THE LIFE, APPREHENSION Arraignement, and Execution of CHARLES COVRTNEY, alias Hollice, alias Worsley, and Clement Slie Fencer: with their Escapes and Breaking of Prison: As also the true and hearty Repentance of Charles Courtney with other passages, worthy the note and Reading.

[depiction of execution]

LONDON Printed for Edward Marchant, and are to bee sold in Pauls Churceyard ouer against the Crosse. 1612.

THE APPREHEN­SION AND ARRAIGNMENT of CHARLES COVRTNEY, alias Hallice, gentleman, with the forme of his Life.

HE, that as in a glasse, will be­hold the picture of a wretched Life, or the liuely representati­on of the myseries incident to Mankind, the image of both may be séene in this man: here may be discerned, the mutati­ons of Fortunes, the inconstan­cie of things, and the vncertaintie of daies, since sinne hath spred it selfe like a leprosie ouer all flesh, and ini­quitie hath so gotten the vpper hand, that a Spider is able to choake vs, a haire to stifle vs, and a tyle fal­ling on our heads to extinguish vs, euen in that momēt, when we least suspect so suddaine a calamitie.

Our life then so momentanie, that in that minute we breath (if not defended by our Maker) in that mi­nute we are breathlesse. Why should any flesh, endow­ed with that heauenly reason, which God hath onely giuen to men and Angels, so forget his vncertaintie? as for a little gold, which is but the dregges of the earth, for vanitie, the pleasures of the world, or for the world it selfe; possest with an exterior appearance of goodnesse, and within lined with loathsome corruption, which is but like to réeds, who when they shoot out [Page 2] first, in the spring of the yeare, intice, and with their fresh greene colour, delight the eye for a while; but if we breake, and looke within them, we find nothing but emptinesse and hollownesse) neglect his Maker, and the dignity of his creation, who being ordained for vertu­ous dispositions, conducts his whole life to vitious acti­ons; beeing men but in shew, and like birds in their course, who gréedily flee to pecke vp corne, till they bée caught in the ginne: or like fishes, who earnestly swimme to catch the baite, till they be choaked with the hooke.

But why doe I talke of the frensie of others, when no mans madnesse hath beene equall to mine? or who will receiue a homely counsel from that tongue, whose folly hath brought him to be condemned himselfe?

Foelix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.

Then let me forget the world, pittie her infirmities, and with my soules sorrow, and heartie repentance, build me vp a ladder, on the steppes of whose petitions I might climbe toward heauen. Yet alas words vtte­red from mee, are but like birds feathers, who serue their bodies vse to flée withall, whilst they are aliue, and others regardlesse lie downe vpon them, when they are dead. The repetition of my sinnes, is but with the winnowerand the wind, to fanne away the chaffe, and leaue the growth of the graine to liue: with my shame, I may say, I haue sinned, and doe sing I repent, yet the Law must haue his power, and the liuing giue their verdict: my griefe is the spring, which my sorrow lets out, and Iustice is the pipe, which doth take, and can stoppe, whilst the world, as a spunge that suckes vp the superfluous, is of power to be squéezd forth, as the multitude please: what though I sigh, yet my sinnes must be strucke, the Law requires it, and mine iniqui­ties haue deserued it: what though I dying complaine, the liuing must haue their willes, and they haue willes can reprooue whatsoeuer I say (then since the Law, as [Page 3] frō y fountaine of my offences, hath had power to draw my life from me, and the world, euen after death, may haue strength to condemne mée, words vttered with teares, but requests of them thus: That since my body shall haue power to blunt the edge of affliction, my vn­timely fall may haue force to abate the kéene sharpnes of their rumouring tongues; and if any thirstie or vnsa­tisfied spleen, either reioycing at my death, or bemoning my ruine, shall desire to sée vnraueld the whole web of my life, he shall here behold the péece of my Trauels: in reading which, I desire him to wash from his memo­rie the stains of my name: here shall he reade my diur­nall transgressions, which I request him to pardon, and not to reprooue (since no Curre is so cruell to bite the dead:) heere as in a Mirror, shall hée looke into my mise­ries, hand-workes, my sinnes, my sorrow, my life, my death, and the building of mine owne labour, began from the time of my apprehension at Dunstable in Bed­fordshire, from whence I was conuaid to Bedford Gaole, from thence to Newgate▪ where, after my seueral escapes, it was most vntimely concluded at Warwicke lane end, néere Newgate to die. For my birth and edu­cation, it was fortunate, and commendable. It was a credit to my carefull and louing Father, and he was o­beyed by me, as a dutifull sonne. In my youth I grewe vp like a straight plant, and was expected of the wor­thiest, and hoped for of the best of my countrey, to haue prooued the Timber of a fruitfull tree: my company to the best of the Gentrie was accounted so welcome, that they estéemed mée more for pleasure, then expences; and the contempt I held to associate with the base, had brought my faire demeanure to bee beloued with the best, that my fellowship entirely desired, and my condi­tion held honest▪ my Father was proud to call mée his happy sonne. In my prime, and fitting yeares, my Fa­ther endeauoured to ioyne mée in mariage, as well to ioy in the posteritie of his sonne, as a wife by bringing a [Page 4] dowrie with her, should strengthen my estate: which desire of his, was equalled by diuers Gentlemen of good worship in our Countrey: and to mine owne loue and liking, with the ioy and wishes of our Parents, I was ioyned in wedlocke with a vertuous Gentlewo­man; with whom, during the liues of our Fathers, whose eyes were like carefull Sentinels, watchfull of our safeties, I liued decently and orderly, as did befit a sonne, and a husband, and shée louing and dutifull, as should a daughter and a wife. But Time, the parent of Death, and finisher of all things, calling them our Nourishers to their graues, and I entred the gappe of wilfulnesse, and libertie; the which, before▪ either their graue discretions had rained mée from, or I had not leisure to find out: I grewe now to be a worser man, and did not séeme in any thing, like that which before I had béene: my ciuilitie was turned to disorder, my temperance to drunkennesse, my thrift to ryot, my ho­nestie to misbehauiour; and my whole life to those vn­séemely acts, that I should blush to record.

