A Journal of the Proceedings in the Detection of the Conspiracy (1744): Introduction

Introduction by Justice Daniel Horsmanden

The introduction describes a series of theft and suspicious fires, taking place in the six weeks before the trials began.  New York City officials responded to the incidents by offering a reward for information and conducting house-to-house searches.  The introduction also describes all of the key players in the trial reports which follow.

As a robbery committed at Mr. Hogg's, paved the way to the discovery of the conspiracy, it may not be improper to introduce the ensuing journal and narrative, with an account of that felony, as well as the many fires which alarmed this city, close upon the heels of each other, within less than three weeks, occasioned by this infernal scheme, till they both came under the inquiry and examination of the grand jury, at the Supreme Court: and indeed there is such a close connection between this felony and the conspiracy, as will appear by the several steps and examinations taken by occasion of the former, that the narrative of the robbery could not well be omitted; for the inquiry concerning that, was the means of drawing out the first hint concerning the other; nay, this felony and such like, were actually ingredients of the conspiracy, as will appear by the sequel.

On Saturday night the 28th February, 1740-1, a robbery was committed at the house of Mr. Robert Hogg, in the city of New-York, merchant, from whence were taken divers pieces of linen and other goods, and several silver coins, chiefly Spanish, and medals, and wrought silver, etc. to the value in the whole, of sixty pounds and upwards.

The occasion of this robbery, as was discovered, and will appear more fully hereafter, was one Wilson, a lad of about seventeen or eighteen years of age, belonging to the Flamborough man of war, on this station, who having acquaintance with two white servants belonging to gentlemen who lodged at Mr. Hogg's house, Wilson used frequently to come thither on that pretence, which gained him easy admittance: but Wilson, it seems, had a more familiar acquaintance with some negroes of very suspicious characters, particularly Caesar, belonging to John Vaarck, baker; Prince, to Mr. John Auboyneau, merchant; and Cuffee, to Adolph Philipse, Esq.

The Thursday before this robbery was committed, Wilson came to Mr. Hogg's shop, with one of the man of war's people, to buy some check linen, and having bargained for some, part of the money offered in payment, was of Spanish coin, and Mrs. Hogg opening her bureau to change the money, pulled out a drawer in the view of Wilson, wherein were a considerable quantity of milled Spanish pieces of eight; she soon reflected that she had done wrong in exposing her money to an idle boy in that manner, who came so frequently to her house, and immediately shut up the bureau again, and made a pretence of sending the money out to a neighbour's to be weighed.

Mrs. Hogg's apprehensions happened to be right; for this boy having a sight of the money, was charmed with it, and, as it seems, wanted to be fingering of it. He told his comrades of the black guard, the before named Caesar, Prince and Cuffee, where they might have a fine booty, if they could manage cleverly to come at it; he said it was at Hogg's house in the Broad street; his wife kept a shop of goods, and sold candles, rum, molasses, etc.

The negroes catched at the proposal, and the scheme was communicated by them to John Hughson, who kept a public house by the North River, in this city, a place where numbers of negroes used to resort, and be entertained privately (in defiance of the laws) at all hours, as appeared afterwards, and will be shewn at large in the ensuing sheets. Thither they used to bring such goods as they stole from their masters or others, and Hughson, his wife and family, received them: there they held a consultation with Hughson and his family, how they should act, in order to compass the attainment of this booty.

The boy (Wilson) told them the situation of the house and shop; that the front was towards Broad-street, and there was a side door out of the shop into an alley, commonly called the Jews-Alley, and if they could make an errand thither to buy rum, they might get an opportunity to shove back the bolt of the door facing the alley, for there was no lock on it, and they could come in the night afterwards, and accomplish their designs. 

At Hughson's lodged one Margaret Sorubiero, alias Salingburgh, alias Kerry, commonly called Peggy, or the Newfoundland Irish beauty, a young woman about one or two and twenty; she pretended to be married, but no husband appeared; she was a person of infamous character, a notorious prostitute, and also of the worst sort, a prostitute to negroes; she was here lodged and supported by Caesar (Vaarck's) before mentioned, and took share (in common with Hughson's family) of the spoils and plunder, the effects of Caesar's thefts, which he brought to Hughson's; and she may be supposed to have been in most of their wicked secrets; for she had lodged there the summer before: thither also Caesar used frequently to resort, with many other negroes; thither he also conveyed stolen goods, and some part of Hogg's goods.

