THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE's ACCOUNT of the Confession, Behaviour, and Dying Words, OF THE MALEFACTORS Who were executed at TYBURN, On Wednesday, the 14th Day of February, 1770.
To which will be prefixed, the last Words and Confession of George Wood, alias Justice, alias Geery, Who was executed at Execution-Dock, on Wednesday, the 22d Day of November, 1769, for PIRACY on the High Seas.
Number I in the Year 1770.
Sold by J. KINGSBURY, Stationer, N� 47, Tooley-Street, Southwark; S. BLADON, N� 28, Pater-noster-Row; Mess. ARMITAGE and ROPER, at Bishopsgate, and T. WADE, Bookseller, the Corner of Gray's-Inn-Gate, Holborn.
HAVING, at the Instance and Desire of the Public, with Permission of the late Rt. Hon. Lord-Mayor, and worthy Aldermen of this City, undertaken to make the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, of such Culprits as suffer the Execution of the Law, within my Precinct, known to the World, there is no Person to whom I think it so proper for me to dedicate such an Undertaking, as the first and chief Magistrate of the City of London . I therefore, my Lord, present for your Protection, not only the first Fruits of my Labour, under your Lordship's Government and Inspection, but the first Attempt I ever made to be a public Writer, as an Instance of my Respect and Duty towards you, as I was willing to think (and do presume did not think amiss) that your Lordship had a Sort of Title to the first Fruits and Labours of any who are in employ under your Banner. The Subject of this Tract (being an Account of the Behaviour, Character, and Confession, of those whose improper Conduct have brought them within the Censure of the Law, and the Walls of Newgate, with the Usage and Customs of the Place) is such, that with Propriety it should not, by my weak Pen, be addressed to one of your Lordship's Character and Station. It is a Subject too intricate and difficult to have Justice done it from any single Hand, much less from mine. All, therefore, I can pretend to hope from your Lordship is, that your Candour and Goodness will make just Allowance for the Failings, which your Sagacity will easily perceive in the Performance.
I am not, I confess, without hopes that the Disagreeableness of the Subject, the Impossibility of retaining any regular Form or Order, with
the Difficulty of making Words not my own appear in the best Light, with other inconvenient Circumstances under which I at present labour, may be some Apology for the Defects of the Work; and if I can but so far obtain your Lordship's good Opinion, as to be thought to have designed well (as I am conscious of my own good Intentions to consecrate all my Labours to the fulfilling of my Duty in that State of Life in which it hath pleased God to call me, and particularly in the heavy Charge, and great Trust, reposed in me by your Lordship, and the honourable Court of Aldermen, of this great and oppulent City) it will inspire me with fresh Vigour, notwithstanding every Difficulty, to proceed with Chearfulness and Alacrity in my future Publications, which shall be true and authentic, and as free as possible from all particular Censures and Animadversions improperly pointed.
Perhaps it might be expected that I should, as usual on those Occasions, flatter and commend; but this I shall leave to others, better qualified to perform. Wherefore, forbearing that, I conclude with wishing you an easy and happy Government, with every Blessing and Satisfaction that this Life can afford, in private as well as public. And that the worthy Aldermen, Sheriffs, and Council, with all others in Power and Office under your Authority in this City (animated by your Example of Learning and Religion, influenced by the Wisdom of your Conduct, and encouraged by your Zeal and Perseverance, even to the great Danger of your Health, in Support of our happy Constitution in Church and State, and the general Preservation of the Rights, Priviledges, Properties, Peace and Tranquility, of all his Majesty's Subjects throughout this Kingdom) may so discharge every Part of their Trust and Office, as to make your Mayoralty one of the shining Glories of the present Age, and a provoking Example to all future ones, which is the hearty Prayer, and sincere Desire of,
MY LORD, Your Lordship's faithful And obedient Servant,
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE 's ACCOUNT of the Confession, Behaviour, and Dying Words, &c.
BY virtue of his Majesty's Commission of oyer and terminer, and goal delivery, for the high court of Admiralty of England, held at Justice-hall in the Old Bailey, on Monday the 30th of October, 1769, before the Right Worshipful Sir Thomas Salusbury, Knt. LL.D. Judge of the high court of Admiralty ; the honourable Henry Bathurst, one of the Justices of his Majesty's court of Common Pleas , Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, Knt. one of the Justices of his Majesty's court of Exchequer , and others, his Majesty's Commissioners, &c.
