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Title: An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection among a Portion of the Blacks of this City
Author: Unknown
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection among a Portion of the Blacks of this City" ***

                               AN ACCOUNT
                                THE LATE
                         Intended Insurrection
                        A Portion of the Blacks
                             OF THIS CITY.

                       Published by the Authority



                           (_THIRD EDITION._)

                        PRINTED BY A. E. MILLER,
                            4 Broad-Street.



                             CITY COUNCIL,

                                                      AUGUST 13TH, 1822.

“_RESOLVED, that the Intendant be requested to prepare for publication,
an account of the late intended Insurrection in this City, with a
Statement of the Trials and such other facts in connexion with the same
as may be deemed of public interest._”

                             TO THE PUBLIC.

  In complying with the objects of the above Resolution, I have not
  been insensible to the difficulties and embarrassments necessarily
  incident to the subject, as to what it might be politic either to
  publish or suppress. With the advice, however, of the Corporation, I
  have deemed a full publication of the prominent circumstances of the
  late commotion the most judicious course, as suppression might
  assume the appearance of timidity or injustice. Whilst such a
  Statement is due to the character of our community, and
  justification of our laws, there can be no harm in the salutary
  inculcation of one lesson, among a _certain_ portion of our
  population, that there is nothing they are bad enough to do, that we
  are not powerful enough to punish.

                                        J. HAMILTON, jun. _Intendant_,

  _Charleston, August_ 16th, 1822.

                            AN ACCOUNT, &C.

On Thursday, the 30th of May last, about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the
Intendant of Charleston was informed by a gentleman of great
respectability, (who, that morning, had returned from the country) that
a favourite and confidential slave of his had communicated to him, on
his arrival in town, a conversation which had taken place at the market
on the Saturday preceding, between himself and a black man; which
afforded strong reasons for believing that a revolt and insurrection
were in contemplation among a proportion at least of our black
population. The Corporation was forthwith summoned to meet at 5 o’clock,
for the purpose of hearing the narrative of the slave who had given this
information to his master, to which meeting the attendance of His
Excellency the Governor was solicited; with which invitation he promptly
complied. Between, however, the hours of 3 and 5 o’clock, the gentleman
who had conveyed the information to the Intendant, having again examined
his slave, was induced to believe, that the negro fellow who had
communicated the intelligence of the intended revolt to the slave in
question, belonged to Messrs. J. &. D. Paul, Broad Street, and resided
in their premises. Accordingly, with a promptitude worthy of all praise,
without waiting for the interposition of the civil authority he applied
to the Messrs. Paul and had the whole of their male servants committed
to the Guard-House, until the individual who had accosted the slave of
this gentleman, on the occasion previously mentioned, could be
identified from among them.

On the assembling of the Corporation at five, the slave of this
gentleman was brought before them, having previously identified Mr.
Paul’s William as the man who had accosted him in the market, he then
related the following circumstances:

‘On Saturday afternoon last (my master being out of town) I went to
market; after finishing my business I strolled down the wharf below the
fish market, from which I observed a small vessel in the stream with a
singular flag; whilst looking at this object, a black man, (Mr. Paul’s
William) came up to me and remarking the subject which engaged my
attention said, I have often seen a flag with the number 76 on it, but
never with 96, before. After some trifling conversation on this point,
he remarked with considerable earnestness to me. Do you know that
something serious is about to take place? To which I replied no. Well,
said he, there is, and many of us are determined to right ourselves! I
asked him to explain himself—when he remarked, why, we are determined to
shake off our bondage, and for this purpose we stand on a good
foundation, many have joined, and if you will go with me, I will show
you the man, who has the list of names who will take yours down.—I was
so much astonished and horror struck at this information, that it was a
moment or two before I could collect myself sufficiently to tell him I
would have nothing to do with this business, that I was satisfied with
my condition, that I was grateful to my master for his kindness and
wished no change.—I left him instantly, lest, if this fellow afterwards
got into trouble, and I had been seen conversing with him, in so public
a place, I might be suspected and thrown into difficulty.—I did not
however remain easy under the burden of such a secret, and consequently
determined to consult a free man of colour named —— and to ask his
advice. On conferring with this friend, he urged me with great
earnestness to communicate what had passed between Mr. Paul’s man and
myself to my master, and not to lose a moment in so doing.[1] I took his
advice, and not waiting, even for the return of my master to town, I
mentioned it to my mistress and young master.—On the arrival of my
master, he examined me as to what had passed, and I stated to him what I
have mentioned to yourselves.’

On this witness being dismissed from the presence of Council, the
prisoner (William) was examined. The mode resorted to in his examination
was to afford him no intimation of the subject of the information which
had been lodged against him, as it was extremely desirable in the first
place, to have the testimony of the other witness corroborated as to
time and place, that, from the confessions of the prisoner himself, it
might appear that he was at the fish-market at the period stated, and
that a singular flag, flying on board of a schooner, had formed the
subject of his observation. After a vast deal of equivocation, he
admitted all these facts, but when the rest of his conversation was put
home to him, he flatly denied it, but with so many obvious indications
of guilt, that it was deemed unwise to discharge him. He was remanded,
for the night, to the Guard-House, it having been decided to subject him
to solitary confinement in the black-hole of the Work-House, where, on
the succeeding morning, he was to be conveyed.

On the morning of the 31st he was again examined by the attending Warden
at the Guard-House (having, during the night, made some disclosures to
Capt. Dove) on which occasion he admitted all the conversation which he
had held at the fish-market, with the witness before mentioned, and
stated that he had received his information from Mingo Harth, who was in
possession of the muster-roll of the insurgents.

With the hope of still further disclosures William was conveyed to the
Work-House and placed in solitary confinement. The individuals (Mingo
Harth and Peter Poyas) against whom he gave information, as those who
had communicated to him the intelligence of the plot for raising an
insurrection, were forthwith taken up by the Wardens and their trunks
examined. These fellows behaved with so much composure and coolness, and
treated the charge, alleged against them, with so much levity—(no
writings being found in their chests, containing the smallest suspicion,
excepting an enigmatical letter,[2] which was then too obscure for
explanation, and to which subsequent events only afforded a clue)—that
the Wardens (Messrs. Wesner & Condy) were completely deceived, and had
these men discharged. One of these (Peter Poyas) proved afterwards, as
will appear in the sequel, to be one of the principal ringleaders in the
conspiracy, on whose courage and sagacity great reliance was placed.

Council being still under the conviction that William Paul was in
possession of more information than he had thought proper to disclose, a
Committee was appointed to examine him from time to time, with the hope
of obtaining further intelligence. Although Peter and Mingo had been
discharged, yet it was deemed advisable to have them watched, and
consequently spies were employed of their own colour for this purpose,
in such a manner as to give advices of all their movements.

Things remained in this state for six or seven days, until about the 8th
of June, when William, who had been a week in solitary confinement,
beginning to fear that he would soon be led forth to the scaffold, for
summary execution, in an interview with Mr. Napier, (one of the
Committee appointed to examine him) confessed, that he had for some time
known of the plot, that it was very extensive, embracing an
indiscriminate massacre of the whites, and that the blacks were to be
headed by an individual, who carried about him a charm which rendered
him invulnerable. He stated, that the period fixed for the rising, was
on the second Sunday in June. This information was without delay
conveyed to his Excellency the Governor, and Council forthwith convened.
Whatever faith we might have been disposed to place in the unsupported
and equivocal testimony of William, it was not conceived to be a case in
which our doubts should influence our efforts for preparation and
defence. Measures were consequently promptly taken, to place the City
Guard in a state of the utmost efficiency. Sixteen hundred rounds of
ball cartridges were provided, and the centinels and patrols ordered on
duty with loaded arms. Such had been our fancied security, that the
guard had previously gone on duty without muskets, with sheathed
bayonets and bludgeons.

Three or four days now elapsed, and notwithstanding all our efforts, we
could obtain no confirmation of the disclosures of William, on the
contrary, they seemed to have sustained some invalidation, from the
circumstance, of one of the individuals (Ned Bennett) whom he named as a
person who had information in relation to the insurrection, coming
voluntarily to the Intendant, and soliciting an examination, if he was
an object of suspicion. In this stage of the business, it was not deemed
advisable prematurely to press these examinations, as it might have a
tendency to arrest any further developments.

On the night, however, of Friday the 14th, the information of William
was amply confirmed, and details infinitely more abundant and
interesting afforded. At 8 o’clock on this evening, the Intendant
received a visit from a gentleman, who is advantageously known in this
community for his worth and respectability.

This gentleman, with an anxiety, which the occasion was well calculated
to beget, stated to the Intendant, that, having the most unbounded
confidence in a faithful slave belonging to his family, who was
distinguished alike for his uncommon intelligence and integrity, he was
induced to inform him, that rumors were abroad of an intended
insurrection of the blacks, and that it was said, that this movement had
been traced to some of the coloured members of Dr. Palmer’s church, in
which he was known to be a class leader.—On being strongly enjoined to
conceal nothing, he, the next day, Friday the 14th, came to his master,
and informed him, that the fact was really so, that a public disturbance
was contemplated by the blacks, and not a moment should be lost in
informing the constituted authorities, as the succeeding Sunday, the
16th, at 12 o’clock, at night, was the period fixed for the rising,
which, if not prevented, would inevitably occur at that hour. This
slave, it appears, was in no degree connected with the plot, but he had
an intimate friend, A—— (one of his class) who had been trusted by the
conspirators with the secret, and had been solicited by them to join
their association; to this A—— first appeared to consent, but, on no
period absolutely sent in his adhesion. According to the statement which
he afterwards made himself to the Court, it would seem that it was a
subject of great regret and contrition with him, that he had ever
appeared to lend his approbation to a scheme so wicked and atrocious,
and that he sought occasion to make atonement, by divulging the plot,
which on the 14th he did, to the slave of the gentleman in question, his
class leader.[3]

This gentleman, therefore, mentioned, that his servant had informed him,
that A——[4] had stated, that about three months ago, Rolla, belonging to
Governor Bennett, had communicated to him the intelligence of the
intended insurrection, and had asked him to join—‘That he remarked, in
the event of their rising, they would not be without help, as the people
from San Domingo and Africa would assist them in obtaining their
liberty, if they only made the motion first themselves. That if A——
wished to know more, he had better attend their meetings, where all
would be disclosed.’ After this, at another interview, Rolla informed
A——, that ‘the plan was matured, and that on Sunday night, the 16th
June, a force would cross from James’ Island and land on South Bay,
march up and seize the Arsenal and Guard-House, that another body at the
same time would seize the Arsenal on the Neck, and a third would
rendezvous in the vicinity of his master’s mills. They would then sweep
the town with fire and sword, not permitting a single white soul to

As this account was remarkably coincident with the one given by William
(Mr. Paul’s slave) as the witnesses could have had no possible
communication, or the story have been the result of preconcert and
combination, the sum of this intelligence was laid before the Governor
by 9 o’clock, and by 10 o’clock the commanding officers of the regiments
of the City militia, convened by his Excellency’s order, at the
residence of the Intendant. On this and the succeeding afternoon, at
another meeting of the same individuals, such measures were determined
on by his Excellency, as were deemed best adapted to the approaching
exigency of Sunday night.

On Sunday the 16th, at 10 o’clock at night, the following corps were
ordered to rendezvous for guard—

Capt. Cattel’s Corps of _Hussars_, Capt. Miller’s _Light Infantry_,
Capt. Martindale’s _Neck Rangers_, _Charleston Riflemen_, and _City

The whole were organized as a detachment, and placed under the command
of Col. R. Y. Hayne. Although there was necessarily great excitement,
and among the female part of our community much alarm, yet, the night
passed off without any thing like commotion or disturbance, and it is
peculiarly honorable to the corps on service, that in a populous town,
the streets filled until a late hour with persons, uncertain whether it
was safe to go to _rest_ or _not_, not a single case of false alarm was
excited. A steadiness altogether praiseworthy, in troops unaccustomed to
guard duty, at least on an occasion involving such deep interest and
distressing anxiety.

