Excited by religious zeal he murdered his wife and children and was executed April 5th, 176
THE shocking crimes of this monster in human shape show the danger to be apprehended from religious enthusiasm.
The blood that has been shed, under the pretext of religion, in and since the Crusades, or, as they were de nominated, the holy wars, is greater than the torrents shed by tyrants fighting for each other's empire.
William Whittle was a poor ignorant wretch, worked up to a state of frenzy by the abominable doctrine of some ignorant popish priest; for this wretched man was a Roman Catholic, and murdered his wife and his two children!
On being interrogated, after conviction, and while under sentence of death, as to his motive for committing such horrid deeds, he replied that his priest often told him he should be damned for marrying a heretic. But why murder your innocent children? To this he answered, 'The mother had carried them to the church of the heretics: so they would have been damned if he had not killed them; but now they were in purgatory, and would go to heaven in time.'
This wicked sinner, exulting in his fell deed, was executed on Lancaster Moor, April the 5th, 1768, and his body hung in chains.
Soon after execution, the Rev. Mr. Oliver, who held it a duty to attend the last moments of the wretched man, under the hope of working in him contrition, and a renunciation of tenets too dangerous to be implanted in weak minds, received the following threatening letter, evidently the composition of one of the same persuasion as the malefactor:--
I make bold to acquaint you, that your house, and every clergyman's that's in this town (Lancaster), or any black son of a b--h like you -- for you are nothing but heretics and damned souls -- if William Whittle, that worthy man, hangs up ten days, you may fully expect to be blown to damnation.'