by Justice Daniel Horsmanden
TUESDAY, MAY 12
Arthur Price having been found by experience to be very adroit at pumping out the secrets of the conspirators, in the two instances of Peggy and Sarah Hughson the daughter, before set forth; the undersheriff was ordered to put Cuffee (Mr. Philipse's negro) into the same cell with him, and to give them a tankard of punch now and then, in order to cheer up their spirits, and make them more sociable. These directions were accordingly observed, and produced the desired effects; and one of the judges being acquainted that Arthur had something to communicate he went up this morning in order to examine him.
Deposition taken before one of the judges, No.3. - Arthur Price being duly sworn, saith,
1. "That having discourse on Saturday night last, with Cuffee, a negro slave belonging to Mr. Philipse, he the said Cuffee, amongst other discourse, said, that he was one of the Geneva club that was sworn; but being overcome with sleep, he did not go to their meeting at that time: that Cuffee asked the deponent what could be the reason that Peggy was called down so often? The deponent replied, he thought Peggy was discovering the plot about the fire; Cuffee replied, she could not do that unless she forswore herself, he knew; for that he that had done that was sworn after she (Peggy) was in prison; he (Cuffee) left his master's house in the evening, and went along . the wharves to the Fly-Market, and waited there till one Quack came out of his master's house; they two then went to the house of John Hughson, where they met nobody but John Hughson, his wife, and daughter Sarah; that they (the two negroes) called for a tankard of punch; that Hughson swore Quack three times; that they only drank out their punch, and then went down to the Fly. That this deponent then said, I believe I know this Quack, and that he lived with a butcher; Cuffee replied, no; he doth not live with a butcher, but he lived with a painter, who lived within a few doors of a butcher; which painter's name he understood to be Roosevelt, according to the best of his remembrance.
2. "That Cuffee told him, that Quack was married to a negro wench who is cook to the fort, to the governor as he understood; that they were all to meet at Hughson's the Sunday after Quack was sworn; but some came and some did not. That the deponent, upon some further discourse, asked Cuffee how Quack could do it? (meaning the setting fire to the house in the fort) Cuffee answered, he could not tell how he did it; but that Quack was to do it, and did do it.
3. "That Cuffee said, they were to meet and have a club at John Hughson's in the Easter holidays, but that the d-d constables hindered them.
4. "That he asked Cuffee, whether he did not think that the firing would be found out; he replied, no, by G-d, he did not think it ever would.
5. "That he further asked Cuffee, if he was not afraid, that the two negroes who were to be executed on Monday, would discover (the affair about the firing of the fort and town meaning) Cuffee answered, he was not afraid of that; for that he was sure they would be burnt to ashes before they would discover it; he would lay his life on it.
6. "That yesterday the deponent having some further discourse with Cuffee, he said, he wondered why they only took up the Long Bridge boys, and did not take up those of the Smith's Fly; for he believed, if the truth was known, they (the Smith's Fly negroes meaning) were as much concerned as they (of the Long Bridge meaning.)"
Upon this deposition, Quack (Roosevelt's) was apprehended and committed; who was one of the Smith's Fly Boys, as Cuff called them.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13
Deposition before the judges, No.2. - Mary Burton, being duly sworn, deposed,
1. "That a day or two after she was examined before the grand jury, she was coming by Vaarck's door in the Broadstreet of this city, and saw a negro of the said Vaarck's, who (now at the time of her examination being produced) called himself by the name of Bastian, but used to be called by the negroes, Tom Peal, who asked the deponent, whether she had discovered any thing about the fires? To which the deponent answered no. To which he replied, d-n you, it was not best for you, for fear you should be burnt in the next.
2. "That Quack the negro man now produced to her, she has often seen at Hughson's door along with Philipse's Cuff, Caesar (Vaarck's), and Prince (Auboyneau's), but never saw Quaco within Hughson's house, as she remembers.
3. "That she has seen Jack (Sleydall's, the tallow-chandler) very often at Hughson's house, and believes he was very well acquainted with Hughson's eldest daughter Sarah; but does not remember she ever saw him there at the times of the meetings of the negroes, when they talked about fires; but from the kindness shewn to him by Hughson, his wife, and daughter aforesaid, she had great reason to think he was in their secrets.