The conspirators finding the whole town encompassed at 10 o’clock, by
the most vigilant patrols, did not dare to show themselves, whatever
might have been their plans. In the progress of the subsequent
investigation, it was distinctly in proof, that but for these military
demonstrations, the effort would unquestionably have been made; that a
meeting took place on Sunday afternoon, the 16th, at 4 o’clock, of
several of the ringleaders, at Denmark Vesey’s, for the purpose of
making their preliminary arrangements, and that early in the morning of
Sunday, Denmark despatched a courier, to order down some country negroes
from Goose Creek, which courier had endeavored in vain to get out of

No developement of the plot having been made on Sunday night, and the
period having passed, which was fixed on for its explosion, it now
became the duty of the civil authority to take immediate steps for the
apprehension, commitment, and trial of those against whom they were in
possession of information. Council was accordingly convened, and as a
preliminary measure, it was deemed expedient, that a Court of the
highest respectability, for the talents and integrity of its members,
should be assembled, and that, whilst the requisitions of the Act of
Assembly, of 1740, should be strictly complied with, in devolving the
warrant of summons on the Magistrates; the Corporation saw no
impropriety in affording these officers a list of such names of
Freeholders, as they knew would meet in a preeminent degree the public
approbation; and to these persons private letters were written by the
authority of Council, strongly soliciting their acceptance of a trust,
involving indeed the most irksome labour, as well as the deepest
responsibility. In conformity with these arrangements, the following
Court was organized on the evening of the 17th:—

                   LIONEL H. KENNEDY,       }
                             and            } Esqrs.
                   THOMAS PARKER,           }

                   Colonel WILLIAM DRAYTON,
                   NATH’L. HEYWARD,         }
                   J. R. PRINGLE,           } Esqrs.
                   JAMES LEGARE,            }
                   R. J. TURNBULL.          }

Cotemporaneously with the organization of this Court, a Committee of
Vigilance and Safety was appointed from among the Members of Council, to
aid the Intendant in the execution of the laws; to co-operate with him
during the recess of Council, in all those measures necessary for
exploring the causes and character of the existing disturbance, and
bringing to light and punishment the suspected and guilty. How ably
these functions were discharged by this Committee, it is not befitting
the occasion or the circumstances under which this publication appears
to dwell. Their generous devotion and unremitting assiduity to the
public interests and safety, are left to the more appropriate
appreciation of a community that witnessed their labours. This Committee
consisted of Messrs. Wesner, Napier, Condy, Burger, and Simons, and were
zealously aided by the rest of the Wardens; and for its service, four of
the most active, intelligent, and confidential non-commissioned officers
of the City Guard, were detached as Police Officers, to search suspected
places, and to apprehend those for whom warrants might be issued. This
Committee commenced its labours on the night of the 17th, and during the
ensuing twenty-four hours, the following slaves were committed:—_Rolla_,
_Batteau_, _Matthias_ and _Ned_, the property of the Governor Bennett;
_Mungo_ and _Peter_, the property of James Poyas; _Amhurst_, the
property of Mrs. Lining; _Stephen_, the property of T. R. Smith;
_Richard_ and _John_, the property of Jonathan Lucas.

On the morning of the 19th of June, the Court of Magistrates and
Freeholders assembled at the Court-House, were sworn in, and proceeded
to the arraignment of the above prisoners for trial. Who were charged
“_with attempting to raise an insurrection among the Blacks against the
Whites_.” In order that the public may understand the offence as defined
in the Act of 1740, the clause, at length, will be found in the
Appendix, marked (A.)

Before we proceed to a brief (and it necessarily must be very brief)
abstract of the testimony offered in the cases brought before the Court,
it may not be unimportant to observe, that, previous to their proceeding
to the painful investigation with which they were charged, they laid
down a variety of rules for their government, all of them subservient to
justice as well as humanity. In the first place, it was decided, that
the testimony should be regulated by those established rules of
evidence, which are elsewhere found so important in the exposition of
truth; that no slave should be tried but in the presence of his Master
or his Attorney; that the testimony of one witness, unsupported by
circumstances, should lead to no conviction involving capital
punishment; and that the statement of the party himself, should be heard
in explanation of such particulars, as seemed most inculpatory.

                               THE COURT,

Being thus organized, they proceeded to the trial of ROLLA, the slave of
Governor Bennett:—

         JACOB AXSON, Esq. attending as Attorney of his master.

It was proved, that _Rolla_ had confessed to two persons, both of whom
were examined by the Court, that he belonged to the conspiracy, and with
one of these witnesses (his friend) he used every effort to induce him
to join in the insurrection, which Rolla stated was to take place on the
night of the 16th of June.—Finding that this friend (the witness in
question) would not join the association, he urged him to go out of town
on Sunday night, lest some harm should come to him. Rolla represented
himself as the commander of the Force which was to rendezvous in the
vicinity of his master’s mills, and explained to the witness fully the
order of attack; the division of the forces; and said, “that his troops,
in their way into town, would fix his Old Buck (his master) and the
Intendant.” On being asked whether it was intended to kill the women and
children, he remarked when we have done with the men we know what to do
with the women.—On this testimony Rolla was found _guilty_, and
sentenced to be executed on the 2d of July.[6]

BATTEAU was next tried—

It was proved that _Batteau_ confessed to two persons (both of whom were
introduced as witnesses) that he belonged to the conspiracy, and made
efforts to induce them to join in the rising, by representing the extent
of their preparations, and the probability of their success. He stated
he was to head a party near Canon’s bridge, and that he expected aid
from the country.—More than one interview took place between Batteau and
the witnesses on the subject; the last, on the Sunday fixed for the
insurrection, on which he renewed his solicitations that the witnesses
should join him.—Batteau was found _guilty_, and sentenced to be
executed on the 2d of July.

STEPHEN, belonging to Thos. R. Smith, Esq.

Was next brought before the Court, but the testimony being deemed
insufficient, and indeed, the Court being satisfied of his innocence,
directed his _discharge_.

PETER, the slave of Mr. James Poyas, was next tried.

It was distinctly in proof, against _Peter_, that he had made great
efforts to induce others to join in the insurrection; and the testimony
represented him quite in the character of a chieftain or leader, for
which his boldness and sagacity unquestionably qualified him.—He
appeared, from the testimony, to have employed uncommon pains to remove
all the objections arising in the minds of those whom he attempted to
enlist, as to the probability of the success of the effort. And spoke
with great confidence of the succors which were expected from San
Domingo. It was strongly to be inferred, from all the witnesses stated,
that the difficult and dangerous sally of endeavouring to carry the Main
Guard-House was to have been confided to him, for he particularly
acquainted one of the witnesses with the combination of stratagem and
force with which he proposed to accomplish this object.

Peter was found _guilty_ on this testimony, and sentenced for execution
on the 2d of July.[7]

AMHERST, belonging to Mrs. Lining, was next examined, found _not
guilty_, and _discharged_.

The Court then proceeded to the trial of NED, the property of Governor

_Ned’s_ guilt was proved fully by the same witnesses that appeared
against Peter Poyas, with whom it was established he was in the habit of
frequent consultation on the efforts that were to be made. Subsequent
disclosures have justified very strongly the finding of the Court
against him, and placed it beyond a doubt, that he was a ringleader, and
was to have headed a force in the vicinity of the Lines.

He was found _guilty_, and sentenced for execution on the 2d of July.

On the 24th of June, the Court discharged as _not guilty_, _Samuel
Guifford_ and _Robert Hadden_, two free persons of colour, as also
_Matthias_, the slave of Governor Bennett; _Mungo_, the slave of Mr.
Poyas; _Robert_, the slave of Mr. Harth, and _Richard_ and _John_, the
slaves of Mr. Lucas.

On the 25th of June, the Court examined the cases of _Jim_, belonging to
Mr. Ancrum; _Sandy_, belonging to Mr. Holmes, and _Friday_, the property
of Mr. Rout, all of whom were found _not guilty_, and _discharged_.

  On Wednesday, the 26th of June, the Court proceeded to the trial of
    ABRAHAM, the slave of Dr. Poyas.

The only proof adduced against _Abraham_, was the following letter,
found in the trunk of Peter Poyas, and acknowledged by Abraham to have
been written by himself,—

  “DEAR SIR,—With pleasure I give you an answer. I will endeavour to
  do it. Hoping that God will be in the midst to help his own. Be
  particular and make a sure remark. Fear not, the Lord God that
  delivered Daniel is able to deliver us. All that I inform agreed. I
  am gone up to Beach-Hill.”


                                                       ABRAHAM POYAS.”

Although this letter was extremely suspicious, yet, there being no other
testimony against Abraham, he was found _not guilty_ of the charge ‘of
attempting to raise an insurrection among the blacks against the

  On Thursday the 27th, DENMARK VESEY, a free black man, was brought
    before the Court for trial,

               Assisted by his Counsel, G. W. CROSS, Esq.

It is perhaps somewhat remarkable, that at this stage of the
investigation, although several witnesses had been examined, the
_atrocious_ guilt of _Denmark Vesey_ had not been as yet fully unfolded.
From the testimony of most of the witnesses, however, the Court found
enough, and amply enough, to warrant the sentence of death, which, on
the 28th, they passed on him. But every subsequent step in the progress
of the trials of others, lent new confirmation to his overwhelming
guilt, and placed him beyond a doubt, on the criminal eminence of having
been the individual, in whose bosom the nefarious scheme was first
engendered. There is ample reason for believing, that this project was
not, with him, of recent origin, for it was said, he had spoken of it
for upwards of four years.

These facts of his guilt the journals of the Court will disclose—that no
man can be proved to have spoken of or urged the insurrection prior to
himself. All the channels of communication and intelligence are traced
back to him. His house was the place appointed for the secret meetings
of the conspirators, at which he was invariably a leading and
influential member; animating and encouraging the timid, by the hopes of
prospects of success; removing the scruples of the religious, by the
grossest prostitution and perversion of the sacred oracles, and
inflaming and confirming the resolute, by all the savage fascinations of
blood and booty.

The peculiar circumstances of guilt, which confer a distinction on his
case, will be found narrated in the confessions of Rolla, Monday Gell,
Frank and Jesse, in the Appendix. He was sentenced for execution on the
2d July.[8]

The Court tried JESSE, the slave of Mr. Thomas Blackwood.

The testimony against _Jesse_ was very ample. His activity and zeal, in
promoting the views of Denmark Vesey, in relation to the plot, were
fully proved. He had engaged with Vesey to go out of town on Sunday the
16th, to bring down some negroes from the country, to aid in the rising
on that night; and remarked, to the witnesses, on his way to Hibbens’
ferry, “if my father does not assist I will cut off his head.” All the
particulars in proof against him, he confirmed after receiving his
sentence, by his own full and satisfactory Confession, which will be
found in the Appendix, marked (H.)

This man excited no small sympathy, not only from the apparent sincerity
of his contrition, but from the mild and unostentatious composure with
which he met his fate.

Sentence of death was passed on these six men, on the 28th of June, and
they were executed on the 2d of July. With the exception of Jesse and
Rolla, they made no disclosures; all of them, with those exceptions,
either explicitly or implicitly affirming their innocence. It is much to
be lamented that the situation of the Work-House, at this period,
precluded, after their sentence, their being separately confined; at
least, that Vesey could not have been subjected to the gloom and silence
of a solitary cell. He might have been softened, and afforded the most
precious confessions, as his knowledge and agency in the nefarious
scheme very far exceeded the information of others, who, however guilty,
seemed but the agents of his will. But these men mutually supported each
other, and died obedient to the stern and emphatic injunction of their
Comrade (Peter Poyas) “_Do not open your lips! Die silent, as you shall
see me do!_” It was, perhaps, _alone_, in Denmark Vesey’s power, to have
given us the true character, extent and importance of the
correspondence, it was afterwards proved, was carried on with certain
persons in San Domingo.

On the 1st of July the Court proceeded to the trial of MONDAY GELL, who,
together with CHARLES DRAYTON, had been apprehended; the first, on the
27th of June, and the latter, on the 2d of July.

By referring to the Appendix (D.) & (E.) the nature of the testimony
against these individuals will be seen. In reference to the case of
_Monday Gell_ it was established that he had been a very important
ringleader, and that his shop, in Meeting-Street, was a place at which
many meetings were held; at all of which he was present, lending the
most zealous aid, and affording the strongest countenance; and if any
confirmation of his guilt should be sought for, it may be found in his
own confession in the Appendix (K.) After Monday Gell and Charles
Drayton were convicted there appeared to be a pause in our further
discoveries, and some prospect of the investigation closing with their
execution and that of John Horry, Harry Haig and Gullah Jack, (for the
guilt of the latter, see Appendix (D.) (E.) & (F.))