With this Peggy, as she will be hereafter commonly called, Caesar used frequently to sleep at Hughson's, with the knowledge and permission of the family; and Caesar bargained with and paid Hughson for her board; she came there to lodge a second time in the fall, not long before Christmas, 1740, big with child by Caesar, as was supposed, and brought to bed there not many days before the robbery at Hogg's, of a babe largely partaking of a dark complexion.

Here is laid the foundation of the characters of Hughson and his family, which will afford frequent occasion of enlarging upon; and from such a hopeful earnest the reader may well expect a plentiful harvest.

Wilson coming to Mrs. Hogg's on Sunday morning, to see his acquaintance as usual, she complained to him, that she had been robbed the night before, that she had lost all the goods out of the shop, a great deal of silver Spanish coins, medals and other silver things, little suspecting that he had been the occasion of it, notwithstanding what she apprehended upon pulling out the drawer of money before him, as above; but as she knew he belonged to the man of war, and that several of those sailors frequented idle houses in the Jews-Alley, it happened that her suspicions inclined towards them; she imagined he might be able to give her some intelligence about it, and therefore described to him some things that she had missed, viz. snuff-boxes, silver medals, one a remarkable eight square piece, etc. Whereupon Wilson said, he had been the morning at Hughson's house, and there saw one John Gwin, who pulled out of his pocket a worsted cap full of pieces of coined silver; and that Mr. Philipse's Cuffee, who was there, seeing John Gwin have this money, he asked him to give him some, and John Gwin counted him out half a crown in pennies, and asked him if he would have any more; and then pulled out a handful of silver coin, amongst which, Wilson said, he saw the eight square piece described by Mrs. Hogg.


This morning search was made for John Gwin at Hughson's, suppos­ing him to have been a soldier of that name, a fellow of suspicious character, as Mrs. Hogg conceived; and the officers making inquiry accordingly for a soldier, they were answered, there was no such soldier used that house; but it fell out, that Caesar, the real person wanted, was at the same time before their faces in the Chimney corner: the officer returned without suspecting him to be the person meant, but the mistake being discovered by the boy (Wilson) that the negro Caesar before mentioned went by that name, he was apprehended in the afternoon, and being brought before Wilson, he declared that he was the person he meant by John Gwin.

Caesar was committed to prison.


Caesar (Vaarck's negro) was examined by the justices, and denied every thing laid to his charge concerning Hogg's robbery, but was remanded.

Prince (Mr. Auboyneau's negro) was this day also apprehended upon account of the same felony: upon examination he denied knowing any thing of it. He was also committed.

Upon information that Caesar had shewn a great deal of silver at Hughson's, it was much suspected that Hughson knew something of the matter, and therefore search was made several times at his house, yesterday and this day, but none of the goods or silver were discovered.

Hughson and his wife were sent for, and were present while the negroes were examined by the justices, and were also examined them-selves, touching the things stolen, but discovered nothing; and they were dismissed.


Hughson's house having been searched several times over by Mr. Mills, the under-sheriff, and several constables, in quest of Hogg's goods, without effect, it happened this evening, that Mary Burton came to the house of James Kannady, one of the searching constables, to fetch a pound of candles for her master; Kannady's wife knew the girl by sight, and who she belonged to living in the neighbourhood near them, and having heard of the robbery, and the several searches at Hughson's, she took upon her to examine Mary, "whether she knew any thing of those goods, and admonished her to discover if she did, lest she herself should be brought into trouble, and gave her motherly good advice, and said if she knew any thing of it, and would tell, she would get her freed from her master." Whereupon at parting, the girl said, "she could not tell her then, she would tell her tomorrow; but that her husband was not cute enough, for that he had trod upon them," and so went away. This alarmed Kannady and his wife, and the same evening Ann Kannady went to Mr. Mills, the under-sheriff, and told him what had passed between her and Mary Burton. "Whereupon Mills and his wife, Mr. Hogg and his wife, and several constables, went with Ann Kannady and her husband, down to Hughson's house; and Ann Kannady desired the under-sheriff to go in first, and bring Mary Burton out to her; but he staying a long time, Ann Kannady went into Hughson's house; and found the under-sheriff and his wife, and Mary Burton, in the parlour, and she then denied what she had before said to Ann Kannady, as above; then Ann Kannady charged her home with it; till at length, Mary Burton said she could not tell them any thing there, she was afraid of her life; that they would kill her. Whereupon they took the girl out of the house, and when they had got a little way from thence, she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a piece of silver money, which she said was part of Hogg's money, which the negro had given her. They all went to Alderman Bancker's with her, and Ann Kannady informing the alderman, that she had promised Mary Burton to get her freed from her master; he directed that she should lodge that night with the under-sheriff at the City-Hall for safety; and she was left there accordingly." For Mary Burton declared also, before the alderman, her apprehensions and fears, that she should be murdered or poisoned by the Hughsons and the negroes, for what she should discover.

