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                  The Hanging of Tobias Smith

 From the Archives of The Christian History Library Housed at The Christian History Center Staunton, Virginia

 Touching Testimony of a Illiterate Gypsy Horse Thief Hanging

 Book: An Account of Tobias Smith, A Gipsy, who was Executed at Bedford ( 1792)

 By:  Thomas Tattershall:-

  (MODERN Genealogy has now been used to Identify Tobias as the son of King"Jemmy Smith" and Jemima)Robert Dawson has also reprinted the story with added Genealogy and also Terrence Lee who's Smith Genealogies are available from my first site ,has researched this Smith Line extensively please see Romanygenes1 link at top of the page**)

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          Tobias Smith was born at Southwell in Bedfordshire, in 1773. His parents, James and Jemima Smith, are of that class of vagrants called Gipsies, who procure a wretched livlehood by selling small articles from place to place, fortune telling, fiddling, and such kind of loose and unlawful practices.

          His mother, it seems, had some education in her youth; she lived several years in service, and afterwards took up with a gipsy. Some of her younger children can read and repeat the Lord’s prayer, creed, and ten commandments; but she complained that Tobias was of so untractable a disposition, that he would never learn one letter or prayer.

          The first thing Toby mentioned to me, as the cause of his misfortunes, was the unhappy state his father and mother lived in, quarrelling and fighting. His father, several times, turned him off, and forced him into other companies, where he was further corrupted, and persuaded to steal and plunder for a living. The first time I saw him was in the prison at Bedford, where he was committed in Nov. 1791, for stealing a mare out of a pasture at Staysden, the property of Mr. William Curtise, a farmer. He was tried at the Lent assizes 1792, before Sir William Ashurst, and being found guilty, was condemned to be hanged; which was executed upon him April the third near Bedford.

 

          But as it pleased God to make him an object of his tender mercy, in so singular a manner, he repeatedly requested me, (and many others who visited him,) to make it public, for the information of gipsies, and as far as possible to reclaim all ranks of offenders.

          His parents had sixteen children, eight of whom are still living, and wandering as vagabounds over the earth. Toby was rather low in stature, but one of the neatest, proportionate made men I ever saw. He was admired by all who knew him for his uncommon agility, in leaping, running, fighting, &c. From his infancy he never knew any other way of life, but wandering from place to place, fairs, feasts, races, and other places of public concourse and diversions: he was early taught to play on the fiddle, for the purpose of getting money at those times when people are intoxicated. Many persons greatly hurt themselves and their families by falling prey to such companies of depredators.

 

          Toby deeply lamented the unhappy disagreement between his parents. His father broke his mother’s arm by beating her, had fractured the bone of her leg, and much injured her otherwise. He frequently left her with all her children, and took up with other women, and other gangs of gipsies. Sometimes he turned out his children to provide for themselves. Toby was often driven to other companies, generally of his father’s relations. He mentioned in particular, one Mesheck Smith, a cousin, who by much persuasion got him to rob his parents of a guinea. They spent part of it, but his mother suspecting him searched his pockets, and taking the remainder away severely talked to him for it, which so offended M.S. that he advised Toby to forsake his parents intirely, and go on shipboard, but Toby would not consent to this proposal.

 

          Another crime he mentioned was, being in their camp by a woodside near Ickwell, two or three years ago: the same M.S. persuaded him to go with him to a flock of sheep, belonging to Mr. Tingay, junior; Mesheck caught a sheep, skinned part of it, and cut off a shoulder before it was dead, Toby assisting him; but this not being fat, he thought it not good enough: so went again took a lamb and served it the same way, then buried the carcases in the wood for future provision, except the shoulder, which they broiled at their fire and eat amongst them: these carcases were soon found, and the gipsies suspected of the crime, being encamped so near.

