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P R E F A C Е.

THE Conversation contained in the following pages is submitted to the public at the request of several friends of the Author, who conceived that, in addition to the interest with which any circumstances calculated to throw light on so dreadful a character might be received, some real benefit might, by the blessing of God, result from the publication. With the design of promoting still further such beneficial effect, he has ventured to offer some observations on what appears to him to have been the progress of sin in the criminal's mind; as well as to suggest some remarks of a practical nature, on the whole of the extraordinary and melancholy case.

The interview took place at the suggestion of a distinguished member of Parliament, a friend of the late deeply lamented Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, having condescended to visit the prisoner on the morning of that day, on a purely benevolent purpose, inquired of him, whether a conference with the Author (who was at the time entirely ignorant of the


communication) would be agreeable to him. The criminal having expressed his full consent, an order for the Author's admission to the prison was given by the Sheriff. Permission was, at the same time, granted for a gentleman to accompany him, who was accidentally present on a similar benevolent design, and was obliging enough to undertake the office.

The Author has endeavoured to preserve the utmost accuracy in the detail of the conversation. He cannot, however, hope that he has retained every thing that was said in an interview of about two hours, and under the peculiar agitation of his own mind; but he thinks he may assure the public, that he has reported all the main sentiments which were delivered, and that, in many cases, he has been able to recal the very expressions which were used.

June 2, 1812.






HEN we entered his cell, Bellingham arose from the bed on which he was reclining, and received us with great civility. I began the conversation by observing, that I was come to him, a perfect stranger, with no other motive whatever than his real benefit.

He replied, he was convinced of that.

I then remarked, that his great concern, as he was within a few hours of an eternal state, was to prepare for meeting God; and asked him, if he would allow me to enter upon that important subject.

"Undoubtedly," said he; "no topic can be more interesting to me.

I had been cautioned by my friends not to begin with the last dreadful crime of the prisoner, lest I should at once irritate his mind,

and steel him against any instructions of a general nature I might wish to give: and especially as they suspected (a suspicion, however, for which I soon found there was no foundation) that some measure of insanity hung upon him as to this particular'. I determined, therefore, to begin by opening to him the great fundamental truths of the Scriptures generally, and to leave the introduction of the other shocking topic till I could in some degree judge of the real state of his understanding.

I accordingly proceeded to explain to him, as strongly and yet as affectionately as I was able, the condition of men as sinners before God; the evil nature of sin; the purity and excellency of God's holy law; the infinite obligations we are under to obedience from our relation to God as his creatures, and on account of the blessings we every moment receive from him. I told him, that as God saw the thoughts and intents of the heart, and noted every sinful imagination, desire, and motive, as well as all the sins of the temper and conduct, our transgressions were by far more numerous, as well as more aggravated, than we could possibly conceive: and that a right view of our character and situation before God, and a genuine ab

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The question of the latent insanity of Bellingham, on further reflection, I do not pretend to determine.-Note to Third Edition 1824. *

horrence of sin as committed against him, were essential to true repentance, and were the very first steps in real religion.

I then stopped, and said to him, " I hope I make myself understood."

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Perfectly," replied the prisoner: "I know myself to be a sinner: we come into the world sinners."

This observation was made in a civil rather than a serious tone, and gave me little hope that he deeply felt the acknowledgment he so readily made.

I then went on to state to him the stupendous love of God to man in giving him a Saviour to deliver him from the wrath to come.' Indwelt on the incarnation, life, and death of Jesus Christ; and especially on his agony in the garden, and his ignominious and most bitter death on the cross. I then spoke of his person, his mediatorial character, and his atonement and satisfaction made to God for sin. "The way of mercy," I continued, "is thus opened. God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. Pardon and justification are freely offered to every penitent; and the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit are promised to all that duly seek them, to enlighten, renew, and purify the heart. This being then the perilous state of man as a transgressor, and this the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, let me beseech you to

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