THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words OF THREE MALEFACTORS, VIZ.
JOHN RICE for Forgery, PAUL LEWIS for feloniously firing a Pistol at Joseph Brown on the King's Highway, AND HANNAH DAGOE For stealing sundry Goods out of a Dwelling-house; Who were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday, May 4th, 1763.
LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.
NUMBER II. for the said Year.
Printed and sold by M. LEWIS, at the Bible and Dove, in Paternoster-Row, near Cheapsides for the AUTHOR.
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 ; the Right Honourable William Lord Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice of his Majesty's court of King's-Bench; the Honourable Sir Sydney Stafford Smythe, Knt. one of the Barons of his Majesty's court of Exchequer ; James Eyre, Esq. 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 Wednesday the 13th, Thursday the 14th, and Friday the 15th of April, in the third year of his Majesty's reign, seven persons were capitally convicted and received sentence of death, for the several crimes in their indictments laid, namely, John Rice, John West, Joseph Johnson, Paul Lewis, John Turner, George Chippendale, and Hannah Dagoe. And on Friday, April the 29th, the report of the said malefactors, and also of Esther Lyon, convicted in February sessions preceeding, being made to his Majesty, four of the said malefactors were respited, to wit, Esther Lyon, John West, Joseph Johnson, and John Turner, during his Majesty's pleasure; and John Rice, Paul Lewis, George Chippendale, and Hannah Dago or Diego, were ordered for execution on Wednesday May the 4th.
On the evening before execution, a respite of 14 days was brought for George Chippendale, and to be continued, if within that time he shall submit to suffer the amputation of a limb, in order to try the efficacy of a new-invented styptic for stopping the blood-vessels, instead of the
present more painful practice in such cases. For this indulgence, he, together with his brother and his uncle, had joined in a petition to his Majesty, and thankfully accepted it, appearing in good health and spirits, ready and chearful to undergo the experiment.
Whoever has passed through life and death, and done or suffered any thing remarkable in either, so as to attract the notice and excite the curiosity of the world, must expect to have their names marked out in suitable characters in the records of time. For we can no more avoid hearing and conversing on the interesting subjects of the day, on the remarkable actions, conduct, and character of persons distinguished for their good or evil deeds, than we can guard the hearing ear against sounds, exclude visible objects from the seeing eye, or suppress that appetite for news, which, if not equally natural, is perhaps stronger in many than for their breakfast. Let this be accepted as an apology, if any be requisite, for those outlines of life and death touched in the following characters.
But further, they who are so unhappy as to have fallen into public offences, when being overtaken by the hand of justice, and brought to any right sense of their condition, are often reminded to pray, and 'tis to be presumed they do so, to their latest hour, "that other offenders, especially their accomplices, may be brought to repentance and give glory to God. - And that all who are engaged in the like evil courses, seeing or hearing of their punishment, may take warning and fear, and do no more so wickedly." For, as the preservation, the recovery, and the deterring of others is one good end of all public examples; the more surely and extensively this good end is obtained, the better 'tis to be hoped will it fare, not only with the promoters of it, but also with the poor sufferers themselves. As on the contrary, they who weakly and officiously strive to disappoint and defeat this good purpose, do so far disappoint the designs of public justice, and deprive the unhappy criminals of the good fruits of an hearty and real repentance; one necessary part of which we are obliged by our rules of duty to inculcate daily upon them from first to last, "to let no worldly consideration hinder them from making a true and full confession of their sins, and giving all the satisfaction which is in their power to every one whom they have wronged or injured, that they may find mercy at our heavenly Father's hand for Christ's sake, and not be condemned in the dreadful day of judgment." Can the credit of an offender, or his family, already stained unavoidably by his own act, and deed, or can the concealing and screening of accomplices who must one day be brought to justice, (and the longer deferred, the heavier must it fall) can these worldly considerations be put in the balance against the indispensable obligation to this duty, and the dreadful consequences denounced on the neglect of it?
So that such indulgent and mistaken friends or visitors of obstinate criminals, who put them off this course and practice, are in reality their enemies: And their best and true friends are they, and they only, who endeavour to make their lives and deaths as instrumental to their own happiness, as useful and beneficial to the public good and safety, as the case will admit.
On such principles, till supplanted by better, we must proceed in our usual
method expected and demanded by the public, to whose interest and safety these humble offerings of service are dedicated, intreating their kind and candid acceptance of them, on these sad but necessary occasions, however reluctant we enter on a task, so invidious to some, so reproachful in the sight of others.
But farther, the many falshoods and misrepresentations uttered and vended on these subjects, seem to demand an authentic account of their case and behaviour.
1. John Rice, broker , was indicted for forging and counterfeiting, and knowingly and wilfully acting and assisting in forging and counterfeiting the name of Ann Pierce, a person then entitled to a certain share in the joint stock of Southsea annuities, to a certain pretended letter of attorney, purporting to have been signed by the said Ann, and to have been sealed by her, and to be a letter of attorney from her the said Ann, to him the said John Rice of Exchange-alley, which said letter of attorney is to the purport and effect following, that is to say,
"KNOW all men by these presents, That I, Ann Pierce, widow , executrix of Henry Pierce, late of Bedell in Yorkshire, deceased, do hereby make, ordain, constitute, and appoint John Rice of Exchange-alley, my true and lawful attorney, for me, in my name, and on my behalf, to sell, assign, and transfer, unto any persons whatsoever, and for any consideration, sum, or sums of money whatsoever, all or any part of five thousand Pounds, old South-sea annuities, standing in the name of the said Henry Pierce, deceased ; also to give the necessary receipts, acquittances, and discharges, for such consideration moneys, hereby ratifying and confirming all that my said attorney shall lawfully do, or cause to be done, in and about the premises, by virtue of these presents. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 6th day of November, 1762.
Sealed and delivered, being first duly stampt, in the presence of
with intention to defraud the governor and company of merchants of Great-Britain, trading to the South-seas, and other parts of America, &c. against the form and statute, in such case made and provided.
There was a third count with intention to defraud Thomas Brooksbank, and in which indictment, he was likewise charged for feloniously endeavouring to assign and transfer the aforesaid annuities belonging to the said Ann Pierce, against the statute in that behalf, November 10.
This indictment selected and set forth one fact out of many of the same kind of forgeries, with which the prisoner stood chargeable, to the amount of nine times the sum of 5000 l. therein laid. The proof was made on the evidence of several officers of the South-sea house, of Mrs. Pierce the proprietor of the stock, and the two subscribing witnesses, T. Wynne, and E. Jones, who being waiters at Sams's coffee-house, frequented by Mr. Rice, were ignorantly drawn in, at his request, to sign this letter of attorney, without knowing the purport or consequences of it. A warning, which the court gave them on this
occasion, cannot be too publicly known; to be careful to know the contents of what you are witnessing, because it is no indifferent or innocent act to set a name as a witness: At least it must be just and necessary to see the very person sign, seal, and deliver what you witness to be so done in your presence. - The several steps of this whole transaction were proved, that Mr. Rice gave in a memorandum in writing to Mr. Fenoulhet, the proper officer in the South-sea stock and annuity-office, to make out a letter of attorney for Mrs. Ann Pierce, widow of Henry Pierce, to sell the said sum of 5000l. which letter was produced in court, dated Nov. 26, that Mr. Rice was the attorney named therein; did act and transfer 500l. stock to Mr. Brooksbank upon it, on the 10th of November following; that three other letters of attorney were made out to Mr. Rice in the same name and manner, on which he sold and transferred the sum of 19,900l. Mrs. Pierce being examined on oath, in relation to these letters of attorney, on the 27th of December last, four days after Mr. Rice had fled, she declared her name to each of them was forged; and that she never received any consideration or value for that large sum, which probably was her whole estate. In this case, the company, being legally advised, made good her whole stock; by which they sustained the loss, and became prosecutors. The indictment was so clearly proved, not only to the satisfaction of the court and jury, but to the conviction of the prisoner, that he attempted no denial or defence of the fact; but only pleaded in alleviation, his steadiness to his religion against the temptation offered him at Cambray, to protect him, if he would change it. As this may be deemed somewhat singular in a man of his profession, (and practice) there can be no doubt but his behaviour, in this article, has been, by his brethren in the alley, freely canvassed, and sufficiently sneered at, having other causes more probable, in their judgement, to assign for it, than the spirit of martyrdom.
