Home | Site Info | Commentary | Links | Feedback


Appendix

View photo of original page from the book.

An Appendix, giving an account of the behaviour of the Criminal at his trial,
during confinement, and on the day of Execution.


    Reports have been so various and incorrect, concerning Caleb, and his conduct, that it becomes a duty to state some facts, to satisfy the public mind.-- The history of this unhappy youth, the more it is known and reflected upon, the more deeply it will impress the minds of all, that Providence has brought together these things, for admonition and instruction.
    The circumstances of Caleb's mother, previous to his birth, beyond a question, had an influence upon the form of his face, and motions of his body; which were said, to resemble the child of the woman brought into the family. As to his natural passions, and understanding powers, the principal difference between him and others, was, that the restraints which act generally upon persons, and check them from giving loose to their passions and propensities, did not have so great an influence upon him. In none of the powers of the understanding was he deficient. One fact is enough to shew how far, he was removed from idiocy. The afternoon on which he killed the child, he had for his task to pull such a parcel of beans.-- Caleb told Oliver, that if he would draw the beans out on the sled, he would go with him and get some grapes, when the stint was done. After working a while, the little boy declined doing any more. Caleb then told him, he should not have the sled, and put it over the wall. Oliver soon got the sled. Caleb then placed it on an apple tree, and told him, if he got it again, he would be sorry for it. The boy directly pulled the sled down. Caleb was in a passion, and determined immediately to kill him -- but mark here, he discovered no passion towards Oliver; was calm and pleasant, and did not take the sled away; but told him they would go and get some grapes; and that he would go into the woods, and cut him a sled-tongue. Being near the house, he went immediately in, took a butcher-knife, and ground it; went to the corn-house, and took a cord, and also an ax. With these, they set forward, and went to the grapevines, and thence into the woods, to cut a sled-tongue. These circumstances show as much command of his passions, deliberation of thought, and contrivance, as falls to the share of any understanding. The moment he had killed the boy, his conscience smote him, and laying the ax and knife by his side, he traveled off to his uncle Ephraim's, about six miles distance. His words were, "after I determined to kill him, I never once thought of any thing, but how I should do it; I did not think of the consequences to myself. The devil led me on till I had done it, and then left me."
    After he had confessed his guilt, he was advised to deny it; but this he refused to do, saying that he had done that for which he ought to die. To persons who visited him in prison, he related the matter with exactness, and without reserve. Previous to his trial, he said he was advised by a man who was indicted for perjury, and lodged in the room over him, to act like a fool; to appear stupid and silly, and that he would be acquitted; and he declared that he tried to act as silly as he could. By conversation and intercourse, after the sentence of death was pronounced upon Caleb, this man obtained very considerable ascendency over him, as he persuaded him that he had no friend, so good as he was. The first week after he attended public worship, he was very much affected; appeared solemn, and to feel the importance of God's forgiveness. Being asked one day how he did, he said, he felt very ugly. He was asked what made him feel so; he said, I am a great sinner. On asking him if felt himself a great sinner against God; he said, Oh yes, I have broke God's holy commandments. I have broke the 6th, the 8th, the 4th, the 9th, and the 3d. I have done everything bad, that I could do; and that if he died as he then was, he should be forever miserable. When the conversation turned upon the provision that was made for sinners by the blood of Christ, he took up his bible, and turned to the first chapter of Isaiah, and the 18th verse, Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. At this time, the prospect of his becoming a sincere penitent, was fair; but it was soon overclouded. By the expectation that he should be pardoned by the General Assembly, which were soon to be in session, he was encouraged, as he said, by the same man, to act foolish, and to talk so; to pretend to be ignorant and stupid; to avoid attending public worship, on the Sabbath; to pay no attention to ministers, and other religious persons who visited him; not to be concerned about himself, or his future state. During three weeks, Caleb's conduct was affected by this evil adviser -- assuming the appearance of ignorance and stupidity, to most persons who visited him; though at times, he appeared much concerned, and wept bitterly, and would lay aside the hope of civil pardon, and pray, and read anxiously. The Monday fortnight preceding his execution, most of the above circumstances were related by Caleb; and he lamented his misconduct in giving ear to such wicked advice; but said, "It is like the rest of my bad conduct, and cannot be recalled." After it was discovered that such means had been used with Caleb, it was stated to him that his execution would certainly take place on the day appointed, and things were said to him, calculated to be of use to one in his situation. At this time, he was much affected, and ever after, his conduct was uniformly serious. His time was spent in prayer, reading, and conversation with religious persons who visited him. His sighs were deep, and continued; and he wept frequently, and said, he was so great a sinner, God, would not have mercy on him. Again he would say, that in his reading and prayers, he found some satisfaction, and sometimes hoped that he had a real grief and sorrow at his heart, that he had offended God; and that he should find forgiveness, for Christ's sake. He mentioned how Christ prayed for murderers, and he hoped he should not be cast off, though a murderer.