He told me also of his breaking into his uncle’s house at Great Stourton, as he was returning from Thrapstone fair, being very hungry, but only found a bottle of wine which he drank: this he acknowledged to his uncle, asked his pardon, and obtained forgiveness. Many other petty thefts he was guilty of too tedious to mention. Fighting was a practice he greatly delighted in and generally was victor; he was so nimble that he thought no man could ever hurt him, except on his arms by fencing. He challenged the great Mendoza, and believed he could have beat him, said he had beat several better men than the Jew. But he sorely lamented that he had been guilty of manslaughter twice, having so bruised his combatants that they never recovered of the blows he gave them. The temptation to steal horses continued with him, at times, for above two years, before he committed the crime. He had been drinking, it being a very rainy day, and by coming to Stagsden got very wet; as he was going by the pasture, he saw Mr. Curtis’s mare and resolved to take her; he went to the White Horse, where he got more liquor. He left the public house a little after dark, much intoxicated, and went to the field, stole the mare, and rode her to Safron Walden in Essex, but had forgot the fair-day being the week before. He rode back to Potton, where he offered her to sale, rode but could not sell her. Being much afraid lest he should be found out, he went to the pasture where he had left her, and stabbed her in two places with his knife. The account of her being killed in such a manner made a great rumour in the country. Many talked to him about her, as it was well known he had brought her to Potton, asking him whose she was, how he came by her, &c. He said he was so frightened he could not stir a step to run away; and having told many lies about the matter, he was entangled in his talk, and suspected that he had stole her. Being taken into custody, and brought before Sir Philip Monoux of Sandy, he confessed his crime, and was sent to Bedford prison.

 

          What a small circumstance may lead to detection? The mare had been shod at Mr. Kilpin’s shop at Bedford, a day or two before, and the shoes marked J.K. This was known to be Mr. Kilpin’s mark, which chiefly led to discover from whence she came. What a blessing it is to the country that he was taken so young, for in all probability he would have done much hurt: and as he had been guilty of manslaughter, the word of God was fulfilled: whosoever sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed. We might naturally suppose that a person brought up in such vicious habits, and continual scenes of iniquity, would have no remorse of conscience at all, but he declared that the affair of robbing his parents had often grieved him, because if any thing was milling amongst them, he was charged with it. He was also much distressed in his mind about the sheep: and often wept in private for his offences. Many times he wandered in the night to weep, because his parents lived so miserably together, and often prevented his father from beating his mother. And on account of Mr. Curtis’s mare he was so intimidated that if he heard any thing, even the flying of a bird out of a bush, he suspected some one was going to take him, so that he could not sleep in the night. By all these we may see he was not without feeling, also how dreadful a companion a guilty conscience is, being alarmed at every thing. His dread of death was so great, that when he was sentenced to die, though he was so deaf at the time of his trial, that he never heard one word from the council, witnesses, jury, nor judge; yet the sight of him putting on his black cap caused him to faint away.

          On Sunday the 11th of March, I visited Tobias Smith and Philip Huckle, who was condemned for killing a mare with foal. They were both in a dreadful state, poor Tobies heart beat so that the throbbing was very visible through all his cloaths; which continued for four succeeding days without any intermission.

 

          I entered into conversation with him, and endeavoured to turn his mind to God, to seek pardon for his numerous sins: but he did not appear to have the least knowledge, or idea, of the being of a God, of heaven or of hell. He was the darkest in this sense, of any man that ever I talked with. In the afternoon I paid them a second visit. Tobias appeared, if possible, more alarmed; he was all hurry, thinking who could get him off, and said no money should be wanting for that purpose. I laboured to shew him that money was of no use; that being guilty of such a crime and convicted on so clear evidence, there was no hope of deliverance that way, but that he must die for his offence. I again tried to inform him of Jesus Christ, and of his dying for such sinners; striving to find words suitable to his capacity; but he could form no idea of Christ, or of salvation by him. I still continued speaking to him, in words suited to his low apprehension; and after prayer, with great eagerness he caught me by the hand saying “God Almighty bless you, Sir, do save my soul.” I laboured again to shew him that none but Christ could save him. His terror was very great, which caused his thirst to be excessive, for he burned as in a raging fever. He appeared in such a state that we supposed he would hardly live to the time of his execution. On Monday I went again, and after prayer, asked him what he thought of God? He said “he did not think of him.” I asked if he believed it possible that God could save him? He replied, “He did not know.” I strove much to make him sensible, and when I urged him to pray, he said, “what can I do? I have no prayer: I never had any prayers.” I bade him pray from his heart, and ask God as a beggar does for what he wants. He said, “my heart will not pray.” His ignorance can scarcely be conceived in these things; and he relied on this erroneous principle, that he was accused of many things which he did not commit, and said, “I hope this will be good for me, I was so belied; I bless God Almighty that is all my hope.” I had hard work to drive him from the notion that he expected to be forgiven the crimes he did commit, because he was accused of others which he did not. O how hard it is to bring sinners to Jesus Christ; they will trust to any thing, rather than fly to the merciful arms and atoning blood of a crucified Saviour. On Tuesday I conversed  with him again. He then began to pray earnestly for mercy; but so reduced in strength, that he was scarcely like the same man. From the time of his condemnation till now, he had taken little, if any solid food, nor ever closed his eyes in sleep; but before I left him he began to get a little hope, and said, “I feel something good at my heart,” but this glimpse was soon over, and he sunk lower if possible, even to despair of either God’s willingness or power to save him.

