The Court Martial
Among the documents found at the Public Record Office in London is the actual record of the court martial of William Kentfield and a large number of other soldiers for mutiny and sedition. The mutiny occurred on Monday, October 28, 1700. The court martial convened on Wednesday, presided over by Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont and Governor of New York.
The documents in London are in incredibly good condition, and the photocopies I received are some of the highest-quality historical documents I have ever worked with. In making this transcription, I have tried to remain as true as possible to the original. Generally I have retained the original spellings, for instance "souldier," "generall" and "soaven" for "seven." The proceeding is sometimes a "court martial" and sometimes a "court marshall." The main exception is that I have dropped the "ff" that traditionally was used when a word began with "f." The "ff" beginnings simply made the document too hard to read. Words I could not decipher are indicated by "____".
Documents from this era seem at first glance to use capitaliztion at random. Often, I have found, this is because the scrivener did not consistently use the same size letters. That is, what appears to be a capital letter may only be a relatively large sample of a lower-case letter. Accordingly, while I have made some effort to retain the capitalization of the original, it was impossible to completely duplicate this feature. Numbers in [brackets] are page numbers added many years later by the PRO. A small number of additional editorial comments are also set off by [brackets]. The beginning of each day's proceedings is set off by bold print.
The document begins with the act to punish mutineers that had been passed recently by the General Assembly. The mutiny happened when the soldiers were assembled behind the fort and the act read to them. There is no way to know whether the mutiny had been planned in advance, or was a spontaneous reaction. It is clear from other documents that at least some of the soldiers had been near mutiny during their voyage from Ireland. The document continues with the trial itself. Here is the page at which William Kentfield is mentioned. The separate link at William's name will take you to the actual image of that page.
The document concludes with the execution of James Morris and Robert Cotterell.
Copy of the Proceedings of a Court Martial
held at New Yorke in Octr and Novr 1700
for the Tryal of Several Soldiers for mutiny
Referred to in the E. of Bellomonts Ltr
of ye 28th Novr 1700
Recd 18th Feby 1700/01
 In Pursuance of an Act made by the Generall Assembly of the province of New York in America, in the twelfth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord William the Third by the Grace of God of England Scotland France and Ireland king defender of the faith and Instituted an Act for pumishing Officers and Souldiers who shall mutiny or Desert his Majesties service, and to prevent their being harboured and Concealed by the Inhabitants of this province, and to Incourage the seizing and securing such as shall desert his Majesties forces for the future Reciting that Whereas his most feared Majestie out of his Royall and tender care of the preservation and [153b] Serenity of this province hath with great expense been pleased to send over and Maintain a body of Troops born on his Majesties pay with their proper officers. And whereas it will be always necessary that a competent force should be constanttly kept on foot for the defense of this province which is a frontier to the rest of his Majesties plantations on the Main Continent of America, and that the forces which now are, or hereafter shall be in his Majesties pay within this province should be kept in due discipline of warr. And whereas no man may be for_____ of Life or Limb, or Subjected to any kind pf punishment by Marshall Law or  any other measure than by the judgment of his peers, and according to the known and Established Laws of England and this province, yett nevertheless it being requisite for the retaining such forces as already are, or hereafter shall be established in his Majesties pay in this province in their duty, and that an exact Discipline be observed, and that Souldiers who shall desert his Majesties service may be brought to a more Exemplary and speedy punishment than the usual forms of law will allow, it was enacted by his Excellency the Governor and Councill and Representatives in Generall Assembly and by the authority [154b] of the same that from and after the publication of the said act, every person being in his Majesties service Mustered and in his Majesties pay as an Officer or Souldier, who at any time thereafter should Excite, Cause or Joyne in any Mutiny or Sedition in any Garrison City E___ or place in this province where they should be posted, or should desert his Majesties service in the ___ should suffer Death or such other punishment as by a Court-Martiall should be Inflicted. And that the Governor or Commander in Chief of the said province for the time being should and might by virtue of the  said ___ have full power and authority to grant Commission under the seal of the said province to such persons as were therein named and appointed from time to time to call assemble and authorize Court Martialls for punishing such Offenders as aforesaid. And that no Court Martiall which shall have power to inflict any puishment by virtue of this act for the offenses beforementioned should Consist of less number than Soaven, four whereof to be Members of his Majesties Councill of the said province, whereof his