The alderman sent for John Hughson, and examined him closely, whether he knew any thing of the matter? but he denied that he did at first, until the alderman pressed him very home and admonished him (if it was in his power) to discover those who had committed this piece of villainy; little suspecting him to have been previously concerned; he was at last prevailed with to acknowledge he knew where some of the things were hid, and he went home, fetched and delivered them.


This day the mayor having summoned the justices to meet at the City Hall, several aldermen met him accordingly, and sent for Mary Burton and John Hughson and his wife; and Mary Burton, after examination, made the following deposition before them.

"Mary Burton, of the city of New-York, Spinster, aged about sixteen years, being sworn, deposed,

1. "That about two o'clock on Sunday morning last, a negro man who goes by the name of John Gwin (or Quin) came to the house of John Hughson, the deponent's [Mary Burton's] master, and went in at the window where one Peggy lodges, where he lay all night.

2. "That in the morning she saw some speckled linen in the said Peggy's room; that the said negro then gave the deponent two pieces of silver, and bid Peggy cut off an apron of the linen and give to the deponent, which she did accordingly.

3. "That at the same time the said negro bought a pair of white stockings from her master, for which he was to give six shillings; that the said negro had two mugs of punch, for which, and the stockings, he gave her master a lump of silver.

4."That her master and mistress saw the linen the same morning.

5. "That soon after Mr. Mills came to inquire for one John Quin, a soldier, who he said, had robbed Mr. Hogg of some speckled linen, silver, and other things.

6. "That after Mr. Mills was gone, her mistress hid the linen in the garret; and soon after some officers came and searched the house; and when they were gone and found nothing, her mistress took the linen from the place she had before hid it in, and hid it under the stairs.

7. "That the night before last, her master and mistress gave the said linen to her mistress's mother,* who carried it away ....

9. "That the said negro usually slept with the said Peggy, which her master and mistress knew of."

Upon this occasion, it seems, Hughson and his wife, finding that Mary Burton was inclinable to discover them in their villainy, touching this robbery, thought proper to say something to blacken her character, in order to take off from the credit of her testimony, and declared that she was a vile, good-for-nothing girl, or words to that purpose; that she had been got with child by her former master, etc. the truth whereof, however, was never made out. But at length Hughson finding that he was near going to jail, and as fearing the consequence of provoking her, changed his note, and said she was a very good girl, and; had been a trusty servant to them: that in the hard weather last winter, she used to dress herself in man's clothes, put on boots, and went with him in his sleigh, in the deep snows into the commons, to help him fetch firewood for his family, etc.

The deputy town clerk, when Mary Burton was under examination, as he was taking her deposition, exhorted her to speak the truth, and all she knew of the matter; she answered him, that she hardly dared to speak, she was so much afraid she should be murdered by them; or words to that purpose. Whereupon the clerk moved the justices, that she might be taken care, not knowing that she had been removed from her master's the night before, by order of a magistrate.

After Mary Burton, John Hughson and his wife, and Peggy, were examined: Peggy denied every thing, and spoke in favour of Hughson and his wife: Peggy was committed, and John Hughson confessed as followeth:

Examination. – 1.John Hughson said, "That on Monday evening last, after Mr. Mills had been to search his house for goods which had been stolen from Mr. Hogg, one Peggy, who lodged at his house, told him that John Quin had left some checked linen and other things with her; that she delivered to the examinant the said checked linen, which he delivered to the mother-in-law Elizabeth Luckstead, with directions to hide them: that soon after the said Peggy delivered him sundry silver things in a little bag; which he carried into the cellar, and put behind a barrel, and put a broad stone upon them, where they remained till last night about ten or eleven o'clock, when he delivered them to alderman Johnson and alderman Bancker.

2. "That while the said silver things lay concealed in his cellar, the constables came and searched his house for the said stolen goods, but did not find them.

3. "That this morning the said Peggy gave him a little bundle with several silver pieces in it;' which he soon afterwards brought into court, and delivered it to the justices then present."

Hughson absolutely refused to sign the examination, after it was read over to him; and thereupon the deputy town clerk asked him if it was not true as he had penned it; he answered, yes, it was, but he thought there was no occasion for him to sign it. He was admitted to bail, and his wife Sarah likewise; and recognizance’s were entered into with two sureties each, for their appearance in the Supreme Court on the first day of the next term.

