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New-Jersey Committee of Safety, January 12


Friday, January 12, 1776.

The Committee met.

Whereas, a certain Richard Symonds, a Midshipman, belonging to one of the King' s ships-of-war, was, in September last, taken on board a small tender at Barnegat, since which he hath remained a prisoner in the County of Monmouth:

Ordered, That Richard Symonds be removed to Trenton, and there be admitted to remain a prisoner of war on his parole of honour, on the same terms granted to those officers who are already prisoners at that place.

Robert Ellison, Esq˙, of the County of Sussex, was brought before this Committee, by order of the Committee of the County of Sussex, on a charge of many misdemeanors committed against the liberties of America, and among others of entering into an Association, resolving not to pay the tax ordered to be levied by the Congress of this Province, and not to purchase any goods which might be distrained from persons for their taxes, or for non-attendance at musters. Mr˙ Ellison being informed of said charge, confessed the same to be true, and that he was influenced thereto by Justice Nathaniel Pettit; but that after signing the said Association, he had erased his name therefrom; that he had nothing to offer in his justification, but his ignorance of the consequence of his proceedings, and his precipitately engaging therein without consideration, and manifested a deep contrition for his offences. He acknowledged he had signed the Association recommended by the Provincial Congress, before signing the Association mentioned above. That after signing the General Association, and before his signing that now charged against him, he had been apprehended in Pennsylvania for practices unfriendly to the liberties of America, where he then made a full recantation, and asked pardon of the publick, promising reformation.

Nathaniel Pettit, Esq˙, of the County of Sussex, also appeared before this Committee, by order of the Committee of said County, being charged with signing and promoting said Association, mentioned in Robert Ellison' s charge; which the said Mr˙ Pettit confessed, only alleging in his justification, that he had no intention thereby of using any violent measures in opposing the proceedings of the Congress; and, being fully heard in his own justification, by order, withdrew.


The above charges against Mr˙ Ellison and Mr˙ Pettit, were reserved to the consideration of the Committee in the afternoon.

Adjourned till two o' clock, P˙ M.

The Committee met.

The Committee resumed the consideration of the matters alleged against Robert Ellison and Nathaniel Pettit, Esq˙, and the facts charged against them, appearing by their own confessions, to be true, and the offences of both being nearly equal,

Resolved, That the said Robert Ellison and Nathaniel Pettit be returned to the County of Sussex, under the custody of Colonel Ephraim Martin, and that they be both disarmed, and pay to the Committee of the aforesaid County, or their Chairman, the sum of eight pounds each towards defray ing the expenses of apprehending and bringing them before the Committee. And, also, that they severally give security to the said Committee or their Chairman in the sum of fifty pounds each, for their future good behaviour, and, thereupon, be discharged from further detention. And, as during the present process, the said Ellison and Pettit have not only appeared unfriendly to the liberties of this country, but from their conduct have appeared unworthy of the offices of Magistracy which they now sustain; this Committee, therefore, think it advisable for the said delinquents to desist from the further execution of their respective offices, until, by their future good behaviour, they may appear more worthy to execute the same, and shall be called thereto by the Congress or Committee of Safety of this Province. And that the Committee of the County of Sussex be assured of this Committee' s hearty approbation of their timely and spirited exertions in apprehending the above persons.