In which tide of expences, consuming my meanes reserued by my Parents to defend my reputation, and vpholde our house, want, the Enemie to superfluitie, Tauerns, Dyce, and whores came on like a greedy purseuant to arrest me, with whose gripe I beeing toucht, and finding my state so infeebled, that I could not continue in the course I had begun: my vndertakings grue desperate, fearelesse to attempt, and carelesse of the headlongst danger that could ensue. To rob I was resolued, not fearing the law, and to persist I grew bolde, not regarding my ruine.

To recken vp now all the Robberies I haue done, were but to adde griefe to a number, that should heare of the accompt, and little benefit to me, that am going to my graue. A many they are, which particularly to expresse would beget doubt to the Readers beleefe, yet thus much Reader for thy satisfaction, I haue [Page 5] beene too prosperous in these Aduentures, so that I neuer failed in any purchase I went about, I neuer stood vpon the way to watch for any passengers, nor neuer vndertooke any Robberie, but what was ap­poynted and certaine notice giuen vs which way they would passe, and what store of Coyne they carried, by some who were trusted, more then mistrusted. I ne­uer tooke from the néedy, or those whose pouertie might cause them to complaine, but all my aime either at house or highway, were at such Curmugions, who care not who starues so themselues bee Corne fed.

In the effecting of all my Robberies and Burgla­ryes, neuer (to my soules Comfort) did I shed any blood, but still my care was how to preuent that stayne to my soule, onely it was my ill Fate to stum­ble vpon one Robberie, for which I heartily wish I had beene taken and receiued the law, according to my deserts, I had then preuented the vntimely end of two worthie gentlemen, whose names I forbeare. For the reputation of their house that were apprehen­ded, endited, arraignd, condemned, iudged and most innocently hanged for a Robbery which I did, Oh that my cradle had béene my graue, I had not then offended my maker. For the blood of the Innocents, for which I doe first most earnestly on the knées of my heart begge forgiuenesse of the Lord, hoping through my vnfained and harty repentance to obtaine remission of that grieuous sin, next of those friēds, which were by me made friendlesse of two hopefull gentlemen, which in time might haue prooued fruitfull vines to defend their posteritie, yet thus much Reader for thy satis­faction, these gentlemen were apprehended, iudged and dead ere I knew of it, for I protest (as I thinke) had I known thereof before their execution, I should haue yéelded, my owne life, and haue thought it chiefe meanes to obtaine remission of God, for my manifold transgressions to saue the Innocents. This warning [Page 6] péece should haue Chastised me, foreuer vndertaking the like Enterprise.

