Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 22 December 2014), Ordinary of Newgate's Account, February 1765 (OA17650213).

Ordinary's Account, 13th February 1765.

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, OF FOUR MALEFACTORS, VIZ.

Matthew James, Edward Williams, John Rouson, and John Ward, Who were executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1765.

BEING THE Third Execution in the MAYORALTY OF THE Right Hon. Sir William Stevenson, Knt.

LORD-MAYOR of the City of LONDON .

NUMBER II. for the said Year.

LONDON:

Printed for M. LEWIS, in Paternoster-Row, and sold by all Booksellers and News-Carriers. [Pr. 6d.

THE Ordinary of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, &c.

BY virtue of the king's commission of the peace, oyer and terminer, and goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the city of London and county of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, before the Rt. Honourable Sir William Stephenson, Knt. lord-mayor of the city of London ; Sir Thomas Parker, Knt. lord chief baron of his majesty's court of Exchequer ; Sir Edward Clive, Knt. one of the judges of the court of Common-Pleas ; George Perrott, Esq. one of the barons of the Exchequer ; Jame Eyre, Esq. Recorder ; and others of his majesty's justices of oyer and terminer of the city of London, and justices of goal-delivery of Newgate, holden for the said city and county of Middlesex, on Wednesday the 16th, Thursday the 17th, Friday the 18th, and Saturday the 19th of January, in the fifth year of his majesty's reign, seven persons were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death for their several crimes in their indictments, viz.

Matthew James, Edward Williams, John Rouson, John Robinson, John Ward, Richard Deale, and John Sullivan.

On Wednesday the 6th of February, 1765, the report of the said malefactors was made to his majesty by Mr. Recorder. Four of them were ordered for execution on Wednesday, February the 13th, viz.

Matthew James, Edward Williams, John Rouson, and John Ward. - John Robinson for house-breaking, John Sullivan for stealing two guineas, the property of John-Charles Teircher, and Richard Deale for stealing a black gelding, were respited.

1. Matthew James was indicted for feloniously forging a bill of exchange, purporting to bear date at Hull, September the 15th, 1764, and to have been drawn by Robert Thorley, Christopher Thorley, and William King, merchants and partners , directed to Mess. Rumbolt and Walker, merchants, in Liverpool, for the payment of 40l. 12s. to the order of James Holmes; and for publishing the same, knowing it to have been forged and counterfeited, with intent to defraud William Taylor, and also to defraud Mess. Thorleys and King, October 17.

He was indicted at the sessions in December last, for forging a counterfeit bill of exchange for the Payment of 30l. in words and figures following:

" Liverpool, August 16, 1764.

"At one month pay this first bill of exchange, to the order of " John Hall, the sum of 30l. value received in cash, which place "to account, as per advice,

" Richard Scott.

"To mess. Thomas and William Croft, "merchants in London.

"Accepted Sept. 3. William Croft.

On the back " John Hall and Robert Sconswer."

And for publishing the same knowing it to be forged, with intention to defraud Ralph Fenwicks, Sept. 11. Of this indictment he was acquitted.

Matthew James, commonly called Captain James, was born of very reputable and religious parents, who constantly attended their church, and brought him up in the same manner, teaching him that to fear God and to depart from evil, was the only way to be happy in time and in eternity. As he afterwards found, by woful experience, that the neglect of the good instructions given him by his parents, had brought him into great trouble in this world, and likewise to a shameful and ignominious death. He had a very liberal education: As he grew up he seemed inclined to go to sea, and therefore was taught every thing necessary to fit him for an able seaman . When he was of proper age he went to sea and behaved very well. He was sometime mate of a merchant-ship, and had a very good character. He married a wife, by whom he had several children. After some time his brother and he bought two ships between them, one of which he commanded, and went through many hardships. He was near 25 years of age. He was of a very lively disposition, which made many that saw him, while under sentence of death, conclude, by his behaviour, that he had no thoughts of a future state; but when I spoke to him in private, and laboured to impress upon his conscience, the certainty of a judgment to come, and the punishment that would be inflicted upon those that died impenitent, he wept bitterly, and said, Though he was of a chearful disposition, yet when he was alone he seriously reflected upon that unalterable state he was so soon to enter upon, and that this made him earnestly cry to God to have mercy upon his immortal soul. He said he had no earthly concern but the disgrace he had brought upon his family, and the distress his dear wife, and children, and mother, were in on his account. He declared the first cause of his ruin was, a disregard of the good instructions