Caesar and Prince were likewise again examined, but would confess nothing concerning the robbery; Caesar was remanded, and Prince admitted to bail upon his master's entering into recognizance in ten pounds penalty, for his appearance at the next Supreme Court.

But Caesar acknowledged that what Mary Burton had deposed concerning him and Peggy, as to his sleeping with her, was true.

Deposition. -John Vaarck, of the city of New-York, baker, being duly sworn and examined, saith,

1. "That about two o'clock this afternoon, his negro boy told him, there were some things hid under the floor of his kitchen: that thereupon he went to look, and found the linen and plates, now shewn him, which he took out, and carried to the mayor ....


[This day a fire destroyed the governor's house and a chapel next to  it, inside the fort grounds.]

Mr. Cornelius Van Horne, a captain of one of the companies of the militia, very providentially beat to arms in the evening, and drew out his men with all expedition; had seventy odd of them under arms all night, and parties of them continually going the rounds of the city until day light. This incident, from what will appear hereafter, may be thought to have been a very fortunate one, and deserving of a more particular remark, though at that time some people were so infatuated, as to reproach that gentleman for it, as a madman.

The only way of accounting for this misfortune at this time was, the lieutenant governor had ordered a plummer that morning to mend a leak in the gutter between the house and the chapel which joined upon one another, and the man carrying his fire-pot with coals to keep his soddering-iron hot, to perform his work; and the wind setting into the gutter, it was thought some sparks had been blown out upon the shingles of the Muse; but some people having observed, that upon the first alarm, as before, near half the roof, as they guessed, was covered with smoke, and that no spark of fire appeared without, nor could any be seen, but within; it was by them concluded, that the reason assigned was not likely to be the right one, especially when it was considered, that at length the fire broke out in several places of the roof, distant from each other, but no one imagined it was done on purpose.


Prince, the negro of Mr. Auboyneau, who was bailed out of prison, as before mentioned, was recommitted by the mayor, and alderman Bancker.


[Captain Peter Warren's house caught fire, but sustained little damage.]


[Winant Van Zant's warehouse near the docks by the East River caught fire. ]


[Two fires were reported inn the evening, one in a stable and the other near the bed of a slave in the house of Ben Thomas.]


[Coals were discovered in the bottom of a haystack near attorney Joseph Murray's stable, but the embers were extinguished before the fire caught.]

The five several fires, viz. at the fort, captain Warren's house, Van Zant's store-house, Quick's stable, and Ben Thomas's kitchen, having happened in so short a time succeeding each other; and the attempt made of a sixth on Mr. Murray's haystack; it was natural for people of any reflection, to conclude that the fire was set on purpose by a combination of villains, and therefore occasioned great uneasiness to every one that had thought; but upon this supposition nobody imagined there could be any further design; than for some wicked wretches to have the opportunity of making a prey of their neighbour's goods, under pretence of assistance in removing them for security from the danger of flames; for upon these late instances, many of the sufferers had complained of great losses of their goods, and furniture, which had been removed from their houses upon these occasions.

This Sunday as three negroes were walking up the Broadway towards the English church, about service time, Mrs. Earle looking out of her window, overheard one of them saying to his companions, with a vaporing sort of an air, "Fire, Fire, Scorch, Scorch, A UTILE, damn it, BY-AND-BY," and then threw up his hands and laughed; the woman conceived great jealousy at these words, and thought it very odd behaviour at that juncture, considering what had so lately happened; and she putting the natural construction upon them her apprehensions made her uneasy, and she immediately spoke of it to her next neighbour Mrs. George, but said she did not know any of the negroes.

About an hour after, when church was out, Mrs. Earle saw the same negroes coming down the Broadway again, and pointed out to Mrs. George the person who had spoke the words, and Mrs. George knew him, and said that it is Mr. Walter's Quaco.

These words, and the airs and graces given them by Quaco when he uttered them, were made known to a neighbouring alderman, who informed the rest of the justices thereof at their meeting the next day.

MONDAY, April 6

[Four different fires broke out, including one near the fort and another at the home of Mrs. Hilton, which stood next to Captain Jacob Sarly's house on the other side.]