On the 9th of July, however, these five men, were called before the
Court to receive sentence, and after it had been pronounced, with the
most impressive solemnity, they were withdrawn to a common ward in the
Work-House, for half an hour, until separate cells could be provided for
them. It was at this moment that _Charles Drayton_, overwhelmed with
terror and guilt, went up to _Monday_ and reproached him with having
induced him to join in a scheme which had placed him in such a miserable
and perilous situation. To this appeal Monday, not only confessed his
guilt, but observed to Charles—that their present fate was justly and
precisely what they had a right to expect, after their detected and
defeated project. On which there immediately ensued between them a
conversation on the extent of the guilt of others, in which Monday gave
Charles the names of many accomplices whom he had not previously known
in the plot;—the arrival of the blacksmith to iron the convicts, and the
turnkey to convey them to separate cells, interrupted the conversation.

Charles, during the night of the 9th, sent for Mr. Gordon, who has
charge of the Work-House, and informed him that he was extremely anxious
to see the Intendant, as he had some important disclosures to make. By
day-light, on the morning of the 10th, this message was conveyed to the
person for whom it was intended, and Charles was visited at sun-rise. He
was found, in a state of the most lamentable depression and panic, and
he seemed prepared to make the most ample declarations from the fear of
death, and the consequences of an _hereafter_, if he went out of the
world without revealing all that he knew, in relation to the Conspiracy,
in which he had been so active an agent. Before his narrative was
received, he was most specially put on his guard, that no promises could
be made to him of a reversal of his fate, but that he might rest
satisfied, his condition could not be worse by his coming out with a
full disclosure of all that he knew. He then stated many particulars,
that had come to his own knowledge, proving a much wider diffusion of
the plot than, at that period, was imagined; and, after giving up the
names of several of his comrades, he mentioned the conversation which
had been commenced and broken off, in the common ward of the Work-House,
between Monday Gell and himself. As Monday, at this period, did not seem
disposed to make any confessions to others, whatever he might be
inclined to do to his friend Charles, it was considered important, that
the conversation between them should be renewed, and they were brought
together in the same cell, and left for twenty-four hours alone; but
some little stratagem was employed, to divert the suspicions of Monday,
that Charles was confined with him, merely for the purpose of getting
information out of him.

On the morning of the 10th, the Court were convened, and apprized,
generally, of these new disclosures, which Charles had made, but as he
was still _closeted_ with Monday, he could not be examined on that day,
the Court adjourned to meet on the 13th; on which day Monday Gell’s own
confession was heard by them. Between the 10th and 13th, _Charles_ and
_Monday_ were separated (having been respited by His Excellency, the
Governor, at the request of the Court) and Charles, on his
re-examination afforded much important information, which he had derived
from Monday. On Monday’s having all this brought to his view, he
confessed his own guilt, as well as the truth of the statements which he
had made to Charles.[9]

Cotemporaneously with these communications, PERAULT, belonging to Mr.
Strohecker, was taken up, on the 10th, and on his being closely and
judiciously examined by his master, he gave a large mass of intelligence
confirming what had been related by Monday and Charles, and supplying
several deficiencies in their testimony, more especially that part of it
which related to the transmission of _certain_ letters to San Domingo.
These disclosures, with some further details which were obtained from
Harry Haig, (whose confession and subsequent testimony went to implicate
a corps of Gullah or Angola negroes, that had been organized under the
command of their Chief, Gullah Jack,) gave ample employment for three or
four days to the Committee of Vigilance, during which upwards of sixty
slaves were apprehended.

It would very much transcend the limits necessarily prescribed to this
brief memoir, to go over all the trials that subsequently ensued, on
these fresh discoveries. As the most important part of the testimony,
adduced on these trials, is to be found in the Appendix, it is deemed
altogether, superfluous, to make a special application of it to each of
the cases, as this would result in a repetition fatiguing and
uninteresting to the reader. It will be sufficient to single out a few
of the cases most pregnant in interest, and to remark, that the Court on
its reorganization on the 13th, justly estimating the extent of the
labour before them, laid down certain rules of discrimination in the
guilt of the parties to which they give the most definite precision and
perspicuity, by adopting two classes of offence; the first involving a
primary and the second a minor degree of guilt. Under the first class,
they brought all those who were ringleaders, who had made a declaration
of their belonging to the association, and who had been present, aiding
and abetting in the contribution of money, arms or ammunition, at
Denmark Vesey’s, or who were in the constant habit of visiting Monday
Gell’s shop and Bulkley’s farm, for the purpose of obtaining and
communicating intelligence of the progress of the conspiracy. Those
found guilty in this class, were to be punished with death. Under the
second class were arranged those who had merely sent in their adhesion
to the ringleaders without ever having attended a meeting at Vesey’s, or
having been recognized by him as confidential men, or contributed to the
purchase of arms or ammunition, or endeavoured to enlist others. The
punishment which awaited those found guilty in this class, was
transportation beyond the limits of the United States.[10]

By reference to the Calendar marked (S) in the Appendix, the names of
the prisoners committed will be found, and under a proper column, the
mode in which they were disposed of, whether by death, transportation,
or discharge, from the insufficiency of testimony. The extent of the
evidence adduced, therefore, against each individual, may be inferred
with accuracy, by observing the punishment awarded him; as the Court
adhered with great and rigid fidelity to these rules, which were in
unison both with justice and humanity.

Among the vast number of cases disposed of by the first Court; in a
session of nearly six weeks, involving the most intense and unremitting
labour, it would be impossible to overlook the case of Jack Pritchard,
otherwise called GULLAH JACK. The testimony in the Appendix, of more
than one of the witnesses, will establish fully his guilt, and prove the
justice of the sentence, by which he was ushered into another world; but
no description can accurately convey to others the impression which his
trial, defence and appearance made on those who witnessed the workings
of his cunning and rude address. Born a conjurer and a physician, in his
own country (for in Angola they are matters of inheritance) he practised
_these arts_ in this country for fifteen years, without its being
generally known among the whites. Vesey, who left no engines of power
unessayed, seems, in an early stage of his design, to have turned his
eye on this Necromancer, aware of his influence with his own countrymen,
who are distinguished both for their credulous superstition and clannish
sympathies. It does not appear that Jack required much persuasion to
induce him to join in a project, which afforded him the most ample
opportunities of displaying his peculiar art, whilst it is very obvious
that his willingness, to do all that Vesey might require, was in no
little degree stimulated, by his bitterness and his gall against the
whites. Altho’ he had been fifteen or twenty years in this country, yet
he appeared to be untouched by the influences of civilized life.—If the
part which he was to play in this drama, bespoke that the treacherous
and vindictive artifices of war in his own country, existed in
unimpaired vigour in his memory, his wildness and vehemence of gesture
and the malignant glance with which he eyed the witnesses who appeared
against him, all indicated the savage, who indeed had been _caught_, but
not _tamed_. It would be both tedious and disgusting to relate the many
artifices employed by this miscreant to deceive and cajole his deluded
countrymen. Such was their belief in his invulnerability, that his
charms and amulets were in request, and he was regarded as a man, who
could _only_ be harmed but by the _treachery_ of his fellows. Even those
negroes who were born in this country seem to have spoken of his charmed
invincibility with a confidence which looked much like belief. When Jack
was dragged forth to the scaffold he seemed conscious that his arts
would stand him in little stead, and gave up his spirit without firmness
or composure.

The case of TOM RUSSEL, another of the Gullah Band, deserves a brief
notice. He was tried some days after Jack, and was executed among the
twenty-two Criminals hung on the Lines, on the 26th July. Tom was Jack’s
_armourer_, and kept his blacksmith’s shop on East-Bay. His part in the
conspiracy was confined to the making of pikes and spears, which it
appears he did on a very approved model. After these weapons were
finished, they were held subject to the order of Jack, and by him sent
up to Mr. Bulkley’s farm,[11] near the Cross Roads, where handles were
provided for them by Polydore Faber, a Gullah, who met his fate on the
same scaffold with Tom Russel. This farm was one of the principal
rendezvous of the Gullah Band, of which Jack was the Captain.

The trial of LOT FORRESTER, was not without interest, as he was the
_courier_ of the conspiracy, and was proved to have gone out of town,
for the purpose of inducing the country negroes to join in the
insurrection; his journeys were both south and north of Charleston. His
zeal and perseverance in the cause were strongly proved, and there is
every reason for believing that the conflagration of the city was
confided, by Vesey, to him. Match-rope was found in a situation where he
had probably secreted it.—He was hung on the Lines on the 26th of July.

BACCHUS HAMMETT, who was hung, also, on the 26th, did render, and was to
have rendered, on the night of the 16th, the most essential aid. Before
the latter period he had stolen from his master’s store a keg of powder,
which was conveyed, first to Vesey’s afterwards to Monday Gell’s, and
lastly to Gullah Jack, to be prepared into cartridges. On the night of
the 16th he was to have slept where the arms of the _Neck-Rangers_ were
deposited, and facilitated their seizure and distribution among Gullah
Jack’s corps, who were to have carried this post, as well as Mr.
_Duquercron’s_ store, in which there were 500 stands of arms, deposited
for sale.

distinguished, not by any peculiar atrocity, but for the hypocrisy they
blended with their crime. Their assent to the plot was distinctly shown,
and it was in proof, that Vesey had recognized them all as his men. Jack
Glen was a Preacher. Billy Palmer, exceedingly pious, and a communicant
at the church of his master; and Jack Purcell no less devout. The case
of the latter was not without its pathos, from the deep contrition he
expressed before his execution; the distressing interest which his
mistress is said to have taken in his fate, and the lamentable delusion
under which he laboured, which is more particularly unfolded in his
confession, in the Appendix marked (L.)[12] Jack Glen and Purcell were
hung on the Lines. Billy Palmer has been respited by His Excellency, the
Governor, until October next, for a commutation of his punishment to
banishment beyond the limits of the United States.

The Court having used the testimony of _Monday Gell_, _Charles Drayton_
and _Harry Haig_, very efficaciously, to the ends of public justice,
reconsidered the sentences, which had been passed on them, and instead
of death, sentenced them to transportation beyond the limits of the
United States.

As a matter of form, _Perault_, _John Enslow_ and _Billy Bulkley_, (who
had become witnesses for the state,) were then tried on their own
confessions, and sentenced to be transported beyond the limits of the
United States. These individuals were important witnesses in all the
apprehensions and trials subsequent to the 13th of July.

Perault gave his testimony with great fearlessness and candour, and
Enslow with much composure and connexion; the evidence of both, as well
indeed as that of most of the witnesses, was much appreciated by the
Court, after a severe scrutiny.[13]

This Court, having disposed of all the cases before them, adjourned on
the 26th of July.

At this stage of our investigation we were satisfied that of all the
ringleaders in the conspiracy, _William Garner_, (who had effected his
escape from the city about the 1st of July) only, remained to be
punished. As information had been received of his having travelled
towards Columbia, a proclamation was issued by His Excellency, the
Governor, for his apprehension, in promotion of the success of which
some subsidiary steps were taken by private means. On the 2d of August
our wishes, relating to Garner, were gratified, by his arrival in town.
He had previously been arrested at Columbia, thro’ the public spirited
efforts of the Intendant of that place and Lieut. Maxcy, who overtook
and apprehended him at Granby.

On Garner’s arrival, a new Court was organized for his trial, and such
other cases as might be brought before them, by precisely the same means
as those which had been employed on the appointment of the first; and
the services of the following gentlemen secured, who were known to
possess, deservedly, a large share of the public confidence.

                    JACOB AXON,            }
                             and           } Esqrs.
                    G. M. FURMAN,          }

                    Hon. JOEL R. POINSETT,
                    THOS. R. SMITH,        }
                    R. Y. HAYNE,           } Esqrs.
                    Col. THOMAS ROPER,
                    Col. JOHN GORDON.

This Court adopted the same rules for their government which had been so
humanely and dispassionately adopted by the preceding Court, but, as
enough had been done for public example, they determined to visit
capital punishment on none but ringleaders. The first case they tried
was that of WILLIAM GARNER.