          “Wednesday 14, when I saw him in such inexpressible distress, I endeavoured to point him to Jesus Christ, for salvation, but he thought he had committed so many sins in his life, that God would not have mercy upon him. As he began now to understand the declarations of the scriptures, and the promises of a Saviour, he broke out saying, “I hope I shall find your words true, I hope I shall.” I never saw anything like his distress, but from this time he appeared to have a firm hope in the Lord.

          “Thursday, He was in an agony of trouble, crying to God to save him; and continued praying with much fervency, though he was very weak; we would scarce get him to rise from his knees; but soon after this he found deliverance by believing in a crucified Saviour.

          On Friday, I asked him how he was, he answered, “I am quite well. I feel my heart quite comfortable. I feel as if God had given me something to drink, more comfortable to my heart than any thing I ever had in my life. My heart before was as cold as a stone, but now I am so happy, I cannot think on God but I smile, for what God hath done for me.” He never could learn the right end of a book nor a letter in it till now, but hearing so many precious promises out of the scriptures, he bent his whole mind to learn to read before he died; and soon got the words, God, Lord, Jesus Christ, Holy Ghost, Saviour, &c. And appeared greatly delighted with this new knowledge. He said, “I find myself so happy, that I hardly know how to live on earth any longer.”

          His brother John came to visit him, and wept much, but Toby said to him, “my soul is quite happy. I warn you not to keep bad company; but pray to God Almighty, that you may feel comfort as well as me: don’t keep company with M.S. he hath ruined me. If I had listened to him, and done as he would have had me, he would have brought me to this before now; but I am glad I am going to leave this wicked world. I hate my sins, and all my old ways; I hate them from my heart. I feel myself so happy now, just as if I was in another world. When I think on heaven, I expect to meet Jesus Christ my Saviour. I find such happiness in my heart, as I never felt in all my life before; my heart takes knowledge of God. I hardly know what to make of myself, I feel so different to what I ever did before.” Nothwithstanding his rejoicing, he was very tender hearted, and wept over his brother, advising him to fear God, and be good to his mother. At another time he said, “I am now well, I can sleep in my happiness. I cannot help rejoicing and smiling, I am so happy; I am so glad I am to die; I long to die.”

 

          I do not want to live any longer. I shall be glad when the time comes, for I want to see God;” with many more words to the same purport.

          On Tuesday, I found him with the prayer-book in his hand. I asked what he knew of it? He answered, “I never knew the right end of a book before in my life: but know I can read some words, and spell almost any thing.” He shewed me many words he knew; and that he could go through the Lord’s prayer. He said “I shall learn to read before Saturday yet.”

          I left them and went to London, in order to procure a reprieve for Philip Huckle, as we had some reason to believe, he was innocent of the crime for which he was condemned: and though I met with many discouragements, yet, by the blessing of God, if succeeded. In my absence, Mr. Jeffries, visited the prisoners. Toby, said to him, “God has visited me, and blest me, at the time I thought I should die immediately; but since I was set at liberty (i.e. from the burden of guilt and fear of death) I can pray to God constantly.”

          Wednesday, Mr. Jeffries, asked, if he still prayed to God. “O yes, I can feast on Jesus Christ, who died to save poor sinners from hell! in the time of my distress, I felt as if God had pierced a nail into my heart: but, since he has blessed me, I can feast on his love. Before my heart was changed by the power of God. I was as bad as a dog; but now my heart dances for joy within me. My soul is like a bird, singing the praises of God in the air.

          Thursday 22d. I returned to Bedford and told Toby that there was no hope of a pardon for him. He answered, “I do not want a pardon, God has pardoned me. I do not want any other pardon. I would rather die and go to heaven.”

          On Friday, I asked how he knew his sins were forgiven. He answered, “My heart tells me so.” I said the Prophet writes, that our hearts are deceitful above all things, &c. He replied, “I know God has forgiven my sins, I am so happy. I  could never make myself so happy as I always feel now;” with many other such answers as quite satisfied me that the work was certainly of grace. About midnight I left Toby greatly rejoicing in expectation of dying the next day.

