Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 17 April 2014), Ordinary of Newgate's Account, August 1754 (OA17540805).

Ordinary's Account, 5th August 1754.

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE' S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, Of the TWO MALEFACTORS, Who were executed at TYBURN, on MONDAY the 05August1754, BEING THE Eighth EXECUTION in the Mayoralty OF THE Right Hon. Thomas Rawlinson, Esq ; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON. Together with an ACCOUNT of Joseph Mills and Thomas Finch, Who were executed 22July1754, for MURDER.

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, Etc.

BY virtue of the King's commission of the peace, Oyer and Terminer, and jail-delivery of Newgate, held before the right honourable Thomas Rawlinson, esq; lord-mayor of the city of London, the lord chief justice Willes, Mr. justice Foster, Mr. justice Burch, William Moreton, esq; recorder , and others of His Majesty's justices of Oyer and Terminer, for the city of London, and jail-delivery of Newgate, for the county of Middlesex, holden at Justice-hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday the 17th, Thursday the 18th, Friday the 19th, Saturday the 20th, and Monday the 22d of July, in the 27th year of His Majesty's Reign, James Barrington, alias Cobley, Ann Lewis, alias Elizabeth Jones, and Mary Smith, were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death accordingly.

At the same sessions, Joseph Mills, and Thomas Finch, also being convicted for murder, received sentence of death immediately after conviction, and were executed on the 22nd of July, pursuant to the late act against murderers.

Before the sessions ended, Ann Lewis, (who was indicted, and tried for forgery in February1752, and had respite of judgment, upon

account the verdict was found special) was called down to the Old Bailey, and then received sentence of death, the point of law, upon which the speciality of the verdict depended, having been determined by the judges against her.

Their behaviour, since sentence passed, has been as became people in their melancholy situation. They daily attended chapel, and seemed to pray heartily and devoutly.

On Wednesday the 31July last, Mr. Recorder made the report of four malefactors to His Majesty, viz. Ann Lewis, Elizabeth Jones, James Cobley, and Mary Smith, when he was pleased to order the two last for execution on Monday the 5th instant, viz. James Cobley, and Mary Smith. At the same time His Majesty was pleased to order execution of Ann Lewis and Elizabeth Jones to be respited 'till his pleasure touching them should further be made known.

1. Joseph Mills was indicted for the wilful murder of Samuel Room. He also was charged on the coroners inquest for the said murder.

2. Robert Finch was indicted for the wilful murder of his wife, by cutting her throat from ear to ear. He stood also charged on the coroners inquest for the said murder.

1. James Cobley was indicted, for that he, on the 09June, about the hour of 11 at night the same day, the dwelling-house of Henry Lintot, esq; did break and enter, and stole out thence 140 volumes in folio of the manuscript journals of the House of Lords, and rolls in parliament, value 100l. and 11 hundred pounds weight of paper, value 7l. a stove grate, a warming-pan, and a harpsichord. The indictment was laid over again for stealing as above out of the dwelling-house.

2. Mary Smith was indicted for stripping Ann Gouge, a child , of its cloaths.

1. Joseph Mills was about 40 years of age, and was born at Pinney, near Bedminster, in Dorsetshire. He was of a good family, and was brought up handsomely, with a pretty tolerable share of education. He was a man of no great parts, had been bred a gardiner , and in that business was exercised both in country and town, 'till a friend and country-man of his got him into the place of turncock of the Thames water-works. In this employ he had been several years, and the person he murdered being a paviour, Mills let him into all the jobs he had interest enough to procure for him,

and there was great intimacy and acquaintance between them.

The following is Mills's own account of this affair under his own hand-writing, viz. "The very day this unhappy misfortune happened, the deceased was walking in the walk in which I was turncock of the water, and he, the paviour, for the company of the London-bridge water-works.