Thus much however may with truth be asserted, that our offences against each other, however dangerous to society, however capital by its laws, are not so presumptuous as those committed against heaven; nor so heinous as a final determined apostasy from true religion. And there can be no doubt, but many may fall into the former kind of offences, who would stand stedfast against the latter.
Having an opportunity to visit Mr. Rice a few weeks before his trial, and before any other clergyman was admitted to him on this account, it was with no little concern and emotion I saw him totter as if ready to fall when he entered the room, and bowed. His appearance of distress, with dejected mien, and low spirits, scarce supporting his fallen lot, could not fail to affect a humane heart with deep compassion: yet a sprightliness seemed now and then to glance thro' this cloud of affliction which surrounded him - A young man, not much exceeding thirty years, scarce below that middle size which has the freest and most equal flow of spirits: his complexion naturally fair, now somewhat sallowed with grief; his hair gathered behind in a bag, of an high-nut brown colour inclining to sandy. A man, so loudly trumpeted by fame, could not fail to attract my attention; nor could his well-made person and neat dress give
a vivacity to his air in this fallen condition, which he could not avoid expressing in every look, and voice, and gesture.
We quickly fell into some serious conversation adapted to his circumstances, and which chiefly turned on the rise and progress of his troubles, interspersed with some proper reflections and admonitions, which he seemed to receive with an humble thankfulness. And as he had been open and candid in his several examinations before magistracy, he preserved the same character in private conversation, declaring and confirming the substance of what had passed and been reported on good authority from those several examinations. On his return from the third of which, he fell down in a fainting fit, before he came to the door of the Poultry-Counter.
He imputed the beginning of his misfortunes to that spirit of gaming, or buying stock for time in Exchange-alley, against which no laws are yet found to be a barrier; no examples of ruin a sufficient warning. He imputed his first shock in the alley, to a commission he had from Col. - , secretary to a foreign ambassador. The differences paid by him on that occasion, amounting to 2000l. were never made good to him by his principal. This, with other like cases, set him upon those devices to support his credit in the alley, to which he at last fell a victim; devices, which by repeated easy practice, secured by present secresy, and the fallacious hope of restitution, on a reverse of fortune in his favour, he began to forget to be fraught with death. For when he had alienated any stock for which he was employed as agent or broker, he kept punctually to paying the interest when due; and I am well assured he has replaced the principal also, in some stocks without being suspected; and had he not been unexpectedly surprized with the news of Mrs. Pierce coming from Yorkshire, soon after the fatal experiment for which he was convicted, he might have gone on as yet undiscovered, in hopes, at least, however vain, of recovering his losses and preventing his fate.
One objection indeed rises strong against this hope being real and wellgrounded, as being utterly inconsistent with his unlimited expensiveness; quitting the safe course of middle life, in which he owned to me he could fairly make 1000l. a year; and launching into high life, which must demand five, or ten times that income yearly; a town-house in a genteel street; a country-house at Finchley, each furnished more than elegantly, adorned in high taste, a coach, chariot, post-chaise, with several pairs of fine horses for harness, besides saddle-horses, servants suitable, a negro boy, &c.
This seems like the desperate effort of a mariner, who foreseeing a storm and a lee-shore, quits the coast, and the straits, seeks for sea-room, and new-adventures in the main ocean, wherein, by one unlucky wave he is foundered.
This calls to mind the remark of a plain humble friend to the family, on hearing of this splendid outset; "I hope, said she, Jack is not going down hill."
At the first visit his real situation and circumstances were condoled, and gently touched upon, but with the freedom of plain well-meaning truth; reminding him of that spirit of pride and avarice, that preference of false honour, and the opinion of men before the fear of God
and regard to his duty; the neglect of which was the source of his false steps and calamities; that probably he set out with that dazzling but false principle, the love of the world and its pleasures, more than the love of God, resolving to be rich at any rate; that he must now search his heart, and his ways, and penetrate to the root of this evil, in order to correct and eradicate it, before he could find true peace.
This he seemed to hear and receive with a proper temper, telling me that his wife was admitted to visit him, and was well-disposed to assist and read to him.
It may be allowed me to think myself justified and supported in this free treatment of his case, as he professed a regard to religious considerations, in the account he now gave me of his behaviour at Cambray, adding, that he had been imprisoned there for two months on the application from this side, to have him delivered up; that his apartment was near the chapel of the prison, (purposely contrived so) where he could hear, and, if he thought fit, join in their worship. Is not this a good lesson, if not a keen rebuke, to Protestant prisons and hospitals? My own eyes have seen their chapel in an hospital in Brittany so placed in the center of the wings of a ward, that the patients could hear the prayers as they lay in their beds.
Mr. Rice added, that an overture was made to him from the bishop, to embrace their faith, and conform to their religion; but that he rejected it with resolution, saying, he would rather lose his ears or his head; that he had declared the same things when examined before my Lord Mayor and the gentlemen of the injured companies. He was commended by me for his firmness in adhering to his own principles, if sincere, and encouraged on that sincerity to pray for grace to enable him truly to repent, and be restored from his present fatal lapse, not doubting but he had felt the pangs of a bitter remorse, which I declined reviving too quick a sense of at present. Some proper tracts were also presented to him on this occasion, with a proper apology for one of them, beseeching him not to forget that he is a criminal. But however decently he behaved at present, it was told me, on my calling in to visit him again, that offence had been taken, not perhaps so much by himself, as by one very near him, on account of the title and matter of a tract put into his hand, called, A compassionate Address to Prisoners for Crimes. By means of which (tho' not of my writing) I presume it was, that I saw him no more till his trial; being kept at the Poultry-Counter till the morning it came on. An indulgence, to which his open behaviour, his readiness to acknowledge and make satisfaction for all injuries to his utmost power, probably recommended him to the discerning, and worthy chief magistrate, and the prosecutors. For when these were preparing to lay their evidence before the magistrate, he said he would save that trouble, and so confessed and gave particulars, assuring and satisfying them he had no accomplice. And when re-examined concerning a particular person of considerable property in the funds, he said, that gentleman had sometimes lent him money on a pinch, but was in no wise privy to his forgeries.
When brought to trial, he was distinguished with a place at the inner bar; he appeared languid, pale, and so tremb
ling, that he could scarce hold up his hand to be arraigned. When the evidence against him was gone through, being asked what he had to say in his defence, he desired to call witnesses to his character. It was intimated to him from the bench, that this could avail him nothing; but rather turn against him -
Hiatus valde deflendus.
However his witnesses were heard; and they gave him a character, which several, whom I have heard speak of him, agree to be just: that before this affair, nothing was known against him, having acted as a man of strict honour and integrity.
'Tis affirmed of Mr. Rice, that before he eloped (December 23d last) he sent for his tradesmen's bills, and paid all that were brought in.
After he was found guilty, he looked up to the bench with a most melting, piteous face, and many tears, imploring mercy, and the intercession of the court, with his Majesty, to spare his life. He was answered with words of compassion for his family, his wife and himself; but at the same time warned not to flatter himself with vain hopes of that mercy which was not to be expected. " For " considering your crime, and its consequences, in a nation, where there is " so much paper credit, I must tell you " (said the Lord Chief Justice) I think " myself bound in duty and conscience, " to acquaint his Majesty, you are no " object of his mercy;" adding, that all public companies, concerned in paper credit, should take caution from this instance, as no doubt they will, to examine strictly all letters of attorney, and papers wherein there can be any suspicion of fraud.