given him, and particularly the neglect of prayer, both public and private. "O sir! said he, if men did but fear God and worship him, they would be happy in this world and in that which is to come: by neglecting of this I have been led from one sin to another, till at last I married a second wife, though I had a modest one at that time living. My second wife, together with her mother, was the cause of my ruin; for not having money to supply their extravagancies, they first put me upon forging. I forged several bills of exchange upon merchants that I knew, and at last that for which I am to suffer." He owned himself to be guilty of forging the bill that he was tried for the sessions before last.

The Sunday before he suffered he received the holy sacrament, and behaved in a very decent manner. He desired all young men to take warning by him, and not keep bad company, but to fear God and walk in the ways of his commandments, if they would escape misery in time and eternity. He constantly flattered himself with the hopes of a reprieve, and said, his interest was so great, that if he was not reprieved he believed no one ever would. May God grant he may be a warning to all others, to deter them from that vile practice for which he suffered, and for which many have suffered within these few years last past!

2. Edward Williams was indicted for that he on the 17th of of December, about the hour of two in the night, the dwelling-house of Ralph Verney, Esq. commonly called earl Verney, of the kingdom of Ireland, did break and enter, and stealing one silver cup, val. 20s. one silver spoon, val. 20s. six silver plates, val. 12l. three silver chocolate-stands, val. 30s. six silver teaspoons, val. 12s. three silver table-spoons, three silver saucepans, one silver cream-jug, and a silver boat, the property of the said earl. There were five other indictments against him this sessions.

Edward Williams was born of very poor parents, who gave him no education. He was not brought up to any business, and declared, he was a thief from his youth. He afterwards became so expert in house-breaking, that he said, There was no house but he could get into it, either at the top or the bottom.

While he was under sentence of death he behaved very penitent, and day and night cried earnestly to God to have mercy upon his soul, and pardon his sins. He said, he believed he had more sins to answer for than all the men in the world. He made a free and open confession of all the robberies that he had committed which he could remember. The following he desired might be made public, after his decease, for the clearing the innocent, and the satisfaction of those he had robbed. He declared he never was tried upon any indictment but he was guilty of the robberies. He particularly desired me to mention that of Sir John Dykes, in Kent; which was done in the following manner:

The house being moted round, and the boat at the farther side of the mote, he did not know how to get over; but at last, finding two ladders at a hay-rick and some ropes, which he carried to the side of the mote, he fastened a rope to the top of the longest ladder, and then with the assistance of the rope he let the end of the ladder gently down upon the side of the boat, and then went with the other ladder into the boat, and set it in the boat to get over the wall into the garden, and from thence he got into the house. The things that he got out of this house he sold to Abraham Levi. He declared he had no accomplices in this robbery.

He, in company with one Morgan, (brother to the noted Morgan who lately broke out of Newgate) and Gregory Wilkinson, since transported, did break open the duke of Devonshire's house. Morgan and Williams went over the wall, and Wilkinson watched at the outside. When they were got over the wall, there was

a tame deer came running to them. Morgan wounded it. They then got down into the area, and afterwards into the kitchen, where they saw a man sitting asleep by the fire; but this did not deter them from proceeding. They could not find any thing of value, but shirts and linen, a large quantity of which they carried off and sold to Seamphy a Jew, who has been since transported.