The very afternoon I was drawing of the water-plugs, for the better cleansing of the pipes in the said walk, when I was in Mansell-street, I met with him, where he and his man were mending a leak in the pipe. We past the compliment of the day to each other, and at the same time I begged of him, that he would take great care in mending it, for that place had cost the company a great deal already, besides that those whom the pipe served had expressed great anger, that it was so often faulty; upon which he said, that he would take care. He said also he wanted a knife to sharpen a spile to mend it with, and asked for mine; I put my hand into my pocket, and said, "Look, here is the sheath, but I "have left my knife at home." However, they mended it somehow, and I walked away, and he followed me to Little Ayloffe-street. There I drawed more plugs; having done which, he asked me which way I was going, and whether I had almost done? I answered, I thought I should not be longe'er I went home. Coming by the Rose and Crown, he asked me if I was for drinking; I said I did not much care: however, we went in, and he called for a pot of beer, which we drank, and I left him there, as I was going to Aldgate to draw another plug; I did so, and going afterwards by Mr. W-t's, his man stood at the door, and asked me in. Having drawn the plugs, I went in and drank with him, and staid till the water was cleansed. As I went out of the shop to put in the plugs again, the deceased came by, and after some talk there I left him, and went home to supper." Here his written account ends; to which he added, that the deceased followed him home, and though both were in liquor, yet he asked Room to drink, and would have sent for more, which his wife not being willing to, and the deceased siding with her in her way of thinking, made him very angry; and, as there had been some secret grudges, arising from jealousy, words passed between them, and Mills took this opportunity for perpetrating this barbarous act for which he suffered; which, if not before thought of,

was, thro' violence of passion, heightened by strong drink, now too soon committed in a most inhuman manner.

The deceased was for going away before, but Mills having locked the door, and put the key in his pocket, prevented him; and as the deceased attempted to take the key out of his coat pocket, Mills drew his knife out of his breeches side pocket, and run it into his belly, so that his guts came out. Murder was cried, and the deceased, and Mills's wife, by violence, threw Mills down, and the deceased fell upon him, to keep him down and prevent further mischief, while the wife opened another door, and upon the cry of murder, another woman came and beheld the shocking scene, of which she gave evidence upon the trial; and added, that upon asking Mills's wife what was the matter, she replied, her husband had kill'd a man.

The poor man, who received such barbarous treatment from Mills, gave the account before he died (how he got his mortal wound in a struggle to get a key from Mills, to open the door and let himself out) to four persons, who appeared on the trial to give evidence. They took it down in writing, nd after consulting about it, left any mistake might be made in what he related to them, as his sad condition caused him to speak in a very low voice, they went to him again, and read their minutes they had taken in his presence, desiring to know whether they had taken his report true. Having read it to him, he said it was true; that by Mills's hand he received his death wound, and in the manner he had rold them. They appeared, as before observed, upon trial, and deposed in substance as follows, viz. The declaration of Samuel Room the person murdered was, that Mills and he had been drinking in company together the best part of the day, and Mills parted with him at Aldgate; that Mills being in liquor he followed him home, and found him with his wife in his own room; that when he entered the room, Mills locked the door upon him, and said, "I'll do for you both, and d-n you, you have insinuated something into my wife's head these three months," and then threw a bottle of water at his wife's head. Room said he strove to get out but could not. Then Mills run the knife into his belly, and left it there; which he pulled out with his own hand; that then, with the assistance of Mills's wife, they got Mills down upon the

ground; and while Room lay upon her husband, the wife opened the back door into another room, and let him out. These words, or to this effect, are positively swore to, by three persons, to be the purport of Room's declaration as to the fact, and certain other strong circumstances sufficiently justified a verdict against him, which was immediately followed by sentence of death, pursuant to the late act.

It being about the time of the sessions in April when this murder was done the time would not permit to collect evidence to try him at that session: at the next sessions upon his motion to put off his trial another sessions, 'twas deferred 'till last sessions.