When brought to the bar to receive sentence, little more was directed to him after what had been said by Lord M - .
After this he was daily visited, and he duly attended the chapel. He set about preparing for his expected change with deep attention, both in common prayer and in private dovotions: his behaviour was quite becoming a person in his unhappy case; he was daily assisted and instructed in the chapel, with the other convicts, partly from the daily course, and partly from select portions of scripture adapted to the occasion, under which he seemed daily to improve, and be more reconciled to his lot; he looked for the death warrant for some days before it came, and when it did come, the news of it was kept from him for some short time, till Mrs. Rice, who was then with him, could be conducted home; for he had an apartment to himself, to which Mrs. Rice was frequently, almost daily admitted. Before this, he might perhaps entertain some glimmering of hope, but was constantly cautioned not to lean upon it.
He was earnestly desirous to be admitted to the communion for several days, but it was of necessity deferred, till the Sunday before his execution, for want of other prisoners being prepared, or willing to communicate: and even then, none of the convicts could, with decency, be admitted but Chippendale; as to the respited criminals, and Hannah Diego, they refused to come; and Paul Lewis had, by his discourse and behaviour in the chapel every day, and on that in particular, in the hearing of several gentlemen, shewn himself to be as much the highwayman as ever.
neighbourhood, and lived there till of late, when he set up his equipage. His father was a man of fair character, and moderate fortune, was an upper clerk in the South-sea house, and did business as a broker in Change-alley: his success in the latter enabled him to quit the former; and encouraged him to initiate his son, when yet a stripling, in the same business; to a considerable branch of which he introduced him; and dying about eight or nine years ago, left him a handsome property in the funds, by the interest of which, with his regular and fair transactions as a broker, he had an income of 12 or 1500l. a year. But instead of enjoying this with safety and prudence, he would venture for more, by sporting, gaming (as it is called) in the alley; so that he told me, his losses in the whole, by paying debts of honour, in that way, amounted to 60,000l. False honour indeed! added he; as it was for his employers as well as himself. He said, the commission of bankruptcy taken out against him, by his attorney, after he fled, was not by his order; and that he took not above the sum of 3 or 400l. abroad with him; that Mrs. R - not knowing his case, but in general that something was amiss, was hurried after him with the bulk of what he had left in bank-notes; that she got to the coast of Holland; but the hard frost, with the ice on that coast, setting in, obliged the captain to cut his cable and run, leaving his anchor; he was driven back to Harwich; from whence she returned to London, fearing and suspecting no ill consequence; but found herself quickly taken into custody, seized and examined; having notes to the value of 4700l. found, as it is said, concealed about her stays; this she was obliged to surrender, which with the produce of his effects sold, he apprehended would be applied to the account of the commission of bankruptcy.
Some proper questions were put to him, before he was admitted to the holy communion, concerning his preparation; first, as an humble penitent in general; and 2dly, as a criminal. The first being well known points, I need not repeat. The second was, whether he had it in his power to make any more restitution or satisfaction than he had yet done to the injured? To this he answered in the negative. Whether he had any accomplice? This he also denied, and received the blessed sacrament on the truth of these assertions.
By this and other numberless like instances, in most if not all cases of dying criminals, every reasonable and impartial person will see it is a real part of justice due to the public and the injured; it is a duty, an indispensable duty annexed to the office of Ordinary in whomsoever it is lodged, to persuade criminals to confess the several forgeries, robberies, thefts, burglaries, and other injuries done: On whom? when? where? and with what accomplices? without being exposed to be accused and abused by an obdurate criminal, as being impertinently curious and officious to collect materials only to fill up his account. That the public and the injured expect this most disagreable and irksome duty from him (of bringing notorious offenders to confess) appears from the several letters, messages, or requests, delivered to the Ordinary on this subject before each execution. Not to mention private directions and orders to the same purpose from his superiors in the court on several occasions. And what influence or check on such offenders can the Ordinary have, but the power of giving or refusing the holy sacrament to them, as they shew themselves penitent or impenitent? I need not call this a power vested in him, so much as a duty bound upon him by the rubricks, established by act of parliament firm and inviolable as our constitution; or what is equally, if not more sacred, the indispensable rules of rational religion, and good conscience.
One remark more concerning Mr. Rice, and I have done; that he never refused to converse with me in private, or seemed to be offended at any question I asked, or any instruction I gave him, but received all with gentle meekness, serious attention, and humble thankfulness; and I must add, was often greatly shocked at the contrary behaviour of his fellow-convict P. L. next to be spoken of.
Mr. Rice had also another clergyman, his former acquaintance, to visit him as oft as they chose, with my knowledge and approbation; with whom when I consulted on his case, not the least dispute or difference arose among us.
2. Paul Lewis was indicted for that he with a certain offensive weapon, called a pistol, which he had and held in his right hand, on John Cook wilfully and feloniously made an assault, with an intent the money of the said John to steal, against the form of the statute, &c. March 12, to which he pleaded guilty.
This indictment was tried late in the evening; and by his pleading guilty, it was apprehended by the public, that he hoped to get off with transportation only; which was far from giving satisfaction, as there was a general resentment and indignation against him for the base perfidy and foul ingratitude he betrayed in the fact, for which next day he was a second time indicted, for being an illdesigned and disorderly person, of a wicked mind and disposition, not regarding the laws and statutes of this realm, nor pains or penalties that should fall thereon; that he on the 12th of March, with a pistol, value five shillings, loaded with gun-powder and a leaden bullet, which he had and held in his right hand, did wilfully, feloniously, unlawful
The circumstances of this affair were so odious in themselves, so disgraceful even to the character of an highwayman, that the offender persisted to deny them, and charge the accusers with perjury, atheism, &c. still murdering their characters, when he missed their persons. It appears Lewis had an accomplice with him on the road near Wilsden, both were mounted, masked, and armed with pistols. They had just robbed a gentleman and a lady in a chariot, about five or six in the evening; quickly after they attacked John Cook, presented a pistol and demanded his money; he offered them his little money, they demanded more; in this dispute farmer Brown appeared and was forthwith attacked by Lewis, who because he would not stop at his command, fired on him very close to his side; he fell, though not wounded, by the startling of his horse; but fell on his feet; at that instant farmer Pope coming up, took Lewis prisoner. Brown went and took hold of him, clapt his knee on his breast, and bid Mr. Pope pursue his comrade; he got on his horse and pursued three quarters of a mile, till the fleer observing he came near, quitted his horse, and fled into the fields. Mean time Paul begged for mercy, urging that he was a gentleman bred, and would go with him where-ever he desired; Mr. B. unwarily let him up without searching him for arms. Scarce was he got up, when he clapt another pistol to his breast, with a d - n you, I'll shoot you dead; the pistol he knocked downwards, and as it pointed to his thigh, Lewis snapt it, and it only flashed in the pan. His heels were immediately kicked up, he was rifled of his pistols, ten bullets and a mould. The pistol he snapt was charged with a bullet. - The evidence of these three witnesses agreed so well, that there can be no doubt of the truth of the facts. Nor could the prisoner in his defence deny it; he only prevaricated, saying, he only fired at farmer Cook's horse, but had no intention to take the man's life; but not a word against Brown's evidence.