4. "That she hath often times seen many negroes at Hughson's house, she believes thirty together, especially on a Sunday; many of them playing at dice, whose faces she could remember if she saw them; and she believes there were thirty of them concerned in the conspiracy about the fires; and some country negroes, particularly one Jamaica.
5. "That Hughson arid his wife, and Peggy, and Sarah Hughson the daughter, used, at the meetings of the negroes, to be the forwardest of any of them in talking about fires, (that is to say) that they would burn the fort; then they would go to the Fly and burn the whole town, and destroy all the people; to which all the negroes present were consenting; and by name Cuff, Caesar and Prince, Albany, Tom Peal, alias Bastian, amongst the rest. ...
7. "That she knows Jonneau (Vaarck's negro) and has seen him at Hughson's house a drinking with other negroes; but don't remember he was present at any time of the discourse about the fires, or killing the white people."
Jonneau, Albany and Bastian were immediately apprehended and committed.
THURSDAY, MAY 14
This day Sandy alias Sawney (Niblet's negro boy) was brought down from Albany, and committed to jail.
Deposition before the judges-No. 3.-Mary Burton deposed,
1. "That at the time when she saw the meetings of the several negroes at Hughson's house, as mentioned in the deponent's deposition of yesterday, the said Hughson said, they were all sworn, meaning the negroes and all the white people present, (as she understood) that is, Hughson himself, his wife, and daughter Sarah, and Peggy, and she understood by Hughson, that the purport of the oath was that they were not to discover the secrets about firing the fort, the houses at the fly, and the whole town; and about murdering the white people: and Hughson said to the negroes present, which were Cuff, Caesar and Prince; now you must take care, for you are all sworn; and the deponent at the time saw a bible (as she took it to be) in Hughson's hand; and when the deponent came into the room, he laid it upon the table: and then Caesar spoke to the deponent, and cautioned her not to tell; and Hughson made answer, that she dared not; and Cuff said, d-n his bl-d, if he would tell of any, if he was burnt; and so said the other two negroes; and so said Hughson, his wife, their daughter Sarah, and Peggy.
2. "That Hughson asked Caesar if he could get any others (meaning the negroes) to help them? Caesar answered, he could get enough, who dared not but go if he spoke.
3. "That she saw Caesar pay Hughson twelve pounds in eight shilling Spanish pieces, as Hughson said, after counting them; which was paid him, in order to buy guns; and that Hughson afterwards went abroad with his boat, and was about three days, or thereabouts, and brought back with him seven or eight guns, three pistols and four swords, which were hid away under the boards in the garret floor in Hughson's house."
FRIDAY, MAY 22
The grand jury having been informed that Sawney, Niblet's negro boy, was brought to town and committed upon suspicion of being a confederate in the conspiracy, they requested the court that he might be brought before them; which being accordingly done; upon interrogation Sawney denied he knew any thing of the fires, or any conspiracy concerning them. The grand jury for a long time argued with him, to persuade him to speak the truth; being convinced from the evidence of Mrs. Carpenter's negro, who already had been examined by them, that he could give some account of the fires. They told him if he would speak the truth, the governor would pardon him, though he had been concerned in them; and this was the time for him to save his life by making a free and ingenuous confession; or in words to this purpose. He answered, that the time before after that the negroes told all they knew, then the white people hanged them. The grand jury assured him, that it was false; for that the negroes which confessed the truth and made a discovery, were certainly pardoned, and shipped off: (which was the truth) - and upon this assurance he began to open, and gave the following evidences.
Examination of Sawney (Niblet's negro) before the grand jury, No. I.-He said,
1. "That about three weeks before the fire at the fort, Quack (Mr. Roosevelt's negro) asked him to assist him to set the fort on fire; and that he answered no, he would not run the risk of being hanged; but that he might go to hell and be d - d.
2. "That he heard the said Quack and Mr. Philipse's Cuffee say; they would set fire to Mr. Philipse's storehouse.
3. "That Cuffee said, d-n him, that hang him or burn him, he would set fire to the town.
4. "That William (Capt. Lush's Spanish negro) told him, that if they did not send him over to his own country, he would ruin the city.
5. "That Curracoa Dick said, he would set fire to Mr. Van Zant's storehouse; and that he was to be a captain.
6. "That Juan (Capt. Sarly's negro) said, he would set fire or help to set fire to Hilton's house; and was to be captain of the fly company.
7. "That Francis (Capt. Bosch's negro) threw fire into Mr. Bancker's yard, and told him so.
