy to it, but evaded a confession, bidding the doctor say what he pleased against him, he should not contradict it. Champ was silent and sullen. The turnkeys believed these two were not privy to it, because Collins had desired one of them to watch with him the night past. In the chapel I endeavoured to bring him to an humble and sincere confession of his guilt.
Collins said this design was spoke of among all the convicts about ten days since; that they had no thoughts of destroying themselves, but only to attempt an escape, however difficult it might appear, but that he had little hopes of it, and therefore did nothing towards it: however, that the doctor with his privity began it last night.
When Champ was questioned, he begged I would ask him no questions: but after solemnly charging them both, as they hoped for mercy and forgiveness in heaven, to speak the truth, and confess their whole design, he acknowledged that he was privy to it; but that, for his part, he was so dejected and weak, that he thought himself unable to escape, had a way been opened for that purpose. Collins earnestly desired to have the holy communion administred to him, as promised and intended, if this affair had not intervened; but in consideration, it was yesterday administred to them both; and they had so quickly and shamefully relapsed into this design. Prayers were earnestly offered up for their renovation; and they were exhorted to return to the vow and profession they had so lately made, and hope the benefit of the holy sacrament would be again renewed to them, of which I could not safely and freely repeat the administration to them again.
Soon after eight they were dismissed from chapel, and taken down to have their fetters knocked off, and their arms pinioned. It was half an hour past nine before this was done, and they put into the cart: Delany first, then Champ, and Collins last. They all looked heavy, dejected, and covered with shame and sorrow. They reached the place of execution in an hour, and being tied up, proper prayers were offered up with and for them, in which the people joined, at their request. They repeated the Belief, and declared their hope of being saved in that faith; they all declared they were resigned and composed. Collins and Champ expressed an hearty sorrow for the part they had taken in the attempt of last night, and frequently asked pardon for it. Collins acknowledged he had tried to burn a hole thro' the door with a piece of candle once, but it was several nights ago; and finding his plan impracticable, he desisted.
Delany, being in a distant cell, and one story higher than these, did not seem to be privy to it; nor did they, or any one else, charge him with it. Being asked whether he chose to confess any particular fact now in his last moment, which might be the means of saving any innocent person from suspicion or trouble, he answered, he believed no such person is like to suffer for any thing he had done; he professed to die in peace and charity with all men, and did not seem averse to join in our prayers; after which Collins and he joined hands, and took leave of each other, and then of Champ, their fellow-sufferer.
A little before the last recommendatory prayer Collins spoke a few words
to the multitude, "to take warning by him, and not be guilty of any act of fraud or violence which might bring them there to be made a public spectacle, but to keep within the bounds of justice, and endeavour to get an honest livelihood; the forsaking of which, brought him to this sad lot: he reminded them, that many of them were as deep in sin as himself, and therefore ought to take timely warning by his example, and break off their sins, before they brought them to destruction."
The extremity of distress in which he stood and delivered his words, together with the earnest manner in which he prayed, gave such force to what he said as melted many into tears.
Having taken an hearty and affectionate leave of their minister, they continued crying to God for mercy, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! 'till the cart was driven from under them, which was exactly at eleven o'clock. In three or four minutes they were all motionless. Champ in half the time.
BY virtue of the King's commission of the peace, oyer and terminer, and goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the city of London and county of Middlesex, at Justice-hall in the Old Baily, before the Right Honourable William Beckford Esq. Lord Mayor ; Sir Henry Gould, Knt. one of the Judges of his Majesty's court of Common Pleas ; George Perrott, Esq. one of the Barons of his Majesty's court of Exchequer ; Sir William Moreton, Knt. Recorder ; James Eyre, Esq. deputy Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of oyer and terminer of the city of London, and Justices of goal-delivery of Newgate, &c. holden for the said city and county, on Wednesday the 23d, Thursday the 24th, and Friday the 25th of February, in the third year of his Majesty's reign, two persons, viz. Daniel Blake, and Elizabeth, otherwise Esther Lyon, were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death, for the several crimes in their indictments.
1. Daniel Blake, was indicted, for that he, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved by the instigation of the devil, on the first of February, on John Murcott, did make an assault, with malice afore-thought, with a certain knife, value one penny, which he had and held in his right hand, maliciously and willfully did strike and cut the said John, giving him a wound in his throat, of the length of four inches, and depth of three inches, of which mortal wound he instantly died.