A bill of indictment was found by the Grand Inquest, against George Geery, and others, for piratically and feloniously boarding a Dutch hoy, called the Derge Sustures, the property of persons to the jurors unknown, upon the high Seas, within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England, on the 15th day of August, 1768, about three leagues from Beachy-head, on the coast of Sussex, in this kingdom, and assaulting Peter Bootes, then master thereof, and robbing him of several hats, the property of persons to the jurors unknown.
To this indictment they pleaded not guilty, and for their trial put themselves on God and their country; and the issue of this trial was, that, the evidence being strong and very clear, they were all convicted, in which unhappy situation, when visited, they behaved themselves with humility and seriousness, and daily attended divine service in the chapel, with all decent reverence and due devotion. Neither did any of them attempt to disown their guilt, particularly Geery, who gave the following account of himself - that he was born at Hastings, on the coast of Sussex; his father a fisherman , who reared and bred him up to the Mackarel and Herring fishery, and when arrived to maturity, he earned his livelihood as a sailor , on board various ships, one of which was the Black Prince, of which I promised to give a particular narrative in this paper, as received from the said George Geery, on Wednesday, the 15th day of November, when he, and several others, guilty of the same offence with him, were ordered for Execution, at Execution-Dock, where they were all hanged on Wednesday, the 22d day of November, 1769.
George Geery assumed the name of Wood, a shipmate of his, formerly well known among the sea-fareing people in many of the Ports of England and America, and of universal good character; which character Geery thought might be of some avail to him, whenever brought to the bar of justice, which, conscious of his crimes, he daily expected. He got the name of Justice on board of the Black Prince, from his abhorrence to the cruelties he saw exercised there by the pirating crew, where also he would have been a martyr to their vengeance, had not his firm attachment to any engagement or promise he made among or to them, been ever experienced by them; of which the following is a particular instance. The magistrate before whom he was brought, when first apprehended, taxed him with his having been a sailor on board the Black Prince, which he strenuously denied; and though assured of his life, if he would confess the truth, and become an evidence for the Crown, he rather chose to run the hazard of looseing it, on this principle, that by his death, only one family, which were his own, could be involved in ruin; but, if he became an evidence, many others must equally share the same fate. But however, though he left the unpleasing task of prosecution to those whose sentiments might be more strongly engaged for the public wealth, the good of mankind, and the benefit of community, yet he could not reconcile to his guilty conscience, the thoughts of leaving this world with such a load of iniquity, and horrible cruelty, as he then was about to reveal to me, concealed in his breast; uncertain of the endless happiness, or misery which must be his portion in the world where he, and all of us, must, at the last and awful day appear before the almighty, great, and most powerful judge of quick and dead, to receive this last and final sentence, Come ye blessed into the kingdom of my father, prepared for you and all his holy angels: Or, go ye accursed into fire everlasting, prepared for the Devil and his servants: From which, nothing but an upright, virtuous, and holy life, with a firm confidence on and belief in our God and Saviour; or a sincere repentance of those sins, which the depravity of our natures have led us into, and a thorough resolution of amendment of life, if God gives us the opportunity, can free us from; withall, firmly depending on the suffering and merits of our blessed Saviour, who, for a full encouragement to work out our own salvation, has spoken to us, and all mankind, in these word; Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; for my yoke is easy, and my burden light; wash ye therefore, and make ye clean; cease to do evil, learn to do well; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, and fall down and worship before the Lord your God, who hath so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end, that all who believe in and obey him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And who hath also declared, That there more joy in Heaven for one sinner that repenteth, than for ninety-nine just persons, who need no repentance; and that if any man sin, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ, the righteous, who is the Propitiation of our sins. In consequence of all which, he desired that the following declaration should be made known to the world.
