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THE SPEECH OF Mr Arthur Knight OF Grays-Inne, Gentleman; WHO Was Executed in the Covent-Garden the Second day of March, 1652.


London, Printed for Tho: Heath at his ſhop in Ruſſell-Street, near the Piazza's of Covent-Garden.


The Speech of Mr Arthur Knight of Grays-Inn, Gentleman; who was Executed in Covent-Garden, March 2. 1653.


I Am come hither to Act, or ra­ther ſuffer my part, no ſtrange part, though a ſad one, I heartily wiſh I could performe it perfect­ly, and to the life, as becometh my innocence; that the ſhame­fullneſſe of the Stage might not cauſe me to make an unhandſome Exit.

I ſtand here before the All-ſeeing God, I ſpeak before Angells, unto men, I ſhall not therefore in­creaſe my ſinnes by diſſembling them; upon the Files of heaven hang the records of every truth; and I will not as a man, I dare not as a Chriſtian ſpend my laſt breath in falſities; let the world forme what Judgment of me it pleaſeth.


I am now to ſuffer upon a ſcore of murder, a foul and heavy ſcore, were I guilty thereof: but it is my comfort, that though I die as criminous, both my ſelfe and very many others are fully con­vinced of my innocence: yea Miſtris Furnefall herſelfe (Relict of the Gentleman for whoſe death I die) hath confeſſed to more then a few, that ſhe eſteemed me guiltleſſe, and that her con­ſcience would not ſuffer her to proſecute againſt me, and that for her own part ſhe did not, and was ſorry from her very heart that others had been ſo violent, and that ſhe would redeem me if ſhe could by any means poſſible. But my fall is unavoyda­ble, the crime is murder, for which I am caſt and ſentenced, and now brought hither to forfeit my life, I thank God although I ſtand not Juſtified be­fore my earthly Judges, I doe fall juſtified before my heavenly Judg.

Gentlemen, I am now going to my Triall, the Triall I have paſſed is none; death is but the Bea­dle that brings me to the celeſtiall Barr, To that Tribunall I haſten; that though I be condemned as a guilty perſon in foro Soli; I may be acquitted in foro Poli.

I carry with me many witneſſes and good, a good conſcience is Mille testes, and whileſt a thou­ſand witneſſes ſtand for me, I am ſure I cannot fi­nally miſcarry. That Judge above proceedeth by an unerrable and moſt conſpicuous light; he knoweth things as they are, not as they appear, and therefore cannot be miſinformed, or miſtaken in his ſentence.


Truly, Sirs, though I ſuffer as a murderer, (be­ſides the acquittance of my own conſcience) no one here preſent of greeneſt years and reaſon, wil think me guilty, if at leaſt he knew, that at the time when the Gentleman was wounded, my ſword was in a readineſs; wherewith if my intents had been murdrous, I might eaſily have clapt him through without venturing my own life or liber­ty. I had then a ſword by my ſide, but made no uſe of it; nay, I did not ſo much as draw it, nor attempt to draw it: had I harboured any bloody revenge, or had I intended him ill, or death, I could, yea I ſhould have drawn it.

What ever provocation was given me, (and in­deed I had enough) I had yet no premeditation of evil unto this perſon; nor did I lodge in my breſt any malice againſt him; I wiſht him no harm, for I ſcarce ever ſaw the Gentleman before; what af­fection he did bear towards me, I know not, God knows: but I conceive his crazineſs within, the neglect of timely phyſick, or the ignorance of the aſſiſtants, hath precipitated his and my death. I hope, good people, none of you think me ſo bad a Chriſtian, as now in the laſt pe­riod and article of my life, to diſſemble my guilt if I were inwardly convinced. I beſeceh you al­low me who am upon the marches of death, ſo far your credit and good opinion, that if my in­nocence cannot reſcue me from this puniſhment, it may yet preſerve my memory from common prejudice and ſcandal.