8. "That Anthony (Mr. Peter Delancey's negro Spaniard) said, he would burn his master's house.
9. "That Augustine (McMullen's Spanish negro) said, he would burn his master's house; and was to have been an officer.
10. "That Jack and an old man (Gerardus Comfort's) said, they would set fire to their master's house, and assist in their designs.
11. "That Cuffee (Gomez's) said, he would burn his master's house; and was to have been an officer in the Fly company; said so to a country fellow, and he heard him.
12. "That just by Coenties-market he heard Patrick (English's negro) and Cato (Col. Moore's) say; they would set fire to their master's houses.
13."That Fortune (Wilkins') was to set fire to his master's house.
14. "Sawney being asked what the negroes proposed by rising and doing all this mischief? He answered, 'that their design was to kill all the gentlemen, and take their wives;' and that Quack and Cuffee (Philipse's) were particular persons that talked so.
15. "That while he was in jail, Francis (Capt. Bosch's) said, he would kill him if he told any thing; and that when Mr. Mills came for him, several negroes winked as he came out.
16. "Being asked if Quack (Mr. Walter's negro) was knowing or concerned in the affair: he answered, no, though he was always cursing the white people.
17. "Being asked if he had much acquaintance with Danby, the governor's negro, and if he knew any thing? He answered, he had very little; and he believed not.
18. "That Caesar (Vaarck's) that was hanged was concerned and was to have been captain of the Long Bridge Company.
19. "That about a fortnight before the fire at the fort, at Comfort's house, he overheard Jack and the old man (Cook) in company with four other negroes he did not know, talk about the rising of the negroes; and Jack said, that there was not enough of them, and he would stay longer, or to that purpose."
FRIDAY, MAY 29
[Quack (Roosevelt's) and Cuffee (Philipse's) were indicted for conspiracy to murder the inhabitants of New York and to commit arson. The two pled not guilty.
Burton repeated her first deposition of April 22, in which she testified that Cuffee, like Caesar and Prince, were often at the Hughsons' when they were planning the uprising.]
Court: Did the prisoner Cuffee ever threaten you so?
Burton: Yes, he, Caesar and Prince, and the rest.
"That about three weeks after she came to Hughson's, which was about midsummer last, the negroes were there talking of the plot and some of them said perhaps she would tell; and Coffee said no, she would not, he intended to have her for a wife; and then run up to her; and she had a dishclout in her hand, which she dabbed in his face, and he ran away.
"That at a meeting of the negroes at Hughson's house, Hughson said they were all sworn, negroes and white people present, as she understood; that is, Hughson, his wife, daughter Sarah, and Peggy, and that the purport of the oath was, that they were not to discover the secrets about firing the fort, the houses at the Fly, and the whole town, and about murdering the white people; and Hughson said to the negroes present, which were Coffee, Caesar and Prince, now you must take care, for you are all sworn; and at the same time the witness saw a bible, as she took it to be, in Hughson's hand, and when the witness came into the room he laid it upon the table; and then Caesar spoke to the witness and cautioned her not to tell, and Hughson made answer that she dared not; and Coffee said, d-n his bl-d, if he would tell of any, if he was burnt; and so said the other two negroes, and so said Hughson, his wife, daughter Sarah, and Peggy."
[Arthur Price also restated an earlier deposition of May 12 (no. 3), in which he testified that Cuffee had confessed to being part of a sworn conspiracy and to being part of a theft ring. He added:]
"That after Quack, the other prisoner at the bar, was committed, Cuffee never mentioned any thing concerning the former discourse to the witness, but read sometimes, and cried very much."
[Six white witnesses testified that they had seen Cuffee at the fire at Col. Philipse's storehouse. One testified that he saw Cuffee whistling and dancing as he intentionally spilled buckets of water that could have been used to subdue the fire. A slave named Fortune testified that nd purposely spilling the buckets of water with which the brigade was attempting to put out the fire. A slave (Fortune) testified that Quack had told him that he was going to burn down the fort. Another slave (Sandy) stated that Quack had admitted to burning the fort.]
Witnesses called at the request of the prisoners. - Jacob Bursen, Peter Jay, Lewis Parent, Gerardus Beckman, Mr. Niblet, Captain Rowe, John Roosevelt and his son, Catherine Wells, Adolph Philipse, Esq.
