6 Annotations

First Reading

Clement  •  Link

A wealthy London merchant, turned rogue.

An assessment of the man and his fate from the Newgate Calendar:
(Todd Bernhardt noted that the year was actually 1664 per the revised calendar.)

Sam had a different impression than Turner's bio in the Newgate Calendar provides, and calls him "...a mad, swearing, confident fellow, well known by all, and by me...a known rogue he was."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Contemporary accounts of his execution and an admonitory life:-

The speech and deportment of Col. Iames Turner at his execution in Leaden-Hall-street, January 21. 1663. Who was condemned for felony and burglary, in breaking up the house and robbing of Mr. Francis Tryon merchant, living in Limestreet, London. Licensed.
London : printed by William Godbid for Nath. Brook at the Angel in Cornhill, and Henry Marsh at the Princes Arms in Chancery-lane, 1663 [i.e 1664]
22 p. ; 4⁰.

Wing (2nd ed.), T3293 There appear to be two separate editions with the same imprint.

The triumph of truth: in an exact and impartial relation of the life and conversation of Col. Iames Turner which he imparted to an intimate friend a little before his execution. To which is added, his deportment and discourses in prison: the manner of his execution and burial. With other occurrences never yet made publique, and now published as a seasonable warning for others to avoid such strange miscarriages.
London : printed by W[illiam]. G[odbid]. for Nath. Brook at the Angel in Cornhill, and Hen. Marsh at the Princes Arms in Chancery-Lane, 1663. [1664]

[2], 32 p.; 4⁰.
Wing (2nd ed.), T2293

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"Turner so famous for his shifting arts,
Pragmatic buslings, and Protean parts,
Through city, camp, or country, to the state,
Took his last turn from the full swing of fate."

James Turner, a goldsmith, in London, and lieutenant-colonel of the city militia, was, for some time, esteemed a man of a genteel spirit, which was always observed to carry him far beyond the limits of his fortune. His vices and extravagancies not only exhausted his patrimony, which was very considerable, but also involved him in debt. Hence he betook himself to the lowest arts and most villanous practices to maintain the figure of a gentleman. He was executed for robbing the house of Mr. Francis Tryton, a merchant, of jewels, and other things of value, to the amount of about six thousand pounds. He was executed for this burglary, in Lime-street, London, 22 Jan. 1663-4. He expressed a true sense of his guilt at the place of execution, and desired the minister who attended to read to him the 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 verses of the second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. He left forty shillings to be distributed among the poor of the parish where he suffered, and eighteen shillings and six-pence only to his wife.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.

Bill  •  Link

TURNER, JAMES (d. 1664), parliamentary colonel; executed for burglary.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Extensive information on the trial and confession of James Turner can be found in the following publication starting in col. 565. The Speech and Deportment (by the gibbet) starts in col. 619.

A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783, with Notes and Other Illustrations, Volume 6. 1816.
Google Books. https://books.google.com/books?id…

"And thereupon [Turner] giving the sign, the executioner turned him off."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

It would be interesting to find out how Col. Turner knew Charles II, and why he was so certain a King's pardon would be forthcoming. As a goldsmith, perhaps he had loaned the crown some money -- in which case, Charles benefited by not having to repay the loan. Perhaps, as a Lt. Col. of the City militia, Turner had performed some personal service, so Charles was happy the information would die with him ... after 400 years, my musings will [probably] never be answered.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.