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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0003-0002-0008

Author: Burbank, Silas
Date: 1773-06-28

Deposition of Silas Burbank1

28 June 1773

I Silas Burbanks of lawful age testify and say, that in the spring of the Year 1766, a few days before the riot at Mr. Richard Kings dwelling house, I was at the house of Mr. John Stewart, and he was talking to me about said King; he asked me if he was not a bad man, and had not done as much hurt to the people here, as Bute had done to the people at home; and afterwards, the day before the riot at Mr. Kings house, I was again at said Stewart's house, when he talked with me about King, and told me he was a bad man; had done a great deal of hurt, had treated him very unrighteously; and that he had killed his Mare; that they were going to give him a rally; and the Mischief Mr. Stewart proposed should be done to Mr. King was, either to destroy him, or destroy his papers, or whip him, but I am not certain which of them, but am certain it was one of them: Stewart said it was a good thing, and would do King good, and make him a better man; he also encouraged me to go, told me I had better, and used arguments to persuade me to go. I then asked him if he was a going, but am not certain, whether he said he should go or not, but I very well remember he said, if he did not go, his sons should—He said it was the best thing that could be done, and urged me by all means to go; he also told me that King was a favourer of the Stamp Act. I have seen Stewart several times since the Riot, and when we were conversing about it, he always desired me to keep it a secret, and once told me, he would spend his life and fortune before anybody should be hurt by it.
I further testify and say, that the day before the Riot at Mr. King's house, I was talking with Amos Andrews near his house, when An• { 122 } drews asked me, if I had heard what they were going to do. I asked him what? He answered we are going to pay King a visit and take him down; don't you intend to go? You have a dispute with him, and you see how he<uses>trys to cheat you, and may judge by that, how he uses every body and dont you intend to show some resentment? He is a bad man, and will ruin us all, if he goes on at this rate; if something or other is not done with him, if he is not humbled, it is not worth while for any of us to live here; and he is hard hearted to the widow and orphan. I asked him who was going? He answered he was going, and all their people up their road; that every body almost was going; and that Stewart's family was going. I asked him if he should certainly go; he said he should certainly go, and gave me his word and promise over and over again, that he would go, for he said it must be done. I asked him what he proposed to do to King if he went. He answered, we propose to take him out and cut his ears off. I told him, that would not do, for it was monstrous; he then said we will take him out and whip him; He also talked with me about the Stamp Act, and said that King was a favourer of it, and had the Stamp papers in his house; and that it was probable if that Act took place, he would be Stamp Master for Scarborough. This argument, with a vast many others, he used to persuade me to join them, and be one of them, for says he, we have already agreed upon it. He also urged me very much to go with them; said it was the best thing that could be done and it was no Sin. After the riot, he told me he was very sorry he was not there, for he was prevented by a bad belly ach, but was a well wisher to it, and would be as faithful as if he had been there; and always since the Riot, he has been very urgent with me to keep the affair secret. I further say, the Evening Mr. King's farm house was cut down which was some time after the riot at Kings dwelling house when some persons were hanging up a dead colt before it, it was proposed to cut the house down, whilst Andrews was present, when somebody asked him if he would lend his axes; he said his axes were dull, but they might have them, and they lay on the hill before his door. I was also at Andrews's a day or two after the farm house was cut down, and asked him if he heard them, he said yes; I asked him if he was up, no replied he, I and my wife went to bed, and I will tell you something comical; we had a Molatto, who was a bed upstairs, and when they were cutting the house down, the Noise waked him, and he called to me to know what the noise was. What noise says I. A great noise, answers he, don't you hear it. O says I, a parcel of people are cutting down Brother Elijah Sellea's house. What, says he, that poor lame { 123 } man's house, I will get up and help him. No don't stir for your life says I, they will come and cut down our house, I expect, so don't stir for your life, for you will be killed.
I further testify and say, that the evening before said riot at Mr. Kings house, I was at Jonathan Andrews's shop. He asked me if I had heard what they were going to do with King. I asked him what? He said they were going to have a frolic with him, that it was a very good thing for King was a bad man, and he mentioned several bad things, that he said King had done; that it was absolutely necessary something should be done with him, he was grown so arbitrary and bad. He objected against hurting Mr. King's Interest, but proposed their taking him out and whipping him; and he encouraged the thing very much. I asked him if he was going: he said he did not know, but he believed his son would. Since the riot, he has been very urgent with me to keep the affair secret. I further testify and say, that Joseph Stewart, Timothy Stewart, Samuel Stewart, and Jonathan Andrews junr. were present aiding and assisting at the riot at Mr. Kings dwelling house.
[signed] Silas Burbanks
[Verification omitted.]
The Deponent adds, It was in the night when I saw the person whom I supposed to be Amos Andrews, but I cannot say it was he otherwise then as I judged it to be him from the voice and appearance of the person and his Dress.
[signed] Att. Sam Winthrop Cler.2
Sullivan expressly allows that the Witnesses swear that Amos Andrews encouraged them to mob King, which includes every supposable species of Trespass.3
1. 28 June 1773, SF 139645. Signed by the deponent.
2. The preceding paragraph was added in court at the trial.
3. This was apparently a stipulation between counsel designed to avoid a time-consuming semantic battle. It appears in an unidentified hand on a separate scrap of paper which was apparently at one time attached to the deposition. SF 139645.

Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0003-0002-0009

Author: Newbegin, John
Date: 1773-01-19
Date: 1774-07-09

Deposition of John Newbegin1

19 January 1773

I John Newbegin of Lawful Age testify and say that the Evening of the 18th Day of March 1766 Silas Burbanks spake to me and told me a number of People were to meet at his House next Evening and { 124 } were going to take a walk, that he had wanted to see me a good while and ask'd me if I would come. I promised I would and accordingly I did; Timothy Stuart, Samuel Stuart, Jonathan Andrews Jnr. with several others met there the Evening of the 19th of said Month and the said Silas was present, it was then proposed by some of the Company to go down to Mr. Richard Kings to punish his Body (because they said he had been a bad Man, destroy'd the poor and taken away Peoples Estates) which was agreed to by the above named Persons and about nine oClock, (I judge it was) they set out I went with them as far as the Road against his House but did not go out of the Road. The Reason I did not was because I found by their talk they were going to carry Matters further than I expected, but the said Silas Burbank, and Timothy Stuart, Samuel Stuart Jonathan Andrews Jur. with others go into the House and Shop as they told me afterwards and were all active in breaking open the House and Shop and doing the Mischief that was done, we all return'd to said Burbanks and staid there an Hour or more; there I saw several of the said Richard Kings Notes of Hand which the said Silas either read or delivered to some of the Company to read and then they were thrown into the Fire and burnt up, one by one as they were read. Among others I remember a Note against Nathl. Milliken two or three Notes against some of the Stuarts either the Father or Sons or both all payable to said Richard, and there were among other Papers said Burbanks and some of the others shewed which were brought from Mr. Kings—Burbanks said they broke open Mr. Kings Desk to get his Papers and some or other of the Company mentioned destroying the Pewter and hacking the Walls of the House. The breaking the Windows I heard; they made a very great Noise breaking in and doing the mischief, but said but little. Further I say that we waited some time before we went to Mr. Kings for John Stuart the Father of the above named Stuarts, Amos Andrews and Jonathan Andrews, some of the Company saying they had promissed to come, and Amos Andrews afterwards told me he designed to, and should, have been there but he was not well. I have heard the said John Stuart, Amos Andrews, and Jonathan Andrews often say since that they were very glad the Thing was done, and let what would come they would bear their part of the Cost that might arise, and from frequent conversation with them, I <understood> clearly perceived they were knowing and advising to the said Riot before it was committed. And I know they three did contribute Money to get Burbanks out of Gaol at York where he was comitted for an Offence in rescuing some Oxen from Benja. Hooper an Officer, and the Reason they paid { 125 } for him was for fear he should turn Kings Evidence2 if he could not get out any other Way. The said John Stuart, Amos Andrews and Jonathan Andrews always appeared as much concern'd about being discover'd as the others.
[signed] John Newbegin
[Verification omitted.]
And the said Newbegin being asked if he saw Amos Andrews pay any money to get Burbank out of Gaol, answers that he did not, but that he went to Amos Andrews and asked him to pay it, and said Amos say'd he had not the money then but he would get it and pay it shortly.—and some time afterwards said Andrews told him he had paid it.
[signed] Att. Sam Winthrop Cler.
1. 19 Jan. 1773, SF 139645. Signed by the deponent. Note that this deposition and the one that follows were also “Sworn in Court” at the action of review in July 1774, indicating that the deponent took the stand and reaffirmed the substance of his testimony.
2. Presumably this refers to the Crown and not to the plaintiff.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/