After conviction, and sentence pass'd, he behaved with all apparent resignation, and repentance, which he said, he had not deferred to be exercised in from the time of his being committed to Newgate, having expected no other than to die for Murder.

In a letter he wrote to his parents, after common compliments past, he says, " As for me, I am "overwhelmed with severe "groaning under the affliction, but still I rely on the infinite goodness of Almighty God, who until now hath preserved me from destruction; and yet I will "conside in him, he being sensible how this sad and melancholy affair happened between us, who had been so great together. Thus far I reflect on my present calamitous condition, not omitting devout and sincere supplications to the great and merciful Redeemer of the world, at whose mighty tribunal I must appear; and, though the thoughts of appearing in a court of human justice strikes a terror to me, knowing my fate must be determined there, yet, with Christian patience, I shall reconcile myself to God's appointment; and if I should receive the terrible sentence of the law, I shall have recourse to the Supreme Being for mercy, he being the fountain of all goodness. I can add no more at present, for my eyes flow with tears, but my blessing to my poor daughter, and respect to all friends, from your unfortunate son,

Joseph Mills."

He seemed to wave all declarations with respect to what could induce him to so vile an act, tho' it was well known jealousy was the unhappy cause. He acknowledged that Samuel Room fell by his hands, for which he thought himself deserving that ignominious death he

was about to suffer. He died resigned, trusting to the infinite mercies of God in Christ.

2. Robert Finch was about 35 years of age, was born in the parish of St. Stephen Colemon-street, London, of family that took care to bring him up in such manner as to fit him for business. He was bound apprentice to a haberdasher of hats , and served his seven years. Afterwards he set up business for himself, and married, having a fortune with his wife, which might have rendered life comfortable to him and family, had industry been a favourite principle of his mind. Besides, he met with some ill treatment, he says, from the family he first married into; and not being of a very settled mind and resolution, suffered himself to be drove into such a way of life, that he broke in trade, and betook himself to sea, where he was on board in the navy for some years in the capacity of captain's clerk . In the general he is said to have behaved well, his qualifications in writing and figures rendering him useful, but at certain times he was not right in his mind, and was obliged to get other assistance to do the business which properly belonged to him. He says he was very well respected in the general by the officers and seamen, but his misfortunes so sensibly touched him, that he was sometimes out of his mind.

When he came on shore, some years ago, he says he married again, and did what he could to get an honest livelihood; but being put into Ludgate for debt, and lying there some time, his friends grew tired of relieving him, and he depended for support on his wife, whom he unfortunately murdered. He says he loved her to distraction, but that fiend of hell, jealousy, had also taken possession of his mind, by which means he was hurried to the atrocious act of murdering her, on whom he owns he chiefly depended for support.

The poor woman (however tardy she might be otherwise) was wont to visit her husband every now and then in Ludgate, nor used to come empty handed; and as she now proposed going abroad, she acquainted her husband with it that unhappy day on which she fell by his hand, impelled by a passion, which, when once entertained, requir's vigilant care to prevent, and guard against the furies by which it is haunted. In what manner she opened her mind to him we could not come at the certainty of, but either the thoughts of losing her, and the reflection that another might have in possession, what he

thought he so dearly loved, worked him up to such a pitch of anger, (which is by some justly defined by the expression of A short madness) as cost them both their lives.

There happened at this interview to be a relation, a nephew to Finch, who he says, upon hearing what words passed between him and his wife, was not wanting to mention some reproachful things of her. This also contributed not a little to heighten his anger and jealousy, and he said to me as he did to others, that had it not been for what was then said, he believed his rage would not have been hurried on to the monstrous act of cowardly and inhumanly butchering the poor woman. He did not endeavour, he said to palliate the atrociousness of his crime by this declaration, because the aggregated guilt of cutting her off in the midst of her sins he was not ignorant of; but was frequently heard to say, he wished his relation had been somewhere else that unhappy day, and not present to interfere in matters that concerned man and wife; as his way of talking tended not to make peace, but rather to widen the breach of their friendship.

