Welcome to Toms River Seaport Society’s (Mari)Time-Warp, taking our supporters back through the nautical history of the Barnegat Bay and Toms River watershed areas!
This time we reprint Continental rebel and British nationalist reports on and arguments over the Toms River blockhouse raid and later hanging of patriot leader Joshua Huddy through various American and British newspapers in 1782.
First, a primer on the blockhouse raid and Joshua Huddy, courtesy HistoryNet.
Dunlap and Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser
March 30th, 1782
TRENTON, March 27.
Extract of a letter from Monmouth, dated the 25th of this month.
"I am sorry to inform you our guard at Tom's river were cut off yesterday morning by about 100 refugees, under command of one Devenport. On the alarm captain Huddy repaired to the blockhouse, in which some of the inhabitants joined him, and others remained outside; the house was defended till the ammunition was expended, when it surrendered. Major Cook, who was out of the house, fell. Five others were killed, and two wounded. Captain Huddy, Daniel Randolph, esq; and several more, are carried off prisoners. Devenport was wounded, supposed since dead, and one negro was killed. The enemy then burn the village, except the houses of Aaron Buck, and Mrs. Studson, after which they went off immediately. The unfortunate inhabitants have not saved more than two houses could draw."
Dunlap and Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser
May 1st, 1782
TRENTON, April 24.
Extract of a letter from Freehold, Monmouth county, dated April 15, 1782.
"Last Saturday was brought to this place the corpse of captain Joshua Huddy, who was, about ten o'clock the day before, most barbarously and unwarrantable hanged, at Middletown-Point, by a party of refugees. This murder was attended with so much deliberate injustice and wanton cruelty, that the circumstances ought to be preserved and made public, not only to call upon the vengeance of his countrymen to expiate the manes [soul of the dead] of the sufferer, but as a shocking instance of the blackness of that guilt of which human nature is capable.
Captain Huddy was one of the bravest of men, a fit subject therefore of cowardly inhumanity. He has distinguished himself on a variety of occasions, one instance of which I cannot avoid mentioning: The summer before last, alone and unassisted, except by a woman, he defended his house against a party of near seventy refugees for several hours, and when it was in a manner riddled with musket balls, and in flames about him, he refused to submit until he obtained from the assailants safe and honourable terms...
Captain Huddy also commanded the troops at the block-house on Tom's river, when it was lately reduced; he defended it most gallantly against a vast superiority of numbers until his ammunition was expended, and no alternative was left. The refugees, like their task-masters the British, who employ them in every kind of infamous business, are always cruel in success and pitifully mean in adversity. After the little brave garrison was in their power, they deliberately murdered five of the soldiers asking for quarters.
From Tom's river, Captain Huddy, Justice Randolph and the remaining prisoners were taken to New-York, where suffering the various progressions of barbarity, usually exercised upon those who are destined to a violent or a lingering death, those two gentlemen, with a Mr. Fleming, were put into the hold of a vessel. Captain Huddy was ironed hand and foot. On Monday last a certain John Tilton, a refugee, came to him, and told him, "that he was ordered (by the board of refugees, we suppose) to be hanged."
Captain Huddy asked "what charge was alleged against him?" Tilton replied "that he had taken a certain Philip White, a refugee, six miles up in the country, cut off both his arms, broke both his legs, pulled out one of his eyes, and then damned him and bid him run." To this Huddy answered, "it is impossible that I could have taken Philip White, I being a prisoner closely confined in New-York at that time and for many days before he was made a prisoner."
Justice Randolph confirmed what Huddy had said, and assured Tilton that he could not possibly be charged with White's death; upon which Tilton told Mr. Randolph, that "he should be hanged next." This flimsy story, which must have been created by the murderous hearts of the refugees, to cloak their villany, was the only crime charged against captain Huddy, and was the common subject of their conversation.
From the sloop, captain Huddy, with his fellow prisoners, were put on board the guard ship at the Hook, and confined between decks till Friday morning the 12th instant, when some men, strangers to the prisoners, came below and told captain Huddy to "prepare to be hanged immediately." He again said, "he was not guilty of having killed White," and that "he should die an innocent man and in a good cause;" and, with the most uncommon fortitude and composure of mind, prepared for his end, and with the spirit of a true son of liberty, he waited the moment of his fate, which he met with a degree of firmness and serenity, which struck the coward hearts of his executioners with admiration. He even executed his will under the gallows, upon the head of that barrel from which he was immediately to make his exit, and in a hand writing fairer than usual.