Adolph Philipse, Esq. (Cuffee's master) said, that all he could declare about him was, "that the afternoon his nephew's (col. Philipse's) storehouse was on fire, he had left him at home not long before the alarm of the fire at work, sewing a vane upon a board for his boat; that as to his character he could say nothing."
Quack's master (Mr. Roosevelt) and his son, both declared, "that Quack was employed most part of that morning the fort was fired, from the time they got up, in cutting away the ice out of the yard; that he was hardly ever out of their sight all that morning, but a small time while they were at breakfast; and that they could not think he could that morning have been from their home so far as the fort."
Captain Rowe and Beckman said, "Quack was employed last year to work at the new battery, and that he minded his business very well." The other witnesses called at the request of the prisoners, said nothing more material.
The Prisoners being asked what they had to offer in their defense, they offered nothing but peremptory denials of what had been testified against them, and protestations of their innocency.
Mr. Smith [William Smith Sr., a lawyer for the prosecution] then proceeded to sum up and remark upon the evidence, and spoke as followeth:
"May it Please your honours, and you, gentlemen of the jury,
"The part assigned to me on this trial, is to sum up the evidence which you have heard; and in general it may be observed, that a most horrid conspiracy has been formed, to burn this city, and to destroy the white people.
"That great numbers of persons have been concerned in the plot; some whites, and many blacks. That the place of their general rendezvous was the house of John Hughson. That there thirty negroes have met at a time. That their meetings were chiefly on Sundays. That Hughson, as the captain of this hellish band, swore himself and others into this dark confederacy. That some arms and ammunition were provided by Hughson for the purpose; and that the night season was agreed on for the putting it in execution.
"Gentlemen, no scheme more monstrous could have been invented; nor can any thing be thought of more foolish, than the motives that induced these wretches to enter into it! What more ridiculous than that Hughson, in consequence of this scheme, should become a King! Caesar, now in gibbets, a Governor! That the white men should be all killed, and the women become a prey to the rapacious lust of these villains! That these slaves should thereby establish themselves in peace and freedom in the plundered wealth of their slaughtered masters! It is hard to say whether the wickedness or the folly of this design is the greater; and had it not been in part executed before it was discovered, we should with great difficulty have been persuaded to believe it possible, that such a wicked and foolish plot could be contrived by any creatures in human shape.
''Yet, gentlemen, incredible as such a plot would have seemed to have been, the event has in part proved it to be real. Whence else could so many fires have been lighted up all around you in so short a time, with evident marks of willful design? A design that could not be executed but by several hands.
"Now gentlemen, the prisoners at the bar stand charged with being principal parties in this tragical design, and two of the prime incendiaries: Quack for burning his majesty's house in the fort, and Cuffee for burning col. Philipse's storehouse."
"Thus, gentlemen, I have distinguished the several points of the evidence against the prisoners, and have repeated the substance of what each witness has said to each point, and shall leave it to you to determine whether the prisoners are guilty or not. I have endeavored to lay no more weight upon any part of the evidence, than it will well bear; and I hope I have not urged any consequence which the fact proved will not fairly warrant.
"Gentlemen, the prisoners have been indulged with the same kind of trial as is due to free men, though they might have been proceeded against in a more summary and less favourable way. The negro evidence, in the manner in which it has been produced, is warranted by the act of assembly that has been read to you; the law requires no oath to be administered to them, and indeed it would seem to be a profanation of it, to administer it to a Heathen in the legal form. You have seen that the court has put them under the most solemn caution, that their small knowledge of religion can render them capable of. The being and perfections of an Almighty, all knowing, and just God, and the terrors of an eternal world, have been plainly laid before them, and strongly pressed upon them. Unless they were professed Christians, and had taken upon them the bonds and obligations of that religion, their word, with the cautions that have been used, I suppose will be thought by you, as satisfactory as any oath that could have been devised. But, gentlemen, the court has no power to administer an oath, but in the common form, and if Pagan negroes could not be received as witnesses against each other, without an oath in legal form, it is easy to perceive that the greatest villainies would often pass with impunity."