On the third day of August, 1766, the Black Prince sailed, with full compliment of men and provisions, from Bristol, for the coast of Africa; when she had run three days out of the harbour, with a smart wind, the greater part of the crew, spirited up to an act of Piracy by a ship-mate on board, to whose counsel they gave great attenti
on (being an experienced sailor, and the only son of a wealthy farmer in the south of England, who had at different times made him owner of two ships, the value of which, with their cargoes, he squandered away in lewdness, drunkenness and riot) forced the master and offiers who were on board, with one cabin-boy, nine in number, into the long-boat, left then by them to the mercy of wind and waves. Such afterwards as shewed the least reluctance to their wicked designs and cruel actions, or were any way suspected for a breach of faith with them, they either hung at the yard-arm, towed them along side, till quite dead, as a terrifying example to the rest, or obliged them to walk on a plank, extended from the ship's side, over the Sea, into which they were turned, when at the extreme end. - Then having cruised about two months, and taken some prizes, they were, by stress of weather, drove on shore in the desart parts of the island of Hispaniola, where some of the crew perished, thro' fatigue and want of sustenance; the surviving part, having obtained passports from the governor, by false and delusive means, sailed to Portugal, where in all probability, they are now, except two, who came to England, of whom George Geery was one, whose shameful and untimely end should be a sufficient warning and caution to all men, not only to avoid the company of evil men, but also, not to give the least attention to their wicked, insinuating, and delusive tongues.
BY virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, oyer and terminer, at the general sessions of goal delivery of Newgate, holden for the City of London, and county of Middlesex, at Justice-hall in the Old Bailey, 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 ; Sir Richard Aston, Knt. one of the Justices of his Majesty's court of King's-Bench ; Sir Thomas Gould, Knt. one of the Justices of his Majesty's court of Common Pleas ; James Eyre, Esq; Recorder of the city of London , and Others of his Majesty's Justices of oyer and terminer, for the said city and county, on Wednesday the 17th, Thursday the 18, Friday the 19th, and Saturday the 20th of January, 1770, in the tenth Year of his Majesty's reign; the following named Persons were capitally convicted, viz. William Patterson, John Chapman, William Moody, John Jones, and Thomas Dunk; Will. Corby, Christopher Busby, Benjamin Jones, John Leyster, Richard Loft, and Isaac Pemberton, for various felonies and offences.
On Monday, the 5th of Feb. 1770, the Report of the said Malefactors was made to his Majesty, by James Eyre, Esq; Recorder of the city of London, when William Patterson, John Chapman, William Moody, John Jones, and Thomas Dunk, were ordered to be executed on Wednesday, the 14th of Feb. 1770, and the other six were respited during pleasure.
William Patterson, John Chapman, and others, were indicted for making an Assault on John Chambers, on the King's highway, on the 21st day of December last, and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a silver watch, value 40s. 6s. 6d. in money, numbered, and a silver pocket piece, the property of said John Chambers. To this indictment they pleaded not guilty, and for tryal put themselves on God and their country.
Patterson alledged in his defence; " that he was not taken up with the others; that he was going to his lodg
ings, having been to take leave of his friends, as he was going to the Indies; and that Levi stoped him, and brought him into the house; that the last evidence, Marten, never saw him with his eyes before that time, and that he was innocent of the fact with which he was charged."
On the evidence of John Chambers the prosecutor, Robert Marten, one of the accomplices, and others, William Patterson was found guilty of the charge laid in the indictment, and was sentenced by the law to be hanged by the neck till dead.
The account given by William Patterson of himself, is as follows: that he was nineteen years of age, born at Greenwich, in Kent; when but a year old, his father and mother went to America, and left him in the care of an unkle, who dying, he was sent to the workhouse . From thence, at the age of seven years, he was bound to a China shopkeeper , with whom he lived about two years, when his father and mother being returned from America, brought him on a visit to their home, where he staid much longer than was agreeable to his master, who would not, on this account, take him back again.