"The circumstances attending the death of the above mentioned Philip White, were as follow:
"On Saturday, the 30th of March last, he was surprised by a party of our people, and after he had laid down his arms, in token of surrendering himself a prisoner, he again took up his musket and killed a son of colonel Hendrickson; he was however taken by our light horse, and on his way from Colts-Neck to Freehold, where they were conducting him, he again attempted to make his escape from the guard, who called on him several times to surrender, but he continued running, although often crossed and recrossed by the light horse, and desired to stop, and finally, when leaping into a bog, impassable by the horse, he received a stroke in the head by a sword, which killed him instantly. The above facts have not only been proved by the affidavits of our friends who were present, but by the voluntary and candid testimony of one Aaron White, who was taken prisoner with the said Philip.
"Captain Huddy was taken prisoner on Sunday the 24th of March, and kept in close custody, with justice Randolph, out of whose presence he never was for half an hour from the time he was taken, until the hour of his execution, which shews how impossible it was for him to have been concerned in White's death, and that they must have known it was so.
"To shew their insolence yet further, they left the following label affixed to the breast of the unfortunate captain Huddy."
We the refugees, having with grief, long beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding nothing but such measures daily carrying into execution.
"We therefore determine not to suffer without taking vengeance for the numerous cruelties, and thus began (and I say may those lose their liberty who do not follow on) and have made use of captain Huddy as the first object to present to your views, and further determine to hang man for man as long as a refugee is left existing.
"Up goes Huddy for Philip White."
"This paper needs no comment. Is it not high time seriously to enquire whether these refugees are owned by, and under the direction of the British commander at New-York? If so, and he should refuse to deliver up the wicked perpetrators of the above murder, ought we not to treat his officers in the same manner until satisfaction be obtained? If, as some say, they are not under his authority, what are they but pirates and robbers? and, why ought they not to be treated as such when they fall into our hands?"
Dunlap and Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser
May 4th, 1782
The following has been handed to us, as a genuine copy of the letter from his Excellency the Commander in chief [George Washington] to Sir Henry Clinton, on the subject of the murder of Captain Huddy.
SIR, Head-Quarters, April 21st, 1782
The inclosed representation from the inhabitants of the county of Monmouth, with testimonials to the fact (which can be corroborated by other unquestionable evidence) will bring before your excellency the most wanton, cruel and unprecedented murder that ever disgraced the arms of a civilized people. I shall not, because I conceive it altogether unnecessary, trouble your excellency with any animadversions upon this transaction. Candour obliges me to be explicit: to save the innocent I demand the guilty.
Captain Lippencut therefore, or the officer who commanded the execution of captain Huddy, must be given up; or if that officer was of inferior rank to him, so many of the perpetrators as will according to the tariff of exchange, be an equivalent. To do this will mark the justice of your excellency's character. In failure of it, I shall hold myself unjustifiable, in the eye of God and man, for the measure to which I shall resort.
I beg your excellency to be persuaded that it cannot be more disagreeable to you to be addressed in this language, than it is to me to offer it; but the subject requires frankness and decision.
I have to request your speedy determination, as my resolution is suspended but for your answer.
I have the honor to be, &c.
Our correspondent adds, that in consequence of this just and decisive measure, Sir Henry Clinton declared, that he had been imposed upon by the board of refugees, who had obtained the person of captain Huddy from him, on pretence of conveying him to the Point to be exchanged for a favourite refugee officer in our possession, instead of which they had put him to death. The menace contained in the general's letter a spirited memorial from the British officers, who stated to Sir Henry Clinton, that as they considered themselves in a totally distinct point of view from the refugees, they hoped and trusted that he would not suffer a British officer to be sacrificed on so unworthy an occasion, which they thus publicly disavowed; and expressing their wishes, that the perpetrators of the murder in question would be delivered up. This remonstrance occasioned a counter memorial from the board of refugees, against the delivery of Lippencutt, followed by representations of their resolution, in case it should take place, of laying down their arms, or even of defending themselves with them, as they could not but consider such a step as an intended discouragement and sacrifice of all the loyalists.
It is said that Lippencutt has been delivered up; but as there are various reports on the subject, we have not been able to ascertain the actual result of these proceedings.
The Derby Mercury (England)
July 11, 1782
[General Clinton replies to General Washington]
Sir Henry Clinton ordered a Court-Martial upon Captain Lippencot, in consequence of this Application; but such was the Situation of Affairs, and such the Temper of the Refugees, that the Captain has not been given up to Gen. Washington, but the following letter from Gen. Sir Henry Clinton was sent in Answer to the above Letter from Gen. Washington.
