Smuggling & Smugglers in Sussex - online book

An Account of a notorious Smuggling gang in the early 18th Century

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180                            SUSSEX SMUGGLERS.
committed by the smugglers was owing to their not being safe in appearing publicly.
On Thursday, the 30th of March, they were conveyed from Maidstone gaol to Pickenden Heath, the usual place of execution.
There were three more criminals executed with them, that were likewise convicted at the same assizes at Rochester, viz.:—Samuel Eling, who was born at Stan-more, in Middlesex, about thirty-five years of age, and John Davis, born near Hertford Town, aged twenty-two, as companions, for a robbery on the highway on Bexley Heath ; and Eichard Watson, born in Yorkshire, who would not tell his age, but supposed between thirty and forty, also for a robbery on the highway. These three criminals behaved themselves penitently at the gallows, as indeed they had done during the time of their lying under condemnation ; and Eling and Davis declared to the last moment they were both innocent, and that they had never been guilty of any felonies or robberies ; and forgave their prosecutor, as they expected forgiveness; and declared they died Protestants. Watson acknowledged his guilt ; and said little more than that he forgave all his enemies, and died in charity with all men.
At the place of execution they all behaved penitently. Potter declared to the last moment he did not commit the robbery for which he died; and said he freely forgave his prosecutors, as he hoped for forgiveness for all his manifold sins, through his Eedeemer Jesus Christ. Diprose said that his greatest consolation was, he never committed murder, or had been concerned at any time when murder had been committed. They none added anything to their former confessions, and having done praying and singing psalms, were turned off, crying to the Lord Jesus to receive their souls.
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