Garner’s guilt had all the characteristics, which the Court had assigned
to the first class of turpitude; it was not only proved that he was
actively engaged in recruiting others, but that he was to have led a
troop of horse, at the rising, composed of all such of the conspirators
as might have appeared in the streets on horseback. And further, that he
had made an offer of a command to others in his corps. Four witnesses
having sworn positively to his guilt, detailing a variety of
particulars, mutually corroborating and supporting each other, he was
found guilty and sentenced for execution on the 9th of August, at which
period the sentence was carried into effect. This Court having, after a
short adjournment, of three or four, days recommenced their session,
disposed of twelve cases more, involving a minor degree of guilt, and
adjourned finally on the 8th of August.

These trials, together with some private arrangements, made with their
owners, in reference to the banishment of several slaves, in cases where
their guilt was clear, but not of the first degree, have at length
closed the anxious and irksome labours of the corporation, after an
examination of little less than two months.

It will be seen, by referring to the Calendar marked (S) that one
hundred and thirty-one were committed; thirty-five have suffered death,
and thirty-seven have been sentenced to banishment. The most important
object to be obtained in uprooting a conspiracy, we have fully
accomplished, by bringing to punishment the whole of the ringleaders.
Monday Gell, whose knowledge of the plot was, probably, exceeded only by
Vesey’s, has emphatically stated, that the ringleaders were the first
six, who were executed on the 2d of July, to wit: Denmark Vesey, Peter
Poyas, Ned Bennett, Rolla, Batteau and Jesse; to which he has since
added himself and William Garner, who was executed on the 9th of August.

We, moreover, believe, that all who were active agents (though not
ringleaders) in the conspiracy, have expiated their crimes, or are about
to do so, by an eternal exile from our shores. It may be mentioned, in
confirmation of this belief, that Monday Gell, from memory, made out a
list of forty-two names, of those who were in the habit of visiting his
shop, for the purpose of combining and confederating in the intended
insurrection, whom he called his company; every one of whom have been
apprehended, and disposed of. We cannot venture to say, to how many the
knowledge of the intended effort, was communicated, who, without
signifying their assent, or attending any of the meetings, were yet
prepared to profit by events. That there are many who would not have
permitted the enterprize to have failed at a _critical moment_, for the
want of their co-operation, we have the best reasons for believing.

Before we conclude, some notice of the probable causes of this
conspiracy may be expected. As this is a matter of speculation, we shall
not speak without reserve. Of the motives of Vesey, we cannot sit in
judgment; they have been scanned by a power who can do higher justice
than ourselves. But as they are explained by his character and conduct,
during the combinations of the plot, they are only to be referred to a
malignant hatred of the whites, and inordinate lust of power and booty.
Indeed, the belief is altogether justifiable, that his end would have
been answered, if, after laying our city in ashes, and moistening its
cinders with blood, he could have embarked with a part of the pillage of
our banks for San Domingo; leaving a large proportion of his deluded
followers to the exterminating desolation of that justice, which would
have awaited, in the end, a transient success. His followers were
slaves, and for them it would not be so difficult to assign a motive, if
it had not been distinctly proved, that without, scarcely an exception,
they had no individual hardship to complain of, and were among the most
humanely treated negroes in our city. The facilities for combining and
confederating in such a scheme, were amply afforded, by the extreme
indulgence and kindness, which characterises the domestic treatment of
our slaves. Many slave owners among us, not satisfied with ministering
to the wants of their domestics, by all the comforts of abundant food,
and excellent clothing, with a misguided benevolence, have not only
permitted their instruction, but lent to such efforts their approbation
and applause.

Religious fanaticism has not been without its effect on this project,
and as auxiliary to these sentiments, the secession of a large body of
blacks from the white Methodist Church, with feelings of irritation and
disappointment, formed a hot-bed, in which the germ might well be
expected to spring into life and vigour. Among the conspirators _a
majority_ of them belonged to the _African Church_,[14] and among those
executed were several who had been Class Leaders. It is, however, due to
the late head of their church (for since the late events the association
has been voluntarily dissolved) and their deacons, to say, that after
the most diligent search and scrutiny, no evidence entitled to belief,
has been discovered against them. A hearsay rumour, in relation to
_Morris Brown_, was traced far enough to end in its complete

That the course which certain discussions assumed in Congress were
likewise efficacious in producing both discontent and delusion, is
sufficiently apparent. Jack Purcell’s confession in the Appendix, will
show to what a purpose Vesey applied those beautiful propositions of
civil and natural freedom, which were sported with a wanton recklessness
of their consequences, as applied to the condition of a certain portion
of our common country.

It is consoling to every individual, who is proud of the character of
his country, in the late unhappy events, to be able to say, that, within
the limits of the City of Charleston, in a period of great and
unprecedented excitement, the laws, without even one violation, have
ruled with uninterrupted sway—that no cruel vindictive or barbarous
modes of punishment have been resorted to—that justice has been blended
with an enlightened humanity, in according to those who had meted out
for us murder, rapine and conflagration, in their most savage
forms—trials, which, for the wisdom, impartiality and moderation that
governed them, are even superior to those which the ordinary modes of
judicature would have afforded ourselves.

With little to fear, and nothing to reproach ourselves we may, without
shrinking, submit our conduct to the award of posterity, and ourselves
to the protection of the Supreme Ruler of Events.



Every Slave who shall raise, or attempt to raise an Insurrection, in
this Province, or shall endeavour to delude or entice any Slave to
runaway and leave the Province, every such Slave and Slaves, and his and
their accomplices, aiders and abetters, shall, on conviction thereof, as
aforesaid, suffer death. _Provided always_, that it shall and may be
lawful, to and for the Justices who shall pronounce sentence against
such Slaves, by and with the advice and consent of the Freeholders as
aforesaid, if several Slaves shall receive sentence at one time, to
mitigate and alter the sentence of any Slave, other than such as shall
be convicted of homicide of a white person, who they shall think may
deserve mercy, and may inflict such corporal punishment (other than
death) on any such Slave, as they in discretion shall think fit, any
thing herein contained to the contrary thereof, in any wise
notwithstanding. _Provided_, that one or more of the said Slaves who
shall be convicted of the crimes or offence aforesaid, where several are
concerned, shall be executed for example, to deter others from offending
in the like kind. A. A. 1740. P. L. 167.


A negro man testified as follows:[15]—I know Peter, he belongs to Mr.
James Poyas; in May last, Peter and myself met in Legare street, at the
corner of Lambol street, where the following conversation took place—He
asked me the news—I replied, none that I know of—He said, by George! we
can’t live so. I replied, how will we do? He said, we can do very well,
if you can find any one to assist us—will you join? I asked him, how do
you mean? He said, why! to break the yoke; I replied, I don’t know. He
asked me, suppose you were to hear, that the whites were going to kill
you, would you defend yourself? I replied, I’d try to escape. He asked,
have you lately seen _Denmark Vesey_, and has he spoken to you
particularly. I said no. Well then, said he, that’s all now: but call at
the shop to-morrow after knocking off work, and I will tell you more! We
then parted.—I met him the next day, according to appointment, when he
said to me, we intend to see, if we can’t do something for ourselves, we
can’t live so. I asked him, where he would get men? He said, we’ll find
them fast enough, we have got enough, we expect men from country and
town. But how, said I, will you manage it. Why, we will give them
notice, said he, and they will march down and camp round the city. But
what, said I, will they do for arms. He answered, they will find arms
enough, they all bring down their hoes, axes, &c. I said, that won’t do
to fight with here. He said, stop! let us get candidates from town with
arms, and we will then take the Guard-House and Arsenal in town, the
Arsenal on the Neck and the Upper Guard-House, and supply the country
people with arms. How, said I, will you approach those Arsenals, &c. for
they are guarded? Yes, said he, I know that, but what are these guards,
one man here, and one man there, we let a man pass before us. Well, said
I, but how will the black people from the country, and those from the
islands, know when you are to begin, or how will you get the town people
together. Why, said he, we will have prayer meetings at night, and there
notify them when to start, and when the clock strikes twelve, _all must
move_. But, said I, the whites in the back country, Virginia, &c.; when
they hear the news, will turn to, and kill you all, and besides, you may
be betrayed. Well said he, what of that, if one gets hanged, we will
rise at that minute. We then left his shop, and walked towards Broad
street, when he said, I want you to take notice of all the shops and
stores in town with arms in them, take _down their numbers, and give
them to me_. I said, I will see to it, and then we parted.

About the 1st of June, I saw in the public papers a statement that the
white people were going to build missionary houses for the blacks, which
I carried and showed to Peter, and said, see the good they are going to
do for us; when, he said,—What of that?—Have you not heard, that on the
4th of July, the whites are going to create a false alarm of fire, and
every _black_ that comes out will be _killed_, in order _to thin them_?
Do you think they would be so barbarous? (said I) Yes! (said he) I do!—I
fear _they have a knowledge of an army from San Domingo_, and they would
be _right to do it; to prevent us joining that army, if it should march
towards this land_! I was then very much alarmed. We then parted, and I
saw no more of him till the guards were very strict, (about a fortnight
ago.) At that time I saw Peter and Ned Bennett standing and talking
together, at the corner of Lambol and Legare-streets. They crossed over
and met me by Mrs. Myles’, and Ned Bennett said to me—did you hear what
those boys were taken up for the other day? I replied, No! but some say
it was for stealing. Ned asked me if I was sure I had never said any
thing to the whites about what Peter Poyas had spoken to me about? I
replied, No! Says Peter—You never did? No! I answered. Says Ned, to
me—How do you stand? At which I struck the tree box with my knuckles and
said, as firm as this box—I’ll never say one word against you. Ned then
smiled and nodded his head, and said—That will do!—when we all
separated. Last Tuesday or Wednesday week, Peter said to me—You see, my
lad, how the white people have got to windward of us? You won’t, said I,
be able to do any thing. O, yes! (he said) we will! By George we are
oblige to! He said, all down this way ought to meet and have a
collection to purchase powder. What, said I, is the use of powder—the
whites can fire three times to our once. He said, but _’twill be such a
dead time of the night, they won’t know what is the matter, and our
horse companies will go about the streets and prevent the whites from
assembling_. I asked him—where will you get horses? Why, said he, there
are many butcher boys with horses; and there are the livery stables,
where we have several candidates; and the waiting men, belonging to the
white people of the horse companies, will be told to take away their
master’s horses. He asked me if my master was not a horseman? I said,
Yes! Has he not got arms in his house? I answered, Yes! Can’t they be
got at? I said, Yes! Then (said he) it is good to have them. I asked
what was the plan? Why, said he, after we have taken the Arsenals and
Guard Houses, then we will set the town on fire, in different places,
and as the whites come out we will slay them. If we were to set fire to
the town first the man in the steeple would give the alarm too soon.—I
am the Captain, said he, to take the lower Guard-House and Arsenal. But,
I replied, when you are coming up, the Centinel will give the alarm. He
said, he would advance a little distance ahead, and if he could only get
a _grip at his throat, he was a gone man_, for his sword was very sharp;
he had sharpened it, and had made it so sharp, it had cut his finger,
which he showed me. As to the Arsenal on the Neck, he said, that it was
gone as sure as fate, _Ned Bennett, would manage that with the people
from the country, and the people between Hibbens’ Ferry and Santee would
land and take the Upper Guard-House_. I then said, then this thing seems
true. My man, said he, God has a hand in it, _we have been meeting for
four years, and are not yet betrayed_. I told him, I was afraid, after
all, of the white people from the back country and Virginia, &c. He said
that the blacks would collect so numerous from the country, we need not
fear the whites from the other parts, for when we have once got the city
we can keep them all out. He asked, if I had told my boys. I said no.
Then said he, you should do it, for Ned Bennett has his people pretty
well ranged. But, said he, take care and don’t mention it to those
waiting men who receive _presents of old coats, &c. from their masters,
or they’ll betray us_. I will speak to them. We then parted, and I have
not since conversed with him. He said the rising was to take place last
Sunday night, (16th June)—That _any of the coloured people who said a
word about this matter would be killed by the others. The little man,
who can’t be killed, shot or taken_ is named Jack, a Gullah Negro. Peter
said there was a French Company in town of three hundred men fully
armed—that he was to see Monday Gell, about expediting the rising. I
know that Mingo went often to Mr. Paul’s to see Edwin, but don’t know if
he spoke with William. Peter said he had a sword, and I ought to get
one. He said he had got a letter from the country; I think from St.
Thomas’, from a negro man who belonged to the captain of a militia
company, who said he could easily get the key of the house where the
company’s arms were put after muster, and take them all out, and help in
that way. This business originates altogether with the _African
Congregation_, in which Peter is a leader. When Bennett’s Ned asked
about those taken up, he alluded particularly to Mr. Paul’s William, and
asked me if I said any thing to him about it.