The progress of tracing this most inhuman and unprovoked murder up to the author of it was gradual, because he had aimed so to manage it, that it might be supposed to be done either by the deceased himself, or else by one who at the same time robbed him.
It appears Mr. Murcott, butler to the Right Hon. Lord Dacre, in Bruton-Street, had been a little out of order the evening before, drank some weak tea to compose himself, and went to bed about eight o'clock. Next morning, Tuesday February the first, the porter John B - d, not hearing him rise or stir about the usual time between seven and eight, to answer my Lord's bell, bid this Blake, his fellowservant, call him. Blake answered, I have call'd him two or three times, but
he never spoke. John replied, Daniel, go and call him, and make him speak. Daniel made no answer, but kept on cleaning the plate in the servants hall, which John had helped to fetch out of the pantry where Murcott lay. John, hearing his lord's bell ring, went to call the butler: and 'tis to be supposed that Daniel, at this moment, stepped out to get muffins and French rolls for breakfast, by which means he avoided the embarassment of the first discovery. It was quickly discovered by John, that Murcott, tho' shook, could neither speak nor stir; the bed-clothes lay smooth over his face. John ran to tell his lady's woman, Mrs. A - e F - e, who came and pulled down the clothes to his breast, then saw a knife. She and John lifting him, his head dropt quite back, and his throat was cut deep from ear to ear. Daniel now returned with his message, came to the pantry door, cried out and wrung his hands; they bid him be quiet, saying, my lord and lady would hear it too soon.
It appeared farther, that the laundress, kitchen-maid, and house-maid, had risen about one o'clock this morning, to wash; that about half an hour after five, the house maid, Mary M - r, thought she heard some one go out of the pantry, to the house-keeper's room (being both on the kitchen floor) and return again; and then heard a rattling among the plate: She called Daniel - but no answer; heard a foot, and went into the pantry with a candle; saw the butler's coat and apparel lying in a heap at the feet of the bed, and his head covered with the bedclothes. Going up to the garret, to call her fellow-servant, thought she heard some one going up stairs before her. Passing by the footmen's room, she saw the door a-jar, and a little open; went down again, and asked the maid, Is Daniel here? (because he used to rise on the washing morning to clean his plate) She answered, no. From what came out afterwards, it appears, that Daniel had been down stairs, and done the fact, about five, and was really heard by this maid returning up again. For, on hearing her evidence at his trial, he explained and confirmed it, by saying, he went up before her with his shoes on. Some, who know the family, add, on this occasion, that it was lucky for her, she did not go sooner to the pantry, before he had finished the fact; for, in that case, he must have murdered her also; and they pretend to assert, they heard him say so much, after he had confessed the fact. But this is scarce credible; at least he said nothing of this kind to me; nor was it surmised to me, 'till after his execution, otherwise he might have been questioned about it. This we may safely say, it had been much happier for all parties had she gone soon enough with the light to prevent and put off the attempt, while he was yet in suspence.
The horrid deed, thus perpetrated, the mighty Avenger of blood did not long suffer the earth to cover it. It cried for vengeance against him; and he who hath said, Surely your blood of your lives will I require - at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man, did speedily accomplish his decree.
A surgeon was sent for of course to inspect the body. He came, found the man dead; was desired to attend the coroner next morning - when he found the windpipe cut through, a wound on the right side of the head, between the ear and temple, about two inches long and an inch wide; feeling about, he perceived an unevenness; then moving the scab he discovered a large fracture in the bone
of the scull, beside two small wounds in the right lip, and another on the head near the great wound. These, he judged must be given by something weighty, and could not be done by the deceased himself. Nor could he think the throat was cut by the deceased, as the wound seemed too large and deep. And considering it in any view; if the wound on the head had been first given, that being mortal, he could not stir nor cut his throat; and so, vice versa, if the throat was first cut, it were impossible he could fracture his own scull: much less, after either or both of these, can he be supposed to have smoothed up the bed-cloaths over his own face. Notwithstanding this, some were so over-wise, in their own opinion, as to imagine, and stand to it, that the deceased could have done all this himself; which is, in effect to say, he could twice kill himself!
