CONVERSATION & CONDUCT, OF THE LATE UNFORTUNATE JOHN YOUNG, WHO WAS EXECUTED FOR THE MURDER OF ROBERT BARWICK, (DEPUTY SHERIFF,) FROM THE TIME OF RECEIVING SENTENCE OF DEATH, TO THAT OF HIS EXECUTION.
BY CHRISTOPHER FLANAGAN, PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL. Who frequently Visited him, during that Period.
NEW YORK, PRINTED BY T. KIRK, two doors from the TEA-WATER PUMP. 1797. (Copy Right Secured.) Price Six-Pence.
AS the Public mind, has been of late much agitated re|specting a Publicatian signed JOHN YOUNG, supposing it was not his production, or at least the princi|pal part of it; and as it is probable they expect I would give a true copy of the Original in this Publication, I think it necessary to inform them that I could not obtain it long enough to take an exact Copy; but as I have been permitted to read it several times, I can inform them that the Publi|cation contains the substance of the Manuscript left by John Young, but as he left it in the hands of a person for the purpose of transcribing, and making it fair for the Press, in doing this, some observations tending to crimi|nate certain Persons, are expressed in terms much more a|crimonious, than the Original, and some sentences are interlined that are not to be found in it.Page [unnumbered]
THE CONVERSATION & CONDUCT, OF THE LATE UNFORTUNATE JOHN YOUNG.
THE Public mind has been of late much exercised by the fate of the unfortunate John Young. I was the first person who visited him after his receiving sentence of death. I attended him on Sunday, the 6th of August, at which time I addressed him on the fall of man, the nature of sin in general, and of that in particular for which he had been condemned: And endeavoured to lay before him, the awful consequences of dying in an impenitent state, but all that was said at that time, seemed to have had but little effect on him. He did not how|ever, discover an unwillingness to receive instruction respecting the things of God. The next day, two friends visited him, and one of them speaking abrubtly of the murder he had committed, he seemed to resent it, and asked him, if he came there to ubraid him. The same day another friend paid him a visit, and conversed with him largely on his dangerous situation, when he confessed himself a lost sinner, and wept bitterly on account of his sins in general, and the late un|happy event in particular. He told me he was deeply affected at the situation of Mr. Barwick's wife and children, and that he should be the means of making her a widow and them fatherless. He in|formed me at the same time that he left fifty dollars to Mrs. Barwick for to help to educate her children, to be paid when his debts are re|covered by his attorney, as there will be more than that on balance. From the first time the friend before mentioned visited him, he seemed to have different views of himself than he had before; he was truly weary, and heavy laden; his head seemed to be waters and his eyes a fountain of tears; for like penitent David, he often water|ed his couch with them. He opened the Bible and shewed me the 51st Psalm, saying, that is greatly blessed to me. But as he was amazingly ignorant of the word of God, he spent much of his time in reading the Appeal to Reason and matter of Fact; this was the chief instrument of opening to his view Christ crucified; and the all-sufficiency of his blood and Righteousness to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him. As the persons who so frequently visited him, had not been backward in speaking the alarming awakening truths of God to him hitherto; so now (when they found he was sick and wounded) they were not back ward in pointing him to the good physician the Lord Jesus Christ.—They sang and prayed with him continually, and he with them that the Lord would relieve him, burst his spiritual fet|ters, Page 4 and reveal his love to him. The Lord fulfilled his promise, To this man will I look, unto him who is humble and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word:—He took away his burthen, and gave him peace and happiness, which he possessed at least for the three last days he liv|ed. Now he became all engaged with the Lord Jesus Christ.—He told me and others that he went asleep, praying unto the Lord Jesus, and he was the first in his thoughts when he awoke. Was not this some|thing like what David says? When I awake I am still with thee.—The Lord was gracious in directing to some passages in the Bible, Fletch|er's Appeal, and the Hymn Books he had, that were peculiarly ap|plicable to his state. He shewed me places turn'd down in several of them; saying, these I opened promiscuously▪ O what a Book is that, exclaimed he, alluding to Fletcher's Appeal. What do you see said I when you read it? He replied, "I see the beauty of the upper world." The day before his execution I spent two hours with him a|lone; a great part of the time interrogating him respecting the state of his mind, that I might be satisfied whether he was building on the sand or on the Rock of Ages: And I was fully convinced that he was building upon the rock, for,
'Prisons would palaces prove, if Jesus would dwell with me there', It was indeed, more like a rational congratulatory visit to a bride|groom, or a man about to be put in possession of great earthly happi|ness, than a visit to one, who in a few hours was to suffer an igno|minious death. How indeed, could we be sad? to see a man in fet|ters, and yet at liberty, in prison, and yet seemingly in a palace! con|demned to death, and in a few hours to have the sentence executed up|on him, and yet spiritually alive to God, so that not only resignation to his fate was evident, but a constant chearfulness and serenity which is the result of a mind at peace with God, and all mankind. He talk|ed rationally of the vanity of this world, of men in general, and Page 5 of himself in particular; in not serving God, and glorifying his name, and observed, the reason was, because men were dissipated and inor|dinately attached to the things of this world:—For, said he, if men would but exercise their reason aright, they would live to God.