Some time after, he was sent on trial to a ship captain , and not liking the sea, he returned and wrought at bricklaying with his father and brothers. Tired of this work, he went on board the Proserpine frigate till paid off; then wrought again with his father at his trade for two years, in which time (not having a proper sense of religion, or the fear of God before his eyes) he commenced an acquaintance with a set of very idle bad people, with whom he spent his leasure time, and particularly Sundays, in drinking, tossing up halfpence, and other such idle diversions and amusements, to the neglect of his church, his duty towards God, and the loss of his own worldly wellfare, and (what he most lamented) to the hazard of his everlasting happiness, and the salvation of his immortal soul. For this bad conduct his father corrected him severely, on which he went on board a king's ship a second time, where he continued near three years; when she was paid off, he went into a Greenland fisher , and at the end of four years, being discharged from this service, having first very idly and improperly spent the money he had earned by severe and hard labour, he attended for a little time at a cooperidge : when work ceased at Christmas time, he accidentally got into company with an idle woman, who took him to a house, where some men used him very ill, and took his money from him; then said, if he would give them some drink, they would behave well to him, and return his money; on which he spent eleven shillings with them, whom he then found were known by the names of Conway, Newman, and Millbanks. In two days after this, meeting them and John Chapman in the street, they asked him to go with them to the Star, a public house, and they would give him some beer, to which he agreed. There they sold a watch, which they said they had taken from a gentleman on the highway; besides many other things taken from others in the same manner, by which they supported themselves, who proposed to him to be of their society; which he being in liquor, unfortunately consented to; but never was concerned before or since in any robbery, except those for which he was arraigned, and now must die, viz. the robbery of Thomas Brewer, John Chambers, and John China; with the other fruitless attempts made by him in company with Chapman, &c. whose unhappy fate should be a warning to
all persons, who tender their satisfaction and happiness in this present world, to take care how they are guilty of the breach of that great and solemn day, which the almighty Lord of heaven and earth hath set apart for his own service and worship, and which he hath ordered all mankind to keep holy; and also, that we should honour our father and mother, that our days may be long in the land, which the Lord our God hath given us: a breach of both which commandments has been the distruction of his life and happiness in this present world, and the hazard of his eternal salvation in that which is to come.
John Chapman, with William Patterson, and others, were indicted for making an assault on John China, on the King's highway, on the 26th day of December last, and putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a quarter guinea, and four shillings and six-pence, the property of the said John China.
To this indictment they pleaded not guilty, and for trial put themselves on God and their country. Chambers alledged in his defence, that he came from Lincolnshire, and had no friend here; that he never was with the evidence, nor ever knew him in his life; that he never had a pistol in his hand, and that he was drinking at Mackmullin's all that afternoon.
The account given by John Chapman of himself, is as follows: That he, John Chapman (born of industrious, labouring and honest parents, in Lincolnshire, by whom he was tenderly reared and instructed in the knowledge of Religion and Virtue) was, at the age of ten years, bound to the Sea-Service for seven years, which term being expired, he received, according to the contract of his indentures, a sum of money appointed for him at such time; when, highly elated by the thoughts of not being then subject to the control of any person, and far from those whose friendship and prudent counsel would have directed him to the most proper course of life, full of money, and flushed with the prospect of every seeming pleasure, which then presented to his view, and which (his father being dead) he was determined to enjoy. In this situation and temper of mind, at the age of seventeen years, in an house of ill fame, he got into company with Peter Conway, one of those persons who live by publick plunder, and the spoils of the thoughtless and unguarded part of mankind. Conway perceiving him to be a fit object to work upon, quickly entered into his acquaintance who, too soon, got into great intimacy with him, to whom, and others that his connection with Conway introduced him to, he lent the greater part of his money, and having spent the remainder in their company, with lude and idle women, they proposed a scheme, by which they said, they often were supplied. He being then in want, without any apparent honest means of relief, readily consented to be an accomplice, well knowing their design was to rob, which they then acknowledged they frequently did, and sometimes got very large sums of money; the prospect of booty, in appearance to him so easily obtained, led him to join in their undertakings. The first was on the 21st of December, when they made several attempts to rob, to very little purpose for sometime, till they met with John Chambers, from whom they took the
several things laid to their charge. The next, was on the 22d of December, when they also robbed Thomas Brewer, of the things charged against them; the other, for which he suffered death, and the only one he ever was concerned in, except those mentioned, was on John China, the 26th day of December, from whom they took the particulars mentioned in the indictment; and all the money he ever received from them, who sold the prizes, was about four shillings to his share. That he never was before guilty of injustice to any man, except sometimes taking a few half-pence from his master, while his apprentice, and for this he was not duly and properly corrected when discovered, to which he now partly attributes the evil and unjust way of life he got into, which has brought him to this miserable, scandalous, and untimely end, and ought to be a warning to all parents and masters, how they indulge the least propensity in children, or those committed to their care, to any, even the slightest appearance of vice, for by degrees they grow familiar, and at last, fond of that vice and passion, which shocked their nature at first view, and thus having once lost the true ballast of honesty and integrity, they are carried at random as the gale of necessity or convenience drives them, till they imperceiveably arrive at the brink of that precipice, which this malefactor has now tumbled down.
