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

7th June 1745

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Currently Held: Harvard University Library

LL ref: OA174506074506070003

7th June 1745

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.


IT is proposed for the future to render this paper more generally useful to all ranks and degrees of readers. The misfortune hitherto has been, that the account of these unhappy sufferers, being published in a stile and language a little too gross and indelicate for the better kind of readers, their case has not been attended, to as one could wish, by those in whose power it is to put a stop to the growing evil. The generality of these poor wretches are (owing to this want of attention to the public welfare) born thieves, and suffered gradually to ripen into the commission of mischief.

The magistrates, as far as they are authorised by law, do every thing in their power to prevent the growing evil; but as their power centers rather in the correction of the body, than in the informing of the mind, so the remedies applied are at best but temporary expedients; those who are caught are duly punished, but that rather lessens the numbers for the present, than in any sense removes the cause. It were therefore heartily to be wished that people of fortune and interest would turn their thoughts a little to consider, whether it is not possible to find means of rendering such poor unhappy wretches, who are now the bane, of some real use and service to society, by contributing to remove the fundamental cause, whereon the evil is built.

I need not inform the rich and powerful that these unhappy people are our fellow creatures, nor that it is their interest to make them so in the best sense, since there is no one living but would be glad to walk the streets in safety, and to meet only people as honest and industrious as themselves.

I shall not take upon me at this time to intimate what I think the most natural and obvious means of attaining so important an end, since it is necessary first to learn, whether those, in whose power it is to carry salutary schemes into execution, will attend to them with the same ardor, with the same sentiments of humanity, pity, and compassion, flowing

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