But there was a try among the people, the Spanish negroes; the Spanish negroes; take up the Spanish negroes. The occasion of this was the two fires (Thomas's and Hilton's) happening so closely together, only one day intervening, on each side of captain Sarly's house; and it being known that Sarly had purchased a Spanish negro, some time before brought into this port, among several others, in a prize taken by captain Lush; all which negroes were condemned as slaves, in the court of Admiralty, and sold accordingly at vendue; and that they afterwards pretending to have been free men in their own country, began to grumble at their hard usage, of being sold as slaves. This probably gave rise to the suspicion, that this negro, out of revenge, had been the instrument of these two fires; and he behaving himself insolently upon some people's asking him questions concerning them, which signified their distrust; it was told to a magistrate who was near, and he ordered him to gaol, and also gave direction to constables to commit all the rest of that cargo, in order for their safe custody and examination.

[As the magistrates were examining Captain Sarly's slave Juan, Adolph Philipse's storehouse caught fire.]

While the people were extinguishing the fire at this storehouse, and had almost mastered it, there was another cry of fire, which diverted the people attending the storehouse, to the new alarm, very few remaining behind; but a man who had been on the top of the house, assisting in extinguishing the fire, saw a negro leap out at the end window of one of them, from thence making over several garden fences in great haste; which occasioned him to cry out, a negro; a negro; and that was soon improved into an alarm, that the negroes were rising: The negro made very good speed home to his master's; he was generally known, and the swiftness of his flight occasioned his being remarked, though scarce any knew the reason, but a few which remained at the storehouse, why the word was given, a negro, a negro; it was immediately changed into Cuff Phi/ipse, Cuff Phi/ipse: The people ran to Mr. Philipse's house in quest of him; he was got in at the back door; and being found, was dragged out of the house, and carried to jail, borne upon the people's shoulders. He was a fellow of general ill character; his master being a single man, and little at home, Cuff had a great deal of idle time, which, it seems, he employed to very ill purposes, and had acquired a general bad fame.

Many people had such terrible apprehensions upon this occasion, and indeed there was cause sufficient, that several negroes (and many had been assisting at the fire at the storehouse, and many perhaps that only seemed to be so) who were met in the streets, after the alarm of their rising, were hurried away to jail; and when they were there, they were continued some time in confinement, before the magistrates could spare time to examine into their several cases, how and for what they came there, many others first coming under consideration before them, against whom there seemed to be more direct cause of suspicion; but in a few days, those against whom nothing in particular was alleged, were discharged.

Quack (Walter's) was sent for and committed; he remained in confinement some days without examination, from the hurry the magistrates were in; but at length, Mrs. Earle and Mrs. George being sent for by the justices, they declared concerning him to the effect before mentioned: and Quack being brought before them, and examined, by his excuse admitted he had spoken the words he was charged with; but it being soon after we had the news of admiral Vernon's taking Porto Bello, he had contrived a cunning excuse, or some abler heads for him, to account for the occasion of them, and brought two of his own complexion to give their words for it also, that they were talking of admiral Vernon's taking Porto Bello; and that he thereupon signified to his companions, that he thought that was but a small feat to what this brave officer would do by-and-by, to annoy the Spaniards, or words tantamount; so that it happened Quack was enlarged from his confinement for some time.

Others considering that it was but eighteen days after the fort was laid in ashes, that these words were uttered; and that several other fires had intervened, as before related, and but the next day after Quick's stable and Ben Thomas's house were on fire; and the attempt upon Mr. Murray's haystack discovered that very morning; they were apt to put a different construction upon Quack's words and behaviour; that he thereby meant, "that the fires which we had seen already, were nothing to which we should have by-and-by, for that then we should have all the city in flames, and he would rejoice at it;" for it was said he lifted up his hands, and spread them with a circular sweep over his head, after he had pronounced the words (by-and-by) and then concluded with a loud laugh. Whether these figures are thus more properly applied, the reader will hereafter be better able to judge; but the construction of them at that time confirmed many in the notion of a conspiracy; though they could not suspect one of so black a dye, as there were afterwards flagrant proofs of, and will appear by and by.

His honour the lieutenant governor was pleased to order a military watch to be kept this evening, and the same was continued all the summer after.

John Hughson and Sarah his wife were committed to jail by the mayor and three aldermen, being charged as accessories to diver’s felonies and misdemeanors.


The recorder taking notice of the several fires which had lately happened in this city and the manner of them, the frequency of them, and the causes being yet undiscovered; must necessarily conclude, that they were occasioned and set on foot by some villainous confederacy of latent enemies amongst us; but with what intent or purpose, time must discover ... he therefore moved, "that the board should come to a resolution to pay such rewards as should by them be thought a proper and sufficient temptation to induce any party or parties concerned to make such discovery."