Among the other servants Daniel was examined by the inquest, on oath, and gave an evidence so clear, that he passed unsuspected. Things continuing so, on Thursday he was to go out with his Lord behind the coach; when intelligence was brought by an humble friend to the family, that Blake was known to have paid away some small sums on Tuesday morning soon after the fact, tho' known to be necessitous a day or two before. On this, it was ordered he should not be let out by the porter. This clue was followed by the vigilance and active penetration of Sir John Fielding. On different enquiries and examinations, it was found he had given various accounts how he came by this money. To one person he paid a trifle to, he told of a legacy left him by his grandmother. To Sir John he said he had borrowed 10 pound of his brother on Monday last. On immediate inquiry made by the justice, of his brother, this was found to be false, as well as the other. About the same time it was discovered he had expended in all about 14 pounds this week; besides five guineas found in his box, and four in his pocket: Innocence may be abashed, but truth fairly interpreted, is ever self-consistent. These false assertions, added to suspicion, gave sufficient ground for committing him to New-Prison: where Mr. P - , the keeper, observing him forming some letters on a scrap of paper, said, Daniel, you can write; Ay, replied he, but poorly. Then you had better write to my Lord, and tell him how you came by that money. He consented, and wrote the following letter,
" To the Rite Honarable Lord Dacre in Bruton Street.
" My Lord As your requre to know " how I came by the money it was as " followeth I went into Mr. murkets " room to look for a play book on the " cubard I fond a parsle muny by feeling for the book and in that parsel " there was Twenty Guineas the letters wrote was upon the Paper was " Thus"
Next day, Saturday Febuary the 5th, he was sent for to be re-examined before Sir John; after he had hardily persisted in a denial of the whole matter, this letter, hitherto not seemingly known or regarded, was inquired for, and being produced, he was asked, Did you write and sign this letter? He answered, I did: then you confess the robbery, for which
you must die, and you may as well tell the whole truth - he still denied the murder. Among other of his cavils, it was mentioned by Mr. P - w, that he threatned to prosecute all that had any hand in troubling him for this affair, when he got clear of it; being reproved for this, he answered, Why then loose my hands, and let me have pen, ink and paper, and I will give no further trouble. They did so. He sat down and wrote, I did murder him. Which, on being questioned, he explained to be Mr. Murcott.
He now of course gave himself up as a victim to justice, declaring he did not desire to live. He was sent to Newgate that very night; and early the next morning, at my request, brought into the chapel, after service began, where I now first saw him, a comely young man, of good aspect, in livery, but double ironed, having a new prayer-book in his hand, but which he seemed little to know the use of: and though the parts of the service were pointed out to him, he only shook his head, and little regarded it. After sermon ended, being asked, he told what family he had lived in, that he was the lady's footman. Being further questioned, Why he did not use his prayer-book? He said, he had no heart to pray, and feared there is no mercy for him. On enquiring into his case, he said he had confessed the fact to justice Fielding, and cleared his fellow-servants; though he was least suspected, because of his good character. This you see was mixt with a deceitful vanity; and making a merit of his confession, which was in a manner drawn from him.
He was instructed that despair was another snare of the same subtil tempter, who had already betrayed him, and must be equally guarded against. For this purpose, some proper psalms and prayers were pointed out to him for his immediate use.
Being henceforward daily visited, and brought into the chapel, the next day he told me, he felt himself much lighter and easier since his confession, and by the use of those devotions he was directed to. When questioned about the circumstances of the fact, he said, that he rose about five in the morning, to clean the plate with soap suds, as usual on the washing morning: that instead of doing that, it was put into his head to kill the butler, so strongly, that he was in a manner obliged to do it; - for that he was instigated by pleasing hopes, and flattering views of succeeding him in his place, and becoming a great man. If it be considered, that this was a very inconvenient morning to attempt this fact, (on a plan supposed to be before contrived) when three or four maid-servants were up at washing; and, in passing to and fro, might probably surprize him in the fact: It seems most likely to have been a sudden thought uggested to him, as he now said, and asserted to the last. At this time however he said nothing to me of having robbed the butler, and gotten his money; but pretended he lived in affluence, and was under no temptation from want. The following day, having had intimations to the contrary, I asked him, Whether he were not in debt? He said, No. Did you kill him for the sake of his money? No. It is said you got 20 guineas belonging to him? No, I took only 3 guineas and a half, which he had in his pocket, and flung his box into the dust-hole, only to make it be-believed he had been murdered and robbed by some stranger. "I know it is reported I got 20 guineas, but the servants and family know I got but three
guineas and a half." As I doubted the truth of this, he was now strictly charged and warned against telling of lies; which he promised to avoid. He was further questioned about his past life and conversation. He owned he had kept company with women of the town, and that he had a sweetheart, but did not seduce any honest woman.