Majesties Chief Justice of the said province always to be one, and the rest of the said number of Soaven [155b] to be the Chief Military Officers who command the established forces aforesaid under the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being, and that the place for holding the said Court Marshall should be where the Governor or Commander in Chief should appoint and direct. And that such Court Martiall should have power to Administer an oath to any Witnesses in order to the tryall or Examination of the Offenses aforesaid; with a proviso that the said act, nor anything therein contained should ex____ or be construed to exempt and Officers or Souldiers whatsoever from the ordinary process of law, nor should  ____ any of the military forces in this province or detachment of the ____. And that in all tryalls of Offenders by Court Marshall to be held by vurtue of this act, where the offenses might by punished with death, every person present at such tryall before any proceedings should be had thereupon should take an oath upon the Evangelists in open Court before the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being, or whom he should authorize or appoint to administer the same as followeth - (viz) You shall well and trult try and determine between our Sovreign Lord the King and the prisoner to be [156b] Tried so help you God. And that no sentence of death should be given against any Offender in such case by any Court Marshall unless five or more of the Soaven persons should concurr therein. By which majority of five or more so sworn as aforesaid the judgment should pass, and no proceedings tryall or sentence of death should be had or given against any offender but between the hours of eight in the morning and one in the afternoon, and that the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being should have and was thereby authorized and Impowered to nominate authorize and appoint a fitt person to ____  Advocate with all other necessary ___ officers proper for such Court Martiall as aforesaid; as in and by his Majesties act of Assembly (Relation thereunto being had) more fully may appear. The proceedings thereon were had as followeth.
AT a Court Marshall held in Fort William Henry in the province of New York the thirtieth day of October In the Twelfth year of his Majesties reign by virtue of a Commission under the seal of the said province from the Right Honorable the Earl of Bellomont Captain [157b] Generall and Governor Chief of the ________
Present Stephen Cortland Esq Chief Justice and one of his Majesties Councill
Abraham D____ Members of
Robert Livingston his Majesties Councill
Robert Walters in the said province
Capt Peter Mathews
Lieut Charles Ashford Military Officers
Lieut Henry Holland
P_____ P______ Gentleman
Bar__ Cosens Gent Clark
Richard St___ Marshall
The Court being opened by proclamation, and the commission being published, and the persons mentioned having taken the oath in the said act mentioned before his  Excellency the Governor, order was given that certain Souldiers prisoners for mutiny sedition and desertion be brought up, and tried for the same and accordingly Corporal James Morris, Robert Cotterall, Edward Short, Alexander Marashlan (?) Richard Fleming and William David with severall others were brought into court under guard, and the Judge Advocate informed the court of the charge against the prisoners as followeth
That they with divers others being Souldiers in his Majesties pay and service in the province of New York, on Monday the eight and twentieth day of October instant at [158b] the Garrison and city of New York did excite ___ and joyne in mutiny and sedition, and then and there deserted his Majesties service, and refused to obey the command of their officers appointed to command them, in contempt of and contrary to their duty as souldiers, and the good discipline of warr to the great confusion and disorder of his Majesties garrison and government of this province to the terror of his Majesties good subjects therein and to the hurtfull and evill example of other souldiers in his Majesties pay in the same.
The said prisoners severally pleading not guilty, the Court proceeded  to prove the said offenses against them and the proof was as followeth viz
The honorable John Nanfan Esq his Majesties Lieutenant Governor of this province province [sic]being sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Mighty God sayth that understanding the eight and twentieth instant that divers of the souldiers in his Majesties pay to a great number were _____ to make a disorder, and to prevent them from breaking out into a mutiny, and that they might not be ignorant of the law here lately made against such offenses, commanded the two companies belonging to the Earl of Bellomont and himself, with the Detachment designed for Albany to be drawn up [159b] behind the fort near the North River, and then ___ to them, and after having given them commands and exhortations to obey, ____ loudly to them (being then about the number of two hundred and fifty men as he believed) the late act of Assembly for punishing mutiny sedition and desertion, amongst which company of souldiers were the prisoners in court viz Corporal James Morris Robert Cotterell Edward Short and Ho___ Marashlan, who with others heard the act read, showed great insolence and contempt of the laws, upon which Captain Nanfan commanded them to march several times, but they all _____, breaking their  ranks, falling into disorder, and crying out Halt, Halt, we will not march until we have our sea pay, English pay and clothes with divers other Insolent and seditious expressions.