YOUR Letter of the 21st Instant, with the enclosed Testimonial, respecting Captain Huddy's Execution, was delivered to me Yesterday; and though I am extremely concerned for the Cause, I cannot conceal by Surprize and Displeasure of the very improper Language you have made use of, which you could not but be sensible was totally unnecessary.
The Mildness of the British Government does not admit of Acts of Cruelty or persecuting Violence, and as they are notoriously contrary to the Tenor of my own Conduct and Disposition (having never yet stained my Hands with innocent Blood) I must claim the Justice of having it believed, that, if such have been committed by any Person under my Command, they could not have been warranted by my Authority, nor can they have ever the Sanction of my Approbation. My personal Feelings therefore required no such Incitements to urge me to take every proper Notice of the barbarous Outrage against Humanity (which you have represented to me) the Moment it came to my Knowledge; and accordingly when I heard of Captain Huddy's Death (which was only four Days before I received your Letter) I instantly ordered a strict Enquiry to be made in all its Circumstances, and shall bring the Perpetrators of it to an immediate Trial.
To sacrifice Innocence under the Notion of preventing Guilt, in place of supressing, would be adopting Barbarity, and raising it to the greatest height. Whereas, if the Violators of the Laws of War are punished by the Generals under whose Powers they act, the Horrors, which those Laws were formed to prevent, will be avoided, and every Degree of Humanity War is capable of, maintained.
Could Violations of Humanity be justified by Example, many from the Parts where your Power prevails, that exceed, and probably gave rise to this in question, could be produced. In Hopes that the Mode I mean to pursue will be adopted by you, and prevent all future Enormities,
I remain, &x.
[earlier this same news page included such language from the British perspective of their desire to "assist in bringing the Colonies to a re-union with the Mother County."]
Jackson's Oxford Journal (England)
August 3rd, 1782
A REPORT to the Board of Loyalists, respecting the Execution of JOSHUA HUDDY, inclosed in a Letter to Sir Henry Clinton, dated April 27, 1782.
In Compliance with the Orders of the Honourable Board of Direction, we beg Leave to communicate to your Excellency, for the Information, an Account of the Proceedings of the Loyalists from Monmouth, on the late Expedition for the Relief of Capt. Clayton Tilton, and two other Loyalists, then Prisoners with the Rebels in that Country.
Being frustrated in the Design of bringing off Capt. Tilton by Force, and our Offers for Exchange rejected, we dreaded that he was reserved for a Fate simmilar to that our Associate, Philip White, had suffered, who was taken at the same Time with Captain Tilton, and inhumanly and wantonly murdered by the Guard who were carrying him to Monmouth Gaol.
This recent Instance of Cruelty, added to the many daring Acts of the same Nature which have been perpetrated with Impunity, by a set of vindictive Rebels, well known by the Name of Monmouth Retaliators, assicated and headed by one General Furman, whose horrid Acts of Cruelty have gained him universally the Name of Black David, fired our Party with an Indignation only to be felt by Men who for a Series of Years have beheld many of their Friends and Neighbours butchered in cold Blood, under the usurped Form of Law, and often without that Ceremony, for no other Crime than that of maintaining their Allegiance to the Government under which they were born, and which the Rebels audaciously called Treason against their States.
We thought it high Time to convince the Rebels, who would no longer tamely submit to such glaring Acts of Barbarity; and though we lament the Necessity to which we have been driven, to begin a Retaliation of intolerable Cruelties, long continued and often repeated, yet we are convinced that we could not have saved the Life of Capt. Tilton, by any other Means. We therefore pitched upon Joshua Huddy, as a proper Subject for Retaliation, because he was not only well known to have been a very active and cruel Persecutor of our Friends, but had not been ashamed to boast of his having been instumental in hanging Stephen Edwards, a worthy Loyalist, and the first of our Brethren who fell a Martyr to Republican Fury in Monmouth County. Huddy was the Man who tied the Knot, and put the Rope about the Neck of that inoffensive Sufferer. This Fact will appear by two Affidavits which we have the Honour to enclose. When the Board are pleased to take into their Consideration the Motives which induced us to take this Step; and that Huddy was executed in the County where so many Acts of Cruelty have been committed on Refugees, we hope they will not think our Conduct reprehensible, the more especially when your Excellency perceives the following State of Facts:
1st. That Joshua Huddy was one of the Rebels who took Stephen Edwards, of Monmouth, a worthy Loyalist, of good Family and Property, out of his Bed, and acknowledged himself to have been active and assisting in hanging the said Edwards.
