This week in 1741

September 5th, 2013 by admin

“In the presence of God, the possessor of heaven and earth, I lift up my hands and solemnly protest I am innocent of what is laid to my charge. I appeal to the great God for my non- knowledge of Hughson, his wife, or the creature that was hanged with them [Peggy Carey, a prostitute]. I never saw them, living, dying, or dead; nor ever had I any knowledge or confederacy with white or black, as to any plot; . . . and I protest that the witnesses were perjured; I never knew them but at my trial.”

— Rev. John Urie, convicted of conspiracy, hanging, colonial New York.
Executed August 29, 1741

Urie was a clergyman and a schoolteacher who was accused of having incited a group of slaves into arson and robbery. The Hughson he references was a tavern owner who was also convicted of inciting arson. Hughson and Urie were both hanged when New York was gripped by a wave of paranoia that its slaves were seconds away from overthrowing their masters. The colony ended up hanging eighteen slaves and burning eleven who were implicated in the conspiracy, as well as hanging four white people: Urie, Hughson and his wife, and a prostitute who frequented Urie’s bar. The order to
execute the slaves read in part, “You have grown wanton with excess of liberty and your idleness has proved your ruin.”

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