The Newgate Calendar - WILLIAM HAWKSWORTH

WILLIAM HAWKSWORTH

Soldier, who killed a Civilian with his Musket in St James's Park. Executed at Tyburn on the 17th of June, 1723

 THIS criminal was born of reputable parents, who gave him such an education as was proper to qualify him for a creditable trade; but being of a disposition too unsettled to think of business, he enlisted in London as a soldier in the Foot Guards. At this period party disputes ran very high, and the soldiers were frequently the subjects of the contempt and derision of the populace. While Hawksworth was marching with other soldiers to relieve the guard in St James's Park a man named Ransom, who had a woman in his company, jostled him, and cried: "What a stir is here about King George's soldiers!" Hawksworth quitted his rank and gave the woman a blow on the face. Irritated thereby, Ransom called him a puppy, and demanded the reason of his behaviour to her.

 The term of reproach enraged Hawksworth to such a degree that he knocked the other down with his musket, and then the soldiers marched on to relieve the guard. In the meantime the crowd of people gathered round Ransom, and, finding he was much wounded, put him in a chair and sent him to a surgeon, who examined him and found his skull fractured to such a degree that there were no hopes of his recovery; and he died in a few hours. Thereupon a person who had been a witness to what passed in the Park went to the Savoy, and, having learned the name of the offender, caused Hawksworth to be taken into custody, and he was committed to Newgate. Being brought to his trial at the following sessions, the colonel whom he had served gave him an excellent character; but the facts were so clearly proved that the jury could not do otherwise than convict him, and judgment of death was passed accordingly. A few minutes before he was executed he made a speech to the surrounding multitude, advising them to keep a strict guard over their passions; he lamented the situation of the common soldiers, who are considered cowards if they do not resent an injury, and if they do, are liable to endure legal punishment for the consequences that may arise from such resentment. However, he advised his brethren of the army to submit with patience to the indignities that might be offered, and trust to the goodness of God to recompense their sufferings.

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