2d. That James Pew, a Loyalist, from Middletown, of reputable Family and good Character, was taken Prisoner by the Rebels in 1778, confined for a considerable Time in Freehold Gaol, and put to Death by the Sentry.
3d. That Stephen West, Stephen Emmons, and Ezekiel Williams, three Loyalists from Monmouth, were all of them most inhumanly murdered by the Rebels in 1778.
4th. That John Wood and Thomas Emmons, Loyalists from Monmouth, were taken by the Rebels in 1778, and executed at Freehold.
5th. That Jacob Fagars, a Loyalist from Monmouth, was wounded in 1778, of which Wound he died, and was privately buried by his Friends. The Rebels soon after got Information of this, dug him up, carried his Corpse to Freehold, and hung it on Gibbets.
6th. That John Farnham, and Jonathan Burge, two Loyalists from Monmouth, were taken by the Rebels in 1781, and executed at Freehold, notwithstanding there were Rebel Prisoners of Rank and Consequence taken by the same Farnham and Burge, confined in our Prevost, one of them a Lieutenant Colonel of Militia, and another of the Rebel Assembly, who were offered in Exchange for them.
7th. That Joseph Wood, an associated Loyalist, from Monmouth, was taken at Longbranch, Shrewsbury, in 1781, carried to Coltsneck, where he was Prisoner for several days; that in removing him from thence to Freehold, he was most inhumanly put to Death by the Guard, within half a Mile of the Prison.
8th. That Joseph Mullener, an associated Loyalist, and Captain of a Whale-Boat Privateer, was taken by the Rebels in 1781, carried to Freehold, removed to Burlington, tried and executed, notwithstanding he produced his Commission, as Captain of the said Privateer, at his Trial.
9th. That Richard Bell, and John Thompson, two associated Loyalists, from Monmouth, were taken by a Party of Rebels in November last, from off Sandy-Hook, within his Majesty's Lines, carried to Freehold, and hanged.
10th. That Philip White, taken the other Day at Shrewsbury, in Action, was marched, under Guard, for near fifteen Miles, and at a private Part of the Road, about three Miles from Freehold Gaol, (as it is asserted by creditable Persons in the Rebel Country,) was kept back by three Dragoons, while Captain Tilton and the other Prisoners were sent forward, and after being stripped of his Buckles, Buttons, and other Articles, the Dragoons told him they would give him a Chance for his Life, and ordered him to run, which he attempted, but had not got three Yards from them before they shot him, and then cut him with their Swords over his Eyes and other Parts, until he expired.
Many of the above Facts are ascertained by Affidavits; and such as are not, are too notorious to be denied, even by General Furman himself, the most persecuting Rebel in the Country. By a strange Fatality the Loyalists are the only People that have been treated as Rebels during this unhappy War.
We have the Honour to be, in Behalf of the associated and other Loyalists of Monmouth County, your Excellency's most obedient and humble Servants.
The Freeman's Journal or The North-American Intelligencer (U.S.)
September 4th, 1782
It is now many months since captain Huddy was murdered in a most barbarous manner, and no retaliation has yet taken place. We are informed Congress and general Washington, took up this affair about the same time, but the latter had demanded captain Lippencut of general Clinton before the dispatches of Congress reached him. While sir Harry remained at New York nothing was done; on his departure the command devolved on sir Guy Carleton,--a fresh demand was made, with threats of immediate retaliation on a prisoner of equal rank, in case of refusal; and captain Asgil of the British guards was selected as the equivalent.
This induced sir Guy to set on foot an enquiry. Lippencut was brought before a court martial, but he objected to their jurisdiction, and claimed the right of a free British subject to be tried before his equals, and in the county where the fact was committed. His plea was overruled. Even Smith the nominal chief justice and Kemp the pretended attorney general, declared for the competency of the court military, because Monmouth county in New Jersey was possessed by rebels, and because the courts of common Law in New Jersey were not open, of course martial law must of necessity interpose to prevent the failure of justice.
--The court martial finding their own ideas thus supported proceeded on the trial, and Lippencutt, who belonged to the refugee associators proves a verbal order from governor Franklin, president of the board, Dan Cox and Mr. R. Alexander, members of the board, to hang the unfortunate Huddy. The court martial upon this evidence acquits Lippencut.--Sir Guy Carleton after three months sends out transcripts of the proceedings, evidence, &c. &c. to General Washington declaring his abhorrence of the detestable murder of capt Huddy, and determination to make farther investigations, let them affect who they may; but at the same time suffers governor Franklin to go in the packet for England.
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