This criminal is publicly known to have been a prisoner in Newgate twice before for a considerable time; being moved the first time to be tried at Kingston, and acquitted by means not to his credit. Soon after he met me in Smithfield, politely thanked me for the good instruction given him while in our prison, promising to live and act agreeable to it. Having congratulated him on his deliverance, I hinted to him he, would do well to go abroad, and break off his connections here, as he only way to prevent further ill consequences; e thanked me, but said he had got a place of about a 100l a year in the Custom-house, which would support him. We parted. I saw no more of him till he was again apprehended and examined before Sir John Fielding, under a charge of several robberies, on which occasion he behaved with insolence, and even menaces to the justice. On his trial at the Old Baily, the ensuing sessions, for robbing Mary Brook, in the Worcesterstage, near Shepherd's-bush, he was again acquitted, for want of full and positive evidence to the person. His friends however had him detained in Newgate as a debtor, till within a fortnight of his being a third time taken in the fact, in the manner before described.
Although the anonymous collector of the newspaper paragraphs concerning Rice and Lewis, republished, under the title of A true, genuine, and authentic Account, &c. has closely followed all their mistakes, yet he must be allowed the honour of one invention, that Paul Lewis was one of the ten children of a worthy clergyman in Ireland; we will venture to restore the honour of his birth to this land at present so prolific of such heroes, and fix his birth-place at Horsmanteux in Sussex. His parentage and education were such as would have given him credit and advantage, had he not disgraced and disappointed them.
About the age of six, he had interest enough to be placed out in a good foundation school, where being received into the first form, a young gentleman in the highest then went off to the university, continued there three or four years to take his first degree of B. A. and returning to be usher to the same school, found Paul Lewis still in the first form where he had left him; such was his incapacity, so inpenetrable his head to the rudiments of learning, - insomuch, that it is said, he never could spell, or write even his own language grammatically. For this reason among others, when his period of seven years on the foundation was expired, instead of being sent to the university, his father took him home, where he with some of his brothers being grown up into gay, idle young fellows, who must have money to spend, became suspected to the neighbouring gentlemen. This put them upon providing for them at a distance. Paul was made a Matross at Woolwich, by the interest of Sir C. B. - p. As sprightly dunces often turn out fops and beauxs, so Paul, by vying with his superior officers in dress, soon got deep in his taylor's books, to the tune of 150l. which obliged him to decamp and quit this genteel support. We hear of him next in the marine or sea-service , where several of his early feats of courage and conduct are boasted of, and some of more stratagem than honour. Such as his collecting three guineas a head from his brother officers in a man of war, to lay in fresh stores for a West-India
voyage, going a shore to buy them, and forgetting to return to the ship.
Courage however of some kind, it is agreed, he had, which he would exert in any station. When ashore, and at leisure from duty, he would raise contributions on the road: - A practice which he must have begun (by his own confession) so early as at the age of 20. - Whether he took occasion to commit the first fact of this kind from resentment on seeing a younger officer of superior interest, promoted over his head, as some say, or whether from necessity, brought on by extravagance urged by his audacious and depraved disposition, is uncertain. This however is well known, that his temper and behaviour at school were such, and so incorrigible, that many of his school-fellows proverbially foretold his fate.
It appears from some of his latest ranting boasts, a few days before he suffered, that he valued himself much for well-laid schemes, to rob with safety and impunity. Of this kind was the following fact: Being recommended, above a year ago, to the lords of the admiralty for preferment; while he waited about town, he settled himself at the Bull ale-house in the Borough, from before dinner till midnight; he had bespoke a horse to be ready for him at 9 in the evening at the Spur-Inn, in the same neighbourhood. Between 8 and 9 he said to the people of the Bull, What have you got for supper? Whatever it was, he pretended not to like it, but would step to his own lodging and get somewhat he liked better. In this interval he rid out, robbed Sir T. H - y and son, in their coach going to Clapham, between Newington and Vauxhall, of cash and Bank-notes, to a considerable value; and quickly returned to the Bull. When tried for this fact, the people of that house swore he had been there on that day for 12 hours, one half hour excepted, in which the jury judging it next to impossible he could commit the robbery, acquitted him, tho' sworn to, both by the gentlemen and their servants. Soon after he was met by a friend and companion, who was glad to see him at large, and asked him, which side of the evidence was forsworn? he answered, neither: But he had got the bustle (meaning the cash) in his pocket.
When I heard of my old acquaintance, Lewis, being once more in custody at New Prison; that there was strong evidence against him, and he had confessed enough before the justice to determine his fate; that he was dejected and low-spirited; I could not forbear to pay him a friendly visit, ex officio, thinking he would receive it kindly. He was just returned from his examination before Sir J. F, &c. I found I had caught a tartar; I did not perceive at first that he had taken a glass to enable him to confront the justices, or wash down his examination. I said to him, Ah Lewis! I am sorry to meet you here; had you taken my advice, you had escaped this. He was surrounded by a croud of curious spectators; and he was inclined to shew his talent of prophane ribaldry before them; " You, replied " he, murder men twice: I have a very bad opinion of you, and think you no better than a " Papist. You teach false doctrine." &c. Then, to palliate all, he said, " You see I am mad;" behaving himself in a manner which seemed to confirm it; to the diversion of the spectators. He added, " I am no Atheist, " I am a Christian every inch of me:" little thinking, or caring what a scandal he brought on that venerable name; and that an Atheist in practice is scarce to be distinguished from one in profession; but that he is the more inconsistent monster of the two. This was no time or place to refute him, he was only answered, "'tis to " be feared, all this will not save or excuse you!" Finding my visit misunderstood, and ill received, and that is was unseasonable to put a proper book into his hands, which I had carried with me for him; consisting of serious advice, and devotions fitted to his case: another opportunity was taken to send it to him; when it might be hoped he had recovered, and put on, the man at least, if not the penitent christian.
When he was moved to Newgate to take his trial, he now and then came up to the latter part of divine service, strutting and rattling his irons, as if proud of the cause in which he wore them. His voice was now and then exalted in a response, or an amen, in a loud and ludicrous tone; a practice in which he took a pride among the prisoners in his former confinements. And that he was proud of his fetters and chains, appeared an undoubted truth in the judgment of his keeper, who being affronted by him, generously said, "You r - l, I'll not treat you as " you deserve, because you are my prisoner; but " I have a mind to take off your irons, and I think " I can't mortify you more."
If gold from law can take out the sting, &c. - as in the Beggar's Opera.
These incidents happened before his trial. When being convicted he was brought to the bar to receive sentence, he was reminded, that it was but a short time since he was tried at the same bar before, that by his late facts he had now filled up the measure of his iniquity; and as his moments of life must now be very few, he was warned so to employ them as to prepare for his change; not to aggravate the reproach of his family, nor contribute yet more to bring down the grey hairs of a worthy father with sorrow to the grave.
This seems to have been intended as an admonition to him against the desperate crime of suicide, which the bench had an intimation, he had declared with horrid imprecations to perpetrate, if convicted.
When visited after conviction, they were put in mind that they had many good oportunities of prayer and instruction before this, but never in the same sad crisis, under the sure sentence of a speedy execution; it was hoped therefore that our present labours would make a deeper impression, and to better effect than ever. A proper and solemn exhortation was added, shewing them their true state, their real and alarming danger, and the only way to escape it. Proper portions of scripture were daily chosen, read, and applied to them. Lewis, in common with the rest, seemed for the present heartily affected; but he began at the wrong end first; with all his evil habits and prejudices about him, he talked of receiving the sacrament, at a near day of his own naming, without notice or preparation; and that two clergymen, of his acquaintance, would visit him in order to administer to him. I let him know I approved of his good intention, when ripe for it, and that I should be glad of any assistance he could find most agreeable to him, but at the same time gently cautioned him against presuming too suddenly on that great attainment, the effect of a true and hearty repentance; wished him to consider his repeated provocations, after many warnings and chastisements sent to him in vain; that he had now pulled down sudden and early ruin on his own head. He then turned his first proposal into a desire, that I myself would adminster the sacrament to him on Thursday next. He was answered, that I should be glad to have no objection, and to find by his behaviour, that he was duly prepared. He took this opportunity to apologize for his rude language to me, when visited at New-Prison, saying, He was then in liquor; otherwise it could not be supposed that he being a clergyman's son, would abuse a clergyman. Then, replied I, you shall hear no more of it: nor he never should, if he had not renewed his ill-treatment and threats with greater violence than ever, at several times after this. The truth of it is, he often hung out false colours, and talked in quite contrary characters; of which I had a glaring proof next morning, Sunday, April 17, when I was told by the turnkey, that the captain (as he stiled him) had been very unruly and outrageous the night before; about nine, when he went to lock him up and put out his candle, he cursed and swore most desperately that he would put an end to his own life, unless they allowed him some light for the whole night; or, if he could not by any means destroy himself, he would roar aloud all night, and alarm the neighbourhood with the cry of fire and murder. The keeper being acquainted with this, ordered, that if he persisted, he should be hand-cuffed and chained down. By this threat he learned submission, and kept silence. This he never could be brought to, had any neighbouring officious keepers of other prisons permission and power allowed them to come into the prison, and call the keeper to an account for his conduct, and encourage his prisoner in his disorderly behaviour against him.