Stephenson, Morgan and Williams, also robbed a silversmith's shop, near Cripplegate. They went across the churchyard, and Stephenson danced over his father's grave. They then got into the back part of the house, and let themselves out at the door. Williams could not remember whether they sold the things they took from the shop to Seamphy or Levi.

They afterwards broke open a house in New Bridge-street-buildings, from which they took a considerable quantity of linen, which they disposed of to Seamphy the Jew..

Williams and Stephenson robbed a gentleman's house at Eltham, in Kent; from thence they took several things, which they sold to Seamphy the Jew; they also took a fowling-piece, which Stevenson cut into two, to make it more portable. This piece Williams afterwards left under a bridge, with a hanger, when he was pursued, either near Enfield or Hounslow, I cannot particularly tell which.

Williams, in company with another person, robbed another house at Eltham, of a quantity of plate, which they disposed of to one of the Jews.

As for the robbery of the house in Doctors-Commons and Crag's-Court, he said, he could not remember whether he did rob them or not; for having broke open so many houses, he could not particularly remember half of them.

Williams and Stephenson robbed a pawn-broker's shop in Nightingal-Lane; they took away a quantity of silver watches, buckles, and other goods.

Williams, together with Morgan, robbed a pawn-broker's shop in Barbican; they cut one of the pannels out of the window-shutter: when the watchman was going his rounds, they daubed the place they had begun to cut with mud, that he might not see it. At last they got in; but what goods they took away Williams could not certainly tell; they were sold to Levi the Jew.

Williams and Stephenson broke into a linen-draper's shop at Greenwich, and took a large quantity of things, which they sold to the Jew.

Most of Williams's accomplices being hanged or transported, he determined to rob by himself. He robbed a silver-smith's shop at Gun-Dock, Wapping, and would have taken away the show-glass, but was prevented by some people going by.

About July last he broke into the house of Mr. Courant, in Bedford-Row. He declared he had no acquaintance with any of Mr. Courant's servants, nor with any of the gentlemen's servants whose houses he had robbed. He also robbed several of the houses in that neighbourhood. He could not be positive what way he got into Mr. Courant's house, but he believed he got in at the garret-window, by the assistance of a ladder, whith he got from the new buildings, next the fields; the plate, and other things which he took from thence, he sold to Levi the Jew.

In the month of September he broke into the house of governor Holwell, in Harley-Street, Cavendish-Square. He got into the back part of the house by the assistance of a ladder he got from the new buildings; he, by the means of some instrument that he had, wrenched off the hinges of the window-shutter, and got in and took away all the plate and things of value that he found in the house; all which he sold to Abraham Levi the Jew.

In the month of October he broke into the house of Thomas Brown, Esq. king at arms , in Bedford-Row. He got into the yard by the assistance of a ladder, and broke into the window of the servant's hall, and took away Mr. Brown's herald's robe, and the other things mentioned in the indictment; all which he sold to Levi the Jew.

In November he broke into the house of his grace the duke of Norfolk. He first got upon the leds, and then looked down into a window, where he saw a man's hat lying, and was afraid that there was somebody in the room; but at last he ventured down and got in. He found the silk, mentioned in the indictment, laying in a chair. He said, there was some silk twisted up, which looked like scains of sewing silk. He desired me to insert this particular for the satisfaction of the family, that they might be assured he was the person that was guilty of the robbery. All the things he took he sold to Levi the Jew.

In the month of December he broke into the house of the Rt. Hon. the earl of Verney, (which was the last robbery he committed, and that for which he suffered) on the 17th of December, about the hour of one or two in the morning. He got in at the window of the house-keeper's room; the window-shutter was shut, but not barred: he said, if it had, he should soon have got it it open; for he never saw a house in his life but he could break it open. He took away all the plate he could get at, which he sold to Levi the Jew for 4s. an ounce. He said, if it had not been for Levi, and such who receive stolen goods, he never should have continued a thief. It were to be wished that such would consider the heinousness of their crime, and turn to God; for though they may, by turning king's evidence, escape the sword of justice in this world, yet they cannot escape the just judgment of God at the great day.