_The voluntary confession of ROLLA, to the Court, made after his trial,
                but before sentence was passed on him._

I know Denmark Vesey, on one occasion, he asked me what news? I told
him, none. He replied, we are free, but the white people here won’t let
us be so; and the only way is, to raise up and fight the whites. I went
to his house one night, to learn where the meetings were held. I never
conversed on this subject with Batteau or Ned.—Vesey told me, he was the
leader in this plot. I never conversed either with Peter or Mingo. Vesey
induced me to join. When I went to Vesey’s house, there was a meeting
there, the room was full of people, but none of them white. That night,
at Vesey’s, we determined to have arms made, and each man to put in
twelve and a half cents towards that purpose. Though Vesey’s room was
full, I did not know one individual there. At this meeting, Vesey said,
we were to take the Guard-House and Magazines, to get arms; that we
ought to rise up against the whites to get our liberties. He was the
first to rise up and speak, and he read to us from the Bible, how the
_children of Israel were delivered out of Egypt from bondage_; he said,
that the rising would take place last Sunday night week, (the 16th June)
and that Peter Poyas was one.


_Examination of SALLY, a negro woman belonging to Mr. Alexander Howard._

I know Jesse, and heard him speak several times about it; one day in
particular, he was anxious to see his brother, who has my mother for his
wife, and waited until he came, when they conversed together. Jesse
said, he had got a horse to go into the country, to bring down men to
fight the white people; that he was allowed to pass by two parties of
the patrol on the road, but that a third party had brought him back, and
that, if there were but five men like him, they would destroy the city.
This was on last Sunday week, (the 16th June,) he said, that before 3
o’clock, that night, all the white people would be killed. That, if any
person informed, or would not join in the fight, such person would be
killed or poisoned. He frequently came into the yard to see his brother,
and I threatened to inform, if he came there, and spoke in that way, to
get us all into trouble. We never had any quarrel.

     _Examination of LOT, a negro man belonging to Mr. Forrester_.

I know Jesse; he met me last Sunday week (16th June) at the corner of
Boundary street, as I was coming into town; he said, he was going to get
a horse to go into the country. From what my master had told me the
Thursday before, I distrusted his errand, and gave him a caution. When,
as I was going down into town towards Mr. Hibbens’ ferry slip, and
conversing with him, he said, you shall see to night, when I come down,
what I am going up for, and, _if my own father does not assist, I will
cut off his head_. He said, he was going as far as Goose Creek bridge,
and would get a horse if it cost him nine dollars. The church bells were
then ringing, and at half past eleven o’clock, same day, I saw him at
Mr. Howard’s, and afterwards understood from Sally, that he had set off
for the country, and had been brought back by the Patrol.


    _Examination of FRANK, a negro man belonging to Mrs. Ferguson_.

I know Denmark Vesey, and have been to his house; I have heard him say,
that the negroe’s situation was so bad, he did not know how they could
endure it; and was astonished they did not rise and fight for
themselves, and he advised me to join, and rise. He said, he was going
about to see different people, and mentioned the names of Ned, Bennett
and Peter Poyas, as concerned with him; that he had spoken to Ned and
Peter on this subject, and that they were to go about and tell the
blacks, that they were free, and must rise and fight for themselves:
that they would take the Magazines and Guard Houses, and the City, and
be free; that he was going to send into the country to inform the people
there, too; he said, he wanted me to join them. I said, I could not
answer. He said, if I would not go into the country for him, he could
get others; he said, himself, Ned Bennett, Peter Poyas and Monday Gell,
were the principal men, and himself the head man.—He said, they were the
principal men to go about and inform the people, and fix them, &c.; that
one party would land on _South Bay_, one about Wappoo and about the
Farms; that the party which was to land on South Bay, was to take the
_Guard-House, and get arms, and then they would be able to go on_; that
the attack was to commence about 12 o’clock at night; that great numbers
would come from all about, and it must succeed, as so many were engaged
in it; that they would kill all the whites; that they would leave their
masters’ houses, and assemble near the Lines, march down and meet the
party which would land on South Bay; that he was going to send a man
into the country on a horse, to bring down the country people, and that
he would pay for the horse. He gave two dollars to Jesse, to get the
horse on Saturday week last, (15th June) about 1 o’clock in the day, and
myself and witness (No. 8,) also put in 25 cents a piece, and he told
Jesse, if he could not go, he must send some one else. I have seen Ned
Bennett at Vesey’s. I one night met at Vesey’s a great number of men,
and as they came in, they each handed him some money.—Vesey said, there
was a _little man, named Jack_, who could not be killed, and who would
furnish them with arms; he had a charm, and would lead them; that
Charles Drayton had promised to be engaged with them. Vesey said, the
negroes were living such an abominable life, they ought to rise. I said,
I was living well. He said, though I was, others was not, and that it
was such fools as I, that were in their way, and would not help them,
and that, after all things were well, he would mark me. He said, he did
not go with _Creighton to Africa, because he had not a will, he wanted
to stay and see what he could do for his fellow creatures_. I met Ned,
Monday, and others, at Denmark Vesey’s, where they were talking about
this business.

The first time I spoke with Monday Gell, it was one night at Denmark
Vesey’s house, where I heard Vesey tell Monday, that he must send some
one into the country to bring the people down. Monday said, he had sent
up Jack, and told him to tell the people to come down and join in the
fight against the whites; and also to ascertain and inform him how many
people he could get. A few days after, I met Vesey, Monday and Jack in
the streets, under Mr. Duncan’s trees, at night, where Jack stated, he
had been into the country, round by Goose Creek and Dorchester; that he
had spoken to 6,600 persons, who had agreed to join. Monday said to
Vesey, that it Jack had so many men, they had better wait no longer, but
begin the business at once, and others would join. The first time I saw
Monday at Vesey’s, he was going away early, when Vesey asked him to
stay, to which Monday replied, he expected that night a meeting at his
house, to fix upon and mature the plan, &c. and that he could stay no
longer. I afterwards conversed with Monday in his shop, when he asked
me, if I had heard that Bennett’s and Poyas’ people were taken up, that
it was a great pity. He said, he had joined in the business. I told him
to take care he was not taken up. Whenever I talked with Vesey, he
always spoke of Monday Gell as being his principal and active man in
this business.


             _Examination of Witness No. 10, a Negro Man._

Peter Poyas was the first man who spoke to me, and asked me to join. I
asked him what, the church? He said no, have you not heard, that the
blacks were joining, to try and take the country. I asked him, if he
thought he had men enough to do it? He said yes, a plenty of men, and
the Society will contribute money, with which a white man would purchase
guns and powder for them. He said he would call back, and I must
consider if I would join them. He called back, and asked me, if I was
willing now? Why Peter, said I, you have not got force enough. He said,
if I did not join, he would turn all my country people against me. Said
I, if so, I’ll join you, but you must not put my name down, when you
come out, if I find you strong enough, I’ll join you. Well, said he, if
you don’t join you’ll be killed. Peter and Harry Haig called on me
afterwards, I was not at home; but the next morning I met Harry, who
asked me for my name. I refused it. He said, I would be killed if I did
not join. I said, I would join when they came out, if they were stronger
than the whites. Harry called on me again, and asked me, if I was
willing that the thing would break out soon. I asked him, where they
would begin? He said, in Boundary street. At what hour? He said, at 12
o’clock at night, or early in the morning, as soon as the guard is
discharged. Jack Pritchard called on me, he is sometimes called Gullah
Jack, sometimes Couter Jack, he gave me some dry food, consisting of
parched corn and ground nuts, and said, eat that, and nothing else, on
the morning when it breaks out, and when you join us as we pass, put
into your mouth this crab claw, and you can’t be wounded, and, said he,
I give the same to the rest of my troops—if you drop the large crab claw
out of your mouth, then put in the small one. Said I, when do you break
out, and have you arms. He said, plenty, but they are over Boundary
street, we can’t get at them now, but as soon as the patrol was slack,
they could get them; this was previous to the 16th June, on which day,
he said, they were to break out. On that day he came to me, and said,
they could not break out that night, as the patrol was too strong; he
said, he would let me know when they were ready. That Sunday fortnight,
the 30th June, he came to me and said, I must lay by still, they would
not break out then, that he had been round to all his company and found
them cowards. I said, thank God, then! He said, give me back my corn and
cullah, (that is crab claw). I said, I would not, and upbraided him for
having deluded so many. He said, all his country born promised him to
join, because he was a Doctor, (that is a Conjurer). He said, the white
people was looking for him, and he was afraid of being taken, that two
men came to his master’s wharf, and asked him, if he knew Gullah Jack,
and that he told them, no. He said, his charms would not protect him
from the treachery of his own colour. He went away, and I have not seen
him since. Harry Haig has since seen me several times, and told me to
hold myself ready. I said, I’m ready when called on. He said, all the
draymen came to his master’s cooper yard, and said they were ready, but
he told them, he was only waiting for Gullah Jack. He said, he would
tell me when they were ready, that they were only waiting for the head
man, who was a white man; but he, although asked, would neither tell me
the white man’s name, nor where the powder and arms were; this was last
Tuesday, the very day the six negroes were hanged, about six o’clock, A.
M. this was the last time we spoke, though I have seen him since. I saw
Charles Drayton before the 16th, at Monday Gell’s, I was going to
market, and Charles called to me as I crossed the street; Joe, who has a
wife at Mr. Remoussin’s, asked me, if I did know that Monday was at the
head of the Ebo Company, who are going to fight the white people; Monday
is an Ebo. I asked Joe, if he was one of that company. He said yes, he
was. I asked him, what he could do, as he was an invalid.—He said, he
would take Remoussin’s sword and gun, and tell him to lay down in his
bed and be quiet. We parted. Previous to the 16th of June, Monday Gell
called me into his shop; I went in, and said to him, I heard he was
captain of his countrymen’s company, the Ebo’s. He said, he was a sort
of a one. I bid him good morning, when he said, when you want to hear
the news, come here. I never saw him afterwards.

I met Charles Drayton on the 1st of July in the streets, when he said,
now get ready, we must break out at once, for we will not let six lives
be taken. I asked him, where they would begin? He said, in Boundary
street, directly as the patrol and light horse turned in. I said, had
you not better wait till after the 4th of July. He said, no, because in
the mean time the people would be hanged. Charles said, they had force
enough, and we parted. I met him in Market, betwixt 8 and 9 o’clock, on
the 2d of July, and said to him, now the people are hanged, I suppose
you are sorry you joined in the business. He said yes, and we parted.
Peter Poyas told me also, that they had force enough, that some would
come from James’ and John’s islands, and some from Christ’s Church
Parish, where he generally went over to a meeting to have a talk, and
that he had some about and in town, the number of which he would show me
from the Society books, if I would only come to the Society. He said,
they were to fight the whites, and keep on fighting, till the English
came to help them. Harry told me the same thing. Jack being the head
man, I asked him about the plan, he told me the same thing; that the
English were to come here to help them, that the Americans could do
nothing against the English, and that the English would carry them off
to St. Domingo. Monday and Charles were very great together. John, Mr.
Horry’s coachman, came to me one day, and asked me what I thought? Every
one is ready, said John, to fight the whites, are you ready? He said, I
am ready. This took place sometime before the 16th June, and every day
he asked me the same questions.—About this time George Vanderhorst came
to me and said, they were going to take the country, and he had joined;
that he was ready whenever the blacks broke out. He requested me to let
him sleep at my wife’s house near Boundary street; I saw him almost
every day after the 16th June, and he always said, he was ready whenever
the troops were ready. On the 16th June, Jack requested me to let twelve
men sleep at my wife’s, as they were to break out that night, and he
wanted them to be near Boundary street. On being refused, he departed in
anger, and reproached me. George called on me yesterday morning, and
asked, if I knew that Charles Drayton was taken up, and said, he was
afraid Charles would name him, not because he was on his list, for he
had joined Jack’s company, but because Charles had met him at Gullah
Jack’s, when they were consulting on the subject; that, if he could near
that Charles had named him, he would run off. On Monday, 1st July,
Charles Drayton told me, that there would be an insurrection on the
morning of the 6th July, as soon as the Guard turned in; he said, he
commanded the country born company. Jack told me on the 1st July the
same thing, and in addition, that they were to rush in with their dirks,
guns and swords, &c. they had got, kill the City Guard, and take all the
arms in the arsenals; he also said, there were some arms in King street,
beyond Boundary street, in possession of a white man, which they
intended to take, (alluding to the arms of the Charleston Neck Company,
deposited at Wharton’s, in King street). Charles Drayton said, he had
prepared for himself a gun and a sword. John Horry came to me very
often, and once said, he had a sword, and that, as soon as it broke out,
he would go up stairs and kill his master and family. On the 17th of
June, on his carriage box, he expressed himself to me in the same manner
he had done previous to the 16th. The blacks would have risen on the
night of the 16th, had the Guards not been so strong; this I know from
Gullah Jack and Harry Haig, who said, that if the Guards were not too
strong, they would get the arms near the Lines, but if the Guards were
out, they could not get them to break out with.


