THE CAPTURING OF GABRIEL PROSSER ON BOARD THE SHIP MARY
Norfolk Sept. 26 1800
The bearer here Obadiah Gunn and Robert Wilian brings with them Negro Gabriel taken from on board the three mated schooner Mary ? Taylor master belonging to Richmond, Mr. Hooper in part owner of the schooner from who the character of Taylor ma be known; It appears that he left Richmond on Saturday night week, a run an ground on the bar in wands reach a mile below Richmond, on Sunday morning Gabriel hailed the schooner and was brought on board by of the negroes belonging to her, he was armed with a bayonet fixed on a stick which he threw into the river; Capt Taylor says he was unaware and in his cabin when Gabriel was brought on board, negro Billy, says he was asleep and when he awaked and found him on board he questioned him conceiving him to be Gabriel that he said he was called Gabriel but his name was Daniel; Isham and Billy two negro hands informed me, they told the Capt Taylor it was their opinion he was the person the reward was offered for. Capt. Taylor says that he came on board as a freeman, that he asked him for his papers but he did not show any, saying he had left them; Capt. Taylor is an old inhabitant been an overseer and must have known that neither or slave could travel in this country without papers and he certainly must have had many opportunities of securing Gabriel, in eleven days, even if he had suspected his hand would not afforest him but they declared a willingness to me, to have done it, in hopes of obtaining a reward; he passed orbornes hundred, City point and I suppose many vessel, where he could have obtained some to have secured him.
His conduct after his arrival here is also blamable; he was boarded by a Capt. Intiman between this place to whom he never mentioned a circumstance of Gabriel, whom he could then have secured, after he came up to town, he went along side a ship with 25 men on board, at ten o clock, he still never mentioned the matter, one of his men negro Billy, was sent on shore and he sent no information, he wrote to Capt. Ashley, but gave him none also, Billy being acquainted with a young man by name of Norris, a blacksmith told him when he was on shore, of his suspicion that Gabriel was on board, a Mr. Woodman happened to be in the shore when Norris told him of the circumstance, h immediately took such steps which was about two o’clock that obo. Gunn and Robert Wilson two constables, proceeded on board the Schooner Mary took him, he was at liberty on board and might have made his escape, Taylor says he had just begun to write a letter to Capt. Turner of this place, to know what he was to do with him, the part he wrote is inclined and I confess I think Mr. Taylor knew much better than he acted, what to do in such a case, having long had the management of negroes. He forward the constables from taking him after thed had done it claiming him as his prisoner, when he never should the least disposition before of confining him; on his getting on board the ship and I confess I think Mr. Taylor knew much better than he acted, what to do in such a case, having long had the management of negroes. He forward the constables from taking him after thed had done it claiming him as his prisoner, when he never should the least disposition before of confining him; on his getting on board the ship where he lay having an opportunity of securing him, but never did it.
But many opportunities must have offered on his way, if he intended to have taken him, his conduct appears extradinary to me and I think disserved punishment, instead of a reward, I have bound him over to appear before the Mayor of Richmond which recognizance I enclose, to answer for his conduct and I hope Mr. Hooper and those who are a acquainted with him may give him a character that will wipe off in some measure the opinion that is entertained of him here. I conceive that some reward should be given to negro Billy who showed? disposition to take him by informing of him and I believe was the means of him being secured; the constable I hope will get the reward, may have been very active and constantly looking out for him. Taylor told me that he had emancipated his negro Isam, but Isham he told me that he had never given him any papers but promised him to do it, when he was a Methodist, but as he was now turned again he was afraid he would not give him his freedom—both Billy and Isham say they saw the negroes hung before they left Richmond Mr. Taylor must have known that circumstance and undoubtedly have heard of Gabriel before he left it. David Flower I am told probably is well acquainted with Taylor, as he at thick neck with Mr. Harrison, I hope for the value of his family, he may be able to clear himself of the opinion entertained of him here. Gabriel says he will give your Excellency full information, he will confess to no one else. He say a negro Gilbert belong to a Billy Young, now with his master at the spring was a chief in the conspiration. Billy one of Taylor man has a wife at a Mr. Harris on thochoe hill she may probably know whether Gabriel had concerted any measure, to get on board this vessel with the hands—Billy belongs to Miles King of Hampton and had been confined in Richmond on suspicion, his brother Nis is in goal at Hampton now, on suspicion, from same minds I have heard he had dropped approving of the measure. The arms have not yet arrived; and militia is very badly armed.
The River which ? here, among strangers mostly, deceases and I believe the town as to the settled inhabitants, is as healthy as common at this season. Gabriel will vet off this day under a guard, in a vessel and probably will read Osborn’s by Friday and Saturday, have your Excellency think proper, a guard may be send down the river and take him from Orborn by land, but they will proceed by water as fast as possible and I believe there will be no danger of a recue—I am with the greatest respect
Your Excellency humbly obt, servant
At the count of Ayer and Terminer held for the city of Richmond at the Courthouse on Thursday the twenty fifth day of September 1800 for the trial of King a negro man slave the property of Philip Norborne Nicholas of the said city, charged with conspiracy and insurrection.
Present James Clung……………………………………………………….Gent.
Mayor George Nicolson…………………………………………………….Gent.
Recorder John Barres, William Richardson, John Foster and James Heron….Gent.
The prisoner was sent to the bar in custody and being arraigned of the premise is said he was in no way thereof guilty, and on his trial put himself upon the court, whereupon sunday witness were sworn charged and examined and the prisoner by James Rind Gent: counsel assigned him by his said master heard in his defense on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court that the said slave King is guilty of the charge aforesaid and for the same that he be hanged by the neck until he be dead. And it is commanded the sergeant that he cause execution of this sentence to be done and performed on the said King on Friday the same day of October at the usual time and place of execution.
The court valued the said slave to Eighty pounds Minutes signed James McClung Mayor Gent. Nielson Recorder John Barres William Richardson John Foster John Heron
At the end of the document Commonwealth King No Testimony Charged with conspiracy and Insurrection and sentenced to Be hung Oct 3 rd 1800 1800 Sept 9 th signed Governor Monroe
Governor’s Office, Letters Received, James Monroe, Record Group 3, Library of virginia