3. John Rouson was indicted, together with John Robinson, for that they on the 12th of January, about the hour of two in the morning, the dwelling-house of Ann Bennett widow , did break and enter, and stealing six linen shirts, val. 6l. thirty shifts, val. 3l. seventy yards of linen cloth, val. 3l. forty yards of camblet, twenty pair of stays, thirty-seven linen handkerchiefs, and six linen aprons, the property of the said Ann Bennett. Rouson upon this indictment was found guilty Death, and Robinson of felony.

Robinson and Rouson were a second time indicted, for that they on the first of January, about the hour of three in the morning, the dwelling house of Jane Victiore widow , and Richard Day, did break and enter, and stealing forty-eight pieces of leather cut for soles, and twenty pieces of leather cut for heels of shoes, val. 5s. the property of the said Jane and Richard, in their dwelling-house. Upon this indictment they were both found guilty Death.

John Rouson was born of poor parents, whose circumstances would not admit of their giving him a good education. He was put apprentice to a shoe-maker , and after he was out of his time behaved well for awhile. He married a wife, by whom he had one child; but being of an idle disposition, and living at too high a rate for his income, he at last thought of using unlawful means to support his extravagancies, and got acquainted with John Robinson, who was an old offender and had been tried at the Old-Bailey by another name. Robinson being very expert in theiving, gave such instructions to Rouson, that he also soon became his equal. At last they determined upon house-breaking. About two in the morning, on the 12th of January, they both together broke into the shop of Jane Victiore and Richard Day,

and stole a large quantity of leather, which they carried to Rouson's lodgings. Then finding that the watchmen and constables were busy with some men they had taken, they determined to take this opportunity to break into some other house in the neighbourhood. About three o'clock they fixed upon Mrs. Bennett's house, and first broke open the outward door and afterwards the door of the store-celler, where they knew she had a good stock of goods. They took a quantity of shirts and shifts, and many other things that are not mentioned in the indictment, which they carried to the house of Mrs. Clark, in Butcher-Row, who bought them at a very low price. Mary Clark was tried for receiving these goods, knowing them to be stolen, but was acquitted for want of proper evidence.

Rouson while under sentence of death behaved very penitent, and constantly attended chapel till he was taken very ill, then I visited him in his cell. He expressed a hope of finding mercy, and said he constantly prayed for it. He said, he freely forgave all his enemies and his prosecutors, for they had not done any thing to him but what in justice they ought, and that he was resigned to suffer the just reward of his deeds.

4. John Ward was indicted, together with Francis Atway not taken, for that they on the king's high-way did make an assault on Edward Williams, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and violently taking from his person one metal watch, val. 40s. and one hat, val. 5s. the property of the said Edward Williams, January 16.

John Ward was born of reputable parents, who gave him a tolerable education. His father being a gause-weaver , he taught him the same business. His parents were Roman Catholics, and brought him up in that religion; he was very strict

in it for some time, but getting acquainted with bad company he departed from the fear of God, and lived an abandoned course of life. He went afterwards on board one of his Majesty's ships , where he continued for some time, and then deserted her. He likewise deserted other ships he was aboard of. He was at the taking of Senegal, and many other places in the East-Indies, and in several very desperate engagements with the French fleet, but never was wounded. Three times he was cast away, once he was ship-wrecked, and many other dangers he went through at sea. He married a wife, by whom he had one child. His wife's father being very rich, he expected a fortune with her; but he being displeased with her, on account of her marriage, never gave them any thing, which was a great disappointment to Ward. They at that time were in great want, and he not being able to provide for his wife and child, the child was obliged to go to the workhouse, which grieved him in such a manner, that he said, from that time he did not regard what became of him; and to drown his sorrows, as is the case with too many, he took to drinking, and likewise to defrauding.