After this, about the 9th or 10th of February, he owned he found twenty guineas in a paper, but that it was his lord's money or some of his ancestors, which had lain there perhaps a hundred years. This appeared to me to be mere fiction; but as I knew not the real truth, I could not controvert it.
About Sunday the 13th of February, he seemed to become more sensible of the horror of the murther, told me his whole thoughts are on the greatness of his sin, and how to obtain God's pardon for it; that he had stood out boldly in denying it as long as he was able, but being so troubled in mind, that he could keep it no longer, he asked for a pen and ink, and wrote it as before-mentioned.
Finding him in this penitent disposition, and again charging him to speak nothing but the truth; he was questioned on two matters, which I was well informed he spoke of to the justices and others; the first was an unaccountable light which he said lighted him to do the murther. This he persisted to assert. But had you no candle to see to get the plate? No. Were there shutters to the pantry-window? Yes. Were they shut? I cannot tell. Could a light from the laundry shine through them if open? No, he believed not. " But he insisted, though he brought no light, he really had a light shewn him to do the deed, as sure as the day shines through that windonw," pointing to it.
As to the dream, he recollected it was the night before he made his confession, that he thought a voice said to him, Confess and clear the innocent, and you shall find mercy.
The family indeed say, they believe he did light a candle at the fire in the house-keeper's room near the pantry. However that be, it is scarce to be doubted, that he must have had some light to aim and direct the strokes, and the wound so fatally exact and successful against the temple and throat of the suffering object.
Besides the particular instructions and applications made to him from daily opening and explaining some proper portion of the scriptures of the day; on February the 16th, Ash-Wednesday; the penitential admonitions and prayers of the day, called the Commination, were used with a discourse explaining and applying it to the prisoners as transgressors of God's law, and liable to its curses, 'till they be entitled to the redemption of Jesus Christ on his own terms, i. e. repent, and believe the gospel. To this they all seemed, as usual, to give serious attention.
Blake was particularly reminded to consider how short his time must be after his trial, and not lose a moment in preparing: He answered, that he reads his bible, and particularly the history of the crucifixion, and the penitent thief, and that he is preparing to receive the holy communion, for which, proper warning and instruction were given him. The 19th instant, after service, being called into the closet, to enquire more minutely into his progress, he acknowledged he was much interrupted by his
fellow-prisoners in the ward; who, it is to be feared, cannot bear to see any one behave better than themselves, without making them the butt of their malice and ridicule. He was exhorted however to bear up against the torrent of filthy and profane conversation, and to show himself a resolute and strong penitent, in proportion as he had been a daring and presumptuous sinner. He now fairly owned, he had transgressed all the commandments; and that, when he committed this fact, he believed nothing either of God or d - l. He was reminded of the profane indecency of mentioning the wicked one in the same sentence, as an object of belief or unbelief, with God his maker, of whom we should speak and think with reverence and godly fear. He attended to the reproof; and added, he is now convinced, the devil tempted him to this deed - that he is most sensible of his guilt, and that it is not yet pardoned; but hopes to find mercy.
He had farther told me, he had been carried before Sir John Fielding and Justice Cox this morning; that, being asked if he would plead guilty, he answered he would - that on this, seven of his fellow-servants were bound over to appear on Friday next, (the 25th of February.)
2. He was further asked, Whether he had left the poker in the pantry, where and with which he did the fact? He answered, he could not recollect; for he was but three or four minutes a doing it.
In this point, as I am since informed, he acted very cautiously and cunningly, for he thrust the poker into the fire from the side of which he had taken it, to destroy any marks of blood with which it might be stained; and that, when the maid came to take it out of the fire, it turned in her hand, being much bent by the stroke he had given with it. For when it was produced in court, it appeared to be a new weighty bit put to an old slender handle of a kitchin poker.