However, this behaviour of Lewis in the cells, was of a piece with what was said of him in New-Prison, that he swore to destroy himself if convicted; and we shall find the purpose, or threat at least, fully confirmed, the last morning of his life.
When the prisoners were visited next day, April 18, a worthy rector of the city came up to us to prayers, who now and then, in particular cases, favours the prisoners with a visit; and with calm, judicious, valuable, and by me ever valued, advice and assistance. Such benevolent, and truly beneficent visits to prisons he has long delighted to practise; not to aggravate, but to alleviate, or supply the labours of the minister, and the sufferings and horrors of guilt; not to embarrass, and increase our difficulties, but with the tenderest sentiments of humane and christian charity to extricate us. May God, in his goodness, send more such visitors and benefactors to our prisons!
Prayers being ended, and the usual instructions given; this gentleman spent some time with Mr. Rice, Lewis, and each of the other prisoners. The first, with some other prisoners, he judged to be in a penitent, hopeful way. At the same time intimation was given us by a sensible and serious man, who had visited Lewis at New-Prison, that he was a profane scoffer at the scriptures, and in particular of several parts and characters contained in them: viz. the writings and character of Moses, of David, and others: which charges being now mentioned to him, he confirmed with his own mouth, repeating and retailing many stale, exploded, and often refuted objections against those well-established writings and characters, which were all answered to him upon his own principles, for he still pretended to acknowledge the divine authority of Jesus Christ. The most important, useful, and practical truths, are ever firmly connected with a tie not to be dissolved. So it is in every science; mathematics, physics, and above all, in morality and theology. We know that Jesus Christ himself hath established the writings of Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets; all of whom wrote concerning him. These are the scriptures he commanded men to search; because in them we think we have eternal life, so far as they testify of him. And if we believe not Moses and the prophets; neither should we be persuaded though one rose from the
dead. These things were repeated to Lewis; but he too little regarded them. His capacity was better tuned to plan a robbery; which, if well applied, might have made him a general or an admiral.
Lewis owned he had read the Free Enquirer, that exalted author; but condemned him as an ignorant presuming blockhead, for attempting what he was not able to make out. It seems he had disappointed poor Lewis in the expected ease and satisfaction he wanted in his guilt and infidelity. Notwithstanding all this, one of Lewis's panegyrists, in the Gazetteer of May the 5th, has celebrated him as "a " person of good natural parts, who had a just " sense of the christian religion, and discerned clearly and sensibly concerning the scriptures, &c." Just as clearly and sensibly, as this panegyrist conceives and writes of poor Paul Lewis, when he says, " That his motive (for suicide, for which he concealed a penknife about him) was to prevent the disgrace of his family, by an ignominious death." Whereas the court, every right thinking man, and the laws, have a contrary sense of it; that it must aggravate the disgrace of his death to his family, no less than his own guilt, and would have treated his remains (" not as those officers, some of distinction did, by whom he was in general respected, " and shewed their respect to him as he passed along") but by driving a stake through his carcass in a cross road. This is a rare salvo against an ignominious death and the disgrace of his family! to fear man and not God; moments worldly shame more than eternal judgment. This clear and sensible writer seems to be as closely connected with the penman of Lewis's letter to Mr. Recorder, published in the same news-paper, as Lewis's crimes were with a degree of madness.
But to silence all his cavils, two plain points of belief and practice were proposed to him. 1st, That humiliation and repentance were his part and duty in his present circumstances. 2d, That this and all he can do, will not prevail with God for mercy, but by the merits and blood of Jesus Christ; laying aside all foolish and ill-grounded objections of evil-minded men against the word of God. To this, and much more, he answered, that he must be guided by his own conscience. But can a seared conscience and obdurate spirit be a good guide?
He acknowledged, at the same time, the great propriety of the portions of scripture this day read and applied to them, viz. Levit. 26. and St. Luke 15. He went one step farther with us this day; express'd his abhorrence of suicide, (of which, he was conscious, he stood justly suspected, from the evidence of his own mouth) saying in a contrary strain, of true faith and patience, "What, don't I " know that my Saviour Jesus Christ, who was perfectly innocent, suffered and died for me? and " how can I refuse to follow his example?" And he gave me an instance of rejecting an opportunity, and resisting a temptation of this kind; when a near relation of his (as he said) brought him a vial of liquid laudanum to take, he dashed it against the ground and broke it. When I repeated this fact to the keeper quickly after, as I thought it my duty to do, in order to guard him from such visitors, he only said, "he did not believe him." Lewis was at this day in so complying a temper, that without any application or solicitation of mine directly or indirectly, he promised me of his own accord he would write a full and true account of his own life, desiring I would publish it as he wrote it.
By such prudent and temperate visits and applications to this rash, giddy youth, as we were this day blessed with, it is very probable from the effects, he would have daily become more tractable, pliant and penitent, till he should be gently led on to the Lord's table, with patience and satisfaction, with hope and comfort to himself and his minister, as many great criminals have been before him, (blessed be God!) and it is hoped, may be again.
When visited next day he still gave me an encouraging account of himself, that he had read over the companion to the altar which I had put into his hands a day or two before, when the usual notice for administration of the sacrament was given. And this subject was afterwards daily opened and explained to them.
The day following he told me he reads Sherlock upon death, commended him as an excellent writer and very proper for him.
Having a little private conversation with him, to set him right in some parts of his behaviour and way of thinking, he now varied his promise in a matter ever very indifferent to me with regard to myself, except as a proof of repentance in the criminals, that he would give a copy of his own account of himself to another clergyman, (whom doubtless he had seen in his cell) as well as to me; to which I answered, I hoped it would be such as would deter others from following his steps, and not allure them. He answered in these ever-memorable words, "If to tell " them, that after the first fact he committed, he " was ever in fear; and under apprehension that " every man he met, nay every bush he saw, was " a thief-taker - that should be the encouragement " he would give them; assuring them that since he " fell into this way, in which he had long reigned, he " never could be easy.
How powerful is truth! how forcible are right words! even from a man experienced in sin, who has felt the truth of them. Even scoffers while they scorn and would annull, do strongly confirm God's holy word - The wicked flee when no man pursueth,
&c. a found of fears is ever in his ears. There is no peace to the wicked.
I was still at a loss to guess what time Lewis meant by his long reign in that course, as I knew he had several, not short, interregnums in his reign, while confined; but as I was determined to ask him no curious questions since his first insult and abuse, nor say any thing but what I thought necessary for his salvation, I forbore, till of himself he explained it on the morning he suffered.
