The Duke of Newcastle

Note:  The two confessions below were contained in a letter to the Duke of Newcastle, the cabinet member responsible for oversight of the colonies.  The confessions provide one of the few surviving sources of information about the trials other than the trial journal kept by Judge Daniel Horsmanden.


(JUNE 18, 1741)
Says that last Summer two Days after Whitsontide he was taking a Walk with a Free negroe named Wan* (who is Gone to Cuba in Captain Cosby's Company) who asked him whether he would drink a Mug of Beer with him he say'd Yes and thereupon they went to Huson's and Drank it-as they were going away Hughson say'd stay I have something to say to you and then told him it was against the Law for him to Sell Liquor to Negroes and that he (the Prisoner Wan) was half Drunk already and would tell of it and would have them Swear the free Negroe went out and say'd what does the Fellow mean-Hughson then took Wan aside and told him of the General Conspiracy and persuaded him to Come in and say'd it would be good for him and then took a Book and Swore him The Tenor" of the Oath was that he wished the Thunder and Lightning might Strike him Dead and the Devil fetch him If he told of it. The prisoner was to set his Master's house on Fire and Murther his Master Huson said all the Negroes must come in that after he was Sworn Hughson put his name down on a list, and told him he must stand to it. When the Time Comes That Mr. Casporson's Negroe saw him Swear that he was sworn in a Small back Room fronting the yard were there was a Comptor There were a great many more Negroes in the other Room who might possibly see him but who they were he does not know, He says Bastian Vaarick's Negroe there a playing papa's with many others. Huson told him the first fire was to be in the Fly That the Fort was to be burnt and that each Negroe was to set fire to his Master's House and to Murther their Masters, were to have what white Women they pleas'd and that each Negroe was to take his Master's Gun that when the City was on Fire all the Negroes were to meet on the Plain before the Fort. Wan says he never was at Huson's but that Time that he did not See the Spanish Negroes there nor ever spoke to them about it since, except Bosche's Francis and Gomez's Coffee who have asked him two or three times whether it was not time to begin And that he saw them behind Van Rants Storehouse.

 *It is coincidental that the confessor, the Indian slave Wan, and the the free black with whom he shared a drink have the same name.


(JUNE 20, 1741)

Acknowledges that what the Witnesses said on his Tryal Yesterday being the 19 Day of June 1741 was true. That he went on Sunday Morning early above two Years ago to Huson's House with Kipps's Samuel (who has been dead 2 Years) and bought a Quart of Rum and went with it to Mr. Bayards out of Town That Comforts Jack about Christmas last informed him first of the Plot. Jack met York by his gate and told him of the Plot and appointed him to meet at Huson's that he went to Husons and that he was there the Sunday the Feast was as mentioned by the Witnesses at Court, that he has been twice at Huson's and once at Comforts that he was to be a Captain, was Sworn, that many Negroes were present and all Swore and Consented; agrees to the Circumstances told of the Plot in General. Spanish Negroes were there the prisoners with him at the Bar and many other Negroes also were there at Husons. That Huson and his Wife and Daughter Swore first when those who were at the upper End of the Table near Huson swore upon a Book and the others at a Distance without a Book by Thunder etc. He York agreed to Set his Master's house on Fire but say'd he would not do it till he saw somebody Else begin and then he would he was to kill his Mistress. Went to Husons on a Sunday just after afternoon Church out and believes that meeting was about 6 weeks before the Fort burnt, London (his fellow Servant) Was to be a private Man under him Comforts Jack's meeting was two Week's after this At Comfort's House, He and Kipp's Harry were in the Shop, above twenty there, Jack went backwards and forwards from the Shop to the Kitchen Huson proposed to them to get as many other Negroes in as they Could he did not go into the Kitchen but Heard a great many were there Huson told them at his House that the Spaniard knew better than York Negroes how to fight and they were all to Stand by one another and assist the French and Spaniards they were to Stop for them some time and if they did not Come they were to do all themselves everyone in the Shop had knives and they were Sharpening of them and they were to cut the White Men's heads off.

The "Negro Plot" Trials of 1741