Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 26 June 2016), Ordinary of Newgate's Account, July 1755 (OA17550728).

Ordinary's Account, 28th July 1755.

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 28July1755, BEING THE Fourth EXECUTION in the Mayoralty OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE STEPHEN THEODORE JANSSEN, Esq ; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

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 Stephen Theodore Janssen, esq; lord-mayor of the city of London, lord chief baron Parker, Mr. justice Clive, Mr. justice Wilmot, William Moreton, esq ; recorder , and others of His Majesty's justices of Oyer and Terminer, for the city of London, and justices of jail-delivery for the county of Middlesex, held at Justice-hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday the 2d, Thursday 3d, Friday 4th, and Saturday 5th of July, in the 29th year of His Majesty's reign, John Dailey, otherwise Peterson, otherwise Walter Gahagan, Thomas Scott, Mary Smith, John Sibthorp, James Bignal otherwise John Morgan, Barnaby Horn, otherwise Horan, having been capitally convicted, received sentence of death accordingly.

Daily, Scott, and Horn, otherwise Horan, were Irish Roman Catholicks , and were attended by a priest, who constantly attends the unhappy, brought up in that way of religion: the other three attended the prayers of the church of England, Etc. daily, and seemed to

pray earnestly and devoutly, as sensible how much their sins stood in need of pardon from heaven.

The behaviour of them all was decent in the general, as persons sensible of their unhappy circumstances.

On Tuesday the 22d instant, William Moreton, esq; recorder of London, made the report of six malefactors to the lords of the regency, when their lordships were pleased to order John Sibthorp, James Bignal, otherwise John Morgan, and Barnaby Horn, otherwise Horan, for execution, on Monday the 28th instant. And.

At the same time, their lordships were pleased to order Mary Smith, John Dailey, otherwise Peterson, otherwise Walter Gahagen, capitally convicted in September sessions 1753, and Thomas Scott, capitally convicted in June session, 1752, both for forging seamens wills, to be respited, till their lordships pleasure touching them should be farther known.

1. John Sibthorp was indicted for stealing one bay gelding, value 8l. the property of Roger Atwood.

2. James Bignal, alias John Morgan, was indicted for returning from transportation before his time.

3. Barnaby Horn, otherwise Horan, was indicted for theat he, being a subject of Great-Britain, on the 13August, in the 26th year of His Majesty's reign, with force and arms, did procure Alexander Plunket, being at that time a subject of our sovereign lord the King, to enlist and enter himself in the French king's service, as a soldier , he being a foreign prince, without leave or license first obtained.

He was charged a second time, for unlawfully detaining him, the said Plunket, with intent to cause him to enlist, or enter into the service of the French king.

He was charged a third time, for that he did feloniously procure the said Plunket to embark on board a certain ship or vessel, with intent to be inlisted to serve the French king as a soldier.

On Monday, about nine o'clock, the day fixed for his execution, a respite was brought to the keeper of Newgate for Barnaby Horn, just as he was going out of the press-yard to the cart; and his irons, which had been knocked off, were again put on, and after drinking a glass of wine and water,

which he desired, to help him to recover the hurry of spirits which the joyful news had thrown him into, the again retired to his cell.

1. John Sibthorp says he was born in the parish of Walton, in Buckinghamshire; that he was about 24 years of age; and that he was born of parents who lived in a reputable manner in that parish, and brought him up in a manner agreeable to their station in life, tho' he has unhappily abused all their care and tenderness. After learning to read and write at the best school that neighbourhood afforded, he was employed upon the family-estate at husbandry and agriculture, and, as occasion offered, was made acquainted with the nature of the farming business.

When he was about 14 years of age, he says, he was placed out in a gentleman's service , in the parish where he was born, to do all such work as he was acquainted with, but especially to look after his master's horses . As his father, among other things, was a dealer in horses, the unhappy youth took most delight to be in the stable employment, and gave his mind so much that way, that he became very well respected for the care he always shewed in his service, and lived in this place about six years.