Another question which he and one of his keepers agreed in reporting, shewed the worthy justices compassionate care for his better and immortal part; whether he was duly visited by the minister, and assisted in his repentance and preparation for death? It was answered, that he was well-attended, and daily instructed. Whether he would have any other beside the Ordinary? He answered, he neither wanted nor desired any other. And yet he was freely dealt with, not soothed, or bolstered up in his sins. His real danger and true state set before his eyes, to guard him from presumption or despair. He was often reminded, that had he the least thought or compassion for the soul of his poor murdered brother, he could never have plunged him, wholly unprepared, into eternity; and this, it is hoped, he considered as one of the highest aggravations of his crimes: a reflection which ought for ever to keep alive in every human soul, this divine flame of spiritual charity for the souls of our brethren; and this in proportion to our charge and abilities, whether as rulers, parents, masters, or ministers; ever remembring in these days of blind, distempered and bigotted zeal, to keep within our proper bounds, measure, and calling. This truest and best charity, exerted in its proper sphere, would tend to banish dissension, envy, hatred and malice, the dire causes of murders, and battles, and sudden death.
Blake was now again taught to humble himself greatly, and to seek for pardon for his sin.
On observing one day how unacquainted he was with the service of the church and the use of his Prayer-book, he was asked whether he used to frequent the church? His answer was, "never since he had been to service;" which was now near three years. Who is to be blamed for this, (now too general neglect) is easier to say, than to reform the fault. Surely such a dreadful event as this in a noble family, ought to alarm those of every rank and station; who, while they neglect to cultivate the minds of their children and servants, pamper and idolize their bodies, and inflame their misguided-passions!
To give this, and our other prisoners a sense of this capital error, the former lessons read to them, were frequently chosen out of the Proverbs, from chap. i. to x, &c. describing the beauty and benefits of sound and true wisdom; the blessings of receiving her instruction, and submitting to her guidance. - "Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee." Exposing the deformity, the deceitful delusions, and dangers of false and worldly wisdom, so naturally represented by the Harlot, so truly pictured, and so strongly warned against in these precious admonitions, more precious than fine gold and rubies.
Among the pious tracts sent him by some charitable lady unknown, anxious to rescue this brand out of the fire; it was pleasing to see the Christian Monitor, and a Companion to the Altar, accompanied by a seasonable and excellent performance, entitled, " Serious Advice and " Warning to Servants, more especially " those of our Nobility and Gentry; " in relation to some captital faults, " which threaten the loss of their places, " their characters and their lives; *" so pertinent to his case, so seasonable to be recommended to all servants, to be attentively read and committed to memory, as a warning and preservative to them, on this horrid violation of domestic confidence and security. How should every master, mistress, and the inferior members of families reflect on this awful event, how unsafe it may be to go into an evil world in the morning, or lie down to sleep at night without praying for the blessing, protection and grace of almighty God, who alone is able to keep us in peace and safety.
Let it suffice to add, that no time or opportunity was omitted to endeavour to exercise and restore this lapsed sinner, being visited in his ward when he could not be had up to chapel; and it seemed not to be lost upon him. We met with no uncommon doubts or difficulites, till the day before his execution, when after morning-service, a letter and message came from very respectable hands, desiring we would "try to make him confess the true circumstances of the murder, for those he yet tells are certainly not so." And that, for example, The story he told of having found the 20 guineas on the top of a cupboard in a paper amongst cobwebs, was contradicted by a house-maid, who had throughly cleansed and rumaged that cupboard, and that such a thing could not escape her. - Desiring me also to pay Blake his wages for about ten weeks, (which it seems he had sent his brothers to demand, together with his box and the sum of five guineas
* This is one of those tracts distributed by the Society for promoting christian knowledge, written by their worthy secretary; to whose kind application, and the society's bounty, our prisoners are much indebted for a frequent supply of salutary instructions; which we cannot sufficiently acknowledge.
lying in it.) The latter was done, and his receipt taken. And, when strictly examined about the former, he answered with a firm calmness, that he really had told the whole truth; particularly about the money, that in looking for a play, (the faithful Irishman) this sum of 20 guineas, wrapt in a paper, marked as described in his letter to my Lord, fell down from one corner of the cupboard. When this was objected to, as contradicted by the maid and very improbable, he said, my Lord might believe which he pleased; but since he had confessed the greatest crime, why should he conceal any frivolous circumstances? It should be considered, whether the evidence given on the trial do or do not confirm his confession? They mention also a bloody shirt, which the skilful affirmed could not be avoided in this fact: and yet he always denied, and would never account for it to those who asked him; which I did not, as it never occurred to me.