                      _Confession of_ HARRY HAIG.

Julius Forrest, and myself, always worked together. Gullah Jack calls
himself a negro doctor, he induced Julius and myself to join at last,
but at first we refused; before the 16th June, Jack appointed to meet us
at Bulkley’s Farm; when we got there, Jack was not there, but Peter
Poyas came; we broke up at day-light. Not quite a month before the 16th
June, Jack met me, and talked about war. I asked Jack, how he would do
for arms? Bye and bye, said Jack, we will have arms; he said, he would
have some arms made at the blacksmiths. Jack was going to give * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Until Jack was taken up
and condemned to death, I was just like I was bound up, and had not the
power to speak one word about it. Jack charmed Julius and myself at
last, and we then consented to join. Tom Russell, the blacksmith and
Jack are partners, (in conjuring) Jack learnt him to be a doctor. Tom
talked to Jack about the fighting, and agreed to join, and those two
brought Julius and myself to agree to it. Jack said, Tom was his second,
and “when you don’t see me, and see Tom, you see one.” Jack said, Tom
was making arms for the black people; Jack said, he would not be killed,
nor could a white man take him.


_Confession of JESSE, the slave of Thomas Blackwood, Esqr.; furnished to
                  the Court by the Rev. Dr. D. HALL._

I was invited to Denmark Vesey’s house, and when I went, I found several
men met together, among whom was Ned Bennett, Peter Poyas, and others,
whom I did not know. Denmark opened the meeting by saying, he had an
important secret to communicate to us, which we must not disclose to any
one, and if we did, we should be put to instant death. He said, we were
deprived of our rights and privileges by the white people, and that our
church was shut up, so that we could not use it, and that it was high
time for us to seek for our rights, and that we were fully able to
conquer the whites, if we were only unanimous and courageous, as the St.
Domingo people were. He then proceeded to explain his plan, by saying,
that they intended to make the attack by setting the governor’s mills on
fire, and also some houses near the water, and as soon as the bells
began to ring for fire, that they should kill every man, as he came out
of his door, and that the servants in the yards should do it, and that
it should be done with axes and clubs, and afterwards they should murder
the women and children, for he said, God had so commanded it in the
Scriptures. At another meeting at Denmark’s, Ned Bennett and Peter
Poyas, and several others were present in conversation, some said, they
thought it was cruel to kill the ministers, and the women and children,
but Denmark Vesey said, he thought it was for our safety, not to spare
one white skin alive, for this was the plan they pursued in St. Domingo.
He then said to me, Jesse, I want you to go into the country, to enlist
as many of the country negroes as possible, to be in readiness to come
down to assist us. I told him, I had no horse, and no money to hire one;
he then took out two dollars, and gave them to me to hire a horse, and
told me to enlist as many as possible. I got the horse the next Sabbath,
and started, but the guard was so strict, I could not pass them without
being taken up; so I returned, and told Denmark, at which he expressed
his sorrow, and said, the business was urgent, for they wanted the
country people to be armed, that they might attack the Forts at the same
time, and also to take every ship and vessel in the harbor, and to put
every man to death, except the captains. For, said he, it will not be
safe to stay in Charleston, for as soon as they had got all the money
out of the banks, and the goods out of the stores on board, they
intended to sail for St. Domingo; for he had a promise, that they would
receive and protect them. This Jesse asserted to me, was the truth,
whilst the tears were running down his cheeks, and he appeared truly
penitent; and I have reason to hope, that he obtained pardon from God,
through the merits of Christ, and was prepared to meet his fate with
confidence, and that he was accepted of God. At 4 o’clock on the morning
of the execution, I visited all the prisoners condemned, and found Jesse
at prayers. He told me, his mind was placid and calm; he then assured
me, that what he had told me was the truth, and _that he was prepared to
meet his God_.


                      _Confession of MONDAY GELL._

I come out as a man who knows he is about to die—some time after
Christmas Vesey passed my door, he called in and said to me, that he was
trying to gather the blacks to try and see if any thing could be done to
overcome the whites; he asked me to join; I asked him his plan and his
numbers; he said he had Peter Poyas, Ned Bennett, and Jack Purcell; he
asked me to join; I said no; he left me and I saw him not for some time.
About four or five weeks ago as I went up Wentworth street, Frank
Ferguson met me, and said he had four plantation’s of people who he was
to go for on Saturday, 15th June. How, said I, will you bring them down;
he said through the woods; he asked me if I was going towards Vesey’s to
ask Vesey to be at home that evening, and he would be there to tell him
his success. I asked Jack Purcell to carry this message, he said he
would; that same evening at my house I met Vesey’s mulatto boy, he told
me Vesey wished to see me, I went with him; when I went into Vesey’s I
met Ned Bennett, Peter Poyas, and Frank Ferguson, and Adam, and Gullah
Jack; they were consulting about the plan; Frank told Vesey on Saturday,
15th, he would go and bring down the people and lodge them near town in
the woods; the plan was to arm themselves by breaking open the stores
with arms. I then told Vesey I would join them, after sometime I told
them I had some business of my own and asked them to excuse me, I went
away, and only then was I ever there. One evening, Perault Strohecker,
and Bacchus Hammett brought to my shop a keg, and asked me to let it
stay there till they sent for it; I said yes, but did not know the
contents; the next evening Gullah Jack came and took away the keg, this
was before the 16th June; since I have been in prison I learnt that the
keg contained powder.

Pharo Thompson is concerned, and he told me, a day or two after Ned and
Peter were taken up, if he could get a fifty dollar bill, he would run
away; about two Sundays before I was brought here, he asked me, in
Archdale-Street, when shall we be like those white people in the church;
I said when it pleased God; Sunday before I was taken up, he met me as I
came out of Archdale Church, and took me into a stable in said street,
and told me he told his master, who had asked him, that he had nothing
to do in this affair; which was a lie. William Colcock came to my shop
once and said a brother told him that five hundred men were making up
for the same purpose. Frank said he was to send to HellHole Swamp to get

Perault Strohecker is engaged; he used to go of a Sunday on horse back
up the road to a man he knows on the same errand. One Sunday he asked me
to go with him; I went and Smart Anderson; we went to a small house a
little way from the road after you turn into the ship yard road, on its
left hand; they too went into the stable with an old man that lived
there, I remained in the yard; they remained in the stable about half an
hour; as soon as they came out, I and Perault started to town to go to
church, and left Smart there; I was told by Denbow Martin, who has a
wife in Mr. Smith’s house, that Stephen Smith belonged to some of the

Saby Gaillard is concerned; he met me on the Bay, before the 16th of
June and gave me a piece of paper from his pocket; this paper was about
the battle that Boyer had in St. Domingo; in a day or two he called on
me and asked if I had read it, and said if he had as many men he would
do the same too, as he could whip ten white men himself; he frequently
came to me to speak about this matter, and at last I had to insult him
out of the shop; he and Paris Ball was often together. A week before I
was taken up, Paris told me that my name was called.

Billy Palmer and Vesey were constantly together; there was once in my
shop a long talk between them about this same matter; I begged them to
stop it; Vesey told him to try to get as many as he could; he said he

John Vincent told me that Edward Johnson, a free man, had said, as he
was a free man he would have nothing to do with slaves, but the night
they began he would join them.

I told Charles Drayton what uproar there was about this business, and
since we have been here we have talked together.

Albert Inglis came to me and asked if I knew any thing about it; I said
yes. He asked me if I had joined; I said yes; he said he was one also;
he said Adam, a free man wanted to see me, I went with him one night;
Adam asked me how many men had joined; I told him what Frank Ferguson
had said; he asked me if I believed it; I said yes; he said if he could
only find men behind him he would go before. Previous to the 16th,
Albert said to me quit the business; I told him I was too far into it,
so I must stick to it.

I never wrote to St. Domingo[16] or any where else on this subject, nor
kept a list or books, nor saw any such things, but heard that Paul’s
William had a list, nor did I hear any thing about arms being in
possession of the blacks. I don’t know that Tom Russel made pikes, nor
that Gullah Jack had any of them.

Lewis Remoussin called at my shop and asked me to call at his house, he
had something to tell me, but I did not go; Jack Glen told me he was

I met Scipio Sims one Sunday, coming from the country, who said he had
been near the Savannah’s to Mr. Middleton’s place; I heard afterwards
that his errand was on this business.

I know John the cooper, who said he was engaged too in this business.

William Garner said he was engaged in it and had got twelve or thirteen
draymen to join.

Sandy Vesey told me he belonged to it too.

At Vesey’s house, Frank told Gullah Jack, to put one ball and three buck
shot in each cartridge.

Mingo Harth acknowledged to me that he had joined, and Peter Poyas told
me so too; he, Mingo, told me so several times; Mingo said he was to
have his master’s horse on the night of the 16th.

Lot Forrester told me frequently that he was one of the company, and I
know that he had joined in the business myself. Isaac Harth told me once
that he had joined, he knew I was in the business.

Morris Brown knew nothing of it, and we agreed not to let him, Harry
Drayton, or Charles Corr, know anything about it. —— —— told me in my
store that he was to get some powder from his master and give it to
Peter Poyas; he seemed to have been a long time engaged in it, and to
know a great deal. Joe Jore acknowledged to me once or twice that he had
joined, he said he knew some of the Frenchmen concerned; he knew I was
in it.


                   _The Confession of JACK PURCELL._

If it had not been for the cunning of that old villain Vesey, I should
not now be in my present situation. He employed every stratagem to
induce me to join him. He was in the habit of reading to me all the
passages in the newspapers that related to St. Domingo, and apparently
every pamphlet he could lay his hands on, that had any connection with
slavery. He one day brought me a speech which he told me had been
delivered in Congress by a _Mr. King_ on the subject of slavery; he told
me this Mr. King was the black man’s friend, that he Mr. King had
declared he would continue to speak, write and publish pamphlets against
slavery the longest day he lived, until the Southern States consented to
emancipate their slaves, for that slavery was a great disgrace to the


                       CONFESSION OF JOHN ENSLOW.

