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New York Slave Conspiracy of 1741
February and March: Latest News
To begin our story of the mysterious fires of New York, the conspiracy begins with 2 black slaves named Caesar and Prince, robbing a general store in New York City. Because of this, Caesar is put in jail after the shop owner's wife claims that she was given a tip from a boy that he had been at the shop. In order to gain freedom from her indentured servants sentence, Mary Burton claims that she too saw Caesar with the stolen money and that he conducted some sort of business with Mr. Hughson at his tavern. Mary also connected Caesar's attorney and neighbor to this crime. Suddenly, a fire breaks out in New York City and Fort George is burned to the ground but no one knows who, how, or why. Next thing you know, another fire breaks out near the fort but is stopped before damage is done. No one knows who, how, or why.
April and May: The Mystery Continues
April starts with a bang and another fire is started near the East River but nothing gets really damaged and no one knows who, how, or why. The next day smoke is smelled and the haystack fire is soon smothered and the coals are traced to a house where a slave lived. Later that day, a woman hears a slave named Quaco talking about fires and is later arrested when the woman reports her. No one knows how, but they are beginning to suspect slaves and we all know why they are doing this, Revolt. Yet another fire is started around Fort George and damage is done with this fire and a group of Spanish Blacks become suspicious whom are soon brought in for questioning, but while they are being questioned another fire breaks out near city hall and a black lone slave named Cuffee is noticed. People begin to grab black men and women from the street and put them in jail, Cuffee included. An uprising threat is a great fear that is growing in New York and an award was set for anyone who would come forth and reveal who, how, and why they plan to burn the city, so a grand jury was then created to crack down on crime in general and get to the bottom of these fires. Mary Burton explains that Caesar, Prince and Cuffee are the ones to blame and that her master, Mr. Hughson was helping them and explains that meetings were held at his house and his wife and Caesar's girlfriend were also present to scheme. Trials soon began and Caesar and Prince pleaded not guilty but because they were black, they couldn't testify and the jury returns a guilty verdict. Peggy, Hughson, and his wife were than tried and another fire breaks out during this, but once they returned, all were found guilty. Peggy confesses to the court saying that she saw Romme and his wife at the meeting as well, but before this trial could be ran, Caesar and Prince are sentenced to death and their bodies were displayed. Mary testifies that Bastian, another slave is also aiding in the conspiracy. Other participants of the fires were executed as well.
June and July: The Fires come to a close.
Starting in June, another trial opens against Mr. Hughson, his wife, his daughter, and Peggy and are charged with conspiracy and are found guilty and were hung. Six more slaves were convicted and were hung or burned at the stake. One of the convicted slaves named 30 other blacks that participated in the conspiracy. In the next days many blacks are convicted, tell who else contributed, then all are executed. Mary Burton, who testified against most of these people then testifies against 5 Spanish blacks and are found guilty. Eventually, open confessions were asked for and 71 confessions are taken, 51 are arrested, 44 slaves are charged, and 33 of the 44 plead guilty and additional whites are said to have been a part of the conspiracy. More sentences to hang were given, but 43 slaves are pardoned for their confessions. More trials are held and more executions are done( at this point 29 slaves have been executed). Finally, John Ury, a white ministers trial soon begins and he too is convicted as guilty and he is one of the last to be hung. By September everything was looking crispy, but there were no more arsons.
New York City celebrates, for "deliverance...from the destruction of..the late conspiracy."
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