True indeed I am a man obnoxious to many6 faults and failings, and as a ſinner I need a great al­lowance of pardon for youthful frailties & offen­ces. But I am taught to believe that in this life there is no perfection or exemption from ſin; and I hope that in the mercifull ballance of the Al­mighty, I am found paſſable and currant for hea­ven. I would have none believe I excuſe my ſelf from crime, I onely profeſſe my ſelfe innocent from the ſin of murder, that imputation for wch I now ſuffer. The greateſt matter that troubles my peace, is this, that the misfortune of untimely death ſhould defeat me and deceive my parents of the glad expectation they conceived of me: I had moſt dear and tender parents, and they of me a dutiful ſon, and they hoped to be once happy in my welfare having beſtowed upon me qualities, travel and learning, expecting at the hand of Pro­vidence the harveſt of their pains and expences. But God the ſupream and ſole arbiter of life and death, who hath the conduct of all actions & ends, hath ſuffered them to be diſappointed of their hopes, & me of my deſires of compenſating their large charges and care. Theſe things thou per­mitteſt, O Lord, that all of us might learn to ſub­mit and fear. I ſubmit therefore (O thou Father of infinite mercies) to thy good pleaſure to this my premature death, this ignominious death, en­able me (moſt gracious Father) to deſpiſe the ſhame, endure the croſſe, and to wade through this ſea of blood unto the ſhore of everlaſting happineſs. Lo, O Lord, I come, I come unto thee, becauſe thou bidſt me come, becauſe thou draw­eſt me.


Alas; I had almoſt forgotten ſomewhat eſſenti­all to my own duty, and my brothers ſecurity, to wit the clearing of my brother Thomas Knight from all guilt in this unfortunate Action, I hope my life doth ſatisfie the law, and expiate the offence, how­ever I am bound in conſcience to declare that not any part of this matter can be juſtly charged upon him, for I proteſt by the faith of a dieing man, he is as free from it, as I am reputed guilty: he had no hand at all in this fact.

Concerning my faith, I need not ſpeak many words it having been never doubted, only thus much I ſhall profeſſe, that I die in the faith where­in I alwaies lived, and into which I was baptiſed, to wit the faith of the Church of England, that e­ſtabliſht faith I die in, whereof I have lately made profeſſion to ſome perſons of honor, who were in­timate to my laſt preparations.

And now oh Jeſus witneſs for me, that what meaſure ſoever I have received, I die peaceably and in charity with all men, I forgive all my ene­mies, and am more favourable to my Judges, then they have been to me, Lord, let not the leaſt drop of my blood ſtand upon their account: blood oh Lord lies heavy, yet thou knoweſt that therein I have a conſcience full of ſerenity and Calmneſs.

Lord receive my ſoul, my ſoul I reſign unto thee, I truſt it with thee, thou art a faithfull Creator and keeper.

Lord Jeſus receive my ſoul.


AN ELEGY On the Execution of Mr. ARTHƲR KNIGHT.

AS Socrates, becauſe he durst defie
Plurality of Gods, was forc't to die:
Yet when his friends bewaild his unjuſt fate,
Incurr'd for noble Truth, and Popular hate;
He gladly ſaid, Who would not be content
Rather then guilty, to fall innocent?
So injur'd Arthur, ſince thy blameleſs mind
Hath purg'd thine hands, and inward parts refin'd,
Since thy unſhackel'd conſcience diſdains
Guilt woven Fetters, or heart-binding Chains:
(For vile intents may stamp good actions, ill,
But no man can be had againſt his will;)
We muſt thy death a perſecution call,
And more a Sacrifice, than Funeral:
The Altar of thy breaſt being free from dreſs,
Makes the Line, Fillets; and the Tree a Croſs;
Whereon thy former crimes did offerings lie,
That ſo thy ſoul unclog'd might climb the Skit.
None while he lives his own Cauſe juſtly Tries;
Each proves his own beſt Judge yet, when he dies.

About this transcription

TextThe speech of Mr Arthur Knight of Grays-Inne, gentleman; who was executed in the Covent-Garden the second day of March, 1652.
AuthorKnight, Arthur, d. 1653..
Extent Approx. 9 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 5 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
Additional notes

(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A87811)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 166448)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 106:E689[7])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationThe speech of Mr Arthur Knight of Grays-Inne, gentleman; who was executed in the Covent-Garden the second day of March, 1652. Knight, Arthur, d. 1653.. 8 p. Printed for Tho: Heath at his shop in Russell-Street, near the Piazza's of Covent-Garden.,London, :[1653]. (Publication date from Wing.) (Annotation on Thomason copy: "March. 3.".) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Last words -- Early works to 1800.
  • Executions and executioners -- England -- Early works to 1800.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A87811
  • STC Wing K685
  • STC Thomason E689_7
  • STC ESTC R206927
  • EEBO-CITATION 99866015
  • PROQUEST 99866015
  • VID 166448

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