About this time, he told me he was born at Bunwell in Norfolk, near Culton; his father a farmer and butcher ; goes or sends to Norwich market, about ten miles distant, twice a week; Daniel was bred with his parents, and to his father's business, 'till the age of 17; when, by his undutiful behaviour, he quitted them, three years ago (being about his 20th year) and never wrote to them since, to acknowledge his fault, or ask their blessing: he declared his hearty sorrow for this disrespect to his parents, is truly sensible how great a crime it is, and never goes unpunished; for something has hung over him, as he expressed it, ever since; and intended to warn others of it at the place of execution; wishing this warning, which is so much wanted, to be as public and prevailing as possible. He now contradicted a calumny of his father's having been twice tried for sheep stealing, as rumoured about the court at his trial, by a near relation of the deceased; he declared it was the first he ever heard of it. He added, with a becoming submission, I am going out of the world, what they please to say of me they are welcome to, but they need not say any thing of my friends; most of whom have been in a better station than at present; and I never heard any thing against my father's character before, nor that any of them were called before a court.
Had I behaved well at home, I need not have gone out to service. He added, that he might have robbed the deceased of 5 l. in silver in one bag, and 7 guineas and two bank notes in another, the cupboard lying open; but he did not; which he meant as a confirmation of the account he gave of getting the 20 guineas.
When asked this day, how he was in his mind? He answered, I am easy, and have hope of mercy; and still easier as the time draws nigh. But are you on a good foundation? He said, I hope in Jesus Christ, and his mercy to the penitent thief. After evening prayer, two clergymen who were present, asked him several trying questions, which he answered to their satisfaction.
Morning of Execution.
HE was again exhorted to open his heart, and give all possible satisfaction to the noble family he had injured. He again declared he had told the truth, was impatient, and declared against answering any more questions about worldly matters; he had made his confession, and it was the truth. He
was told, he should not be admitted to the holy communion, unless he received it upon the truth of his confession; to this he agreed.
We used the whole morning service, with proper Ps. 22, 40 and 54. and lessons Gen. 22. St. Luke 23. proper portions of which were recommended to him for his direction and support. Two good neighbours came to join with us in prayer and communion, which he received with attention and devotion.
He was asked this morning, whether there was any rivalship between the deceased and himself about a mistress? He declared, there was not, nor did he ever court any servant in the house; for that the young woman who visited him yesterday in his cell, was the one he courted to make his wife, and is a lady's-maid in another family.
Soon after nine he went down; while his irons were taken off, he said to the spectators, you seem earnest in looking at me, you are all born, but don't know how you will die; let this sight be a warning to you, to keep your sabbaths and honour your parents, that your days may be long; and not neglect your duty, and be cut off as I am. Seeing the executioner near him, he gave him two shillings, saying, I don't desire to live; but if the king should grant me a free pardon, I would never live in this land. He was put into the cart about half an hour after nine, with a steady countenance, rather chearful, bowing to some as he passed. Being arrived at the place, and asked how he was supported in the way? He answered, Pretty well. Speakin to the people to pray for him, he added a few words of warning; - to " keep to their church and not profane " the Sabbath, to repent of all their " sins and make their peace with God, " because they could not tell how soon they " might be called out of this world to " give an account: - Observe, said he, " the dreadful end my wickedness has " brought me to. - Live in the fear of " God, and in duty to your parents, " which I have not done. A few days " since I had as little thought of dying " in this manner, as any one here present, nor did I intend the crime I die "for, till a few minutes before it was "done."
Having joined in earnest prayer about twenty minutes, he again spoke a few words -, "to warn youth against lewd women and ill company, to which he imputed his destruction."
After prayers, I calmly desired him to answer a few questions relating to the fact. He refused, intreating I would ask him no questions. This seemed to be no good symptom. - Observing him moved and disturbed, I desisted; used the last recommendatory prayer and departed. After which he was quickly executed
This is all the Account given by me,
Ordinary of Newgate.