His father died about seven years ago, he says, and left him some small fortune, the profits of which for a while he received, and afterwards, sold the estate. Having got master of some money, he took a little bargain of a farm, he says, about 30l. per Annum, and began to deal for himself. He had not however, knowledge enough of the world to stand upon his own bottom: instead of looking properly after his new employment, he was too much inclined to deal in horses , which took up all his time, in going about to fairs, to buy and sell for himself or others, and his little farm being neglected it would not keep itself, to an end was soon put to what his father had bequeathed him.

After this, he says, he lived with several horse-dealers in town and country, and was looked upon as good judge of a horse. He knew their properties, and how to buy and sell, or make for a market: but unfortunately, he says, having made one slip in horse-dealing; he never after could recover it; which, he said, was in substance as follows:

Being now accustomed to be sometimes in his native country, and sometimes in town, there hap-

pened an opportunity to be recommended to live with one Mr. Bell in Cow-cross, who also dealt in horses. This person intrusted him, upon a time. (upwards of 12 months ago) with a horse to sell in Smithfield, which he sold, and run away with the money.

The story he told thus: that he took the horse into Smithfield market one day, and sold him for found: and, tho' he was of no great value, yet forasmuch as the purchaser discovered the fallacy before he left the filed, that he was imposed upon with a blind horse, he was willing to right himself. After a little enquiry Sibthorp was found to be the person who had imposed on the purchaser, who took him into a house in Smithfield, in order to have him before a justice of the peace for a cheat, but Sibthorp found means to escape out of a window, and away he took himself. Whether that was the truth of the matter or no, thus he represented it. He acknowledged however the selling the horse, and running away with the money.

After this exploit he went directly home to Walton he says, and, after some days stay there, he got himself recommended to be servant to a dealer at Tame in Oxfordshire, where he lived some months, and behaved so in his business as to gain respect, but at last two young men, he says, of his native country came to see him, and, after drinking heartily together, perswaded him to go with them to a place which he called Whatton, about 8 miles from where he was born. He consented and went, and staid about a fortnight with them, in which time they opened to him their mind. They told him they wanted his assistance and judgment, to go to fairs with them to buy up horses: and, in a short time after, let him into the secret of their intention also to steal. He says, since they came together, which was about two months before he was taken up, they had stolen four horses, one of which only was stolen by himself, viz. that for which he suffered, though he denies not but that he was accessary to stealing the other three also. And, he says, he is informed the other two companions are in custody for horse-stealing.

He says, he, and his two companions, went from Whatton in Buckinghamshire, to a fair that was kept in June last, at Aimsbury in the western part of Hampshire, where they did not business, either honestly or otherwise, only they drank, and revelled, and squandered away what little money they had at any rate. When they were upon their return money grew scan-

ty, and, in a field near Basingstoke, he took an opportunity to steal the bay gelding, for which he suffered.

Then he made directly for his own parish of Walton, but left the gelding by the way, before he went home to his mother, left enquiry might be made how he came by him. He staid 2 or 3 days with her, and got what he could, and then went and took the gelding from the place where he had left him, and set out for London, and, before the gelding had been stolen a week, here he arrived, with intent to dispose of him the first opportunity.

Unluckily he came to a quarter of the town which he should rather have avoided. His quondam master in Cow-cross, whose horse he had sold, and run away with the money, saw him in the neighbourhood of the Cross-keys, where he had put up his lately stolen bay gelding, soon after his coming to town, and had him committed to Clerkenwell-Bridewell, for the old offence, where the prosecutor for the bay gelding stolen from Basingstoke found him, upon coming to town to seek after him.

There he immediately owned the fact upon being charged with it. And tho', afterwards upon trial, he endeavoured to frame an excuse, 'twas only vain and frivolous, and the jury gave such credit to the evidence against him, and his own confession, as to bring in their verdict against him, which declared him guilty.

He has behaved very agreeable to the unhappy circumstances. Since conviction it pleased god to afflict him sorely with sickness, which for some time deprived him of his senses, but, coming to himself again, he was sensible of having deserved the fate he suffered and had hope that upon contrition and hearty acknowledgement of this and other his errors past, God would be merciful unto him, and forgive him for Christ sake, on whom alone he had learned to depend for salvation in the world to come.