Then the jury were charged, and a constable was sworn to attend them as usual; and they withdrew; and being soon returned, found the prisoners guilty of both indictments. The prisoners were asked, what they had to offer in arrest of judgment, why they should not receive sentence of death? and they offering nothing but repetitions of protestations of their innocence; the third justice Justice Horsmanden proceeded to sentence, as followeth:
Quack and Cuffee, the criminals at the bar,
''You both now stand convicted of one of the most horrid and detestable pieces of villainy, that ever satan instilled into the heart of human creatures to put in practice; ye, and the rest of your colour, though you are called slaves in this country; yet you are all far, very far, from the condition of other slaves in other countries; nay, your lot is superior to that of thousands of white people. You are furnished with all the necessaries of life, meat, drink, and clothing, without care, in a much better manner than you could provide for yourselves, were you at liberty; as the miserable condition of many free people here of your complexion might abundantly convince you. What then could prompt you to undertake so vile, so wicked, so monstrous, so execrable and hellish a scheme, as to murder and destroy your own masters and benefactors? nay, to destroy root and branch, all the white people of this place, and to lay the whole town in ashes.
"I know not which is the more astonishing, the extreme folly, or wickedness, of so base and shocking a conspiracy; for as to any view of liberty or government you could propose to yourselves, upon the success of burning the city, robbing, butchering, and destroying the inhabitants; what could it be expected to end in, in the account of any rational and considerate person among you, but your own destruction? And as the wickedness of it, you might well have reflected, you that have sense, that there is a God above, who has always a clear view of all your actions, who sees into the utmost recesses of the heart, and knoweth all your thoughts; shall he not, do ye think, for all this bring you into judgment, at that final and great day of account, the day of judgment, when the most secret treachery will be disclosed, and laid open to the view, and everyone will be rewarded according to their deeds, and their use of that degree of reason which God Almighty has entrusted them with.
"Ye that were for destroying us without mercy, ye abject wretches, the outcasts of the nations of the earth, are treated here with tenderness and humanity; and, I wish I could not say, with too great indulgence also; for you have grown wanton with excess of liberty, and your idleness has proved your ruin, having given you the opportunities of forming this villainous and detestable conspiracy; a scheme compounded of the blackest and foulest vices, treachery, blood-thirstiness, and ingratitude. But be not deceived, God Almighty only can and will proportion punishments to men's offences; ye that have shewn no mercy here, and have been for destroying all about ye, and involving them in one general massacre and ruin, what hopes can ye have of mercy in the other world? For shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Let me in compassion advise ye then; there are but a few moments between ye and eternity; ye ought therefore seriously to lay to heart these things; earnestly and sorrowfully to bewail your monstrous and crying sins, in this your extremity; and if ye would reasonably entertain any hopes of mercy at the hands of God, ye must shew mercy here yourselves, and make what amends ye can before ye leave us, for the mischief you have already done, by preventing any more being done. Do not flatter yourselves, for the same measure which you give us here, will be measured to you again in the other world; ye must confess your whole guilt, as to the offences of which ye stand convicted, and for which ye will presently receive judgment; ye must discover the whole scene of iniquity which has been contrived in this monstrous confederacy, the chief authors and actors, and all and every the parties concerned, aiding and assisting therein, that by your means a full stop may be put to this horrible and devilish undertaking. And these are the only means left ye to shew mercy; and the only reasonable ground ye can go upon, to entertain any hopes of mercy at the hands of God, before whose judgment seat ye are so soon to appear.
"Ye cannot be so stupid, surely, as to imagine, that when ye leave this world, when your souls put off these bodies of clay, ye shall become like the beasts that perish, that your spirits shall only vanish into the soft air and cease to be. No, your souls are immortal, they will live forever, either to be eternally happy, or eternally miserable in the other world, where you are now going.
"If ye sincerely and in earnest repent you of your abominable sins, and implore the divine assistance at this critical juncture, in working out the great and momentous article of the salvation of your souls; upon your making all the amends, and giving all the satisfaction which is in each of your powers, by a full and complete discovery of the conspiracy, and of the several persons concerned in it, as I have observed to ye before, then and only upon these conditions can ye reasonably expect mercy at the hands of God Almighty for your poor, wretched and miserable souls.
"Here ye must have justice, for the justice of human laws has at length overtaken ye, and we ought to be very thankful, and esteem it a most merciful and wondrous act of Providence, that your treacheries and villainies have been discovered; that your plot and contrivances, your hidden works of darkness have been brought to light, and stopped in their career; that in the same net which you have hid so privly for others your own feet are taken: that the same mischief which you have contrived for others, and have in part executed, is at length fallen upon your own pates, whereby the sentence which I am now to pronounce will be justified against ye; which is,
"That you and each of you be carried from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, where you and each of you shall be chained to a stake, and burnt to death; and the lord have mercy upon your poor, wretched souls."