 

          Saturday 24. Toby said to us, “I am glad the day is come, I long to die, that I may see Jesus Christ. When I think upon God, I am comfortable. Formerly, I only new wickedness, but now I know goodness also: and greatly long to see God. I perfectly long to see his glory. In my opinion, it is worth dying twenty times over, if we could die so often, to go to enjoy the glory of God. I feel the love of God so perfectly through my heart, that when I think upon Jesus Christ my Saviour, I am so glad I cannot help rejoicing; my heart laughs within me. I shall soon be in heaven now, and see Jesus Christ: by faith, I can see the angels, coming from beyond the clouds, and bringing blessings to my heart. I often think of the long draught of wine I shall have in the kingdom of God. I cannot help smiling, I am so happy. I have no fear of death, I am so sensible of what God hath done for me.” Then Mr. Crow chaplain to the county, came, and we all went into the chapel; after service we received the sacrament with the prisoners. It was an awful reason. Toby said afterwards, “it was a blessed time. I found myself very happy. I felt as if the Lord poured his wine upon my heart, and made me glad. I have found my soul so fixed upon God, I could not tell how the time went on. I have been astonishingly wicked. I am glad I am going to die, and leave all my old companions. My heart is so glad it jumps for joy within me.”

          I now prepared to attend him to the gallows, where an immense multitude assembled to see him; and in the midst of them a company of gentlemen’s servants played at cards under the gallows, as if well pleased to see their fellow-creatures suffer a shocking death. A messenger came and informed me that the sheriff would not execute Toby alone that day, but wait till next Saturday, as Huckle’s respite gave no hope of a reprieve. Toby appeared much disappointed: He said, “I expected soon to have been in heaven, but I will not be impatient. I shall have only more time to serve God on earth, and to learn to read; and it appears almost the same thing as in heaven.”

 

          I left him and went into my circuit till the 28th. Mr. Gibbon’s noted the following particulars. Saturday afternoon, his fellow prisoner read to him, and every time he mentioned, God or Jesus Christ, Toby said, “I feel that name so sweet and comfortable to my soul.” When Philip had done, he added, “give me the book and let me look at it; though I cannot read it all, it does me good to see it.

 

          Sunday 25. Laying his hand upon his forehead, he said, “I feel God’s love upon my heart, as plain as I can feel my hand on my forehead. Before I confessed, I was as miserable as a dog; but now I have confessed all my crimes, I am as happy as a bird in the air. When I look up to God, it is as if the air brings knowledge and blessings to my heart.”

 

          Tuesday 27th. Mr. Gibbon’s read to him near an hour; he said, “I do love God with all my heart. I would not part with my happiness for all this yard full of money, how good God is to me; it does me good to hear of him.”

 

          Wednesday 28th. I came to Bedford again, he said, “I am heartily glad to see you: I feel the more I pray, the more God blesses me. I am sure God hath blessed me, I am so happy. I could not make myself so comfortable. I long for the day to come when I shall die. Then I shall see the glory of Jesus Christ my Saviour.”

 

          Thursday 29. After prayer he repeated the Lord’s prayer, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; which he looked upon as a great treasure. He said, “when I repeat these words with my lips, feel them comfortable to my heart.” In the afternoon he told me, he felt it a pleasure to die, and added, “What a shame it is for a young man, not twenty years of age, to come to this: but if I had known the love of Jesus Christ my Saviour, I should never have come to this; but I never could hear any goodness,” (because he was very deaf) but I bless God he has got possession of me now. I wish Philip was as happy as I am. I hope I shall see him in heaven.”

 