2. James Bignel, otherwise John Morgan, was born in the parish of St. George, Southwark, and, at the time of his execution, was about 36 years of age; his parents were but in slender circumstances, nevertheless they took all the care of their son, that their condition in life would admit of: but the perverseness of his disposition, which he acknowledges to have been manifest in his infancy, frustrated all their well-intended endeavours. By the interest of some friends be was get into the parish school, where, instead of profiting by the wholesome

instructions offered to him, he wholly addicted himself to idleness, insomuch that, according to his own confession, for one days attendance, he was absent three; the deserved correction he frequently met with on these occasions were far from having their wish'd-for effect; he grew daily more and more profligate, 'till at last, for fear the contagion of his example should infect the other boys, it was thought not only prudent but necessary to turn him out of the school.

Having thus lost opportunity of instruction, and consequent advantage of being brought up to some business whereby he might have earned an honest livelihood, he abandoned himself intirely to the indulgence of his own vicious inclinations. He was not long before he met with companions agreeable to his wicked disposition, and soon found other preceptors, but of a vert different kind; by these he was early initiated in the mysteries of ungodliness, to which, as has been already observed, he had a natural propensity, and he, who would be at no pains for the attainment of useful knowledge, was so industrious and apt a learner in the school of mischief that he soon become a surprizing proficient in all the arts of cunning and deceit, and was, in a very short time, considered by the sharping fraternity as one of their most useful and most profitable members.

His dexterity in picking pockets was conspicuous before he arrived at fourteen years of age: however at this time he had some friends left who were still sollicitous for his well-fare, and used the utmost endeavours to withdraw him from the bad company, and wicked practices, in which he was engaged. They. when perswasion had proved ineffectual, in order to secure him from the censure of justice, to which he had long rendered himself obnoxious, contrived to send him on board one of the men of war in the fleet that was sent to Lisbon, and continued near twelve months in the Tagus, under the command of the late Sir John Norris.

upon the return of that fleet to England, Bignal was discharged, nor had absence in the least altered his disposition, he soon rejoined such of his companions as had escaped the vengeance of the law, and now thinking himself equal to more daring exploits than picking of pockets, he commenced shoplifter; but it was not long before justice overtook him, he was detected in robbing Messrs. Charles Wall and John Stanton, of forty-

one silk handkerchiefs, in their dwelling-house, for which he was tried at the Old-Bailey, in July1739, and being found guilty, was sentenced to seven years banishment; and accordingly was soon after transported to Maryland, where he continued his appointed time.

How, or in what manner, he behaved during his exile is not known; however, we may believe he did not live greatly to his liking. Labour had never been agreeable to him and he was obliged to submit there to more than a little. No sooner was his time of servitude expired, than he took the first opportunity to embark for his return; and being somewhat of a seaman , he had the good luck to be taken on board a homeward-bound ship for the run to England, and received the customary wages.

War having been declared against Spain, on the arrival of the ship in the channel, he, with several others, was pressed, and carried on board the Mermaid man of war; in which ship, he says he continued, till the conclusion of the peace. Her station, during all the time he was on board, was to cruize in the channel, nor did she make a voyage, except once to carry an express to Sir Peter Warren, then at Madeira. The war being at an end, the ship was put out of commission, when he, among the rest that were discharged, came once more to London.

However, his punishment, and the hardships he had undergone, wrought no amendment in him; the seeds of wickedness were too deeply implanted in his heart to be easily eradicated.He contracted a new acquaintance with the most distinguished gamblers, and was a partner with them, nay very often a principal actor, in most of their destructive schemes to impose on the unwary. Money, he says, they got enough, but always found ways and means enough to spend it; wine and women soon consumed their ill-gotten gains.

Bignal's appetite for pleasure was isatiable, in consequence whereof his expences were extravagant; this kept his invention always at work for the gratification of his irregular passions. Numberless were the schemes he employed for this purpose; one day he appeared the fine gentleman, (so far as a gaudy dress might give him a title to this denomination) under which semblance he would go and look at genteel lodgings, with a view of taking any thing that fell in his way, or in hopes

of defrauding some credulous tradesman: on another, he assumed the sober man of business, whereby he has obtained credit for what he never intended to pay; and was sometimes (indeed frequently) to be seen with a blue apron, or a postilion's frock, or a sailor's jacket and trowsers, attending an orange-barrow, in the out-skirts of the town, watching his opportunity to trick some heedless youth (by getting him into play) out of his watch; or some ignorant countryman out of his money. In short, no artifice capable of being put in practice, escaped him. To use his own expression, To give an account of all the thefts he has conmitted, or the various frauds he has been concerned in, would employ, more time than has intervened since his last commitment to Newgate, to the time of his execution.