Ordered, that the execution of the said Quack and Cuffee be on Saturday the 30th of this instant, between the hours of one and seven o'clock in the afternoon of the same day.
SATURDAY, MAY 30
This day Quack and Cuffee were executed at the stake according to sentence.
The spectators at this execution were very numerous; about three o'clock the criminals were brought to the stake, surrounded with piles of wood ready for setting fire to, which the people were very impatient to have done, their resentment being raised to the utmost pitch against them, and no wonder. The criminals shewed great terror in their countenances, and looked as if they would gladly have discovered all they knew of this accursed scheme, could they have had any encouragement to hope for a reprieve. But as the case was, they might flatter themselves with hopes: they both seemed inclinable to make some confession; the only difficulty between them at last being, who should speak first. Mr. Moore, the deputy secretary, undertook singly to examine them both, endeavoring to persuade them to confess their guilt, and all they knew of the matter, without effect; till at length Mr. Roosevelt came up to him, and said he would undertake Quack, whilst Mr. Moore examined Cuffee; but before they could proceed to the purpose, each of them was obliged to flatter his respective criminal that his fellow sufferer had begun, which stratagem prevailed: Mr. Roosevelt stuck to Quack altogether, and Mr. Moore took Cuff's confession, and sometimes also minutes of what each said; and afterwards upon drawing up their confessions in form from their minutes, they therefore intermixed what came from each.
Quack's confession at the stake. He said,
1. "That Hughson was the first contriver of the whole plot, and promoter of it; which was to burn the houses of the town; Cuffee said, to kill the people.
2. "That Hughson brought in first Caesar (Vaarck's); then Prince (Auboyneau's); Cuffee (Philipse's); and others, amongst whom were old Kip's negro; Robin (Chambers's); Cuffee (Gomez's); Jack (Codweis's) and another short negro, that cooks for him.
3. "That he Quack did fire the fort, that it was by a lighted stick taken out of the servants hall, about eight o'clock at night, that he went up the back stairs with it and so through Barbara's room, and put it near the gutter, betwixt the shingles, and the roof of the house.
4. "That on a Sunday afternoon, a month before the firing of the fort, over a bowl of punch, the confederates at Hughson's (amongst whom were the confederates above named, Albany, and Tickle, alias Will, Jack and Cook (Comfort's); old Butchell; Caesar, and Guy (Horsfield's); Tom (Van Rants's); Caesar (Peck's); Worcester, and others) voted him Quack, as having a wife in the fort, to be the person who should fire the fort, Sandy, and Jack (Codweis's); Caesar, and Guy (Horsfield's); were to assist him in it.
5. "That Hughson desired the negroes to bring to his house, what they could get from the fire, and Hughson was to bring down country people in his boat to further the business, and would bring in other negroes.
6. "That forty or fifty to his knowledge were concerned, but their names he could not recollect (the mob pressing and interrupting).
7. "That Cuffee (Gomez's); and Caesar (Peck's), fired Van Zant's storehouse.
8. "That Mary Burton had spoke the truth, and could name many more.
9. "Fortune (Wilkins's) and Sandy, had done the same; and Sandy could name the Spaniards, and say much more, which Cuffee particularly confirmed.
10. "Being asked what view Hughson had in acting in this manner? He answered, to make himself rich.
11. "That after the fire was over, Quack was at Hughson's house, Jack (Comfort's), a leading man, Hughson, wife and daughter present, and said, the job was done, meaning the fire; that he went frequently to Hughson's house, and met there Tickle and Albany.
12. "Quack said his wife was no ways concerned, for he never would trust her with it: and that Denby knew nothing about the matter.
13. "Jamaica (Ellis's) not concerned that he knew of, but was frequently at Hughson's with his fiddle.
14. "Said he was not sworn by Hughson, but other were." McDonald (the witness against Quack upon the trial) at the stake desired Mr. Pinhorne to ask Quack, whether he had wronged him in what he had said of him at court? He answered no; it was true he did pass him at the fort gate, about eleven o'clock that morning.
Cuffee's confession at the stake. - He said,
1. "That Hughson was the first contriver of all, and pressed him to it: that he Cuffee was one of the first concerned.
2. "The fire was intended to begin at Comfort's shingles, and so through the town.