My Conscience for the time was greeued, complay­ned on it, yet my wilfulnesse regarded it not, but like a Dog, Redi [...]t ad vomitum, I was still the same and persisted. Insomuch, that my conscience being Clogged with the blood of Innocents, I retired my selfe for re­leefein London.

In which Denne of acquaintance, I met with ma­ny, who had béene my Consorts, with whom we Reuel­led, while we had money, drancke while we had Cre­dit, whored whilst we had health, regardles of any good wee applied our selues to all villanies whatsoeuer, but these being weake sinewes to maintaine strength without supplie, and none of vs all hauing meanes to relieue himselfe, in the worst of our Credit, we be­gan to Consult, our Resolue was thus, he that is borne must be kept, we are borne and therefore must be kept, & will find Nurses in the world though to other mens charge. Briefly we stood not long vpon it, but our Conference was, how we might come by a Purse on the highway, that was worth the taking, or enter some house that might benefit the breaking. Euery man gaue his Resolue, some that the highway was the best, hauing Ostlers ready to furnish them with horses, and euerie Countrie in the whole Kingdome for their free escape. Others knowing me a better théefe then the rest, swore they would be ruled by me, and desired me to set downe some Course what should be done, I ne­uer paused on it, but finding them all fit Fry for the gallowes as my selfe was, I desired to bee heard, and told them this, that there was a Gardner in the towne that sowed séede, and gathered the Croppe for himselfe. A man, an vsurer, one that would take much in paune, and lend little on it. One that would keepe a house of great vse, yet haue no hospitalitie in it, neere about Temple Barre was this Gardners Orchard: One [Page 7] whose fruitewe must plucke for our profit, the course was likte, the Plot approued, and my selfe best know­ing the conueyance of the house, hauing oftentimes re­sorted thither, when my Pockets were Lancke, both to pleasure my selfe, and other of my friends with a good Pledge, I must be the mā must bring the matter to Act.

Two seuerall times we had vndertooke this Enter­prise, and were as often preuented, entending to breake into the house, but finding the house too strong for our weake purposes, hopeles to effect, we were about to giue it ouer, till on the sudden, it came in my minds that this Gardner, was so ielous of his substance, and so distrustfull of euery one (nay euen of his wife) her selfe, that he would neuer goe abroad, but he would take his Key of his doore with him, reseruing to him­selfe certaine houres in the day, when he would not faile to be at home, to meete with his customers, and to furnish them with money. So that some Certaine meanes must be found out for the getting of his Key, or all our Labour was lost, and we had vndertooke a­booteles attempt. In breefe I hauing by this time so insinuated my selfe into his loue by faire words, and as faire behauiour, that no man was more wel­comer to his house then my selfe, neither could any draw him forth sooner then I: still baiting the booke of my plot, with bestowing euery morning a pinte of wine or two on him, as they vse to say, for his first draft, but neuer suffering him to spend a Penie, as we satebibling together oftentimes, thus hand to hand turning ouer the Cuppes, with no other Complement then this, here father Gardner, heeres to you, and sonne Courtney to you. I warrant you an oath [...]ew not out of my mouth for the world, and Circumstance was seldome of any thing else but of thrift, and thri­uing, how we might get wealth and hoord it vp, being got, I knew now that buttermilke would serue in sum­mer both for meat and drinke, as well as himselfe, [Page 8] that a good sauer might stand Chéeke by Iole with a great getter, and could now tell how to multiply a hundred to a thousand, with the best of them all, so that I stood in doubt at last he would make me his heire.

Our familiaritie thus linckte, and the rest of our Crue being nine or tenne in number, acquainted, therewith, it was by generall Consent agréed vpon that at some Tauerne or other, a solemne supper should be prepared, and M. Gardner and his wife inuited and brought thither as my guests. I stood not much vpon the vndertaking of it, and the rather, because I knew good chéere, and of frée Cost, was both baite and line, and would draw my Gudgeon at ease. The time is come, supper ready, the Cloath is laid, my gallants in the roome attending for M. Gardener his wife, and my selfe, who at the houre appointed, made our appea­rance, when according to Course, to some that were there before, and the worthiest in shew, I must en­treate of them to bid these friends welcome, who are especially mine, and what Curtesie soeuer they exten­ded towards them, I should euer approue it mani­fested towards me, whereby the good woman is with al Curtesies placed at the vpper end of the Table, and a chaire with a soft Cushion, prouided for the good man, euery one is ready to carue vnto her, and all are as forward to quaffe vnto him.