    About twelve days before his execution, at Caleb's request, Mr. Sharp and his wife, visited, and spent some time with him. As Caleb related afterwards what passed at this visit, he observed, that Mrs. Sharp was very tenderly affected towards him, and treated him with christian compassion. That when in a humble manner he asked her if she could forgive him, she took him by the hand, and said, she could, that she did, and hoped that God would forgive him. He then turned, he says to Mr. Sharp, and asked his forgiveness -- he sighed, turned from him, and left the room, without any reply. Upon this, Caleb, being very sensibly grieved, made the following remark the next day-- "I am afraid that man don't know the value of forgiveness." This shews his own sense of the need of forgiveness.
    Saturday the 19th of November, he declared was the happiest day that he ever experienced, and his conduct after this, was more calm and uniform.
    On the day preceding his execution, he was asked by the Sheriff, whether he thought he should be able to conduct with calmness and propriety on the next day. He said, he hoped he should be enabled to. He was told, that perhaps the great concourse of people might affect him more than he expected. He answered with the greatest solemnity and deliberation, and said, he did not think it would. It would make no difference with him, how many people attended; that he had things of greater importance upon his mind.
    The evening previous to the day of his execution, he desired that he might have the company of a person in whose conversation he had taken satisfaction. To him he mentioned his belief in the Saviour, and his wish, if it might be proper, to receive christian baptism. This he also manifested to his aged grandfather the next morning; who, after conversing with Caleb, desired him to pray, which he did, in the presence of several persons, to their surprise and satisfaction. He was afterwards examined as to his faith, and the evidence of his hope, which he gave with meekness and fear. Satisfaction being obtained, the way was judged clear for him to receive the ordinance. He prayed several times in prison, that morning, to the great satisfaction of his friends, earnestly begging that God would support them under the trials which he by his sins had brought upon them.
    In leaving the prison, he manifested entire resignation and readiness to comply with all the directions given him. He walked to the place of public worship, accompanied by the Sheriff, and the attending Clergy, within the guard, exhibiting, on a serene countenance, signs of deep and solemn thought. A pathetic and well adapted prayer, by the Rev. Mr. Nott, opened the service. After service, the request of the prisoner, to receive baptism, and leave his dying testimony in favor of the religion which supported him, was stated. After ascending the stage, and making his confession of faith, the ordinance was administered, by the Rev. Mr. Lyon, in the presence of thousands of solemn and deeply affected spectators. In walking to the place of execution, he conversed freely, and stated the ground of his hope, and the support it gave him, that through Jesus Christ he should find mercy. When coming in full view of the gallows, he observed it with a countenance unmoved, and said, it gave him no different feelings. On the scaffold, he mentioned Isaiah xli. 10. Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God.-- He twice kneeled and prayed with composure, and in words well suited to convey his feelings and desires, that he might obtain mercy and find forgiveness of sins thro Christ -- that he might be supported in the trying moment -- that all might be for the glory of God, and particularly that the people might take warning by his end, and forsake the ways of sin. He was asked whether he wished to know the time that the drop scaffold would be let down; he said it would make no difference with him, he felt ready. The last question put to him was, whether there was anything he wished to have mentioned to any person? He replied, that he wished the Jailor and his wife might be thanked for their kind treatment to him, that he had not said so much to them as he intended, and also to mention the necessity of being prepared to die.
    The Rev. Mr. Lyon, addressed the Throne of Grace in the language most interesting and affectionate.-- At the close of which, the criminal was launched into eternity. We know not his present state; but this we know, that he who pardoned a thief on the cross, could if he pleased, pardon a murderer, and receive him to the paradise of God, as a monument of his rich and sovereign grace.



Home | Site Info | Commentary | Links | Feedback