Notwithstanding this keen sense of the stings of guilt, and the horrors of living a declared enemy to man, and a rebel against God, he still denied or evaded the confession of the fact for which he is convicted, saying, he did not shoot at the man who took him, but at his horse; when in fact both he and Brown were on foot. And with the utmost inconsistency said, he would not communicate, because he could not forgive this witness. I sent for him to the closet, to converse with and set him right in this and other points of preparation, he utterly refused to converse with me; he was answered with a patient expostulation in the chapel, shewing him it was his own interest more than mine to be well directed and advised in private rather than in public; he only answered with sneers and ridicule, saying, he would go to no confession-box. What perverted him into this unaccountable temper I can't say, for he had before this freely conversed with me, between ourselves. I waited and deferred the administration several days in hopes of his compliance and coming to a better disposition, daily assisting him with proper prayers and instructions.
In this interval a neighbour went to chapel with me, and observing Lewis's indecent and obstinate behaviour, took the charitable freedom to reason with him after prayers, that his duty and interest should prevail with him to comply with those rules and directions given him for his own benefit, and in which the ordinary could have no private end or advantage. He answered, Whether I am fit or no, what is that to him? d - n him, I shall lick him before I have done with him, if he don't give me the sacrament. This passed in a little room in the way going down from the chapel. About eight or nine minutes after this, he heard him utter the same words as he went into the cells, dwelling on the thought and delighting in it! d - n him, I shall lick him if he don't give it me. Impious stupidity and absurdity! In this extraordinary conversation he was asked farther, are not you thankful to Providence for preventing your murdering Mr. Brown when you fired at him? He said with a curse, it would give him no concern if he had killed him, for the man had no business with him; and he fired in his own defence.
In a word, his behaviour and conversation was such as shocked every one who were witnesses of it. This good man, who is far from being rigid in his notions, declared, he concluded him to be a reprobate or a madman, and in either case totally unfit for the sacrament; all which, and more, he is ready to testify, and attended at Guildhall on a proper day for that purpose.
Another day, justifying his past courses, he strutted through the chapel laughing and talking aloud, he said, in the hearing of the prisoners, I only robbed the rich to give to the poor. A common excuse for all thefts and robberies
While I was one day reading a lesson chosen for their support and consolation, Lewis, instead of making a good use of it, was busy in turning over Mr. Rice's bible, (for he used none himself in the chapel) to point out a supposed contradiction between St. Matt. 27. 44. and St. Luke 23. 39 - 42. A stale exploded objection that has been often answered. This he proposed aloud, in the hearing of all the poor ignorant prisoners, and would have entered into the dispute in the midst of the service. I desired his patience till that should be ended. He was then told that he as a scholar should consider, that two historians writing of the same transaction, might mention it in different views and with different circumstances without directly contradicting each other, the one inserting what the other omitted; the one particular, the other general, in his narrative or mode of expression; that he would do better to propose these difficulties at proper times and places, and he would have satisfaction given him; that it would better become him to reflect at present on his own inconsistencies and contradictions in words and actions, in calling himself a christian and not believing or behaving as a christian; and if he disbelieved the bible, how could he hope to be saved by the words of it? Is there any contradiction about the plain and necessary duties of repentance and faith? repeating some texts to that purpose. He laughed aloud, and said, in the prisoner's hearing, " I put him in mind " of a French priest whom he had taken prisoner at " sea, who told the ship's crew, they were all damned, if they did not believe all he told them." He added, by way of provocation and contempt, before the prisoners, "that I was drunk when I went to visit him in New-Prison;" though he owned before, by way of apology for his monstrous rudeness at that visit, that he himself was in liquor. It is scarce worth mentioning this inconsistent slander which confutes itself, as it was but twelve at noon when I visited him; and all who know me can testify this vice to be abhorrent from my character.
Lewis was farther reminded at present, that I have had several young men of education and spirit in his
sad case, who, instead of behaving like him, used to read to their ignorant fellow-convicts, and help to prepare them; that such employment would be more to his benefit and theirs; that however, instead of being angry, I truly pitied him." He swore he pitied himself too, who must die at twenty-three years of age. He was answered, if you live only to increase your guilt, it is better to die. He then bid me not to expose him or his family; he was told, he had exposed himself much worse than I could or would; his life and character, and his trials on record, had done that effectually.
On Sunday, May 1, when Mr. Rice and Chippendale, having given all the satisfaction I required that they were prepared, were admitted to the holy communion, Lewis would have forced himself upon me to be administred to; and because I could not admit him with a good conscience, reviled me, and said, he would not be examined by a Jacobite parson, &c. He added unlucky enough, "I am a true christian, as much as you are a scoundrel." The sarcasm here rebounded, and fell as it ought.
The same morning, as I am assured by two gentlemen present in the chapel, while I was in the closet between prayers and sermon, Lewis was boasting of his heroic spirit and genius for the high-way, swearing he did not value his life, but to be disappointed; for it was a d - d well-laid scheme. It would have got us a 1000l. in a week. And in less than an hour after this, he would have forced himself to the Lord's table, as before.
In such a disposition, the reader will easily believe this outrageous criminal capable of any perfidious and ungrateful misrepresentation against his minister, if he could find others capable of attending to him, and being imposed on by him, so far as to aid and abett him.
Such in truth was his conduct and stratagem the two last days he had to live, and till within an hour or two of his death.
To confim this with regard to him, and to palliate and excuse it with regard to myself, need I repeat a trick which I was well-informed he played off against his own aged father, afflicted and depressed as he must be in himself, kind, forbearing and compassionate to this enfant perdue. When his father visited him this last time in Newgate, he put twelve guineas into his hand, for a present supply; the lad dextrously slipt one into the cuff of his sleeve, and then opening his hand to his father, shewed him eleven, saying, you have given me but so many; his father put his hand in his pocket, took out another guinea and gave it to this ingenious youth; of which Paul quickly after boasted, saying, I have flung the old F - out of another guinea. It is confidently asserted, he made as free with his father's character when at liberty, telling him, he only preached the money out of his people's pockets. But what was this to the virulent malice of threatening the ordinary on the eve of his last day, as he did in the hearing of a worthy clergyman, who is able and willing to attest it; that he (Lewis) " would take care he " should never attend another dying criminal." If this be in the power of an obstinate profligate highwayman, or any who take part with him, as doubtless it may be by violence or stratagem, the ordinary for the time being should hold himself very easy and degag� in his situation, unless he be armed with the patience and resolution of a martyr to a better cause than P. L's.
Need I repeat his behaviour in the cells, where instead of reading, meditation and prayer, he was often heard to sing loose songs aloud, so as to divert his fellow-convicts, and then call out and ask them, " how they liked it?" Against such perverse and daring behaviour as this he was early and earnestly cautioned soon after his conviction "not to affect the character of an hero." But in a place where the maxim is, the wickedest is the best fellow, no wonder he could not resist this strong temptation to his vain pride; especially while this hero and favourite of the goal had his ears daily tickled with the title of captain; and when he appealed against his minister, for his good behaviour, to those who took care of him and perfectly knew the contrary, he was soothed and bolstered up by those men of veracity and candour, with " Captain, you always behaved like a gentleman, as you are." This was in the hearing of several witnesses, in order to condemn the ordinary's conduct towards him, as if rigid, unreasonable, and unjustifiable.
3. Hannah Dagoe, widow , otherwise wife of William Connor, was indicted, together with one Matthews not taken, for stealing three copper saucepans, a copper tea-kettle, an iron stove-grate, an iron fender, a gridiron, four harrateen bed-curtains, a featherbed, three blankets, two quilts, one teaster, six matted chairs, a wainscot table, seven pictures framed and glazed, three silver teaspoons, one pair of bellows, one hair-trunk, one table-cloth, one silk and worsted gown, three linen aprons, one lawn apron, two laced caps, two linen caps, two cambric hoods, one cambric handkerchief, one stuff gown, one callimanco petticoat, one cloth cloak, two linen shifts, one pair of cotton stockings, one pair of cotton gloves, one velvet bonnet, and other goods, in the whole to the amount of 11l. 4s. the property of Eleanor Hussey, in the dwelling-house of Susannah Rowland, widow , March 17.