William Moody, John Jones, otherwise Possnett, and others, were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Wood, on the second day of December, about the hour of 3 in the morning, and stealing a pair of silver shoe buckles, a pair of silver knee buckles, a leather pocket-book, a canvas bag, twelve guineas, six crown pieces, and 3l. 18s. in money, numbered, the property of the said John Wood, in his dwelling house.
To this indictment they pleaded not guilty, and for trial put themselves on God and their country. Moody alledged in his defence, that he bought these buckles of a young man, at Mrs. Heydon's house, for seven shillings, and Settle seeing them, asked what he would take for them; he bought them from Moody, for eight shillings, and paid him five shillings of the money, and was to pay him the rest. On the evidence of John Wood, the prosecutor, John Settle, one of the accomplices, and others, William Moody was found guilty of the charge laid in the indictment, and sentenced by the law to be hanged by the neck till dead.
The account given by Will. Moody of himself, is as follows: That he, William Moody, born of honest labouring parents, in the north of England, was educated and instructed by them, in the principles of religion and virtue, till ten years of age, at which time he went from his farther's on board the Tarter frigate , where he continued about seven years, when she was paid off; then returned to his parents, and seeing his folly, in a step so contrary to their inclinations, he was determined to become a dutiful son, and help mate to his father, from whom he learned the trade of a carpenter , and at leisure time from work went to school, in which way he lived two years; then thinking to be better instructed in his trade, he came to London, where he wrought journey-work for sometime, with different masters, and latterly with an engine maker, who was so slow and dillitary in his payments, that he was obliged to have resource to magistracy for the recovery of his wages; during which time he, who had nothing but his daily labour
to subsist on, and was, since his being at sea , rather inclined to drink and lude women, at one of those houses of call and resort, which tradesmen usually frequent, got acquainted with John Settle, by whose advice he was prevailed on to take unjust means to support the necessities his debauched life brought upon him. That Settle, knowing his situation, invited him to be of his party, and that he would get him money; which invitation he accepted of; on which Settle introduced him to Burkett, and proposed their associating together, at which time they formed a plan for robbing Mrs. Pine, in Tooley-Street, Southwark; that he was very shy, and did not go near the house; neither did he share any of the booty, on a pretence, that they had not sold the plunder. Being thus used, and then ashamed of his rash and wicked design, he returned to the engine maker, who would not employ him again; and it being a dead time of the year for work, which he in vain made several essays to get into, nature put him on his shifts to seek support as before; and having recourse to Settle, he proposed the breaking open John Wood's house, where Burkett and he, a few days before saw Mr. Wood, through the window, reckoning a sum of money, which he locked in the bureau, on which their design was: That Settle and he watched on the outside, while Jones and Burkett entered the house, and whatever they got, the only booty they acknowledged was, the shoe and knee buckles, and 15d. in half-pence. Jones wanted him to sell the buckles, and when he would not run the hazard, Settle pawned them, and gave him two shillings of the money. But he positively denies his being guilty of any of the other charges laid against him. That he was taken up at the instance of a prostitute, with whom he sometimes cohabited; she having conceived that he had mall-treated her, made information that he, Burkett, Settle, and Jones, went out every night to rob on the highway, on which they were all apprehended, and prosecuted for this offence, for which he died. He attributed all his sufferings and misfortunes to the great love and fondness he contracted for idle company and drink, since the first time he went to sea; to which he went very early in life, having taken at that time an umbrage at the partiality which, in his apprehension was shewn by his parents to the rest of the family, when he imagined himself very ill-treated; and considering how common this conduct is among parents, who have more than one child, it is strange, that the many unhappy consequences arising from such behaviour in families, should not be some guard to the indulging a passion, productive very often of the ruin and eternal misery of children, and the peace, quiet, and happiness of the parents, who are not quite destitute of all natural reason and reflection.
When at the gallows, he declared, he had done his utmost endeavours, while under conviction, to make his peace with God, from whom he hoped for mercy, and begged pardon and forgiveness for all past sins and wickedness, as he then died in peace and forgiveness with all mankind, who ought to be warned by his example, to avoid all wicked company, which were his utter ruin, and which he hoped would be productive of the good effects intended by law and government in the execution of him, who then, as the cart was just going from under his feet, prayed to God to have mercy on his soul.