In this manner, attempting to deceive every one who put it in his power, he lived, form the time of his discharge from the man of war, before-mentioned, till the twenty first day of May 1753, when he went to one Mr. William Smith, a hatter , at Limehouse, of whom he bespoke a hat, and desired him to make him one of his best. After which he asked for a queen Ann's half-guinea for a gentleman who was going abroad, and had desired him to get him one. The honest man, little thinking what sort of a customer he had got, readily put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out what money he had there (having just received some, of which he had taken a particular account) to look for one; Bignal immediately put his hand into Mr. Smith's, and cried, here is one. The latter drew his hand back, and when he again put it forwards, to look more carefully, the former repeated the same action three times. Mr. Smith's daughter said she would go up stairs and see for one herself, and accordingly brought down a queen Ann's half-guinea; but Bignal said that would not do, it was too much defaced, and immediately took his leave.

Soon after his departure Mr. Smith looking over his money, presently missed three guineas and one eighteen-shilling-piece; Bignal was forthwith pursued and brought back: the money was found upon him, and he was committed and tried for this offence in the September sessions 1753, being the mayoralty of Sir Crisp Gascoyne, when he was again ordered for transportation. He did not want witnesses to the support of his character, and, on his defence,

it was pretended he was an officer belonging to Whitechaple court.

Bignal once more, in pursuance of his sentence, set out on his travels to America, and arrived safe at his destined port, but did not choose to make any long abode there. His pretence for returning was, that the air of the country did not agree so well with him then, as it had before; but the more probable reason was, that having been so long used to a life of pleasure, as he thought it, he grew less patient of labour, and servitude was become more irksome to him. Be that as it will, he found means to come back to England, where he has been upwards of twelve months undiscovered, at least unnoticed, tho' he appeared publickly among his old companions. The only caution he seems to have taken for his security, was the assuming the name of John Morgan.

This unhappy wretch was so far from entertaining any thoughts of reformation, that he immediately had recourse to his old tricks, and practised them in various shapes, generally with success; but whatever profits he made were as idly dissipated as they were wickedly obtained. His last attempt was upon Mr. Turner, who keeps a china-shop in St. James's-Street; the circumstances of this fact were as follows.

Bignal had heard that Mr. Turner generally kept a pretty deal of cash by him, and consequently he thought him a proper subject to exercise his dexterity on; accordingly on the 9th day of last June he went to Mr. Turner's shop, under pretence of buying some chinatoys, and asked for a pair of little pug-dogs, as play-things for his children. Several were produced, none pleased him, except an odd one, which he fixt upon, and gave directions to have a pair made, exactly to that pattern; at the same time saying he would call for them another day. He then desired silver for a guinea; and afterwards begged the favour of Mr. Turner to look him out a king Charles's guinea in exchange for another. Mr. Turner, thoughtlessly, turned all his money out of the bag upon the compter, whereby Bignal had the conveniency of tumbling over the whole, under colour of looking for such a guinea as he had asked for. It is not to be presumed our experienced sharper would let slip so fair an opportunity : he managed so dextrously, that he contrived to secrete eighteen guineas, and was marching off with them, when they were missed by Mr. Turner; who immediately went after him, and secured him just as he had got without-side the door.

From hence Bignal was conveyed in safe custody to the worshipful John Fielding's house. In his way thither he offered Mr. Turner three guineas to release him, which that gentleman honestly refused; being brought before the above-named worthy magistrate , he was presently known by some of the people attending there, and was instantly charged with returning from transportation before the expiration of the time appointed by law; upon which he was committed to Newgate, and at the last sessions tried for that offence, and convicted upon the clearest evidence of his being the identical person, transported for the robbery of Mr. Smith (as is above related) in the mayoralty of Sir Crisp Gascoyne, Knt.