Supper ended and the signe of the wine beganne to shew in his face, a noise of Fidlers was prouided to come in, iust in the Nicke, and now in the Deuils name, we must needs goe daunce, when in protesting of Loue, imbracing and hugging of him, one of the Crue whose fingers were nimbler then the rest, had daunced the Key out of his pocket, Intelligence was straight giuen to me of that which was done, and by meas priuately borne to the rest with strickt warning to kéepe him vp in his mirth, for by his wealth we were in hope to be euer made.

[Page 16] About then slippe the healthes, more Iouiall then be­fore, whilst three of vs on the sudden slunke downe the stares, hast to the house, open the doore, and vp into the Chambers, where we found that we came for, and stoode not long a Culling out, but like craftie Mar­chants, taking vp our Commodities by the great, we were now onely puzled how, and in what, to Carry it from thence. But I being my Crafts-Master puld off a fetherbed, ript vp the ticke, powred out the Fethers, and in this Case for Conueiance, wee put as much plate and Iewels as wee could find, and conueniently carry away, Onely one bagge of monie of some thir­ty pound was scattered about the Roome, the bagge brooke. It was not farre off but for the instant we had a warehouse prouided for the Harbouring of it. My Confederates all this while kept them at the tauerne, excusing mine, and the others suddaine departure to some extraordinarie businesse which wee had to doe. When they thought we had our purpose, call for a rec­koning, paid it, and so like honest, louing, familiar friends, wee quietly and peaceably departed the Ta­uerne.

By this, Master Gardner with his wife come home to their house, find their doore shut, there was no hurt in that, bids his wife light a candle, there was no hurt in that, but missing his key, was forced to breake the doore open: comming vp into his chamber, espying the feathers scattered all about one roome, and money about another, the windows shut, and walles safe, (not without cause) my old friend began to wonder at that: and béeing suddainly affrighted, flées to his Counting-house, where, when he saw what ransacke was made, what a pittifull heat was my olde Grandfire in, let e­nery one iudge.

It was no time for him to delay, Enquiry was made amongst the neighbours, what passengers they [Page 10] had seene goe into his house since his departure, suspi­tion was had of vs; search euery where was made for vs, Hue and Crie into all places sent after vs, all ports and hauens laid for vs, our habits and personages de­scribed, warning left at all Gold-smithes and Iewel­lers, if any such plate came to be sold, to make stay of it: all Newgate Coniurers set a worke, with promise of great reward, if by their Art they could find any of vs out. But wée béeing lodged secure from present dan­ger, began to consult what meanes might be vsed for our frée escape. Some were so fearefull (as it hath bin still my happe to robbe with cowards) that they would haue giuen one legge, and their shares in the Robbery, to haue had the other legge safe in France. I knew my selfe as safe here as in France, but ayming at the full purchase, holding it no sinne to deceiue the deceiuers, perswaded them how dangerous it was to abide here, and told them that I knew the malice of Gardner to be such nothing could satisfie him but life, or restitution: this feare infected them all, & they that before thought scorne of my company, now became sutors to mee, to plot their escape. I conueyed them with spéed to an old Sea-thiefe, an acquaintance of mine, which dwelt néere the Sea coast, that would at any time for a small gratuitie, conuey a Fellon, or one in danger, out of this land; told them he must haue a great reward for his paines, and for the plate & iewels, we would share thē there where hée tooke shippe: for I made them beléeue this Sea-thiefe was still full of money, to furnish these occasions. Hée béeing acquainted with my purport, perswaded them their securest harbour was on ship­boord, till he could prouide me money vpon these pawnes. They béeing all shipt, one night I caused a false alarme to be sent, that they were pursued, my selfe taken, the towne laid for their apprehensions. This newes made them forget what they staied for, prefer­ring [Page 11] their liues before any thing else, cried Hoist sayle, away to France: the wind béeing then good, away they went, and left me with my old Sea-thiefe, reuelling in the towne. So all the plate and iewels which we tooke from Gardner, which amoūted to a good round summe, of which some nine or tenne should haue shared, I sha­red to my selfe; onely some money they got from mee, nothing to their expectations, and some charge they put me to, in sending them away.