John Possnett, otherwise Jones, Will. Moody, and others, were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Wood, on the second day of December, about the hour of three in the morning, and stealing a pair of silver shoe-buckles, a pair of silver knee-buckles, a leather pocketbook, a canvass bag, twelve guineas, six crown pieces, and 3l. 18s. in money, numbered, the property of the said John Wood, in his dwelling house.
To this indictment they pleaded not guilty, and for trial put themselves on God and their country.
John Jones alledged in his defence, that he was a coachman , drove Lord Harrington, Judge Advocate General Gould, and other noblemen and gentlemen; that he was out of place at that time, and that his mother allowed him eight shillings per week till he could get a place; that he went to Chelsea to his aunt, for this money that was allowed him, and asked Moody and Burkett to go with him, which they did, and met Settle on the way: That he returned to Mrs. Haydon's, at the Hole in the Wall, and lay that night with a soldier that was quartered there.
On the evidence of John Wood the prosecutor, John Settle, one of the accomplices, H. Wright, John Merideath, and others, with corroberating circumstances, Jones was found guilty of the charge laid in his indictment, and sentenced by the law to be hanged by the neck till dead.
The account given by John Possnett, alias Jones, of himself, is as follows: "That he, John Possnett, alias Jones, when a child, was taken by Mr. Possnett (whose Sirname he went by) who took all the care of him that man, in his situation could, being taught to read, write, and blow the French-horn. When he left school, Mr. Possnett took him to be an assistant in his house, the sole management of which he often entrusted him with, being a barber's shop, and also a public house , where, from his connection and acquaintance with gentlemens servants, he was induced, and had a desire to go into service, which he did as a coachman , in which station he lived for six years, with some noblemen. During this time he got a large and numerous acquaintance among those of his profession; some of whom were not the best of men, whose chief scheme and design of life was to impose on the unwary and unthinking part of mankind, of which number Jones was one, and consequently an easy prey to them. Having an unkle a master builder, he took a liking to the plaistering trade , at which he wrought, when not otherwise engaged; and this was his first entrance into a course of life, which favoured in any manner of dishonesty or wickedness; for when he and his fellow labourers quitted work, they generally went to drink, riot, and debauchery, at notorious bad and improper houses, where he got into such an acquaintance and company of men and women, as led him to his miserable and unhappy end. At one of those houses of resort, he got acquainted with Moody, being a carpenter , and consequently a brother of the building trade; by him he was introduced to Burkett and Settle, who kept a bull , by baiting of which they generally made money, and was supported by a company or club of bull-baiters, who, not being very good accomptants, engaged Jones as their clerk or secretary , which brought him into a stricter acquaintance and intimacy with them; and at last, by custom, he became too familiar with their evil practices, and
consequently an accomplice in any scheme proposed. That two months ago he met Burkett and Moody at Mrs. Haydon's, Bow Street, Westminster, and asked them to take a walk; that he was going to Chelsea, to get money from his Aunt; going, they met Settle; and coming back Burkett and Moody observing Mr. Wood's window-shutter loose, went and gave it a pull, and said, it would be a good house to break open; Settle observing a light, and some people up in an house just opposite, said, the people will think you are going to rob the house; on which, they all came away, but returned soon again, and committed the robbery, for which he died; that he committed many others, in the latter part of his life, which has been loose and dissolate. He acknowledged, that Bromley and he were on their flight from justice, when apprehended at the Five Bells in Hammersmith, as his following letter to the turnkey of Toothelfield Bridewell doth shew.
THIS comes with our kind respect to you, hoping these few lines will find you well, as we are at present; we have heard of all your schemes in town and country after us; but, thank God, it has been of no use, nor I hope it never will, untill after all is over: and if nothing happens before, you will see us in town about five or six weeks, and then we shall be in hopes all will be quiet. We have taken this opportunity of sending a turkey to you and your spouse, for dinner on Christmas day, and we hope it will be agreeable; and so to conclude the whole at once, we have set off into the west of England, and there we intend to remain till all is quiet; if you please to remember us to William Moody, and Charles Macey, and all acquaintance, so no more at present,
From your humble servants,
After he came from chaple the morning of execution, (where he and all the malefactors behaved with great decency, devotion, and zeal, and every sincere repentance and contrition of heart, if outward appearance and expression can be relied on) he frequently declared he was quite easy and happy; that he would not wish for a reprieve, as he then could die in greater joy than he ever lived. He confessed that he and Moody robbed Mr. Woolveridge and a lady, some time ago, near Vaux-hall turnpike, for which there is another person taken up, viz. John Trusler, who is now in the New-Goal. He and Moody also mentioned particular circumstances, whereby the truth of this confession may be assertained by the Rev. John Wood. He also desired that Mr. Wood, the prosecutor on this indictment, should be informed, that the money alledged in his charge against him, Moody, &c. was not taken by them; that he and Burkett went into the house; that all the money they got was about fifteen pence, or some such trifle, in halfpence, in the bag; and that he ought to take care that some other person, now not suspected, had not taken the money charged in the indictment: but that he acknowledged taking the other things.