With respect to his behaviour, since his confinement, he in general demeaned himself decently: being so old, and so knowing an offender, it was thought adviseable to keep him under a more particular strict custody: at this indeed he would sometimes murmur, but never was noisy, or unruly. What seemed to give him the most uneasiness, was the desertion of those whom he thought his friends, by which he really meant his partners in iniquity: of some of them of both sexes he would often complain grievously, for totally neglecting him in his distress, after their many professions of fondness for him. Little did this unhappily deluded wretch consider that friendships, founded on a dishonest basis, continue no longer than while they are necessary to serve their intended purposes.

But, notwithstanding he looked upon himself as very ill treated by his companions, he would not be prevailed on to mention any of their names; no! he insisted he had more honour (what a strange prostitution of the word!) than to do or say any thing whereby they might be called in question; and he particularly declared that the person who was with him at Mr. Turner's had never been in his company before. He was not more explicit with regard to the robberies and other crimes he had been guilty of. When talked to upon that head, he always declin'd entering into particulars, but acknowledged in general that they were very numerous, that he had deserved on him, and that the sentence under which he then lay was perfectly just, and that he had merited the same many years before.

After his condemnation he behaved at first with a great deal of serenity, and seeming resignation,

and expressed many evident marks of contrition and repentance, in which charity teaches us to hope he was sincere: but as the hour of his fate approached still nearer, he was seized with all the horrors of despair. He manifested a great diffidence with relation to the number and heinousness of his manifold offences, and was not, without great difficulty, induced to believe even a possibility of forgiveness of notorious and profligate a finner. But when he was informed of the infinite goodness of the One Almighty, of the gracious promises of salvation thro' the merits of Christ Jesus, and that though his sins had rendered him black as the AEthiopian, yet the Divine Mercy could make him white as snow, (subjects to which he had hitherto been an entire stranger, having scare ever in his life called on the name on God but to prophane it) he began to conceive some glimmering hopes, yet still mixed with doubts, till about three or four days before he died; when he became more tranquil and easy in his mind, frequently declaring his sorrow for his past sins, hoping his punishment and repentance would contribute to expiate his crimes, and solemnly expressing his absolute reliance on the Saviour of the world for his future happiness.

This poor misguided creature left behind him some unfinished papers, which seem to have been intended for the admonition of either some particular person, or for general advice. In these he expresses his hope, that his unhappy fate may serve as a caution against engaging with wicked company; he acknowledges his life no more than a just sacrifice to the salutary laws of his country, which he has so often and so atrociously offended. His ruin he principally imputes to his acquaintance with a set of people, distinguished by the honourable appellation of Thief-catchers, several of whom he has mentioned by name.

These people, (some of whom make a remarkable appearence in the records of the Old-Bailey) he says, not only encouraged him in his wicked practices, but they also so frequently partook of the profits he drew from those practices; and as long as he was able to supply their demands, he remained unmolefted; nay if accidentally he was brought into any danger, they were sure to assist him with evidences, of which they are always furnished with a sufficient num-

ber, ready to swear any thing, without the least regard to truth, whether it may be for the saving or convicting an offender: he describes many of their methods, whereby they seduce the unwary, and asserts, that even innocence cannot be always secure against their machinations.

How far what he has advanced is true, is not for me to determine; nevertheless, a late transaction is far from giving the lye to his assertions. That there has been a set of persons, who have made it their business to live by the price of blood, is but too certainly known: it is possible that these fort of people may have been in some instances useful; but is it not a reproach to the political economy of this great metropolis, that they should ever be thought necessary?

At the Place of EXECUTION.

ON Monday, 28th of July, between nine and ten o'clock in the morning, John Sibthorp and James Bignal were carried, in one cart, through a great number of spectators from Newgate to the place of execution; where they were not long before they were tied up to the fatal tree.

After sometime being spent in prayer, and recommending their souls to the protection and mercy of the Almighty, their caps were pulled over their faces, and the cart drew from under them, while they called on the Lord Jesus to receive their souls.

This is all the Account given by me,


Ordinary of Newgate .