Now hauing conueyed them safe away, I must vse a course to protect my selfe: I knew all places where it was knowne I had any acquaintance, was laid for mée, with promise of reward to them that could appre­hend mée: so that my safest refuge was where I was least knowne. In one place I would neuer abide long, but coursing the countries, I happened to lodge at Dunstable, where I was taken vpon Suspition of Fe­lonie, béeing knowne by my horse, was committed to Bedford Gaole: and notice of my apprehension was giuen vnto Gardner, who procured authoritie to fetch mée from Bedford to London. Whither I was safe­ly, and with great care conueyed. And béeing brought to Newgate, was lodged on the Masters side: where my smooth tongue, ciuill carriage, and friendly courte­sie (not onely to the worthiest and best estéemed on that side, but euen to the worst boy in the house) had gotten me such a good opinion amongst them, that I was of e­uery one beloued, and pittied: and euery one behind my backe commended mée to the Kéeper, and would of­ten produce me for example to others. But all this was but a curtaine to shadow my villanie: for when I séemed fréest from thought of wrong, I was most bu­sie to worke my escape. My life, I knewe, was for­feit to the Law, which at the next Sessions I was sure to pay, vnlesse it were ventured by breaking out of pri­son. I found the Gaole to be of that approoued [Page 12] strength, as it was impossible to be broken: besides, be­ing lodged in a chamber with other prisoners, I could not haue time to doe it. Yet still persisting in my Re­solue, and taking hold of any occasion that might fur­ther my attempt, I did perceiue a doore which did leade out of a gentlemans chamber, that was a prisoner, in­to the Leades, which doore was continually lockt, this was the doore must leade me to my pardon, I let no time slippe, but by meanes of a déere friend, I had a Iacke line conueied vnto me, and a Chissell of Iron, and that night I purposed to get away, being in the Hall at supper, with the rest of the prisoners, I made excuse, to goe vp to my Chamber, to write a letter. To worke I went, where without long labour, as it séemed to me, being a cunning workeman, I had opened the doore that led into the Leades, and finding an olde doore in the gutter, on the backe of which were fastened barres to kéepe close the boordes, and with the helpe thereof, I climed vp to the Battlements, where my eye measuring the way that I held best for my discent, I fastened my cord to the toppe of one Battlement, on the west side of the gate, and beganne to slide downe, but see the will of our iust God, that giues preuention to euill, for the prosperitie of honest and good men, (which I now heartily pray for) that I that had the Contriuing to open the Lockes, the Cunning how to sort out the time, should not for this which I held my aduantage, haue had the foresight to haue laid some cloath, or other helpe, betwixt the edge of the wall, whereunto I had fastened the cord, and the stay of the rope. So that in my slipping downe, striuing to vntan­gle the cord being small, it cut my right hand to the bone, and the force of my body, with the sharpenes of the stone cut in sunder the cord, by the breaking of which I fell downe into the gutter, belongiug to a Linnen Draper adioyning to Newgate, lying a quar­ter [Page 13] of an houre astonied, ere I recouered my selfe.

Being come to my remembrance, and seeing my hope frustrate, and no helpe for me to be gone, at last I groaped out a garret window, the doore of which o­pened into the gutter, but being bolted in the inside, I was as much in a maze as I was before, where pre­sently my inuention helping me againe, and by the shaking of the doore, learnt whereabout the staple was fastened, I had in a trice with my nayles scraped out a hole, yet no bigger but where I might thrust two of my fingers, so thrusting backe the boult, I opened the gutter doore, hauing a cord about my middle, where­with I ment to get out of the gutter ino the stréete. But the maister kéeper whose diligence, and care in his well gouerning of the Prison, I must with modestie com­mend, hauing béene forth with some friends of his, and comming in againe, at the time they vse to locke vp, demaunded if the Gaole were safe, and all well with the Prisoners, and being answered yes, I knew not by what meanes, but sure God had a hand in it, hauing a strange impression on the sudden in his minde, came vp into the maisters side, and the first he askt for was me, where receiuing a strange answere from eue­ry one, as that he was here euen now, or such like, going into euery roome, still calling, still calling, Maister Courtney, Maister Courtney, but Maister Courtney could not heare. It was perfectly euident, I had wrought my escape. In what a conflict was this gentleman in, the danger I had brought him in, let euen Charitie iudge. But it was no time for delay, search round about the house was made, which way I might escape, some perswaded him, I was gone out of the doore in some disguise, some that I had got out at the leades, the leades were viewed, at last they found the cord tied about the Battlements. Linkes then were sent for, the Cunstable and his watch beset [Page 12] [...] [Page 13] [...] [Page 14] euery house on that side, from Newgate to Pie Corner, the Leades were likewise beset with linckes. All this I did sée though to my great gréefe, into the garret then I crept, and there hid my selfe vnder a table, couered with a cloake, this Drapers house being searcht, as the likeliest place, I should take for my refuge, till the hurry was ouer. In the garret where I lay, they came, and found me not, but God would not suffer me to escape, nor would suffer them to giue ouer their search in that house. Into the garret the Kéeper came againe, with a cudgel in his hand turning vp the cloake, espied me lying as it were a sleepe waking me without blowes or signe of anger, called to me, come Maister Courtney, will you goe, when looking heauily vp, and seeing it was he, I fell downe on my knees asking him forgiuenesse, who most mildly without afflicting me gaue me this answere, nay neuer aske forgiuenesse of me, there is no hurt done Maister Courtney, for I am the gladdest to see you of any man aliue.

