Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 24 July 2014), Ordinary of Newgate's Account, June 1690 (OA16900613).

Ordinary's Account, 13th June 1690.

A True ACCOUNT Of the Behaviour, Execution And Last DYING SPEECHES, of Thomas Kelsey, Executed before Newgate on Friday the thirteenth of June, 1690.

John Low, Jonathan Hawks, and Thomas Effoll, who were Executed at Tyburn on Friday the Twentieth of the same Instant.

ON the Lord's Day the Ordinary preached on this Text, viz. The Fifth Verse of the Eighth Chapter of Jermiah, Shall they fall and not arise? Shall they turn away and not return?

Whence it was Observed, That Sin is a most deadly fall, by wounding the Integrity and Peace of the Conscience, occasioned by remitting the watchfulness and tenderness of it.

Secondly, Direction were given to such who are thus fallen to rise again by Repentance, That they ought to be duly and deeply sensible of their Offences against God. His Rebukes are intended that Dying Persons should be Zealous and Repent; yet many persist under the love and dominion of their Lusts, till they be swallowed up by the Second Death, in a total separation from the God of Grace and Eternal Blessedness. Thus is the Soul-deceiving and Heart-hardening Nature of Sin, that it hides the necessity of Repentance from our Eyes, though it be the only remedy to Antidote against the spreading and deadly Infection of Sinning. We ought to be taken up in the exercise of it with the most serious consideration of the Soul; yet how many count present Repentance the burthen of Youth, the shame of vigorous Sinners, and the quality of Self-condemning Fools. But such who forget God in Wealth and Prosperity, cannot rationally expect that a few Sighs and Tears, and the Expiring Breath of a faint Lord have mercy on me, should safely waft a false hearted Sinner unto the Haven of Celestial Rest.

Here the Ordinary observed, That Sin is the Revolting of a proud heart from God. The very first Step we take into the World, is naturally a going astray from the Equity and Purity of his Ways. A trifling with God in this duty of Repentance, provokes him and hardens the Sinner by presumption: all our Returnings are but wandrings till we come Home throughly to the Lord, to delight in the Holiness of his Nature, and the Equitable strictness of his Laws. A Man may be exercised in religious Duties, and yet his heart secretly depart from God, because it kept not in him as the Centre of all these plausible Motions.

The sincere turning to God, is to be restless till we enjoy his Favour, though all Judgments be removed; therefore fear a deceitful Conversion, as much as a state of Profaneness: Thou canst not lay hold on God as everlasting Blessedness, if thy heart be unsound in the work of Conversion.

Here were laid down Rules and Directions of turning sincerely to the Lord. Let not your penal effects of Sin only, drag you from it; but let Gods infinite Excellencies attract and draw your love to him. Have neither slight nor hard thoughts of God, as if he were an inexorable Judge: He will not take Advantages of you by your own Confessions and Self-impleadings: Stick not in the preparative work of Conviction or Godly sorrow, but turn to the Lord with your whole heart, so shall you lift up your faces to him without spot, without shame and confusion in your Souls. If you rise from Sin by sincere Repentance, there shall arise or spring up to you the light of Comfort and Safety: In the extremest darkness of Affliction death is counted the King of Terrours, but a Soul reconciled to God in Christ, may triumph in the midst of bodily Tortures, because it shall never fall into the Pangs of Eternal Death, which is a Total and Eternal Separation of Soul and Body from the Bliss-making Vision, and Enjoyment of the God of Glory.

The Ordinary visited them on Munday, and after that he had prayed with them, inquired what penitential Impressions were made upon their hearts by either or both of the Sermons on the Lord's Day: The Afternoons Sermon was on the Fourth Verse of the Ninth Chapter of St. John's Gospel, Viz. The night comes, wherein no man can work; an account of which Discourse would be too long to insert in this half sheet. Then the Ordinary proceeded in acquainting them with the necessary indispensible qualifications for Eternal Blessedness: He also stated the distinct yet inseparable Operations of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the changing of our corrupt Nature; yet affirming, That sinners must not lay all the stress of that divine work presumptuously on Free Grace, so as to neglect their Compliance with the sollicitations of the Holy Spirit. For though the Lord work both the Will and the Deed in the Conversion of a Sinner; yet the Lord is a free Agent, and will stop the Influences of his Grace, where Sinners turn it into Wantonness or Slothfulness. After stating the difference 'twixt True Faith and Repentance, from the Counterfeit Resemblances of them, they were desired to give some account of the frame of their hearts, and what hopes they had of a blessed Eternity; but this Soul-searching Inquiry made most of them very peevish, only some had more relenting then the rest, for the Warning of others.

