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Particulars Relative To The Executions


23rd January 1813

Precisely at eleven o'clock this day, the following unfortunate persons suffered the sentence of the law due to their crimes, viz —John Hill, Joseph Crowther, Nathan Hoyle, Jonathan Dean, John Ogden, Thos. Brook, and John Walker. The above prisoners behaved in the most penitent and contrite manner we have ever witnessed, placed in the melancholy situation in which they were. During the time the Ordinary was performing the functions of his duty, the repeated and earnest prayers of the culprits might be heard at a considerable distance, supplicating the Divine Being to receive their souls into everlasting rest. Many of them after the clergyman had repeated " The Lord have mercy upon you,'' in a very audible voice articulated -- "I hope he will."— Previous to the drop being let down, that well-known hymn,

" Behold the Saviour of mankind, "
" Nail'd to the shameful tree,"
" How vast the love that him inclin'd, "
" To bleed and die for thee!" &c.

 Was given out very firmly by John Walker to his fellow culprits, all of whom heartily joined in singing the same. The behaviour of the whole was truly becoming their awful situation, each of them expressed their sincere repentance for the crimes they had committed, and placing their only hope of salvation through the merits of the Redeemer.— John Hill addressed the populace nearly in the following terms : "I hope, my good Christians, you will take warning by the punishment yow will see this day inflicted upon me and my fellow companions I lived for a number of years in the possession of vital religion, but unfortunately the fascination of the world gained an ascendancy over my mind and I fell away
from God and the paths of rectitude, about half a year ago. I warn you who now hear me against the commission of mine, or any other crimes, which subject you to the ignominious death I am now going to suffer." He delivered this exhortation in a manly and firm tone of voice, assuring the populace of his hopes of the divine favour.
An immense concourse of spectators attended upon this occasion, and we never recollect seeing more pity depicted upon the human countenance, than what the populace portrayed. A number of military attended, and every thing was conducted with the greatest decorum.
The bodies, after hanging till twelve o'clock, were then cut down. Half-past one o'clock.

The following prisoners, viz— John Swallow, John Batley, Joseph Fisher, Wm. Hartley, James Haigh, James Hey, and Job Hey, were executed this day at the time specified above. The whole of them evinced a spirit of contrition which we have seldom witnessed upon a similar occasion. The concourse of spectators, as on the former occasion, was numerous,— Jas. Haigh spoke to Mr, Lancaster, a gentleman residing in the West-riding of the county, at some length; he regretted the situation in which he was placed, and earnestly exhorted his fellow-sufferers to make their peace with God —Jas. Hey said but little ; however, he evinced, by his conduct on the drop, a sincere and unfeigned impenitence for the crime the laws of his country had subjected him to. The penitence on behalf of this unfortunate man was deeply felt by many of the surrounding multitude, and caused sensations of pity and regret, that a character, formerly so well respected in the neighbourhood in which he had lived, should be guilty of committing an offence of this description.—John Swallow afterwards spoke to the populace in nearly the following terms :—" Ladies and Gentlemen, the situation in which I am now placed, demands your serious consideration, being led astray by wicked and unprincipled characters, I was seduced from the paths of virtue, and fell into that dreadful crime for which I am now going to suffer. I beg of you to take warning of my fate, and I hope that God will grant you grace to live a life of sobriety and uprightness, in order te prevent your being brought to that situation in which I am now placed."— The conduct of the prisoners was truly becoming their awful situation, and each bore
their fate with firmness, and a well-grounded hope of gaining a better and happier world. The same hymn that was sung by the seven persons who were executed previous to them, was also repeated by these deluded men. They suffered nearly without a struggle. Their bodies were cut down at half- past two o'clock, and delivered to their respective relations.

We cannot help noticing the peaceable and good conduct which was, throughout the whole of the melancholy scene, evinced by the populace ; at the same time we regret to state, that such a number of misled characters should be brought to so untimely a fate.
Hartley has left eight orphan children; all the others, except Haigh, have left wives with small children — Haigh has left a wife.

The above fourteen unfortunate and misguided men are the largest number that ever suffered in one day at York, that stands upon record within our knowledge.

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