Monday Gell led me in it and took me to Vesey’s; there was a large
meeting; Vesey told the meeting the people was to rise up and fight the
white people for their liberty; we always went to Monday’s house
afterwards; Monday did all the writing; I heard they were trying all
round the country to Georgetown, Santee, and round to Combahee, &c.
about to get people; Peter was also there, he was one; Peter named
Poyas’ plantation, where he went to meet; Bellisle Yates I have seen at
the meetings, and Adam Yates, Naphur Yates, Dean Mitchell, Cæsar Smith
and George (a Stevedore.) At Vesey’s they wanted to make a collection to
make pikes for the country people, but the men had no money! Monday Gell
said Purcell was one to get horses to send men into the country; I heard
a blacksmith was to make pikes. Jack M’Neil is engaged; I have seen them
all at Monday’s; Jack said he was one and would try to get men; the plan
was to take the Arsenals and Guard Houses for arms, and not to fire the
town unless they failed; Monday was writing a letter to St. Domingo, to
go by a vessel lying at Gibb’s and Harper’s wharf; the letter was about
the sufferings of the blacks, and to know if the people of St. Domingo
would help them if they made an effort to free themselves; he was
writing this letter in March, I am not certain of the time; Perault was
present when Monday wrote the letter, and also a painter, named Prince
Righton; I have seen Pompey Haig at Monday’s, but he neither assented or
dissented; Jerry Cohen was at Vesey’s, and said to me he was one; I
heard from Vesey and Monday that they had engaged men from the country;
Peter Poyas said he had sent into the country to his brother to engage
men, who would send him an answer; a party was to attack the Guard-House
and Arsenal; another the Arsenal on the Neck; another the Naval Stores
on Mey’s wharf; another to attack the Magazine; another to meet at
Lightwood’s Alley and then try to cut off the companies from meeting at
their places of rendezvous; I belong to the African Congregation; on
Saturday the 15th June, a man was to be sent into the country to bring
down the people, and Rolla was to command the country people from Ashley
River at the Bridge; Ned Bennett and John Horry to meet at Mr. Horry’s
corner, and Batteau to come down with Vesey’s party.


                              CLASS No. 1.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were found guilty and executed._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Peter        │James Poyas       │ June 18│Hanged on Tuesday the 2d
              │                  │        │  July, 1822, on Blake’s
              │                  │        │  lands, near Charleston.
 Ned          │Gov. T. Bennett,  │  do.   │              〃
 Rolla        │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Batteau      │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Denmark Vesey│A free black man  │      22│              〃
 Jessy        │Thos. Blackwood   │      23│              〃
 John         │Elias Horry       │  July 5│Do. on the Lines near Ch.;
              │                  │        │  Friday July 12.
 Gullah Jack  │Paul Pritchard    │  do.   │              〃
 Mingo        │Wm. Harth         │ June 21│Hanged on the Lines near
              │                  │        │  Charleston, on Friday, 26th
              │                  │        │  July.
 Lot          │Forrester         │      27│              〃
 Joe          │P. L. Jore        │  July 6│              〃
 Julius       │Thos. Forrest     │       8│              〃
 Tom          │Mrs. Russell      │      10│              〃
 Smart        │Robt. Anderson    │  do.   │              〃
 John         │John Robertson    │      11│              〃
 Robert       │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Adam         │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Polydore     │Mrs. Faber        │  do.   │              〃
 Bacchus      │Benj. Hammet      │  do.   │              〃
 Dick         │Wm. Sims          │      13│              〃
 Pharaoh      │— Thompson        │  do.   │              〃
 Jemmy        │Mrs. Clement      │      18│              〃
 Mauidore     │Mordecai Cohen    │      19│              〃
 Dean         │— Mitchell        │  do.   │              〃
 Jack         │Mrs. Purcell      │      12│              〃
 Bellisle     │Est. of Jos. Yates│      18│              〃
 Naphur       │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Adam         │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Jacob        │John S. Glen      │      16│              〃
 Charles      │John Billings     │      18│              〃
 Jack         │N. McNeill        │      22│Do. Tues. July 30.
 Cæsar        │Miss Smith        │  do.   │              〃
 Jacob Stagg  │Jacob Lankester   │      23│              〃
 Tom          │Wm. M. Scott      │      24│              〃
 William      │Mrs. Garner       │  Aug. 2│Do. Friday, Aug. 9.

                              CLASS No. 2.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were found guilty and sentenced to
    death, but recommended to the mercy of the Executive, by the Court
    of Magistrates and Freeholders._

☞ They have been respited to the 25 day of October, 1822, with a view to
the commutation of their punishment to banishment beyond the limits of
the United States.

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Louis        │Cromwell          │ July 12│Respited until the 25th of
              │                  │        │  October; and now confined
              │                  │        │  in the Work-House of
              │                  │        │  Charleston.
 Seymour      │Kunhardt          │  do.   │              〃
 Saby Gaillard│A free black man  │      13│              〃
 Isaac        │Wm. Harth         │  do.   │              〃
 Paris        │Mrs. Ball         │      15│              〃
 Peter        │Mrs. Cooper       │  do.   │              〃
 Dublin       │C. G. Morris      │      18│              〃
 George       │— Bampfield       │  do.   │              〃
 Sandy        │Jacob Schnell     │      19│              〃

                              CLASS No. 3.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were found guilty and sentenced to
    death, but since respited by the Executive, until the 25th of Oct.
    with a view to the commutation of their punishment, to banishment
    beyond the limits of the United States._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 William      │Job Palmer        │ July 18│Respited till Oct. 25, and
              │                  │        │  now in the Work-House.
 John Vincent │D. Cruckshanks    │      23│              〃
 Billy        │P. Robinson       │  do.   │              〃
   Robinson   │                  │        │

                              CLASS No. 4.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were found guilty and sentenced to be,
    transported, beyond the limits of the United States, by their
    masters, under the direction of the City Council._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 William      │John Paul         │ May  31│Confined in the W. House.
 Edwin        │       do.        │ June 24│              〃
 Monday       │John Gell         │      27│Do. and Sentenced to death,
              │                  │        │  commuted to banishment out
              │                  │        │  U. S.
 Charles      │Hon. J. Drayton   │ July  2│              〃
 Harry        │David Haig        │       5│              〃
 Frank        │Mrs. Ferguson     │ June 27│Confined in the W. House.
 George       │— Theus           │ July  6│              〃
 Perault      │— Strohecker      │      10│              〃
 Billy        │S. Bulkley        │  do.   │              〃
 John         │— Enslow          │      13│              〃
 Scipio       │Wm. Sims          │  do.   │              〃
 Agrippa      │Mrs. Perry        │      19│              〃
 Nero         │David Haig        │      23│              〃
 Sam. Bainsill│— Bainstill       │  do.   │              〃
 Dembo        │J. N. Martin      │      25│              〃
 Adam Bellamy │J. H. Merritt     │  Aug. 3│              〃
 Jack         │Wm. Cattell       │       5│              〃
 George       │— Evans           │       6│              〃
 Harry        │— Butler          │  do.   │              〃
 George       │Sam. Parker       │  do.   │              〃
 Pompey       │Richd. Lord       │       5│              〃

                              CLASS No. 5.

  _Comprises those who were found guilty and sentenced to be
    transported, beyond the limits of the State of South-Carolina._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Prince Graham│A free black man  │ July 21│Sentenced to be imprisoned
              │                  │        │  one month in the W. House,
              │                  │        │  and then transported beyond
              │                  │        │  the limits of the State.

☞ This man will go out of the U. States at his own request, under the
direction of the City Council.

                              CLASS No. 6.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were acquitted by the Court, their
    guilt not being fully proved. The Court, however, have suggested to
    their owners, the propriety of transporting them beyond the limits
    of the United States._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Buonaparte   │Francis Mulligan  │ July 11│Acquitted by Court, master
              │                  │        │  desired to transport, and
              │                  │        │  now in the work-house
              │                  │        │  Charleston.
 Abraham      │Dr. Poyas         │ June 22│              〃
 Butcher      │Jas. L. Gibbes    │ July 11│              〃
 John         │Mrs. Taylor       │      13│              〃
 Prince       │Miss Righton      │      19│              〃
 Quash        │A free black man  │      29│—By arrangement with Council,
   Harleston  │                  │        │  gone out of the U. S.
 Harry Purse  │Wm. Purse         │     not│Arranged with owner to be
              │                  │arrested│  transported.
 Panza        │— Mitchell        │   〃    │              〃
 Liverpool    │Mrs. Hunt         │   〃    │              〃

                              CLASS No. 7.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were acquitted by the Court of
    Magistrates and Freeholders—and discharged._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Amherst      │Mrs. Lining       │ June 18│Acquitted and Discharged.
 Mungo        │Jas. Poyas        │  do.   │              〃
 Stephen      │Tho. R. Smith     │  do.   │              〃
 Matthias     │Gov. T. Bennett   │  do.   │              〃
 Jeffrey Grant│A free black man  │      20│              〃
 Brand        │Jon. Lucas        │  do.   │              〃
 Richard      │       do.        │      17│              〃
 John         │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Rob. Hadden  │A free col’d. man │      22│              〃
 Sam. Guifford│       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Pompey       │John Bryan        │      28│              〃
 Adam         │Mrs. Ferguson     │      27│              〃
 Harry        │— Harleston       │        │              〃
 Peter        │Mrs. Ward         │ July 10│              〃
 Sandy        │Francis Curtis    │      11│              〃
 Isaac        │Paul Trapier      │  do.   │              〃
 Charles      │Mrs. Shrubrick    │  do.   │              〃
 Cuffy        │Charles Graves    │  do.   │              〃
 Pierre Louis │Mons. Chapeau     │      18│              〃
 Cæsar        │Mrs. Parker       │      19│              〃
 William      │Mrs. Colcock      │      12│              〃
 Pompey       │David Haig        │ June 23│              〃
 Friday       │Mrs. Rout         │        │              〃
 Philander    │A free col’d. man │ Aug.  3│              〃
   Michau     │                  │        │
 Edward       │A free black man  │  do.   │              〃
   Johnson    │                  │        │
 Stephen      │— Walker          │       5│              〃
   Walker     │                  │        │
 James        │       do.        │  do.   │              〃
 Harry        │J. Nell           │       6│              〃

                              CLASS No. 8.

  _Comprises those prisoners who were discharged after their arrest by
    the Committee of Vigilance, the testimony against them not being
    sufficient to bring them to trial._

  _Prisoners  │ _Owners’ Names._ │_Time of│     _How Disposed of._
    Names._   │                  │Commit._│
 Hercules     │— Clark           │ June 20│   Discharged,        June 28
 Jim          │J. H. Ancrum      │      22│     do.                   25
 Sandy        │H. P. Holmes      │      25│     do.                   26
 Lemon        │— Houston         │      23│     do.                   25
 Rob. Nesbitt │A free man        │  July 3│     do.               July 5
 Patrick      │Mrs. Datea        │       4│     do.                    6
 Thomas       │S. Magwood        │       5│     do.                    8
 Charles      │F. G. Deliesseline│       8│     do.                   10
 William      │— Adger           │      10│     do.                   20
 Smart        │Mrs. Ward         │  do.   │     do.                   27
 Mungo        │Wm. Lowndes       │      11│     do.                   20
 Thomas       │A. Lord           │  do.   │     do.                   13
 Bob          │— Hibben          │      13│     do.                   27
 Albert       │Thos. Ingles      │      15│     do.                   17
 Jim          │— Happoldt        │  do.   │     do.                   29
 John         │— Gates           │  do.   │     do.                    〃
 Charles      │— Hasell          │  do.   │     do.                    〃
 James        │— Dowling         │      17│     do.                    〃
 Prince       │       do.        │  do.   │     do.                    〃
 Billy        │— Fordham         │      20│     do.                   25
 Ben          │— Cammer          │      22│     do.                   27
 William      │— Cromwell        │  do.   │     do.                    〃
 Stephen      │— Harper          │      26│     do.                    〃
 Louis        │John Gell         │ July 18│     do.              July 20
 Pompey       │John Bryan        │ Aug.  5│     do.             August 5


 Number of Prisoners executed                                         35
 Number of Prisoners respited until the 25th October, 1822, with a
   view to the commutation of their punishment                        12
 Number of Prisoners sentenced to be transported by their owners
   under direction of the City Council                                21
 Number of Prisoners sentenced to be transported beyond the limits
   of the State                                                        1
 Number of Prisoners acquitted, propriety of transportation
   suggested to their owners, and those whose masters have agreed to
   transport without trial                                             9
 Number of Prisoners acquitted and discharged by the Court            27
 Number of Prisoners acquitted and discharged by Committee of
   Vigilance                                                          25
                        Whole number arrested                        131

 _Respectfully submitted by_
        FRED. WESNER, THO. D. CONDY, THO. NAPIER, SAMUEL      _Com. of
        BURGER, EDWARD P. SIMONS,                             Vigilance_


  _9th July, 1822._—_JACK, a slave, belonging to Paul Pritchard,
    commonly called GULLAH JACK, and sometimes COUTER JACK, was brought
    up, and, sentence pronounced by_ L. H. KENNEDY, _Presiding

JACK PRITCHARD—The Court, after deliberately considering all the
circumstances of your case, are perfectly satisfied of your guilt. In
the prosecution of your wicked designs, you were not satisfied with
resorting to natural and ordinary means, but endeavored to enlist on
your behalf, all the powers of darkness, and employed for that purpose,
the most disgusting mummery and superstition. You represented yourself
as invulnerable; that you could neither be taken nor destroyed, and that
all who fought under your banners would be invincible. While such
wretched expedients are calculated to _inspire_ the confidence, or to
alarm the fears of the ignorant and credulous, they excite no other
emotion in the mind of the intelligent and enlightened, but contempt and
disgust. Your boasted Charms have not preserved yourself, and of course
could not protect others. “Your Altars and your Gods have sunk together
in the dust.” The airy spectres, conjured by you, have been chased away
by the superior light of Truth, and you stand exposed, the miserable and
deluded victim of offended Justice. Your days are literally numbered.
You will shortly be consigned to the cold and silent grave, and all the
Powers of Darkness cannot rescue you from your approaching Fate! Let me
then, conjure you to devote the remnant of your miserable existence in
fleeing from the “_wrath to come_.” This can only be done by a full
disclosure of the truth. The Court are willing to afford you all the aid
in their power, and to permit any Minister of the Gospel, whom you may
select to have free access to you. To him you may unburthen your guilty
conscience. Neglect not the opportunity, for there is “no device nor art
beyond the tomb,” to which you must shortly be consigned.