So from thence being carried vp to the common Gaole, and sessions comming on, I was called vp to triall according to my merit. Conuict, but by the fa­uour of the bench, some promises of mine owne to helpe some to their goods, who had béene robbde of a number, and at the especiall sute of my friends, I was for that sessions repreeued without iudgement, the sessi­ons following, I had my sentence of death, but in the distance betwixt my conuiction and sentence, my re­maine being still in the common Gaole. I had search­ing eies touching the strength of the prison, the condi­tion and humor of the officers, and where and what hower it was fittest for me to labour my deliuerance, whose pollicie failing, I was certaine of death. In briefe I had found the way, and manner of my conueiance, and had I not beene preuented, by my vnexpected sen­tence, at the following sessions after my conuiction, [Page 15] and that night according to the custome due to Con­demned and Iudged men, being lodged in a dungeon, which is called the Limbord, that instant night, with one Clement Sli [...] a fencer by title, and lay condemned for Murther, whome I had wrought to bee an agent with me, I had him as forcibly as after I performed, confirmed by escape.

Now séeing I was preuented, and knowing I must die with the rest of the prisoners, I found now there was no refuge left, but to labour our repreeue, which cunningly, and not ordinarily, I thus brought to effect, there was a gentleman, and at that time a prisoner for debt, whom I had vnderstood his intreats would preuaile with some honourable personages in this land, I commended me to him, to his conference with me, and in this manner solicited him, that I was a gentle­man, as himselfe was, and for lacke of meanes, and neglect of friends, compeld to take offending courses, the which himselfe knew the law had taken hold of, to the marke of my life I importune him to consider of me, yet in no kind whereby himselfe, whom I labour, should be brought into danger, neither those whom he should mooue for mee, should receiue discredit but gaine.

For when I stoode condemned, for this apparent robbery of Gardner, I desired him to be certaine, that I had euer this care in the euill of my life, not so to o­uerthrow the state of my being, but in spight of cala­mitie, I would alwaies some what reserue, should be as a fence to my health, in spight of my sin, namely, that of the same I stand conuicted for, being most of it in plate, I had at that time, as much, the which in one moneth I would make mony of, as should amount to the summe of sixe hundred poundes, foure of which I would assure to any honourable or worshipfull friends should labour my repréeue, and effect my pardon, and [Page 8] the other hundred poundes should be to gratifie him, that should trauel in the cause since himselfe was a pri­soner) till it were fully confirmed. And if within foure daies, after my repreeue, I did not answere my word, I would willingly yeelde to my sentence of death.

This made my gentleman labour, this drew a friend of his to question with me, and was satisfied with my promise. So that the vntimely morning I was ex­pected by the gaze of the multitude to haue gone to execution with the rest, I had my repréeue brought in hope of my promise, which indeede was onely coy­ned for another end.

The effect was this, that I being still continued in the Gaole, and night coming on, I began to argue with Slie of our former plot, whom I found to bee the man, whome I wished to be, namely, to goe forward in the attempt, which before we had enterprised, whom I finding to be confident, and resolute still, that night we made a vow, to confirme our purpose.