This convict, a lusty strong bold-spirited woman, about 35 years of age, took her name from a Spanish seaman, one Diego or Dago, who happening to be
her fellow-prisoner married her in White-chapel gaol, wherein she was confined for debt. After he was gone abroad, or dead, she is said to have taken up with William Connor, who was the keeper of that prison . In a quarrel which she fell into there, she stabbed a person; for which, being tried and convicted, she was fined and sent to Newgate for six months; during which time she again took an opportunity to stab a young man, one Ralph Wayne, for no personal provocation but the resentment she conceived against him for turning evidence against his two accomplices Morgan and Dupuy.
At the Poultry-Counter she was known to have been a prisoner several times.
She is said to have been a native of Ireland, but being brought over very young, had her education and principles, such as they were, here in London. She told me, she had wrought and dealt in the millinary way in the neighbourhood of Spital-fields, agreeable to what her prosecutrix said of her, that she had done plain-work for her in her husband's time. However it is but too probable she used a much worse kind of industry, in which, though long practised, this fact for which she was convicted seems to be a master-piece.
On the 17th of March, the tutelar saint's day of her country, a day by some devoted to mirth and festivity, by others abused to riot and excess, she paid a visit to Eleanor Hussey her prosecutrix, a little before noon. This was the third visit made on this plan. She was enabled to make a creditable appearance, by the spoils of Mrs. Ingram, another person whom she had lately robbed or defrauded of clothes and goods. This favoured her scheme of pretending to have got into some good circumstances by the death of a friend; and to take this old acquaintance, being a widow , to live with her freely on her bounty. She began with taking her out in a coach with another neighbour, Mary Wayland, in order to spend the day merrily, and shew her where she lived. They dined and drank together at the Nag's-head in Leather-lane till between four and five in the afternoon, when Dagoe and her pretended maid, Ann Matthews, left them on some plausible pretence, perhaps to get ready an apartment for this new guest; instead of which she went back to Mrs. Hussey's lodgings, at the house of Mrs. Rowland's in Phoenix-street, Spital-fields; when by her shewy dress and fair speeches, pretending she would keep and maintain Mrs. Hussey in her own tenement, she got admittance into the apartment, and stript it of the goods and apparel mentioned in the indictment, leaving her nothing but a bare bedstead which she could not unscrew. Having conveyed these away, she returned to Mrs. Hussey about nine in the evening, but quickly left her again, under pretence of getting a coach to send her home, and returned no more. Here the poor woman stayed in pledge for the reckoning till next morning, when she sold her ring to pay her way; and getting home, found her lodgings stript. What distress and anguish must she have felt! not a bed to lie on, not one necessary left her! what a cruel remorseless theft was this? she had no hopes of remedy till a few of her goods casually seen hanging out at Mr. Meer's, a broker's shop in Houndsditch, were the means of discovering and restoring the bulk of them to the right owner, and bringing the thief to justice. She was convicted on the clearest evidence of the several persons now mentioned, insomuch that she could say nothing in her defence but faintly to deny her taking the goods, and submit to the mercy of the court.
The next morning after her conviction, being visited and called upon to attend at chapel, she made an excuse that she had no clean cloaths. However she was dissuaded by another convict of a former sessions, Esther Lyon, from persisting in this excuse, and was prevailed upon to come with her to prayers and instruction. In the course of which she seemed affected with a deep sense of her past sinful course, acknowledged she had been very wicked, and that the words spoken pierced to her heart. But we could never gain more from her that these general acknowledgements, and that she would make her peace with God in the best manner she could, but would never be prevailed on to be a communicant; answering all the general instructions and persuasives which she had in common with the rest, and all the particular applications to herself, with a flat denial and desire to be excused. We left her to her own way, in which she went on to the last. She was attentive and quiet in the service, though she seldom read or made any responses.
Thus it is, that while some are presumptuous and would obtrude themselves on this sacred ordinance unprepared, others are too diffident of being ever prepared, and even of the divine mercy, and so excommunicate themselves from all the benefits of it, by neglecting and evading an express command of their dying Saviour. The happy mean between presumption and despair, is the desirable temper which we recommend to sinners and criminals from first to last, to be prayed for, aimed at, and attained. There is mercy with thee, therefore shalt thou be feared. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
On the Morning of Execution.
WHEN I went to visit them at 40 minutes past six, the prisoners, I was told, were not yet ready; Lewis was just changing his linen, which a few minutes before was brought to him, or else he would have been ready; the cell doors being open, a neighbour, Mr. P - r - y, who went in with me, heard him call down to us and say, "he would come directly." While I walked and waited in the Pressyard, expecting the prisoners every minute, another visitor came in a little before seven, passed me, as if unregarded, and went up to the cells. The prisoners were said to be then ready to come down, all, except Chippendale, or Clippendale, whom they intended not to bring till I called and prevailed on him to come; but they did not yet come: I waited for them about three quarters of an hour in the whole. About 10 or 15 minutes after the said visitor (who must be nameless) went in, he returned down from the cell without any prisoner after him, and desiring to speak to me, I went aside with him; he said, " Mr. Lewis hopes you won't take it ill, but he " don't chuse to come to chapel lest he be discomposed, but desires to spend the remainder of his " time in his cell;" he was answered, " they might " do as they pleased." With this answer his visitor returned to the cell to Lewis. Every one can see this was contrary to Lewis's declaration to me before this visitor went up to him, let the inference be what it may. While I still waited for the prisoners, a third clergyman came in, Mr. M - x - ll, whom I met at the gate as I looked out for two serious and good neighbours expected to come and join with us. I told him whom I looked for, that they were not yet come, and hoped he would join with us in communion. He answered, "with all my heart." I added, and not encourage any schism. No, said he; but I want to speak a word or two to Lewis. I offered to wait on him; he seemed to agree, but on second thoughts desired I would not; I then recommended to him to promote order and peace; he promised me he would do so. I hoped it, from his good character, and being educated on the same foundation with the other preceding visitor, presumed in my thoughts that connection and influence might prevail. After he went up to the cells, the other prisoners quickly came down and went up to chapel. While I conversed with Mr. Rice and the other convict, Dagoe, Mr. M - x - ll came up to me and said, " Lewis would not come, because, "excuse the expression," he says, there is something in you disagreeable to him; answered him, "that don't surprize me; in my situation I must expect that and more." On which occasion, this distich of a very worthy man, whom in my youth I have had the honour to converse with, occurred to me, with very little variation:
" Hated by knaves, and knaves to hate;
" Be this my motto, and my fate.
Soon after prayers were begun, Lewis was conducted up in a flurry to the chapel, and came and kneeled down opposite to me at the table, while I was repeating this petition of the litany: "From all " sedition, privy conspiracy and rebellion; from all " false doctrine, heresy und schism; from hardness of " heart and contempt of thy word and commandment, " good Lord, deliver us." The suffrage or response he repeated aloud; and it is hoped the force and propriety of this petition, as applied to him, at that instant reached his heart. He kept up his attention and fervency in making his responses through the litany, till we came to this part of that admirable prayer for support under afflictions; "and graciously hear us, " that those evils which the craft and subtilty of the " devil or man worketh against us, be brought to " nought; and by the providence of thy goodness " they may be dispersed; that we thy servants being " hurt by no persecutions," it was added, [no kind of sufferings.] At these words he dropt on his side by the table, and as he fell he cried out, in a tragic strain, O my family! We took him up, set him on a seat, got him water, wine, and a smelling-bottle to recover him; which being done, he kneeled down in the same place again. Soon after he himself spied lying by him on the floor, a new clasp penknife, which seemed to have dropt from him when he fell. He held it up in his hand with a look and gesture, to express his thankful astonishment for being prevented making the use of it which, he would be understood, to have intended it for. Mr. M. who kneeled near him, took it out of his hand.
