Ordinary of Newgate Prison:
Ordinary's Accounts: Biographies of Executed Convicts

11th August 1703

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Currently Held: Harvard University Library

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6th August 1793

The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, Confession, Dying-Speech, and last Prayer of Thomas Cook< no role > This name instance is in set 2758. , who was Executed at Tyburn , on Wednesday the 11th of August, 1703 .

ON Friday the 9th of July last , at the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, Thomas Cook< no role > receiv'd Sentence of Death, for the Murther of Mr. John Cooper< no role > This name instance is in set 3073. , a Constable , as he was in the Execution of his Office, on the 12th of May 1702 . This Thomas Cook< no role > , a Prize-fighter , who was known by the Name of the Gloucester-Butcher, said he was about 35 years of age, born of honest Parents, in the City of Gloucester ; from whence he came up to London , where being bound to a Barber-Surgeon , after he had served two years with him, he ran away, and went into the Service of Mr. Needham, a Page of Honour to the late King, but did not stay long with him; his Mother, who sent for him down, telling him, That a Gentleman's Service was no Inheritance. Upon which he set-up a Butcher (the Calling of his Fore-fathers) at Gloucester , and there he kept an Inn for a while and turn'd also a Grazier , and was very much unsettled in his Mind, what Employment he should follow. He confess'd to me, that in those his several Employments, he had been unjust; That he had frequently stoln Sheep, and done many ill things; but yet had been often accus'd wrongfully. As to the Fact for which he was to die, he positively deny'd it; saying, he had no Sword in his hand that day the Constable was kill'd, nor was in the least concern'd in the Company of them that kill'd him. He acknowledg'd he had been a grievous Sinner, a great Swearer and Drinker, an Adulterer, a Prophane and Lewd Wretch, and a sworn Enemy to those who were employ'd in the Reformation of Manners; and that for some years past he had made it his great Business to Fight for Prizes; an Exercise which the Pride of his Heart carry'd him to, which he now looks upon as most Heathenish and Barbarous, and which, with all other the wicked Practices of his Life, especially his slight of Religion, he does detest and abhor; begging of God, not to remember the Errors of his Youth, nor his manifold transgressions, but to forgive him all his Sins, which indeed were many and great; and in the Words of a Dying-Man (who by the just Providence of God, came to suffer a shameful and untimely Death, in the prime of his years) he exhorts all those of his Acquaintance, and others that live loosely and particularly that follow this Wicked Sport of Prize playing, to reform betimes, and apply themselves to that which is virtuous and laudable, lest if they do continue any longer in their ill way, the Wrath of God fall upon them, and they come to the same, or worse Punishment than himself. He said, he repented of all his Sins, and declar'd that he dy'd in perfect Peace and Charity with all Mankind.

He being in this Disposition, and desiring to receive the Holy Communion of the Blessed Body and Blood of his Saviour, I administer'd it to him, on Wednesday the 21th of July last , which having receiv'd, and joyn'd in the other Parts of the Divine Service, then perform'd in the Chappel of Newgate , with very great Devotion, so far as it appear'd; he was from thence carry'd towards Tyburn for Execution, with the rest of the Criminals that were then to suffer. But in his way thither, as he was come-up as far as Bloomsbury , meeting with a Reprieve that prolong'd his Life to the next Friday the 23 of the said Month : he was brought back to Newgate : Where (after my Return from the Execution of the other Malefactors) I visiting him, found him in the Condemn'd Hold at his Prayers, in which he seem'd to be very earnest and devout. He then told me that he was not affected with this Temporal Life, and that he would have been well contented to have dy'd with his Fellow-condemn'd Prisoners: But it falling out otherwise, he desir'd however to have gone through to the Place of Execution, that he might joyn in Prayer with them, and be himself still rais'd to greater Devotion: But the Officers had an Order to bring him back again, and so some of them did, without going on any further with him. As soon as he was come back to Newgate , some of his Friends that came thither to congratulate him, would have rejoyc'd and made merry with him, for this his Reprieve But he would not give way to it, as desiring Privacy and Retirement from all Persons, but such as could further his Devotions, because he would carefully improve this small addition of time, to a higher degree of Repentance and Contrition for his Sins; that so he might be so much the fitter to receive that Death, which was put off but for a little while.

When that Day was come, viz. the 23d of July , a further Reprieve was brought to Newgate for him; by virtue of which he continued in this Life, and in this State of Devotion, which was very much taken notice of, by all that saw him, to this Wednesday the 11th instant, being the Day of his Death. Before which time, (namely Fri. last the 6th) the Order for his Execution was brought-in, and presently signified to him; But I found him not at all moved or troubled at it; there being no visible alteration in him. He then told me, that he was very willing to die, since it was the Will of God he should, and that he had flung himself wholly upon him, and resign'd up and submitted himself to his Holy Will and Pleasure; giving him Thanks and Praise, as for all his Mercies to him, so in particular for this time he had afforded him to prepare himself for an happy Eternity; which (he said) he was fully perswaded he should enjoy, whenever he departed out of this miserable World. The evenness of Temper in which I all along observ'd him, both when in hopes of Life, and under the certainty of Death, made me believe indeed, that he had so resign'd himself, and had (as he express'd) the assurance of Immortality. But one thing indeed he told me troubled him very much for a time, and of which he said he repented as much as of any Sin he ever had committed; and that was, his having so far gratify'd his Friends, as sometimes (though not frequently) to have given them the liberty of his Company; whereby he had been engaged once or twice to drink, though not to excess, yet to such measure, as through his fasting and great weakness, had discompos'd him, and interrupted him in his Devotions: For which he most heartily begg'd Pardon of God, being much griev'd he had wasted any of his precious moments, while under this Condemnation.

This last Order for his Execution being come, (as I said before on Friday the 6th instant ) I redoubled my Visits to him and Pains for his Soul: And on the last Lord's-day choosing a Subject to discourse upon, proper (as I thought) for his Meditation, I preach'd both in the Morning and Afternoon, on Luke 18. 13. being part of the Gospel for the Day, And the Publican standing afar off, would not lift-up so much as his eyes unto Heaven; but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a Sinner.

From which Words,

1. I shew'd the great Humilty of this Supplicant, describ'd, 1. By his standing afar off, as One who durst not presume to come too near the Divine Presence. 2. By his Posture; he looking down upon the Earth, as One that thought not himself worthy to look up towards Heaven. 3. By his Action; he smiting upon his breast, as One that was full of trouble, and had a just indignation against himself for his Sins. 4. By the Matter and Form of his Prayer; he confessing himself a great Sinner, and begging of God to be Merciful to him.

2. I gave the Description and Character of a true Penitent; shewing, 1. That such a One is so far from denying and endeavouring to hide his Sins, that he openly confesses and repents of them, and patiently takes that Shame and Punishment due to him for them. 2. That he, by no means, goes about to extenuate his Sins; but rather aggravetes them. 3. That he passes a severe Judgment upon himself; owning himself a most grievous Sinner, yea, the greatest of Sinners, and thinking and speaking worse of himself, than any One else can do.

3. I shew'd how acceptable such a Confession was to God, and what were the blessed Fruits of true Humiliation and Repentance, viz, 1. The Pardon of Sin.

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