As soon as the murder was discovered, the people about the place were much alarmed, and Finch being charged with it, immediately produced the bloody razor, reeking hot from the fatal wound just given; upon which he was secured in order to prevent further mischief, but being locked up, and left alone in a room, he tied himself up twice, intending to hang himself, When the people came about him again, and he recovered from the effects of the rope (the marks of which appeared red upon his neck for a while) being asked how he came to do so rash an act, he replied, no-body could tell the provocations he had to do it; and afterwards frequently said, if it was to do again he would do it, rather than any man should be with his wife. A resolution as rash as it is wicked and surprising to every considerate man!

'Twas on the 23d day of May this fact was done, and he might have been tried at a former sessions when the indictment was found, but upon his motion to defer trial it was granted by the court, and he was tried, and found guilty upon full evidence, last sessions, and received sentence of death accordingly.

He was very ill when tried, insomuch that the court thought proper to indulge him with a chair to sit during trial. After conviction he grew worse, and was almost insensible, thro' the violence of the sever

he laboured under. When sometimes the intermissions of the disorder were, he lamented his sad fate, acknowledging the crime in all its aggravations, and said, he desired rather to die than live, so as he might but be received to mercy hereafter.

Whatever were the provocations that produced this rash act, surely the barbarity of the act exceeded all humanity; and that devil jealousy must quite have overcome the man. That a man should deliberately (as he owned he did) follow the person he thought he loved, into a convenient place, to commit so barbarous an act, as almost to cut off her head with a sharp razor, what account can be given for it! unless that the man was almost changed, and metamorphosed into a devil.

But, as for the plea of lunacy set up for him, there does not appear the least room for it; I mean, from any one that has known him on shore. As the goodness of God is infinite, he professed to die, in hope of mercy thro' Christ.

3. James Cobley, was about 22 years of age, being born, as he says, in the parish of St. James, Clerkenwell. His father (a man of extreme good report and character from all that know him) took care to give him what education was necessary for the way of life he intended him for; and kept him to school till he was about 11 years of age.

About this time an oilman in Fleet-street, being acquainted in the family, was desirous to have this boy for his servant , having taken a liking to him; and consent was given that it should be so.

He was a boy of a very untoward disposition from his infancy, and of a very unlucky genius; though of a sprightly and promising aspect. From whence his master flattered himself to have a good servant in him, as he grew up. But how was he disappointed, when he found, that the unlucky youth, not having been with him above three weeks, had found a way to the till, which he opened, and took out of it some pounds. His master being willing to find out the theif, took some quantity of halfpence, which he marked, and put into the till again. Cobley wanted more money, and his fingers itched at it; so he took an opportunity to open the till once more, and took out the very halfpence which were a trap for him. His master finding they were gone, and suspecting him, upon search found some of those halfpence about him; upon which, after chastising him with a pretty severe beating, he sent him home again. His poor father, thinking to reclaim him, sent him to school again for three years longer, when he arrived at fourteen years of age. And, he was put out apprentice to a vintner , where he played all the rogues tricks that possibly could be played by so young a boy; yet, out

of regard to the father, the master bore with him till he died, which was about three months after Cobley came to him, during which time a silver spoon had been found in his box. His mistress afterwards missing silver spoons, and money out of her till, and making enquiry, he thought a suspicion would arise upon him, according to the old saying, A guilty conscience needs no accuser; so he found himself obliged to run away for fear of going to jail. Now, as he said, he took man upon himself, he went and offered his service at an alehouse , and lived about and in town for three years more.

After this, having for so long time had his own sport, and lived as he list, in all manner of wickedness and debauchery, he took it into his head to return again to his father. He was received, upon promise of being better; and the unhappy father, willing yet to try to save an ungracious son from ruin, after a while got him a place again, and put him out apprentice at a tavern in Chancery-lane. He had not been long there neither, but he began to play his old trick; and several things being missing, he thought it necessary to get off the ground, and was away from his master a week or ten days. But this matter being made up, he was again admitted into his master's service.