          Friday 30. I met Toby’s mother at the prison door. As Toby could not make her understand him in religious things, he had sent her to me, saying, “he will tell you all about it: We returned; and he desired her to pray to God Almighty, “saying, you do not know what good he can do you.” She began to plead her innocence, and what a good boy Toby had been, never speaking bad words as many children do though by what I can learn, he was one of the most audacious blasphemous youths possible) but she continued, “it is what the Almighty ordained for him; it is what was to be.” Here I stopped her saying, that was an easy way of throwing all the blame upon God, but Toby soon assigned a more proper reason for it, and said, “No, it was the wickedness of my heart, my heart was always so wicked. But now I feel myself quiet changed: I am always perfectly happy. I hate my sins: I grin at them, I frin at them” By these odd expressions he intimated his great abhorrence of his sins; they were the strongest terms he could express it in. Another conversation took place about his father having left her again, with all the children, and gone off with another woman. Toby said, “Mammy, don’t mind what a wicked man does; do you pray to God that he may bless you and make you happy. Yet I love my daddy. I feel I love him for all that, and pray to God to turn his heart from sin.” I talked to her about their vagrant life, and advised her to go to her parish and settle; shewing her the danger of bringing more into the same state with Toby. She replied, “I never did any body any wrong in my life. I endeavour to get a bit of bread for the children honestly. I pray to God night and morning always.” With difficulty I brought her to confess she had been unjust in her dealings; but could not prevail upon her to settle. Toby said to her, “O mother, serve God: but nothing grieves me so much as my daddy’s using you and your children so ill: may God turn his heart.” His mother’s tears quite overcame him, and he wept very much. Then Philip Huckle’s wife and sister came to take their leave of him; when such a scene of weeping and wailing took place as I never wish to see again. I thought my heart would break to see such near relations meet to take their final leave of each other on such an occasion.

 

          Saturday morning I went to him, knowing he was not to die that day, though he did not. He was cheerful, and said, “Blessed be God the day is come at last: how glad I am; I do not want to live here: I want to be in heaven to see my Saviour. I shall soon be in heaven now. I feel as much peace and comfort as ever. I cannot help smiling to think what a merciful God we have, to bless us in this manner. My heart fought and laboured to get to God and to love him, as a man strives to do his day’s work; (alluding to his first extremity) but now I can give him my whole heart; and am all calmness and gladness. My Saviour, suffered three times as much for me as I shall suffer. I can face death without fear, when I think how God puts his love in my heart, and of Jesus Christ my Saviour. I am so comfortable, so happy; no fear, all mildness and gladness. I cannot fear death. I long to die. I want to see the heavenly glory.” We conversed of several things; but when I mentioned Jesus, and the glorified state of heaven, he, smiling said, “I have had my health ever since I became deaf, but never had such health as this, since God pardoned me. God bless you, for you have made a man of me for the glory of the next world, I hope.” I corrected him, saying, it was not me, but God. “True, he replied, but you first told me of him, or I should never have known. I now love my enemies, and forgive them all they have done and said against me, I hope every one will forgive me. I love all that have been helpful to me, as my life. I hope I shall meet you all in heaven.” Then to Philip his fellow prisoner, “I shall soon know whether you are innocent as you say.” Philip said “Then you will know that I am innocent of that crime.” “I hope you are, if so, it will be good of you.” I informed him he was not to die this day. At which he seemed more distressed than I had seen him since his conversion. He asked, “Why are we not to die this day? I do not want to live; I wish to go to heacen.” I was afraid this delay might hurt him, and cause him to expect a reprieve; but, blessed be God, it never moved him. After a pause, he said, “Well, if I must not die, I will not be impatient; it appears to me nearly the same, whether we serve God on earth or in heaven: I will pray and praise him as long as I live.” Many of his acquaintance who were admitted to see him, beheld with astonishment his cheerful and serene countenance.

 

          On Monday I informed him that he had but a short time to live. He said, “Well, I bless God, I am ready to die any time. I am all happiness. My heart used to jump and dance in me for joy; but now I am so mild, so calm, and so comfortable; if any one would give me this room and yard full of money for my happiness, I would not take it. I wish I could see Mr. Curtise, (his prosecutor,) to ask his pardon, for I feel I love him as well as my friends, and I doubt not but he would forgive me. I forgive every body, I bless God Almighty.”

 

          Next morning about six o’clock I visited him again. Soon after Mr. Crow came and asked him how he did? He answered, “I am well, I bless God Almighty.” Are you resigned to your fate? He said, No, faintly. Mr. Crow repeated the question and received the same answer. Perceiving that Toby did not understand the question, I said, are you not willing to die. “O yes, I bless God Almighty, I long to die, I am comfortable in my heart. I prayed all night till I fell asleep: while I was awake I could clasp his arms about his breast he was so happy in his soul, as he explained himself afterwards) “I expect soon to see the glory of God.” He likewise prayed for his prosecutor, and all his enemies, that God would make them all happy.

