Ordinary of Newgate Prison:
Ordinary's Accounts: Biographies of Executed Convicts
25th July 1729
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of James Cluff
, who was executed at Tyburn
, for the Murder of Mary Green
, on Friday the 25th of this Instant July, 1729
BY Virtue of his Majesty's Commission of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London and County of Middlesex: On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, being the 9th
, and 12th of July, 1729
, in the Third Year of His MAJESTY's Reign. Before the Rt. Honourable Sir ROBERT BAYLIS
. Lord Mayor
of the City of London
; the Rt. Honourable the Lord Chief Baron Pengelly; the Honourable Mr. Justice Reynolds; the Honourable Mr. Baron Thompson, Recorder of the City of London; the Worshipful Mr. Serjeant Raby, Deputy Recorder; and other of His Majesty's Justices of Oyer and Terminer, and Goal-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex.
having been tried before for the Murder of Mary Green
, and acquitted; was upon an Appeal of William Green
, Brother of the said Mary, tried again for the said Murder, and by the Jury found Guilty of the same. Death.
While under Sentence, I explain'd to him the essential Points of Christianity; that as the first foundation of all Religion, we are to believe in the great God, who made Heaven and Earth and all Things that therein are, and who created Man after his own Image, in Knowledge, Righteousness and true Holiness; capable of praising God in this World, and of enjoying him hereafter: But our first Parents having broken their Covenant with God, fallen from their integrity and transgress'd the Divine Law; then God, out of pure Love and Compassion to the Miserable, was pleas'd to give unto us an Assurance of the promised Seed, which is now the Foundation of all our hope and confidence: This is the first promise of the true Messias Christ Jesus, through whom we have freedom of access to the Father; He it is who hath made up our Peace with God, through the Blood of the everlasting Covenant: Since then we are reduc'd to a state of Sin and Misery, from which we cannot extricate our selves, therefore it is necessary that we fly unto a Saviour, who is none else but our Lord Jesus Christ, Acts 4. 12. Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under Heaven given among Men, whereby we must be Saved. I exhorted him, and the others who were under Sentence of Death with him, to believe in Christ their only Saviour, whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation, through Faith in his Blood, and in Testimony of their Faith, to bring forth fruits meet for Repentance and amendment of Life, to endeavour by the grace of God to become holy as God is holy and blameless in all manner of Life and Conversation, for without Holiness no Man can see the Lord.
Then I insisted upon the heinousness of this horrid Sin of Murder at full length, in order (if possible) to bring him to a due Sense of it; showing him how directly contrary it is to the Law of Nature, to the express Law of God, and to the Laws of all Societies, Kingdoms, and Common-wealths. The first Principles of Reason with which we are possess'd, declare to us the Cruelty, Inhumanity and Barbarity of such a Sin, as altogether inconsistent with our reasonable Faculties at once divesting us of all Humanity, Mildness and Civility, and declaring us of the fierce Savage, and cruel temper of Lyons, Wolves, and Tygers, and such other ungovernable Creatures, which seem to be made for nothing but to Destroy.
The first Law God gave to Noah, after the Flood is, whosoe sheddeth Man's Blood by Man shall his Blood be shed; and this is one of the Laws promulgated by God upon Mount Sinai to the Israelites, Thou shalt not Kill, or, Thou shalt do no Murder. And accordingly we find the Hebrews commanded by no means to suffer the Murderer to live, and we are made to know that there is no way of expiating this Sin, so as to remove the guilt of it from the Land where it is Committed, but by requiring Blood for Blood: And in the New Testament, wherever abominable Sins and Sinners are mention'd, the Murderer never fails to be inserted in the black Catalogue, as we see, Gal. 5. 19, 20, 21. Rom. 1. 29. Murderers are excluded the Kingdom of Heaven, and have their Portion assign'd them with Hypocrites and Unbelievers. Rev. 21. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the Abominable, and Murtherers, and Whoremongers, and Sorcerers, and Idolaters, and all Lyars, shall have their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire and Brimstone: which is the second Death, &c. I desir'd him to partake in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as a pledge of Christ's Love, and an earnest of everlasting Life.
When these and many such exhortations were given, James Cluff
behav'd himself with apparent Gravity, Modesty, and Civility, both in Publick and Private, but did not seem to have that Sincerity of Mind, and