However, his itch at all manner of roguery was such, that he could not be easy without keeping himself in practice of it; for he had not return'd long to his service, (about half a year) before, being sent to a gentleman's house in the Temple, with a supper, the gentleman gave him a note to take to his master for some money, which his master sent him back again to the gentleman with. But, the temptation was too strong; and, instead of taking the cash to the gentleman, he took himself away again, and went and hired a lodging in Drury-lane. There he remained till the money was all gone, which was squandered away in all manner of lewdness and debauchery; and then he thought once again of returning to his father. He did so, and received a check or reprimand for his evil courses from his father, who took him home to his master the second time. Methods were taken to have persuaded the master to take him again; but he being persuaded he would never mend upon it, resolved to have no more to do with young Cobley, who, soon after, by agreement of parties, was turn'd over to a wine-cooper .

This, nor any way of living in industry, suited the temper of this unhappy youth; but after a short space he took occasion to disagree with his master, run away from him, and went to his father. When he came there, he had invented a device whereby to impose on him; which was this; vz. Instead of telling him he had left his new master, he pretended that he was come of an errand from him. He said his master was out of money, and had sent to tell him he would be glad of three guineas. The father little thinking of his roguery let him have the money; and the next day he went to sea. He went out a voyage to New-foundland,

cooper of the ship ; was abroad about twelve months, and returned, he says, about Easter last.

What he got for the year's voyage was spent in as idle a manner as he had done before what he had gotten in a more easy unjustifiable way. The, not knowing what to do for more to support his dissolute way of life, he thought of laying a project, and resolved to break and enter the house of his former master in Chancery-lane. Knowing the avenues of the house, he was not afraid to venture by himself, that he might not be at the mercy of any one else to betray him. Accordingly, as he reported of himself, he took an opportunity, and stole out of the house two watches, two pair of silver buckles, and wearing-apparel to the amount of ten guineas, as he sold them. The next day he went to Rag-Fair to fell the cloaths; which he did; and, as he was returning along the Minories, he says, he met two servants belonging to the house he had robbed, going towards Rag-Fair, to see if they could see or meet with any one selling their cloaths. He says they were glad to see him, not suspecting what he had been doing, and that they drank together. During the time of their being together, they acquainted him with their misfortune, which he very artfully dissembled, and pretended great sorrow for their loss. Thus had he run such lengths in iniquitous practices, that he scarce knew which way to turn himself. Abandon'd and confounded, what should he do! To go home to his abused father he had no more the assurance to do, being persuaded in himself he had already done enough to incense him, and could expect no more his favour or service. However, that he might be near home, he took him a lodging at a public house in Cold-bath fields, near to where his father lived, and took upon him the name of Barrington. The landlord having cause of suspicion given him, that he was not what he pretended to be discharged him his house, and suffered him to be no more there. Whether he became acquainted with the two persons, he said were concerned with him, and led him into the secret for which he suffered, while he was in Cold-bath-fields, or after, I don't particularly remember; but their acquaintance was not so very short as he once pretended upon his defence. It was not a sudden meeting at an alehouse; but he says, he had known them about three months before he was taken up for the fact, which was only six weeks in bringing about and finishing. They visited the chambers from time to time, during six weeks, he says and never met with any interruption. The whole 140 volumes, besides waste paper, sold for 7l. and no appearance of anybody to put a stop to their proceedings.

Being drove from his lodgings in Cold-bath-fields, he took another at a stocking-shop in Salisbury court, Fleet-street, more convenient for attendance upon the scheme he had now entered into. He lodged there three or four nights, but during that short time lodged a harpsichord there, which was

stole out of the chambers the volumes, Etc. were taken out of the Temple, which was found there upon search, and owned by Mr. Lintot.