It is heere to be noted, that in the same ward where we lay, namely the Maisters Chamber was also lodg­ed one Woodward for suspect of Coyning, whom wee taking down into the seller, amongst other prisoners, we made so absolutely drunke, that hee was forced vpon mens shoulders to be carried vp staires, this fel­low thus drunke, and we were sure now, in a dead sleepe, in the dead of the night, we fell to worke, and preuailed so farre, that we came vp through a seeling, and a planke that was broken in a roome, that is com­monly called the high hall, with a rope that vseth to draw vp, and let downe the beere into the Taphouse, hauing beene vsed, then time out of minde, and dread­lesse of that, by which we made vse of it, we determi­ned our escape. But being both aboue, and out of the roome where we lay, all the pollicie and actiuitie wee had, could not clime vp to the beame, to vnroofe the [Page 16] house, whereby we were forst to come downe quiet­ly to bed, but the next day, and two or three nights to­gether, hauing conueied to vs a line, and a darke lantorne, by a friend which was sent to vs, which before we wanted, with certaine stickes, which we had priuily conueyed out of the kitchen Iaole, we made vs a ladder of roapes, with the helpe of which the Satturday night following, being the last of Febru­arie, as before Sly climing vp the beame, with my helpe fastened the ladder of Roapes, whereon I getting vp into the high hall, got vp to the beame, where be­ing, we vntiled a hole in the toppe, which led into the leades, and the same rope which he had taken from the Pullice, we fastened to the Battlements, and so slidde downe into the presse yard, and there by meanes of a ladder, which by chaunce we found there, got into the stréete, went downe warricke lane, so to Saint Giles, from thence into Hide-Parke, where we lay in a hole, or a hogstie all Sunday, without any suste­nance. On sunday night, we were directed of a letter sent, vnto me, whilst I was in prison, if we escapte, to come into a gentlemans Chamber in the Temple, which we should know by a light burning in the win­dow, and by the same letter, we were directed the way, which candle burnt there thrée nights a fore, and should haue done thrée nights longer, if we had not come, to which place we went on Sunday night, and there with others plotted to robbe a worshipfull gentleman at Layton on munday night, wée tooke water at the Tem­ple stares, and landed at Saint Katterns, where we spent our time, till the night following, and then with some foure or fiue more effected this Robberie, and re­paired againe to the Temple, where, by what meanes, we were betrayed and taken, God knoweth best, for we doe not, but I doe applie it the worke of God to cléere a great many, which were most vniustly accused, [Page 18] for consenting to our escape, of whom I doe aske par­don, there we were taken the thursday night after our escape, and from thence brought bound to Newgate, where we temained till the day of our execution.

On fryday mourning, being the thirteenth of this in­stant moneth of March, I was sent for to Sir Henry Mountegues in Aldersgate stréete, where being exa­mined of some poyntes concerning the Robbery done at Layton, after a worthy & zealous exhortation made vnto me to forget the world, & all hope of life, & to spend that litle time I had to liue, in praier. For you are (quoth he) appointed to morrow with your companion Sly, to yéelde your liues to the law, which so many waies you haue offended, and so sent me backe againe to New­gate, where all that after noone, I spent my time onely in praier, being still frequented with diuers good & godly men, who laboured zealously for the good of my soule, and who I hope can testifie to the world, that I di­ed a true penitent & seruant of God. God for his mercie grant vnto at other offenders the like vnfained contriti­on, and true féeling of his benefits, and vnto me life euerlasting, A men.

On Satterday morning was two gibbets set vp one within the gate, néere warricke lane end, whereon was hanged Charles Courtney gentleman, & one other with­out the gate at the olde Baily end, where on was hang­ed Clement Slie a Fencer, for killing a Fencer néere a­bout Kentish towne. The body of Charles Courtney, was begd by the Barbar Surgeons, for an anatomie. The body of Clement Slie was buried in Christs Church in Christian Burial.

Courtneis repentance.