The Court, on mature deliberation, have pronounced you guilty; the
punishment of that guilt is DEATH. Your conduct, on the present
occasion, exhibits a degree of depravity and extravagance, rarely
paralleled. Your professed objects were to trample, not only on the laws
of this state, but on those of humanity; to commit murder, outrage and
plunder, and to substitute for the blessings we enjoy, anarchy and
confusion in their most odious forms.—The beauties of nature and of art,
would have fallen victims to your relentless fury; and even the
decrepitude of age and the innocence of childhood would have found no
other refuge than the grave!

Surely, nothing but infatuation could have prompted you to enter into a
plot so wild and diabolical. A moment’s reflection would have convinced
you, that disgrace and ruin must have been its consequence, and that it
would have probably resulted in the destruction and extermination of
_your race_. But if, even complete success had crowned your efforts,
what were the golden visions which you anticipated? Such men as you,
are, in general, as ignorant as you are vicious, without any settled
principles, and possessing but few of the virtues of civilized life;—you
would soon, therefore, have degenerated into a horde of barbarians,
incapable of any government. But, admitting that a different result
might have taken place, it is natural to inquire, what are the miseries
of which you complain? That we should all earn our bread by the sweat of
our brow, is the decree which God pronounced at the fall of man. It
extended alike to the master and the slave; to the cottage and the
throne. Every one is more or less subject to control; and the most
exalted, as well as the humblest individual, must bow with deference to
the laws of that community, in which he is placed by Providence. Your
situation, therefore, was neither extraordinary nor unnatural. Servitude
has existed under various forms, from the Deluge to the present time,
and in no age or country has the condition of slaves been milder or more
humane, than your own. You are, with few exceptions, treated with
kindness, and enjoy every comfort compatible with your situation. You
are exempt from many of the miseries, to which _the poor_ are subject
throughout the world. In many countries the life of the slave is at the
disposal of his master; here you have always been under the protection
of the law.

The tribunal which now imposes this sentence, through its humble organ,
affords a strong exemplification of the truth of these remarks. In the
discharge of the painful duties which have devolved on them, the members
of this Court have been as anxious to acquit the innocent as determined
to condemn the guilty.

In addition to the crime of treason, you have on the present occasion,
displayed the vilest ingratitude. It is a melancholy truth that those
servants in whom was reposed the most unlimited confidence, have been
the principal actors in this wicked scheme. Reared by the hand of
kindness, and fostered by a master who assumed many of the duties of a
parent, you have realized the fable of the Frozen Serpent, and attempted
to destroy the bosom that sheltered and protected you.

You have, moreover, committed the grossest impiety: you have perverted
the sacred words of God, and attempted to torture them into a sanction
for crimes, at the bare imagination of which, humanity shudders. Are you
incapable of the Heavenly influence of that Gospel, all whose “paths are
Peace?” It was to reconcile us to our destiny on earth, and to enable us
to discharge with fidelity all our duties, whether as master or servant,
that those inspired precepts were imparted by Heaven to fallen man.
There is no condition of life which is not embraced by them: and if you
had searched them, _in the spirit of truth_, you would have discovered
instructions peculiarly applicable to yourselves—“_Servants_ (says St.
Paul) _be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the
flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto
Christ: not with eye-service as men pleasers, but as the servants of
Christ, doing the will of God from the heart._” Had you listened with
sincerity to such doctrines, you would not have been arrested by an
ignominious death.

Your days on earth are near their close and you now stand upon the
confines of eternity. While you linger on this side of the grave, permit
me to exhort you, in the name of the ever-living God, whose holy
ordinances you have violated, to devote most earnestly the remnant of
your days, in penitence and preparation for that Tribunal, whose
sentence, whether pronounced in anger or in mercy, is eternal.

_The above Sentences is selected out of the many passed on this
occasion, with a view, to give the reader a general idea of them._


Since these sheets have been put to press, it affords him, who has been
engaged in their preparation, much gratification to be able to correct
one mistake, as it places the fidelity of the slave who first gave the
intelligence of the intended insurrection, on much higher ground. On
conferring with his master and the free man of colour, whose advice he
sought, it appears that the slave in question communicated the
conversation at the Market to his young master, before he consulted his
friend, (the free man of colour,) and that the advice of the latter was
that as “his young master was a youth, that it would be best for him
_immediately, without delay_, to tell his mistress, that his master
might receive the information the instant he came to town.” _Vide_ page

                  *       *       *       *       *


             _Price 25cts. each; discount by the hundred._


Footnote 1:

  It would be a libel on the liberality and gratitude of this community
  to suppose that this man can be _overlooked_ among those who are to be
  rewarded for their fidelity and principle.

Footnote 2:

  The purport of this letter will be seen by reference to the trial of
  Abraham Poyas.

Footnote 3:

  Most of the black religious communities in this place, are divided
  into classes, over which a Leader is placed, having the confidence of
  the Pastor of the Church.

Footnote 4:

  This witness gave the information under a pledge, that his name should
  not be divulged.

Footnote 5:

  The Republican Artillery under Capt. Patterson, was on duty on the
  night of the 16th, and were armed with muskets, and stationed in the
  Arsenal Yard.

Footnote 6:

  The following Note appears on the Journals of the Court, in relation
  to the trial of Rolla—“Five witnesses were introduced and examined in
  behalf of Rolla, but so far from impeaching the credibility of the
  witnesses against him they rather supported it.”

Footnote 7:

  After the execution of Peter, his guilt, in the most flagrant degree
  became most abundantly established; affording, in every particular,
  the strongest corroboration of the testimony by which he had been
  convicted. It was apparent that he was the most efficient of all the
  ringleaders, and one who possessed the largest share of the confidence
  of Denmark Vesey, who was, in every sense of the term, the father of
  the plot. Peter was a slave of great value, and for his colour, a
  first rate ship-carpenter. He had the confidence of his master in a
  remarkable degree, and had been treated with indulgence, liberality
  and kindness.

Footnote 8:

  As Denmark Vesey has occupied so large a place in the conspiracy, a
  brief notice of him will, perhaps, be not devoid of interest. The
  following anecdote will show how near he was to the chance of being
  distinguished in the bloody events of San Domingo. During the
  revolutionary war, Captain Vesey, now an old resident of this city,
  commanded a ship that traded between St. Thomas’ and Cape Francais
  (San Domingo.) He was engaged in supplying the French of that Island
  with Slaves. In the year 1781, he took on board at St. Thomas’ 390
  slaves and sailed for the Cape; on the passage, he and his officers
  were struck with the beauty, alertness and intelligence of a boy about
  14 years of age, whom they made a pet of, by taking him into the
  cabin, changing his apparel, and calling him by way of distinction
  _Telemaque_, (which appellation has since, by gradual corruption,
  among the negroes, been changed to _Denmark_, or sometimes _Telmak_.)
  On the arrival, however, of the ship at the Cape, Captain Vesey,
  having no use for the boy, sold him among his other slaves, and
  returned to St. Thomas’. On his next voyage to the Cape, he was
  surprised to learn from his consignee that Telemaque would be returned
  on his hands, as the planter, who had purchased him, represented him
  unsound, and subject to epileptic fits. According to the custom of
  trade in that place, the boy was placed in the hands of the king’s
  physician, who decided that he was unsound, and Captain Vesey was
  compelled to take him back, of which he had no occasion to repent, as
  Denmark proved, for 20 years, a most faithful slave. In 1800, Denmark
  drew a prize of $1500 in the East-Bay-Street Lottery, with which he
  purchased his freedom from his master, at six hundred dollars, much
  less than his real value. From that period to the day of his
  apprehension he has been working as a carpenter in this city,
  distinguished for great strength and activity. Among his colour he was
  always looked up to with awe and respect. His temper was impetuous and
  domineering in the extreme, qualifying him for the despotic rule, of
  which he was ambitious. All his passions were ungovernable and savage;
  and, to his numerous wives and children, he displayed the haughty and
  capricious cruelty of an Eastern Bashaw. He had nearly effected his
  escape, after information had been lodged against him. For three days
  the town was searched for him without success. As early as Monday, the
  17th, he had concealed himself. It was not until the night of the 22d
  of June, during a perfect tempest, that he was found secreted in the
  house of one of his wives. It is to the uncommon efforts and vigilance
  of Mr. Wesner, and Capt. Dove, of the City Guard, (the latter of whom
  seized him) that public justice received its necessary tribute, in the
  execution of this man. If the party had been one moment later, he
  would, in all probability, have effected his escape the next day in
  some outward bound vessel.

Footnote 9:

  _Monday Gell_ is very well known in this city. He is a most excellent
  harness-maker, and kept his shop in Meeting-Street. It would be
  difficult to name any individual more actively engaged in the plot
  than himself, or more able to aid Denmark Vesey, from his uncommon
  sagacity and knowledge. He reads and writes with great and equal
  facility, and obviously seems to have been the individual who held the
  pen, at all the meetings. At which he wrote more than _one_ letter to
  San Domingo, for succors. His own situation afforded no excuse for the
  effort in which he was engaged, as he enjoyed all the substantial
  comforts of a free man; much indulged and trusted by his master, his
  time and a large proportion of the profits of his labour were at his
  own disposal. He even kept his master’s _arms_ and sometimes his
  money. Monday is an _Ebo_, and is now in the prime of life, having
  been in the country 15 or 20 years.

Footnote 10:

  At the meeting of the Court on the morning of the 13th, Mr. James
  Legare, from feeble health and great exhaustion during its previous
  sittings, asked, and obtained leave, to withdraw, whereupon Mr. Henry
  Deas, was summoned by the Magistrates, who took his seat and served
  until the adjournment of the Court.

Footnote 11:

  This farm was under the charge of a slave named _Billy_, who became a
  witness for the state and gave some important details of the meetings
  of the _Gullahs_. Several of whom were executed on the 26th.

Footnote 12:

  This Confession of Purcell’s will show, that the evil foretold, from
  the discussion of the _Missouri Question_, has been, in some degree,

Footnote 13:

  See Enslow’s Confession, Appendix (M.)

Footnote 14:

  An appellation, the seceders assumed after their leaving the white
  Methodist Church.

Footnote 15:

  Against this witness, the Court had not a tittle of testimony; he
  consented without hesitation to become a witness, and to give all the
  information he possessed; a pledge having been previously given him by
  the Court, that he should not be prosecuted, nor his name revealed.

Footnote 16:

  _Perault unhesitatingly stated to Monday’s face, that he had written
  two letters, to St. Domingo, and that he (Perault) had gone to
  Vanderhorsts wharf with him, in April or May last, to give them in
  charge of a black cook on board of a schooner bound to that island.
  After Monday was so charged, he confessed that the fact was so, and
  that he had been induced to conceal it under an apprehension that if
  it were known he had been guilty of such an act all chance of mercy
  would be denied him._


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
 3. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together
      at the end of the last chapter.
 4. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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