At the place of execution he said, That he knew there were many young men there, who followed the same evil course of life that he had done, and hoped they would take warning from his sad fate, and become in time honest and good men; that nothing but evil company, and an indulgence to his lusts and passions, had caused him to err, for he neither was in want or distress: and then added, he was happy, that he died with greater pleasure than he lived; and that, as he was in peace and forgiveness with all mankind, he hoped and prayed most earnestly for the mercy of God.
Thomas Dunk was indicted for making an assault on John Read, in an open place, called the Green Park, near the King's highway, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person a pinchbeck metal watch, value 4l. a pinchbeck metal watch chain, value four shillings, a cornelian seal, set in pinchbeck metal, value twelve pence, half a guinea and three shillings in money, numbered, the property of the said John Read.
To this indictment he pleaded not guilty, and for trial put himself on God and his country.
In his defence he alledged, that a young man from Bath had that watch, and wanting some money, he lent him three guineas on it; that was the watch Jackson and Carley spoke of. The young man paid him the money afterwards, and took his watch again.
On the evidence of John Read the prosecutor, Thomas Marshal the accomplice, and others, Thomas Dunk was found guilty of the charge laid in his indictment, and sentenced by the law to be hanged by the neck till dead. He was indicted for several other offences; convicted of one, and acquitted of the rest.
The account given by Thomas Dunk of himself, is as follows - Thomas Dunk, formerly of Bath, late a soldier in his majesty's foot guards, now nineteen years old, was, at the age of eleven years of age, bound to a staymaker , with whom he wrought seven years; then came to London, where he listed under his majesty's standard; being tired of the army, he solicited his discharge, determined to work at his trade; which proving very dull, he was easily led on to seek money in an unlawful way, for the supply of his necessities. And at the instance of Thomas Marshal, whom he unfortunately got acquainted with, when a soldier, he, in company with him, committed several robberies, for one of which he suffered.
Soon after his being apprehended, he was sent to Newgate, where he, with several others, formed a design to break the goal open, and set the prisoners at liberty; which they partly executed, and would in a very short time have compleated, were it not for the great attention, and watchful care of the master of the prison, to whom the thanks of the public in general, but more particularly of this city, is justly due, not only upon this account, but for his constant assiduity in discharging every part of his duty with justice to his employ, charity and humanity to the wretched criminals who come within his limits. Neither are his servants and turnkeys unworthy of notice, for their secresy and prudent behaviour till the particulars concerned were detected. Some of whom, notwithstanding the mercy and lenity of our most gracious sovereign, are found to be respites from death, not under confinement only for transportation, but full with sanguine hopes of a free pardon, from the pity and compassion of the best of princes, whose mercy and goodness is universally extended, not to his faithful, true, and loving subjects alone, but to those who, by transgressing both the laws of God and man, have forfeited their title to that life, which no mortal man on earth can restore.
This scheme of a general goal delivery, was first planned and attempted in manner following: while the goal smith was fixing and putting a lock on the door of an uninhabited room, one of the parties (under the pretence of curiosity) took the key to look at, and while the smith was at his work, with
one of the turnkeys present, he, without the knowledge or notice of either, quickly took off the impression, by which afterwards a key was made, which admitted him and the accomplices (of whom Dunk was one, whose mother, as he confessed, brought in a small crow or tool of iron, for the said purpose) into this apartment, at convenient and fit times for their design, where they filed and cut almost every bar in the window, through which their escape was intended, and would have been accomplished, were it not for the divine favour and protection of almighty God, who always brings to light the hidden things of darkness, and by just and wise providence doth bring sin to shame and punishment, disappointing the hopes of wicked men, visiting their sins upon them in this present life, that he may deter others from their evil ways, and save their souls in the day of our Lord Jesus.
Ordinary of Newgate.