The Last Speech
September 2, 1685 — Speech before her public execution, marketplace, Winchester, England
Gentlemen, Friends and Neighbours,
It may be expected that I should say something at my Death, my Birth and Education being near this Place; my Parents instructed me in the Fear of God ; and I now die of the reformed Religion; always being instructed in that Belief that if Popery should return into this Nation, it would be a great Judgement. I die in Expectation of Pardon of my Sins, and Acceptation with the Father, by the imputed Righteousness of Jesus Christ: He being the End of the Law for Righteousness to every one that believeth. I thank God, thro’ Christ Jesus, I depart under the Blood of Sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel; God having made this Chastisement an Ordinance to my Soul. I did as little expect to come to this Place on this occasion, as any person in this Nation ; therefore let all learn not to be high-minded, but fear. The Lord is a Sovereign, and will take what Way he seeth best to glorify himself by his poor Creatures; I there for humbly desire to submit to his Will, praying of him, that in Patience I may possess my Soul.
The crime was, my entertaining a Non-conformist Minister, who is since sworn to have been in the Duke of Monmouth’s army. I am told, if I had not denied them, it would not have affected me: I have no Excuse but Surprise and Fear; which I believe my Jury must make use of to excuse their Verdict to the World. I have been told, That the Court ought to be Council for the Prisoner: Instead of Advice, there was Evidence given from thence, which (tho’ it was but Hearsay) might possibly affect my Jury. My Defence was such as might be expected from a weak Woman ; but such as it was, I never heard it repeated again to the Jury.
But I forgive all persons that have wrong’d me; and I desire that God will do so likewise. I forgive Colonel Penruddock, altho’ he told me, He could have taken those Men, before they came to my House.
As to what I expected for my Conviction, that I gave it under my Hand that I discours’d with Nelthrop; that could be no Evidence to the Court or Jury, it being after my Conviction and Sentence.
I acknowledge his Majesty’s Favour in revoking my Sentence; and I pray God he may long reign in Peace, and that the true Religion may flourish under him.
Two things I have omitted to say, which is, That I forgive him that desir’d to be taken from the Grand Jury, and put upon the Petty Jury, that he might be the more nearly concern’d in my Death; and return humble Thanks to God, and the reverend Clergy, that assisted me in my Imprisonment.
Source: The DYING SPEECHES and BEHAVIOUR of the several STATE PRISONERS that have been Executed the last 300 Years. etc etc…Being a proper SUPPLEMENT to the State-Tryals (London: J. Brotherton and W. Meadows) 1720.