THe silent night that shadoweth euery tree,
And Phoebus in the West was shrowded low,
Each hiue had home her busie labouring Bee,
And Birds their nightly harbour gan to know,
And all things did from weary labour linne,
And I began to weigh my state and sinne.
Men worne with worke, betooke them to their rest.
The Sunne had left to shew his glorious beames,
Titan had fully hid him in the West,
To coole the fetlockes of his weary teames,
When sunke with sorrow, being captiuate.
I shed forth teares lamenting much my state.
My head on hand, my elbow on my knee,
And teares did trickle downe my countenance then,
My countenance as sad, as mans might be,
My dumps befitting well a Captiue man,
Fettered in prison, passionate alone,
My sighes wrought teares, and thus I gan to mone.
I that of late did liue a souldiers life,
And spent my seruice in my Countries good,
Now captiue lie, where nought but cares are rife,
Where is no hope, but losse of dearest blood,
This is befallen me, cause I did mis-spend,
That time which God to better vse did lend.
Had I but stopt my eares where Syren sung,
And bound my selfe vnto Vlisses mast,
Or had I thought, alas I am but young,
Too much tis all to venture on a cast,
I might haue liued from all dangers free,
Where now I die, for life is not for me.
But I doe follow what I knew was vaine,
Instead of vertue, I did vice imbrace,
My former pleasures now procure my paine,
And cause I lackt one sparke of timely grace,
The poysoned Aconite of death and woe
Resolues to send a fatall ouerthrowe.
This makes my eies to gush out floods of teares,
My flesh to melt, my eies and arteris rend
My soule to seeke redresse, to cure her feares,
For now my cause cannot afford one friend,
I that of late did number many a friend,
Now find them fled, and no man comfort lende.
The Leafelesse tree, with wrath of winters wind,
Best represents my wretched wasting state,
Fortune the wind, the leaues my friends I find,
My selfe the tree, that thus am erost by fate,
And yet in this we greatly differ may,
That it reuiues and I still pine away.
Villaines auaunt, you bastards are by kind,
That doe perturbe the countries quiet state,
Shame to offend, shun a corrupted minde,
And learne by me, your former liues to hate,
Liue of your owne, and braue it not with brags,
Least law condemne you in your proudest rags.
Drinke not the Haruest of your neighbours sweat,
Steale not at all, thy God doth thee commaund
Whose law to keepe your soueraigne doth intreate,
Thy health it is Gods lawe to vnderstand,
Obeying God, God shall all harmes preuent,
Keeping Kings peace, thy King is well content.
Like to the Woolfe in euery place you range,
Preying on lambe, that neuer went astray,
And like Camelions must your suits be strange,
Who doth by kind change Colours euery day,
Without respect, forgetting what you be,
Masking in sinne, as if God could not see.
Abate presumption, sinne is not a I est,
Though God forbeare, yet he will strike at length,
God made thee man, make not thy selfe a beast,
But seeke to loue thy God, with soule and strength,
Ill gotte, Ill spent, your hopes (in theft) pretended,
Are griefe and shame, and life in sorrowes ended.
Might sorrowing sobs, with teares redeeme whats past
Or floods of teares suffice for foredone ils,
Behold my lookes with discontent orecast,
Whose heart doth rend, whose eies fresh fountaines still,
And yet all this, and all that I can doe,
Is small to that which I haue neede to doe.
My soule shall mourne for all my ill done deedes,
And I will weepe, sole author of soules woe,
Repentance shall be my blacke mourning weedes,
Ile bath my selfe in teares, from top to toe,
And while life lasts, which cannot now be long,
Grant mercie Lord, this shall be all my song.
My heart through flesh shall issue sweating griefe,
And scald my bones with salt and brinish teares,
Through flesh and bone, my heart shall begge reliefe,
On bended knees till bone my flesh out-weares,
All that I am Ile spend in mourne for sinne,
And where I end, afresh I will beginne.
If Maudlins teares did euer Christs feete wet,
And sweete her soule with true repentant teares.
If Peters mourning streames did mercy get
For all his sinnes, though he his Christ for sweares,
My sad laments abounding from my eies,
Sweete God accept, and heare my mourne fullcries.
A wouuded soule a broken contrite heart,
Creepes in great'st throng, thy mercies throne to touch,
The oyle of life, King of my life impart,
Though sinne be great, thy mercy's thrice as much,
Oh thou that art in power and mercy great,
Send downe thy mercy from thy mercies seat.
My coloured suits I now exchange for blacke,
Till scarlet sinne be all as white as snow,
On me sweete time shall neuer turne his backe,
Nor shall his taske be more, my tares to mow,
But with repentance furrow hopes for lorne,
Till God giue grace, I sheafe vp better Corne.
This little remnant of my life so poore,
Ile teach to shun all sinne and vices all,
Giuer of all grace, grant grace I sinne no more,
Establish me that I may neuer fall,
To thee my heart, my soule and life I giue,
Who after death eternally may liue.
Direct my path euen for thy mercies sake,
Guide thou my steppes to keepe repentant waies,
Keepe me from sleepe, in thee stil let me wake,
To laud thy name during these earthly daies,
And when from earth I shall dissolue to dust,
Grant that my soule may liue among the iust.
Ch. Courtney.
FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.