British Executions

John Sym

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 1 Jan 1834

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Awful Judgment.

A Full and Particular Account of the Dreadful Pu- nishment inflicted on Mr JOHN SYM, a Respec- table Gentleman in Hampstead, who was in a mo- ment struck Blind by Lightning, for giving False Evidence against his own Servant Maid, by which she was condemned to Death, but was afterwards providentially saved by his voluntary Confession at the place of Execution, MR JOHN SYM, born in the Town and Parish of Hampstead, a Batchelor of about 40 years of age, having a good Estate about £120 a-year of his own, and let out the most part of it, only keep- ing the house and gardens in his own possession. He kept a ser- vant maid in his house whose name was Mary Small, one of the same Parish, and about 22 year; of age. Her Master having been abroad at a neighbour's house about a mile distant from his own, and drinking very hard, came home about ten o'clock at night, when finding the maid in his chamber making the bed, he asked her, why she had not done it before that time of night, and she told him she had been about other business.

She being a very handsome young woman, her master took her in his arms and threw her upon the bed, swearing he would lie with her, but she strove with all her strength to prevent him, so that he had not his desire. She in struggling lost the key of her trunk out of her bosom, and going down stairs her master found it, and put it into his pocket. He went the next day to a smith's shop, and had another key made by it, and afterwards put the maid's in her chamber window, and when he came down he be- gan to be rude with her, offering her great rewards if she would consent to lie with him. She told him, that she thought he had not been such a person, and if he offered such incivilities again she would leave his service.

He being afraid she would tell the neighbours of his actions, sent her to a farm house about a mile from his own on an errand, and while she was absent, took his key and opened her trunk put- ting in six Gold Rings, four silver spoons, and a silver cup, and shut her trunk again. When the maid returned, he began again to offer incivilities, on which she insisted on her wages, telling him she would not stay another moment in his service. He swore he would not pay a farthing ; so she takes her trunk and carries it to a neighbour's house, desiring to leave it there till she went to a Jus- tice to get a warrant to make her master pay her wages.

The people where the maid left her trunk told her master of it, who presently took horse and rode to a Justice where he found the maid making her complaint that her master would not pay her her wages. The Justice asked him why he did not pay her ? He said, sir, I am glad I have found her here, for she has broken open my. chest, and has taken away six gold rings, four silver spoons and a silver cup, and carried them off.

The Justice asked the maid what she had done with the above- mentioned goods which her master had charged her with ? When the poor maid with tears in her eyes, answered him, and said, that she never had seen any such things all the time she had lived in his house ; but, at the desire of her master, her trunk was sent for and opened before the Justice, in which they found the goods above- mentioned. Hereupon she was committed to prison, and at the en- suing Sessions brought to her trial. When she was at the bar, her wicked master swore positively, that she had broke open his chest and feloniously carried away the aforesaid goods. In short, he lay so hard against her, and the things, as it were, found upon her, that she was brought in guilty, and received sentence of death.

Wednesday the 3d of April being the day of Execution, after prayers and a Psalm, being sung as usual, she mounted the ladder, and a rope being placed about her neck, the Minister then asked her whether she was guilty of the fact for which she was going to suffer or not ? She answered that she was as innocent as the child unborn; then she said to the Executioner, when you see me drop my handkerchief, do your office. Then casting her eyes around, she saw her master and desired to speak with him, but he refused to come to her ; then the Sheriff went to him and desired him to speak to the prisoner; when he came she said Lord, master, don't your conscience strike you to see me going to die this shameful death, for a thing that I am not guilty of? Her master swore she was guilty, and desired God to make him an example if she was not, and further said, that what he had sworn against her was as true as that God was in Heaven. The prisoner said, the Lord turn your conscience ; I do freely forgive you, as I hope to be forgiven in the world to come. ln less than two minutes after, there were heard three dreadful claps of thunder, and a flash of fire that struck her master down at the place of execution. He by a quarter of an hour speechless; then, when he came to himself, he cried out, I find the heavy hand of the Lord is upon me ; It was I that put the gold and silver articles into the maid's trunk, because she would not consent to lie with me.

His eye sight is taken from him, his flesh is rotting off his bones as a just judge- ment against false witnesses. In brief, the Sheriff respiting the execution till the Court was informed of this wonderful discovery, the poor girl was saved from the jaws of death, and part of her master's estate seized, to make her satisfaction for the loss of her time and credit.

PRICE ONE PENNY. Menzies, Printer.