When conversing on resignation to Divine Providence in general, and particularly his present situation, he more than once said, if the Governor, would grant me a reprief, when at the place of executi|on, I do not know that I would take the trouble of writing for it.
We repeatedly asked him, if he inclined to sleep? He answered, "not in the least;" but we advised him to strive to doze a little, as we thought it would be better for him. He did so, and shortly after, fell asleep, and slept as composed as any one possibly could. About half past three o'clock, we concluded to go home and refresh ourselves, as he was still asleep, and return again to accompany him to the place of execution. I returned at half past seven, and was about an hour alone with him, before any one came. When I went into the Dungeon, I asked him how he found his mind? He answered with a placid serenity, "I am comfortable thank God." What did you think, said I, when you awoke and found the light out, and we not there? He said, "I imagined the lamp went out, and that perhaps you were all asleep, till the day-light convinced me ye were gone." How did you feel your mind exercised, said I, when you awoke? "I found it thinking on the Lord Jesus," said he, "and while I was meditating alone, I thought what a poor helpless sinner I was, that had nothing to bring to God as an offer|ing, but the blood of Jesus Christ:" I answered, That is enough, for that is the sacrifice that is acceptable to Him.
O! in how many instances did I see this scripture exemplified in him. My spirit shall take of the things that are mine, and shew them unto you. I sang a hymn, and he then requested me to sing the one that we had sung in the night, and which had Glory be to God on High for the chorus. We sang it, and he requested that it should be one of the hymns we should sing going to the place of execution. About half past nine o'clock, his chains were taken off, and his cloaths brought. As soon as he stood up, he said to the turn-key, "Well, George, you won't have the trouble of putting those irons on me any more, he then washed his legs and feet, and dressed him|self with the same degree of composure and cheerfulness he had possessed the day before.—When he was done, he took his old cloaths and put them in his bed, and turned it up. Then he took his hymn-book, and we sang and prayed, till the Sheriff and Jailor came to have him prepared tor his execution. When he was pini|oned, and the rope about his neck, the Sheriff kindly gave him a quarter of an hour longer to pray. After one or two persons had prayed, he desired me to turn down the hymns that were to be sung, Page 6 choosing two favourite hymns for himself, and left the others to me. As he came through the Prison, some of the genteeler Debtors came and took their last farewell of him with affected hearts, and gushing eyes, which greatly affected him. When he came out into the street, there was a considerable noise, occasioned by the vast con|course of people that crouded. We stopped there a few minutes, 'till the Militia was ready. Fearing the noise would dissipate his mind, I asked him if I should begin to sing? He answered, "no, not 'till we are started and out of the noise, I want to be recollected and meditate." So intensely was his mind fixed on the Lord Jesus, that he declared to me, that the affectedness of his friends (though it affected him) and the noise of the people, did not hurt his confi|dence in Jesus.—As soon as we started, he and the friends that were with us, sung, the following hymns.
Page [unnumbered]When we stopped a little distance from the Gallows, he came to the verse Here I'll raise my Ebenezer, &c. then we that attended him, could perceive the remarkable happiness and strength that beamed forth in his countenance. We who had heard him relate the dream he had the day before, said to him, "We believe your dream is now accomplished; Have you the full assurance of faith?" "Yes," exclaimed he, "I have, glory be to God. When we had finished the hymn and chorus, we stopt, but he would not; but cried out again, Glory, glory, glory, &c. He then went up into the Cart under the Gallows, and I with him. A little while after he turned about to me, and said, "in about half an hour more, I shall be in the arms of Jesus." One of the friends gave an Exhorta|tion to the vast multitude that was convened; and I spoke a few words respecting the state of his mind; after which, he said to me, "Go, and see the writing I left in the Prison be put to print." We then joined in singing the following Hymn:
The Sheriff asked him, if he wished to say anything, he answered "nothing, but that I die in the fear and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." He then wished me farewell, pulled the cap over his face, and in a quarter of an hour after, he was in Eternity. He died with an ease that astonished the surrounding spectators. However dissipated he might have lived, however aggravated the crime might have been that was the cause of his shameful death, it must appear evident to every impartial mind, he died a subject of Divine Mercy and Favor, on Thursday, August 17, 1797. Aged 40 Years, and 4 Days.