First, Thomas Kelsey, about Twenty Years of Age, Born in St. Andrews Holbourn, put forth to be an Apprentice to a Weaver , but served only half of the time: He acknowledged that he died justly for the murthering Mr. Goodman one of the Turn-keys in Newgate, the manner of which I refer to the Book of his Tryal. He Confessed, That he had been guilty of most Sins, being drawn away by evil Company to prophane the Sabbath, which is an In-let to all Vice. He said that it grieved him, that after he had the King's sparing mercy from a former Sentence of Condemnation, though he resolved then to amend his life, yet he joyned again with lewd Companions in the Prison: So that he said I am a sad and miserable Example of the hearts deceitfulness, as one whom Divine punishments have not driven from the love of my Lusts, nor yet Gods Mercies drawn me to a sincere Repentance. He also acknowledged a very great Sin he had long lived in the frequent Commission of, and but lately, since his distress in the Prison, been sensible of; yet though he did sometimes beg of God the pardon of it, and power against it, he did but faintly resist it: And that he returned to the commission of it, because he resolved against it in his own strength; yet, said he, since this last Crime of Murther, for which I knew I should certainly die, I laid my self prostrate at God's foot of Justice, to consider my deplorable condition, and have tryed my self, by the Law of God, how contrary my Conversation hath been to his strict and holy Will, I am now grieved at my very heart, that I have not made better use of my time since my former Condemnation. Oh how have I aggravated my sinfulness; yet I hope that I now hate sin, because I am troubled to see others sin, and that my sorrow now is more for offending God, than that I must undergo the shame of a publick death.

He told me he was grieved that he could not shed Tears for his sins. I replied, That true Repentance consists more in the sincere Contrition of the Soul, than in outward Expressions of pensiveness: And that our very Tears for sin, are polluted as having need of cleansing in the meritorious bloudshed of Christ's Passion, whereby that love of all sin is mortified and subdued. He replied, That he begs the Spirit of God to work his heart more to the loathing and killing of his sins.

He said, That his Conscience of late hath more smitten him for his evil Courses, and that he s troubled he hath not a heart to repent more, and turn to God in a greater measure.

He said, This Scripture comes often to his mind, That God will reward or recompence every man according to his works. Therefore he dreads the Judgment and Condemnation of God; for my works, said he, have been very evil, and now I have but a very little time to do any good, and that his old Associates in the Prison drew off his heart, that it could not be so fixt and resolved in the carrying on of his present Duty, to make his peace with God, and to prepare himself for his Death.

Hereupon he askt me, how he should perform his duty, so as to be a partaker of Christs merits: I gratified his request, so that at last he acknowledged, he was more fully setled in his mind with comfort, and his heart more penitent: Yet, said he, if I could have spent my whole life in Religious Duties, it cannot obtain my Pardon from God for the least sin. All this whole account were his own Expressions, and I hope he was penitent.

Thus have I given a full account of Thomas Kelsey's Behaviour and Confession; only this is to be added, That before he was Executed he prayed earnestly for himself, and warned all the Spectators strictly to keep the Sabbath, and to avoid all secret Sins: That he had wronged more than he could reckon, but not being able to make Restitution, he prayed that God would make up those damages in his blessing on them and theirs.

He was Executed on a Gibbet in Newgate-street just before the Prison, as a terrour to others; he prayed very fervently to the very last moment, and continued hanging for the space of Three Hours.