He then explained to us, that Mr. A - k - n, by going into the cell to him where he was left alone by his visitor, had prevented him from putting it to the horrid use which he had kept it for, in his pillow, ever since he was a prisoner; he shewed us the bosom of his shirt torn down for the purpose, and said, that when searched he dropt it into his shoe, whence it flew out by his fall in the chapel. He also took a paper out of his pocket, wherein he had transcribed some verses of the bible, wickedly wrested, and absurdly perverted to justify this dire fact of suicide; it was the account of Saul and his armour-bearer's death self-inflicted, 1 Sam. 31. 4, 5. Why did he not quote
the examples of Ahitophel and Judas too? worthy masters and patterns of such a disciple! worthy object of such! A panegyrist as he happily left behind him, by whom he is celebrated in the said Gazetteer of May 5, for his clear and sensible discernment concerning the scriptures, of which this is a fresh proof. After this, who will vouch for this panegyrist having a just sense of the christian religion, or a clear and sensible discerning in the sacred writings? A veil should have been drawn over this part of Lewis's behaviour, as has been over several others of himself and visitors for 2 or 3 days past, leaving them to their own reflexions and self-conviction, had not a very partial account of this transaction been published in the Gazetteer aforesaid, the very day after his execution; which demanded a fair and circumstantial account of that affair as a specimen, a very small specimen, of that veracity, candour, and decency, with which the ordinary was treated in other instances, now wholly suppressed and sacrificed to the love of peace.
As Lewis now seemed to return to his duty and to put on the penitent, he was questioned about his disposition and preparedness to receive the holy sacrament; as whether he earnestly desired to renew the promise and vow made in baptism, and to renounce all his past transgressions of it in thought, word and deed? whether he repented him truly of all his sins, errors and crimes? together with the other requisite points of self-examination. To which he, with the other convicts, to whom these questions were likewise directed, made proper answers in general. He was then questioned in particular, whether he had any accomplices? which he could not deny. Whether he did not think it his duty to discover and name them for the public good, and his own private peace and conscience, that they might be brought to repentance, or to justice? To this he answered, that he had wrote and sent to them all, to quit their wicked courses. But as to any thing more, they had all sworn to each other, by kneeling on the Bible, with the most dreadful imprecations on him who should ever betray his fellows. That he had been now three years on the high-way, and that he had never hurt any one; denied that he was the person who shot the coachman through the hat; declared he had been ever true to his accomplices, and that the man who is false after such an oath and to such a league, merits damnation!
Presumptuous abuse, most absurd perversion of the Bible! to kneel upon it and swear to live in open violation of all its laws, and in defiance of all its judgements! and imagine this laid any obligation on the conscience; or bound to any thing but a most profound humiliation and hearty repentance. These were some of the wounds and bruises and putrifying sores he was so tender of opening to his proper pastor; and to conceal which he put himself into other hands, who perhaps daubed him over, instead of pouring in oil or wine, or mollifying them with precious ointment. What could be done now? the time pressed; the sword of justice waited with impatience; he had his chosen teacher at his elbow: he had mispent and lost his late and most precious moments, in meditating the most dire and horrid designs, leading to eternal misery. There was no time now to combat and confute those capital errors of learning suicide, and the desecration and abuse of God's holy word, from the book itself. We must now be content with general expressions of repentance for all that is past, and earnest prayers for his pardon. By these and such means he was admitted to the holy sacrament; after which I received him to my arms, saying, This my son, was dead and is alive again. He seemed to behave himself with compliance, and an humble and thankful submission. I must acknowledge the first unexpected sight of him coming into the chapel gave me great joy. His open and frank behaviour, with other marks of conversion, and deliverance from so great a destruction, as he was ready to fall into, increased that joy. He now said he would answer me any question; and lamented the ill terms he had been upon with me, hitherto. It was now too late to think of putting any more questions to him. He grew sick, and as he went down stairs was so overcome that he stopt, till his stomach was eased.
He had before this dropt some tender expressions about his family, a wife and one or two children, which gave him great anxiety.
By the account I had from a neighbour who stood near him in the press-yard while his irons were knocked off, his hands tied, and the halter put he recovered his spirits, and again acted the hero before the spectators. Seeing a person he knew, at hand, he said to him, "Go over the way and " borrow me a cap, for as I intended to destroy " myself, I have made no preparation of that kind." He asked another, "Is my hearse ready? It is; Then (so) am I. It was observed he neither prayed for himself, nor desired the prayers of any one, but looked around with a stern fierceness, as if he could destroy all that were present. He was put into the same cart with H. Dagoe; and it was said by those who saw them in the way, that their behaviour was equally unconcerned and hardy, and that by the air and manner of Lewis, he still affected the M'Heath.
Mr. Rice's behaviour this morning was placid and composed, pious and resigned, he answered the particular questions put to him with an open freedom. Whether a protection was really offered him, on the terms of conforming to their religion at
Cambray? He answered, that it really was so at first; but that their zeal relaxed in proportion to the pressing and repeated demands of our court to have him given up; and also on their discovering he was not so rich as they expected. Whether he had any accomplice? This he still denied. To what value his forgeries amounted? To which he answered as before, to about 45000l.
I had seen him late the preceding evening. His wife was reading to him Taylor's holy living and dying. He told me, he had a lively hope, and was endeavouring to confirm himself in it. His wife took her leave of him the same night, and was prudently sent out of town early next morning. When we parted, after divine service in the chapel, he took a most tender farewel, thanked me for all good offices with a parting look which bespoke pity and prayer for him to the last. He had applied to have a coach to the place of execution; which when it could not be granted, he expressed great indifference about it. He was decently habited in a suit of mourning, and had a cart to himself; in which a steady friend, at his own earnest request, accompanied him, who conversed with and assisted him in the way.
Being brought to the place of execution soon after ten, Rice and Lewis were easily tied up; but Dagoe behaved with a resolute firmness in her looks, and a more than masculine boldness in her manner; she disposed of her capuchin and some other little matters to some that stood near her; and twice she got loose the cord which tied her hands, and flung it from her with resentment. At last the executioner tied them a third time with his garter. It is said, she gave him a push at that time, so as nearly to overset him.
Being thus fixed and prepared, they were prayed for as usual near half an hour, the people at their request joining with them. There was a vast multitude of spectators, who in general behaved seriously.
At a proper pause in prayer, being each asked if they had any thing to say to the spectators by way of warning, Lewis spoke to this effect: " This dreadful sight will not, I believe, invite " any of you to come here by following my example, but rather to be warned by me. I am " but twenty-three years of age, a clergyman's " son, bred up among gentlemen. This wounds " me the deeper; for to whom much is given, " of him the more is required. My friends, I " intreat you all, avoid such offences as may " bring you here, for every cause, and especially for the sake of your family. Let the memory of my evil actions die with me, and do " not reflect on my aged father. Hitherto I " have been a disgrace to all who know me. " Were I to begin life again, I should live an " honour to society.
He still denied that he intended to kill the prosecutor, but only shot at his horse; (which has been remarked on before) yet confessed his life was justly forfeited to the laws of his country."
Hannah Dagoe, being asked, still denied she was guilty of the fact she died for, but owned she had often before deserved to be brought here. Being again warned not to persist in a denial of that fact, she owned she was concerned in it, but said no more.
Mr. Rice was silent except in prayer, wherein he was fervent. They were all recommended to the divine mercy and protection with repeated prayers and a final blessing. We parted in peace, and they were (about eleven) launched into eternity; with prayers for an happy issue out of all their troubles.
This is all the account given by me,
Ordinary of Newgate .