The Newgate Calendar - AMOS MERRITT

AMOS MERRITT

Having saved an Innocent Man from the Gallows, he himself was executed at Tyburn, 10th of January, 1775, for Burglary

PATRICK MADEN, convicted of a foot robbery on the highway, and William Waine and Levi Barnet, for burglary, were, on the 19th of August, 1774, carried to Tyburn, for execution, pursuant to their sentence.

When the cart was drawn under the gallows a man among the crowd of spectators called out for the others to make way for him, as he had something to communicate to the sheriff respecting one of the malefactors. This being effected, the man, who proved to be Amos Merritt, addressed Mr Reynolds, the under-sheriff, and declared that Patrick Maden was innocent of the crime for which he was about to suffer. Mr Reynolds desired he would look upon the prisoner and speak aloud what he had represented to him. He did so, and declared that he was not guilty, but declined accusing himself. The sheriffs, hearing this declaration, dispatched Mr Reynolds with the information to the Secretary of State, and to request his further orders, of whom he obtained a respite for Maden, who was carried back to Newgate, amid the acclamations of the people.

During Mr Reynolds's absence, which was almost an hour, the other culprits remained with the ropes round their necks, and were then executed.

Merritt was taken into custody, and at the public office in Bow Street, before Mr Justice Addington, confessed that he himself was the person who had committed the robbery of which Maden had been convicted. The latter was pardoned. Though no doubt remained of Merritt's guilt, yet, as no proof could be adduced to that effect, he, for a while, escaped justice.

At the sessions held at the Old Bailey in the month of December, 1774, Merritt was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Edward Ellicott, early on the morning of the 26th of October, and robbing it of plate, a gold watch, and other valuable articles to a large amount. The evidence was deemed so satisfactory that the jury did not hesitate to find Merritt guilty: in consequence of which he received sentence of death.

He confessed that he had committed the burglary and robbery, and he suffered at the same place, within a single year, where he had been the means of saving the life of Maden.

 

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