During Kelsey's continuance on the Gibbet, Thomas Effol, Isaac Vallence, Jonathan Hawks, Thomas Fisher, Richard Bourn, Thomas Dod, John Low, were conveyed to Tyburn; but as the Executioner was about to tye one of them up, there came a Reprieve from the Queen to respite the Execution, which was received by the Prisoners with extraordinary Joy, thankful Acknowledgment, and Protestations of Amendment. Whereupon, being taken out of the Carts, they were brought back with the Ropes about their Necks, and redelivered to the Keepers of Newgate; but a Warrant coming down for the Execution of John Low, Jonathan Hawks and Thomas Effol, they were on Friday the 20th. of June conveyed in a Cart to Tyburn, and there being tyed up, and the Ordinary desiring them to disburthen their Consciences, by freely speaking to, and warning the People, &c.

John Low declared he had been a great Sinner, guilty of many notorious Crimes, for which God had justly brought him to Shame and Punishment; but he was very sorry from the bottom of his Heart that he had not spent his time better, desiring the Spectators to take Warning and Repent whilest they had leasure, not doubting, as he said, that some who heard him might be as bad as himself, and stand in as much need of Repentance. However, he would judge Charitably, as knowing himself to be a very grievous Sinner; yet hoped for Mercy and Pardon in this his last Extremity, and heartily begged their Prayers; and appeared all along very intent upon Devotion, and the good Counsel that was given him. He dyed for breaking the House of Richard Clark of Mile-end, and taking thence Goods of value; he denyed not the Fact.

The Ordinary applying himself to Jonathan Hawks, he confessed he had been a grievous Sinner, guilty of many notorious Crimes, and highly offended God; for which he was exceeding sorry, and repented from the very bottom of his Heart, yet declared that he had not been drawn into this way not above a Twelve-month past, nor followed it above half a Year. For fearing the evil Consequence he went to Sea , yet had not the good Fortune to stay there, but came on Shore, and had been burnt in the hand for a Robbery he committed, but protested he was innocent of the Fact for which he dyed; viz. for Robbing the House of one Anne King of Hampstead, on the 23d. of May, being so far from doing it that he protested, with many Protestations as a dying Man, upon the credit and hope of his Salvation, that he had not been near the Place in a Twelve-month past, but earnestly desired God to forgive those that swore against him, and he with all his Heart forgave them, wishing that they might live to repent of the Wrong they had done; and intreated the Ordinary, when he went that way, to tell Mrs. King that he had no hand in the Robbery, or ever so much as knew of it, till he was apprehended, and that he dyed innocent as to the Fact. He further declared, That he had committed several Robberies, and been a very vitious Liver, for which God had in Justice suffered him to come to this Punishment, desiring all to take Warning, and avoid evil Courses, hoping yet, though he found himself not so well prepared as he ought, to find Mercy through the Merits and Mediation of his blessed Redeemer.

Effol being condemned as Hawks for the Robbery at King's House, having before been burnt in the Hand, declared his Innocency as the other had done, in Relation to that Fact; but acknowledged he had been a very grievous Sinner, and was guilty of Robberies, and all manner of Crimes within his power, Murther excepted; desiring all would take Warning by his untimely end, and live up to a good Conscience and honest Conversation, least they provoked God to give them over to themselves. &c. The Ordinary hereupon proceeded to give them pious Counsel in this their last Extremity, to lay hold of God's Mercy in the Merits of Jesus Christ, and keep their Faith stedfast, that they might not be found Wavering; giving the Spectators an Excellent and very Seasonable Admonition, drawing Inferences from the Misfortune of those poor Wretches about to suffer: Letting them see thereby, what they were like to be if they provoked God to give them over to themselves, in tiring his Patience and Long-suffering.

Then he proceeded to give the Criminals Consolation, by the Prayers of the Church; made them severally acknowledge their Christian Faith according to the Articles of the Apostles Creed, and sung a Psalm, and prayed with them; after that, some of their Friends took their last Farewell. And as the Ordinary was about to give them their Benediction, they all very Earnestly entreated him, that from them as dying Men he would warn their Fellows that were reprieved to repent them of their Sins, and Leave off their evil Courses, least they come to the like untimely end, though they might escape for what they had already done; which he promised effectually to perform. And then having received the Benediction, after they had fervently prayed for themselves a while, the Cart drew away, and left them to the Mercy of their most Merciful Creator. This is the whole Account I can give,

Sam. Smith, Ordinary .

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LONDON, Printed for Langley Curtis at the Sign of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey's Head near Fleet-Bridge. 1690.