3. "Old Kip's Negro; Robin (Chambers's); Jack (Comfort's); and Cuffee (Gomez's); were of the conspirators: Albany and Tickle were concerned.
4. "That he was sworn, and Caesar and Prince also by Hughson.
5. "That Cuffee (Gomez's) and Caesar (Peck's); burnt Van Zant's storehouse.
6. "That Sandy set fire to Mr. Machado's house; Niblet's Negro wench can tell it; and Becker's Bess' knows it.
7. "That he set fire to the storehouse as sworn against him, that when his master went to the Coffee-House, he ran out of the other door, and went the back way into the storehouse, having lighted charcoal in his pocket between two oyster shells, he put the fire between the ropes and the boards, and leaving it on fire, went home.
8. "That Hughson's people were to raise a mob to favour the design.
9. "That the evidence that Peterson, did see him (was true); that Fortune did see him the night before.
10. "That Fortune knew and was as deeply concerned as he; and Sandy was concerned, and knew the Spaniards.
11. "There was about fifty concerned; and that all were concerned that a constable who stood by had seen all at Hughson's house."
After the confessions were minuted down (which were taken in the midst of great noise and confusion) Mr. Moore desired the sheriff to delay the execution until the governor be acquainted therewith, and his pleasure known touching their reprieve; which, could it have been effected, it was thought might have been means of producing great discoveries; but from the disposition observed in the spectators, it was much to be apprehended, there would have been great difficulty, if not danger in an attempt to take the criminals back. All this was represented to his honour; and before Mr. Moore could return from him to the place of execution, he met the sheriff upon the common, who declared his opinion, that the carrying the negroes back would be impracticable; and if that was his honour's order it could not be attempted without a strong guard, which could not be got time enough; and his honour's directions for the reprieve being conditional and discretionary, for these reasons the execution proceeded.
MONDAY, JUNE 1
Examination of Sandy (Nib let's negro) before one of the judges-No. 3.-He said,
1. "That he heard by captain Lush's house, about six of the Spaniards (about fourteen days before the fort was burnt) say, that if the captain would not send them to their own country, they would ruin all the city; and the first house they would burn should be the captain's, for they did not care what they did: He (Sandy) stood by Arden's door, and they did not (as he thought) see him; and that (pointing to Lush's house) they said, d-n that son of a b-h, they would make a devil of him: which was the first time he ever heard of the conspiracy.
2. "That the second time Quack called to him by Coenties Market, and told him he wanted to speak to him; and said, will you help to burn the fort? and answered as he said at the trial, and in his examination before the grand jury; said that Quack told him the first time he met him, he would make an end of him.
3. "That the third time, at Comfort's house, one Sunday, when Comfort's Jack called to him to come to him, and he went in, Sarah (Burk's negro wench) d-d him, and bid him drink, having before refused.
4. "That there was a great number of negroes present, and about six Spanish negroes among them; but none of them were the same that he saw at Lush's. That he did drink.
5. "That Comfort's Jack brought out about eleven penknives, which were rusty; some complained their knives were dull and would not cut, which they went to sharpen on a stone; Jack (Comfort's) said his knife was so sharp, that if it came a-cross a white man's head, it would cut it off; on which he (Sandy) said, if you want to fight, go to the Spaniards, and not fight with your masters.
6. "That they asked him (and Comfort's Jack in particular) if he would help to burn some houses; he cried: on which Jack (Comfort's) said, d-n you, do you cry? I'll cut your head off in a hurry, and surrounded him; on which Burk's wench said he deserved it, if he would not say yes, on which he consented, and said yes; whereupon they did not threaten him, but bid him say nothing to black or white about it, and everyone would do his part, and take a round, and fire the town.
7. "That Jack (Comfort's) said they had not men enough this year, but next year would do it, everyone present was to set his master's house on fire first, and then do the rest at once, and set all the houses on fire in the town, which when they had done, they would kill all the white men, and have their wives for themselves ....
9. "That Augustine and Wilkins' Fortune were to burn their master's houses, which he heard them say, as they were talking by Frazier's corner, about a week before the fort was burnt.
10. "That at the aforesaid meeting at Comfort's Jack, the old man, and the old woman, and three of the Spaniards were sworn to the effect, that the first thunder that came, might strike them dead, if they did not stand to their words.
11. "That they asked him to come again the next day to be sworn; the rest said they would come to be sworn the next day."