 

          He desired me to bid his relations look to God and make themselves happy about him. adding, “I feel myself quite pleasant. I feel the knowledge of God still. I am not afraid of death; nor afraid of dying. When I think upon God I am so glad the day is come; I think my punishment is now over. I shall not feel much by hanging, it will soon be over; and then I shall see God for ever. I am right glad the time is come. I feel as if I was master of death: I could set my foot on him. I am not ashamed to die, but ashamed that I ever sinned against God, and so offended him. But I never heard of Jesus Christ. Had I known him, I should never have been so wicked, but now Christ is sweeter to me than ever was flower in a garden.” A person asked in whom he trusted for mercy, he answered, “In Jesus Christ. I feel myself strong in him, and more comfortable than ever. I am united to Jesus Christ. I knew there was a God; but I have known more in half an hour, than in all my life. I find myself so comfortable: no fear, no hurry, all calm and quiet.” Two of his brothers came in, and wept very tenderly. He said to them, “My father was the cause that brought me to this; he was always so cross, driving me from the company; do not fight and quarrel, do not curse and swear; but be good to your mother. And I hope to see you in glory. If my father had used me like a man, I had never come to this; he often kicked me about: but I never lifted up my hand against him in my life. Don’t cry, my brother, don’t cry for me; I am happy, I bless my God for it. My spirit is made fit for heaven, I am not afraid to die.” Then thy took their leave of him, and it was some time before he ceased weeping on their account, and said, “I am grieved my father uses my mother and children so ill.” It was some time before I could get his mind raised to heaven, but then he talked as happy as before, and smiled at the thoughts of meeting God. Soon after orders were given for his irons to be knocked off. He cheerfully offered Philip to go first, but being told he was to go alone, he went immediately and stood with all the composure imaginable; that all who saw him wondered at his fortitude. When at liberty he said, “I find myself as strong as ever, but I hardly know how to walk without my irons.” He rejoiced that the time was come for him to leave this wicked world. He shook hands with all the prisoners and bid them affectionately farewell. He then went into the cart, and kneeled down to pray. He repeated the Lord’s prayer, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, several times: and said, “I am not ashamed to die on the gallows: but I am ashamed that I ever sinned against God.” When we came near the gallows he smiled, and said to me, “I am near heaven now. I never was happier in my life.” At the place of execution Mr. Crow read the usual service. By Toby’s desire, I prayed with him, and commended his soul to God. He was then drawn to the fatal tree, where we shook hands, and parted, to meet no more till the resurrection of the dead. I believe the last words he spake were “I am happy. God bless you. Farewel.” Thus died Tobias Smith, April 3, 1792, being little more than nineteen years of age, a miracle of grace. The hangman was so drunk that he fell down three times. The people cried shame on him; but Toby stood with all the composure possible; he never shrunk nor trembled, and to all appearance was soon dead. He was buried the same evening.

 

          I shall now make a few remarks upon the whole.

 

          It is evident that the disagreement of his parents was the first cause of his ruin. Evil example is of the worst consequence. Therefore I most solemnly warn all parents, into whose hands this may come, to beware of what they say and do before their children. They will take notice of the unkindness, wrong tempers, and vile expressions of their parents. And the devil will not fail to help them to make a bad use of all they hear and see. It appears from this account that when poor Toby was turned adrift by his father, he fell into wicked company, and by taking their advice he was brought to a shameful death. O never turn them out, even when they are disobedient; but consider the cause of their conduct: whether it originated in your bad example, neglect of duty in keeping up a constant and proper discipline, or indulgence, or any other cause. When you find it out, remove the cause, if possible. Live in the fear of God yourselves; pray for your children; and then take such measures as are likely to reclaim them. Teach them as soon as possible, to regard the Sabbath: do not suffer them to play and indulge their pride on this day. Never cover the least theft; but by all means expose them, if it be but the value of a pin; for they will do worse if they are not shamed out of it. Train them up as you would wish them to live, in the fear of God. Pray that God may help you to live a godly, righteous and sober life; so that both you and yours may come to the eternal joys prepared for the righteous. I intreat children, Beware of indulging yourselves in any wrong thing, even to your parents: you see that this man’s first offence was robbing his parents: then he afterwards blamed when not guilty, which he could not bear; but by frequenting bad company and listening to their advice, living in ignorance and neglect of his duty to God, he proceeded from bad to worse, till he finished his life, according to his desert, on the gallows. Honour your parents; fear God; repent of your sins, and seek for mercy. If you seek God with your whole heart, he will be found of you. Consider the effects of early piety, when persevered in; it always brings with it a blessing both to your parents and acquaintance, but more especially to your own souls. It makes a man peaceable in life, always an useful member of society, and prepares him for a glorious eternity.

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                  The Hanging of Tobias Smith