« PredošláPokračovať »
taken a woman of the town to a bagnio in Silverstreet, where Loxton was a waiter. Early in the morning, he ordered a bath to be got ready; but Loxton being busy, sent another waiter, at whom Bird, in a fit of passion, made several passes with his sword, which he avoided by holding the door in his hand; but the prisoner ran after him, threw him down stairs, and broke some of his ribs. On this, the master and mistress of the house and Loxton went into the room, and artempted to appease him: but Bird, enraged that the bath had not been prepared the moment he ordered it, seized his sword, which lay by the bed-fide, and stabbing Loxton, he fell backwards, and died immediately; on which the offender was taken into custody, and committed to Newgate.
He was to have been tried in October, but pleading that he was not ready with his defence, the trial was put off to December; and then till January, on his physicians making affidavit that he was too ill to be removed from his chamber.
Being convicted on the clearest evidence, he received sentence of death; but great interest being made in his behalf, he was reprieved, and it was thought he would have been pardoned, on condition of transportation, but for the interven-, tion of the following circumstance.
The friends of Loxton hearing that a reprieve was granted, advised his widow to lodge an appeal at the bar of the court of King's-Bench; and the went thither with some friends, to give security for that purpose ; but the relations of Bird hearing what was intended, were ready in court, with witnesses to depose that this was the second wife of Loxton, his first being still living. This beHh 2
ing the fact, the court refused to admit the appeal, as the second could not be à lawful wife.
This affair occasioned so much clamour that Bird was ordered for execution on Monday the 23d of February; on the night preceding which he took a dose of poison ; but that not operating as he had expected, he stabbed himself in several places. Yet, however, he lived till the morning, when he was taken to Tyburn in a mourning coach, attended by his mother, and the Ordinary of Newgate.
As he had paid little attention to the instructions of the Ordinary while. under confinement, so he seemed equally indifferent to his advice in the last moments of his life. Being indulged to stay an hour in the coach with his mother, he was put into the cart, where he asked for a glass of wine; but being told it could not be had, he begged a pinch of snuff, which he took with apparent unconcern, wishing health to those who stood near him. He then rehearsed the apostle's creed, and being tied up, was launched into eternity, on the above-mentioned 23d of February, 1719.
He was executed in the 27th year of his age. He declined making any speech, but delivered the following paper to his friends the day before his execution.
IT will be expected that I should say some
thing at this time, as to the fact I am going to suffer for.
I do not pretend to say, I did not kill the deceased; but humbly conceive, that both the laws of God and man will justify self-defence; which I çall God to witness, into whose arms of mercy ! an now going to throw myself, was my case.
Unhappy is that gentleman who falls into such hands; for there was not one evidence for the king that was not manifestly perjured, as I have faithfully set forth in my printed case, with all the justice a person expecting nothing less than death was capable of. And it is also as evident, that the proper evidences on my side were never called : I wish I could persuade myself that mismanagement did not proceed from the infidelity of my attorney, employed on my trial: for it appears but too evident, that he never made one regular step towards my intereit, and, I wish I could aver that he did not arm my enemies against me.
After all this, his majesty, in his great wisdom, thought fit to grant me a reprieve, and ordered me' for transportation, but the restless malice of my enemies would not fix here.
The pretended widow of the deceased lodges an appeal against me. How she had a right so to do, I leave those gentlemen learned in the law to determine : yet this, with her falacious petition, found entrance to the Royal Fountain, and turned that former stream of mercy from me ; causing his majesty to recede from his first decree of mercy, and order my execution: under which fentence I ftill, with all humility, fubmit.
Another reflection, I am credibly informed, is cast upon me, in order to make my load the greater ; which is, that I was frequently visited, during my confinement, and even since my conviệtion, by lewd and infamous women. I cannot fay that I have not been visited by divers women; but do not know them to be such : fome of them were relations, and other persons, who had business with me relating to my unhappy circumstances. What cannot malice invent,
There is one thing more which I omitted in my printed case, relating to my adversary's evidence; deposing, that the deceased Loxton fell without the door: which I declare solemnly, is utterly false ; for what was done was in the room; I was not off from my bed when the accident happened : and when he dropped, he fell backwards
upon the bed.
I might take notice of many more false aspersions, but will omit them; having, I thank my God, forgiven them all.
In the next place, it will be expected that I say something of iny religion.
I declare, that I die a Protestant, and of the communion of the church of England, whose doctrine teaches me to forgive my enemies, which sincerely I do: humbly begging, at the same time that all those, who through inadvertency, heat of blood, or any juvenile folly, I have offended, will do the same to me.
As for the manifold reflections caft upon me fince my confinement; the pretended widow's violent profecution ; the Farrier's notoriously false affidavit, and all other offences committed against me, I heartily forgive them.
And to conclude, I wish all gentlemen would only weigh the fatal cause of my unhappy exit, and avoid all such houses where the scene of this misfortune was first laid: let me be an example to them, to avoid those rocks I have split upon ; that they may, with less difficulty than I have found it, be able to compose their thoughts, (which I thank God I have done) through the affistance of his divine Spirit, and fink into a willing resignation of his divine will.
This unfortunate youth seems to have fallen a facrifice to the irregularity and violence of his own passions : to the pride of his heart, and his love of lawless pleasure. Hence let the youth who read this be taught to walk in the plain paths of fobriety and discretion, “ neither turning aside to “ the right hand nor the left.” His taking poison and stabbing himself, to defeat the execution of the law, is a strong proof of that pride of heart we have mentioned. He could be guilty of a crime deserving the utmost ignominy, but dreaded to sustain it. Humility, then, is another doctrine to be learned from the fate of this man.
The situation of Bird's mother, in her attending him to Tyburn, must have been dreadful beyond all expresion! Mr. Bird had been well educated, and ought to have made a different return to the care of his parents. Women in general, however, should consider that it is by a religious education that the mind of the child is most likely to be guarded from the contaminations of vice. The facred maxim will hold good in most instances: “ train up a child in the way he snould go;
and when he is old he will not depart " therefrom.”
Singular Case of CATHERINE Jones, who was
tried for Bigamy, and acquitted.
Old Bailey, on the 5th of September, 1719, for marrying Constantine Boone, during the life of her former husband, John Rowland.