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Examination of William Newton


William Newton being examined, declares, that he stood his draught at New York, and that he had found a man in his stead, and accordingly produced a certificate from Captain Steel, in Colonel Remsen' s beat, in New York, certifying the same; and further declares, that on account of the difficult times in New York he left the city, with his family, about three weeks ago; that he had, since he came here, expressed his desire of getting off, to keep out of the way; that a person (whom he did not know) told him there would be an opportunity in two or three days; that, accordingly, an opportunity offered, and he and five others (whose names he did not know) embarked, but would not confess where they were bound for; that they landed at the beach between ten and eleven o' clock last night, and went to the house of Mr˙ Van Brockel, between one and two o' clock; that he knew not who put the sheep and ducks on board. Being asked whether the prisoners in the house were with him, he thought it was not a question which he was bound to answer, but intimated they were; and at his withdrawing, desired it might not be discovered that he had intimated it.

Mr˙ Van Brockel, who lives on the beach at Rockaway, declares, that very late last night two men came and knocked at his door, and after he had let them in, they told him there were four more out of doors, and he asked them why they kept out in the rain. Declares that after they had been at his house between two and three hours our men came on them; that he does not know where they came from, nor where they were going; that he knew none of them but Pearson Langdon.

Pearson Langdon examined, at first said he did not know where the boat was taken from, nor where it was; but afterwards confessed it belonged to one Isaac Denton; that they came out of Mott' s Creek; that there were six in the boat; that he meant only to keep out of the way while they were draughting men, and did not intend to go further than the beach where he was taken; he does not know who put the sheep and ducks aboard. Being asked if the prisoners then in the house were in the boat, he said they were, and that the person who made his escape from the Troop was one Jonathan Smith.

Abraham Probasket being examined, declares, that yesterday afternoon he went with Mr˙ Van Brockel from Jamaica to the beach at the house of Van Brockel; that late at night some men came and knocked at the door, and were let in; that he knew none of them but Peter Mills; that this morning, when the Troop came up, he counted the men that were in the house — that there were six.

James Dickerson being examined, saith, that he belongs to Dutchess County, in Phillips' s Patent, a trader there; that last winter he came to New York to settle some accounts with the merchants; that while he was in York the river froze up so that he could not return; that as he had relations at Oyster Bay, he came up and spent two or three months with them; that at his return into Dutchess County it was there reported he had been on board the man-of-war, and that there was a person who had been on board of the man-of-war, who would swear it; that he was threatened with being sent a prisoner to the fort at the Highlands, there to be obliged to roll gravel, and that they pushed their bayonets into his guts to make him do it; that he went to the person who it was said could swear to his being on board the man-of-war; that he carried him to the Committee, and he declared before the Committee on oath that it was a lie — that he had never said Mr˙ Dickerson had been on board of the man-of-war; that this summer, while he was in New York, a person told him of a person he had seen on Long Island who had been obliged to leave his home with a wife and eight children; that he inquired who the person was, and being told, he knew him, and determined to come over, find the man out, and carry him to the Committee of his County to make up the matter, so that the man might stay in peace with his family; that he has been on the Island ever since. Being asked where he was going in the boat, and whether he put the sheep and ducks on board, he said he knew nothing of the boat, and ducks and sheep that were aboard; and if we had anything to charge him about the boat, we


must prove it. Upon being told that he knew he did not speak the truth, for we could prove by the confession of one or two of the prisoners that he was one that was in the boat, he seemed struck with confusion. Being offered his bundle with clothes, if he would tell which bundle it was, he refused to own that he had any clothes; but after two or three hours, when he found it did not avail him anything, he then owned one of the bundles.

Peter Mills, of Jamaica, being examined, saith, that hearing that one-half of the Militia was to be draughted, he intended to stand his draught, and go himself if draughted, but that his mother would not let him, and persuaded him to keep out of the way; that the reason of his being on the beach was, that Mr˙ Lewis had a desire to see the beach, which he had not seen for a great many years; that he went with said Lewis; denied his going in the boat with the others, or that he knew anything of the sheep or ducks; said that he had no other clothes with him but what he had on his body; but he likewise afterwards owned one of the bundles.

Mr˙ Lewis being examined, saith, that he lives in Westchester; that he came over here after a legacy that was left him by his grandfather; that he met with Mills at his uncle Mott' s; that they two went alone to the beach; walked it afoot; first said it was about eleven at night, but being asked if he saw anything of the boat at the beach, he said yes, that he saw them when they first got to the beach in the evening. Being told how he had contradicted himself about the time of night he arrived at the beach, and that it did not avail his denying being aboard of the boat, for that we had positive proof he was, he said he heard we could prove it, confessed they were all equally concerned in the boat.

The above examinations taken at the Widow Fosster' s, at Rockaway, August 18, 1776, before the Captain of the Troop and the subscriber.