Upon consideration whereof, it was "ordered, That this board request his honour the lieutenant governor to issue a proclamation, offering a reward to any white person that should discover any person or persons lately concerned in setting fire to any dwelling-house or storehouse in this city (so that such person or persons be convicted thereof,) the sum of one hundred pounds, current money of this province; and that such person shall be pardoned, if concerned therein. Any slave that should make discovery, to be manumitted, or made free; and the master of such slave to receive twenty-five pounds therefore; and the slave to receive, besides his freedom, the sum of twenty pounds, and to be pardoned; and if a free negro, mulatto, or Indian, to receive forty-five pounds, and also to be pardoned, if concerned therein. And that this board will issue their warrant to the chamberlain, or treasurer of this corporation for the payment of such sum as any person, by virtue of such proclamation, shall be entitled unto. And that the mayor and recorder wait on his honour the lieutenant governor, and acquaint him with the resolution of this board."

Many persons in the neighbourhood of the several fires before mentioned, thought it necessary to remove their household goods for safety; and in their consternation, as was natural, suffered any body who offered their assistance, to take them away; by which means, some villains had the cruelty to make prey of them; for there were great complaints of losses upon those occasions, which the magistrates took this day into their consideration: and it being much suspected that there were some strangers lurking about the city, who had upon the supposition only, that by those means, they might have opportunities of pilfering and plundering. A scheme was proposed, that there should be a general search of all houses throughout the town, whereby it was thought probable discoveries might be made, not only of stolen goods, but likewise of lodgers, that were strangers, and suspicious persons. The proposal was approved of, and each alderman and his common council-man, with constables attending them, undertook to search his respective ward on the south side of the fresh water pond; and the Monday following was the day fixed upon for making the experiment.

The scheme was communicated to the governor, and his honour thought fit to order the militia out that day in aid of the magistrates, who were to be dispersed through the city, and sentries of them posted at the ends of streets to guard all avenues, with orders to stop all suspected persons that should be observed carrying bags or bundles, or removing goods from house to house, in order for their examination; and all this was to be kept very secret till the project was put in execution.


Pursuant to the scheme concerted on Saturday last, the general search was made; but there were not any goods discovered which were said to have been lost, nor was there any strange lodger or suspicious persons detected. But some things were found in the custody of Robin, Mr. Chamber's negro, and Cuba his wife, which the alderman thought improper for, and unbecoming the condition of slaves, which made him suspect they were not come honestly by; and therefore ordered the constable to take them in possession, to be reserved for further inquiry: and these two negroes were committed.


The lieutenant governor, by and with the advice of his majesty's council, issued a proclamation, therein reciting the before mentioned order and resolution of the common council, promising the rewards agreeable thereto.

In the mean while, between the sixth and seventeenth instant, a great deal of time had been spent by the magistrates in the examination of the negroes in custody, upon account of these fires, but nothing could be got out of them.

Cuff (Philipse's) was closely interrogated, but he absolutely denied knowing any thing of the matter. He said he had been at home all that afternoon, from the time he returned from Hilton's fire, where he had been to assist and carry buckets. That he was at home when the bell rung for the fire at Col. Philipse's storehouse. It appeared, upon inquiry and examination of witnesses, that he, according to his master's orders, had been sawing wood, that afternoon with a white boy; and that when his master came home from dinner, he took him off from that work, and set him to sew on a vane upon a board for his sloop; the white boy testified, "that he stood by him to see him sew it, and that he left him but a little before the bell rung for the fire." And when the alarm of the fire was, and that it was supposed to be at his master's storehouse, it was said, Cuff asked whether he would go out with the buckets, and that he should answer, he had enough of being out, in the morning. Some of the neighbours also declared, that they had seen him looking over his master's door but a little before the bell rung; but an old man who had known Cuffee for several years, deposed, that he had seen him at the fire at the storehouse, and that he stood next him: there seemed to be some objection against the man's evidence; it was thought he might be mistaken, being very near sighted. Upon examination, it was found he could distinguish colours, and he described the clothes he had on, and moreover declared, he spoke to him, and asked him, why he did not hand the buckets; and that thereupon he answered him, and did hand water, and that he knew his voice.

There was very strong proof that he was the negro that leaped out of the window of one of the storehouses as the fire was extinguished, and most of the people drawn away upon the new alarm of a fire; that he was seen to leap over several garden fences, and to run home in great haste.

Upon the whole, it was thought proper Cuff should remain in confinement, to await further discovery.

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