Petition of William Pemberton - 1777

To the Honorable the Council of Safety of the State of New York. The Humble Petition [of] William Pemmerton of the City of Albany and now a Prisoner in Goal in Kingston.

Gentlemen: Whereas your Petitioner some time in the beginning of the year 1776 was apprehended by order of the Committee of Albany on suspicion of being Inimical and unfriendly to the cause of America. In consequence of that Charge I was sent by their order in the Government of Connecticut and pursuant to a Resolve of said Government was ordered to abide in a place in said Government called Preston, being there a great while. Longing to see my wife and family applied for leave to government to come home and obtain it upon my parole, being in Albany one night in my own house was ordered into confinement, next day and some time ago was sent from Albany here in Kingston a Prisoner.

I have heretofore made application to the Honorable Board for leave to be heard and also as I imagined that I would have my trial and hear or be informed of the accusation against me before the Honorable Convention but hitherto have not been able to learn, but being hear a Prisoner in Kingston having had an opportunity to Discourse with some men and I think it proper and my Duty once more to approach the Honorable Council of Safety with my petition hoping it may meet their acceptation and obtain my personal Liberty on the following terms.

I am willing to be subject to the State of New York, and the Government thereof, I am a sincere friend and well wisher will be pleased to accept of all my evidence that I can give to satisfy the Honorable Council and my Country, I offer in the following manner to take an Oath, that I do and have renounced King George the third of Great Britain and his successors for ever, and will renounce refuse and abjure any allegiance or obedience to the King of Great Britain and his successors forever, and I am willing to swear that I will Bear faith and true allegiance to the State of New York, and the State will Defend to the utmost of my power and ability against the enemies thereof and also against all persons concerned in plots traitorous Conspiracies and attempts whatsoever against the State of New York and its safety and also to discover all treason's traitorous Conspiracies and all kinds of Correspondence that may come to my knowledge against the State, and to the utmost of my power and abilities, support maintain and defend the Government and the State of New York against, all its enemies both external and internal.

I am willing to answer truly to any questions the Council will be please to put to me respecting the State of New York or its enemies. May it please the Honorable Council of Safety your humble Petitioner begs leave to inform the Council that if the Honorable Council should think proper to Discharge him from Confinement he would not go to Albany again, he would stay and live here in Esopus or in the County where he can get a place until there troubles are over and your humble Petitioner further informs the Honorable Council of Safety that he is willing to give one thousand pound security for his faithful behavior. May it please the Honorable Council your Petition hopes you will not now detain your poor unhappy suffering petitioner any longer, pray suffer your petitioner to enjoy that protection of the State as a subject thereof is entitled to, I have been confined a great while and tried to live so.

If the Honorable Council should not think it expedient to Grant your petitioner a Discharge from confinement your petitioner beseeches the Honorable Council to grant your petitioner the Liberty of the Town of Kingston. Your humble petitioner prays the Honorable Council if it can consistently be done that your poor suffering petition[er] may be soon enlarged or discharged from his present imprisonment your poor Petitioner should be exceeding glad could it be done this day, and your humble Petitioner shall ever pray.


Petition undated but probably 1777. Printed in Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, 2:234-35. Paragraphing and some spelling and punctuation supplied. From "New York Colonial Documents: Petitions," 23:450.

Transformed by JP

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first posted: 6/20/02