The account he gave of the matter was, that he met two men, John Weld, and Martin Taylor, he says were their names. They shewed him, he says, the way to the chambers, and went two or three times with him; and one time, he says, they were in the stair-case when a porter was carrying away some of the goods, when, to put a gloss upon the matter, one of them called out, Who is there? Cobley made answer, Sir, it is I; so the man thought it was all right, and went away quietly with his load, not suspecting any harm.

Whether this was true or not, we won't pretend to say, having only his authority for it. However it were, he managed the whole affair, sent away all the goods, and at different times received all the money for the several parcels delivered.

The robbery was some time talked of before the robber was found out, and the discovery was merely accidental, if not providential. A person, who had been used to books, and knew somewhat of the value, going to a cheesemonger in the Fleet-market, with whom he dealt, saw a parcel of books piled one upon another, which he thought appeared too good for waste paper. Upon enquiry he found they were valuable books, and advised the method by which the thief was detected. Cobley (as if his fate was determined) still continued his walks through the market. As he passed through one day, he was known, and being apprehended, was taken before the lord-mayor, There proper evidence appearing before his lordship, Cobley owned the fact, and was committed for the same.

He did not offer to say any thing tending to deny the robbery. When he was tried upon the indictment, he only pretended that he was seduced by the two persons (whom he then declared to have meet at the Gentleman and Porter in Fleet-street) to commit the robbery.

After conviction he seemed very uneasy, between hope and fear. Having great expectation from the interest made to save his life, he was the more staggered, when he found himself included in the warrant for execution; nor did his expectations of reprieve scarce leave him, 'till the day before execution; but when he came to think all hopes were gone, he expressed himself in terms, that he had rather die now than live any longer, as he might not always have so much time to prepare for another world, as now he thought he had.

4. Mary Smith, was about nineteen years of age, and says she was born in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, Her parents being not of themselves able to give her any education, she was put to St. George's school, Queen's Square, where she learned to read, and was at fifteen years of age put out to service . She says she has been in several place since, but staid long in

no one, which seemed to carry with it a suspicion of her behaviour. She says she had been out of place but three months, when she was tempted to the wicked practices for which she lost her life.

The fact was, she pick'd up a child near King-street, Westminster, and carried it into an empty house, where she stripped it of all its cloaths, and left it. Being observed to go in with the child, and come out with some things in her apron, she was asked, What she had there? and what was become of the child? But, she would give no account of what she had in her apron, and disowned leading the child into the house. But, being stopped, and forced to produce the child, she brought it out of a closet, where she had shut it in, with only a flannel petticoat about it. The people took the things, and dressed the child; after which they got an officer, who carried her before a justice, where she said, she had no design to return to the poor infant, of only three years old; and she was thereupon committed.

She was also charged on suspicion of stripping Anne Robinson, an infant, of all its cloaths, and taking them away.

A third time she was charged on suspicion of stripping Anne Grant, an infant, of a quantity of apparel, and leaving it naked in a bog-house.

All these she acknowledged, and said, she had been very wicked in these exploits; being acquainted with a woman whose name was Brown, whom she had known about three months, since she had been out of place.

The fact of stripping Ann Gouge was plainly proved against her; nor had she any thing to say to excuse herself; nor had anybody to appear to her character. She acknowledged the justice of her suffering; seemed to behave in a very penitent manner, being sensible of the cruelty of such behaviour to infants that could not help themselves, and died resigned to her fate.

At the Place of EXECUTION.

ON Monday the 5th infant, about ten o'clock in the morning, James Cobley and Mary Smith were put into a cart, and carried to the place of execution. They passed some time there in prayer to God to be merciful, and to forgive them their offences. Cobley repeated a psalm of confession and supplication, which having ended, the care drew away, as they called on the Lord, and Jesus Christ, to receive them. Their bodies were delivered to their friends.

But those of Mills and Finch were, after execution, carried directly to Surgeon's-hall in the Old-Bailey.

This is all the Account given by me,


Ordinary of Newgate .