Atway and Ward being at a public-house, the White-Hart, the corner of Bunhill-Row. About eleven o'clock at night, a lusty gentleman came in genteelly dressed and called for a pint of beer. Atway and Ward consulted to rob him if they could. Accordingly, in order to detain him as long as they possibly could, Ward entertained him with spinning a pewter dish till near twelve o'clock. The gentleman then left the public-house to go home. Ward and Atway desired to acompany him, pretending they lived that way, and persuaded him to go a-cross Moorfields, telling him they would protect him. When they got into the fields they tripped up his heels, then robbed him

of the things mentioned in the indictment, and made off with them. What became of Atway, Ward knew not.

While under sentence of death he behaved penitently, but being a Roman Catholic, a priest of that church was permitted to visit him.

On the Morning of Execution.

ABout seven o'clock they were all brought into the Press-yard to be got ready for chapel. Edward Williams brought some part of his irons down in his hand, and said, That he had sawn them in two with a knife which John Robinson, who was respited, had furnished him with. He told me that he did it with a design to make his escape, which he attempted the night before his execution. His design was to have got to the top of Newgate, and to have leaped down the back part, but being weak and faint, and the keeper coming, he was obliged to desist from his attempt. I asked him how he could venture to leap such a height? He said, he believed he could do it without hurting himself; for when prusued, he had leaped out of a two pair of stairs window, and once out of a three pair of stairs into the street without much hurt: but he said he must now receive that reward of his deeds, which he for many years dreaded and deserved, but he was resigned to his fate, and hoped that God would have mercy on his soul.

Mr. James told me, that he did not yet believe that he should die. So confident he was of a reprieve, that he gave orders for his breakfast to be got ready for him against he came back to Newgate.

John Rouson behaved well, and said he was only going to receive the just reward of his deeds, but said they had saved the greatest rogue of the two, for if it had not been for Robinson, he never should have committed the crime for which he was to suffer. He said he freely forgave all his enemies, and hoped that God would forgive him all his sins.

The Romish priest came to administer to John Ward, while Mr. James, and Williams, and Rouson went up to chapel, where they received the holy sacrament and behaved in a decent manner, and prayed near two hours that God would have mercy on their souls. After which they were brought down into the Press-yard and had their irons knocked off. About nine o'clock they were put into two carts to be conveyed to the place of execution. In the way Captain James wept bitterly, and earnestly prayed for mercy, and that God would comfort his poor disconsolate mother and wife. Edward Williams, regardless of the multitude of spectators, with lifted-up hands and eyes to heaven, fervently prayed that God would, for the sake of Jesus Christ, have mercy on him and save his soul. Rouson and Ward behaved in a decent manner.

At the place of execution I spent half an hour with them in prayer. John Ward, being a Roman Catholic, turned his back to me. While I was praying with the others he desired to speak to the croud, and addressed them in the following manner: "Look on me, who am going to suffer for my crimes, young "men, and take warning by me, and beware of bad company, especially that of lewd women, for they lead many "to destruction. O remember your Creator in the days of your "youth, before the evil days come! The neglect of my church "and the commandments of my God hath brought me to this.

"I hope that my unhappy fate will be a warning to all that "this day see me. I earnestly desire your prayers." Edward Williams afterwards spoke in the following manner: "O I "have been one of the vilest men that ever lived! I have "continued in a long course of thieving, and have often had "great remorse of conscience for it, and a desire to forsake it, but "I still continued in the same way. I was evidence against "one that was executed, and others that are transported, but now "justice hath overtaken me also. Young men, if you find any "inclination to thieving, for God's sake turn from it, lest you "should come to the same untimely end with me. You may "learn from the objects before you, that the wages of sin is "death." At a quarter after eleven they were turned off, calling upon God to receive their souls.

N. B. This is the only true account that hath been pulished, neither will there be any authentic one, but by me,

JOSEPH MOORE,

ORDINARY of NEWGATE .