That Cotterell in particular was ____ and active amongst the souldiers, and withdrew from the company to which he belonged, and placed himself in his the said Captain John Nanfans company, and there whilst the act was reading he very rudely interrupted him though often commanded to be silent and continued afterwards Insolently with others to stand and halt and not march as commanded.
That Morris was one of the first [160b] and most forward amongst others who presently after the reading of the said act came out of the ranks, to his horse side, and told him the souldiers were resolved to Mutiny, and thereupon he demanded Morris to return to his rank, and exhort the men to observe their duty and to be obedient but contrary thereto Morris was very active amongst them to stirr up the disorder and mutiny that followed.
That Short was also amongst the ________ forward in demanding his pay with gross insolence and rudeness telling the said Lieutenant Governor they would not stirr without they had their English pay sea pay  and Clothes given to them, and also the souldiers that were prisoners released, and would there dye if those things were not done, and refused to march, and incouraged and excited others against their duty.
John Riggs first lieutenant in the Lieutenant Governors company being sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God sayth that the souldiers in great numbers running up in a mutinous _____ to the fort gate with a design as it appeared to surprize the garrison, he heard Morris amongst others say, Lett us ____ the fort, ____ any Lord, and those ____ our selves, and thereupon attempted to [161b] gett into the fort, which was prevented by shutting the gates.
That Cotterell withdrew himself from the Earl of Bellomonts company to which he belonged and placed himself in Captain Nanfans company, and that the said Lieut John Riggs finding him there incouraging the other souldiers to Mutiny, took hold of him by the shoulder, and would have drawn him forth, but was hindered and opposed by three other souldiers that sided with Cotterrell against their duty.
Lieut. Richard Brewer being sworn sayth that _____ and ____ ___ of the prisoners for mutiny now present  were forward and leading men to mutiny whilst on board the ship that transported them hither from Ireland.
Mathew Clarkson Esq. Secretary of the province being sworn saith that on Monday the eight and twentieth day of October instant before noon he the deponent was looking over the walls of the fort, on the West side of the said fort in company with three or four of his Majesties Councill of the province of New York where most of the souldiers in his Majesties ____ pay were drawn up under arms, between the place where the Deponent was then standing and the North River [162b] at which time one Richard Fleming (as the Deponent was afterwards informed his name was) ____ and stood near to the Deponent, and the said Fleming did there call to the men under arms after the Lieut Governor had read the act of Assembly to the said ____ for punishing Officers and Souldiers who should mutiny ___ and particularly to one ____ and ____ others, and bidd them demand their half pay; upon which saying some of the Gentlemen of the Councill as well as the Deponent did advise the said Fleming to be quiet, and told him the _________ of such proceedings, but he the said Fleming seemed not to take notice of  the said advice, but in a sort of a ______ ran down from the walls into the fort and immediately came up again, at which time the said forces did refuse to obey the command of the Lieutenant Governon and their other officers (except about six or soaven) where he the said Fleming called saveral times from the walls Don't March Don't March with several other words to induce the said forces not to obey the commands of their officers, and after the said Fleming came from the walls to his post he being one of the Guard, and just as the Earl of Bellomont went into the house he the said Fleming took up his arms which were then grounded as the rest of the said arms [163b] were, and presented his musket and levelled it at the window of the room where the said Earl of Bllomont was just then outside and further sayth not.
Barne Cosens Gould Clerk of the Councill of the province of New York being sworn sayth that on Monday the eight and twentieth instant, being in the fort at New York, and with several of the members of his Majesties Councill looking over the wall thereof to see the souldiers newly arrived with the others in arms, and the Lieutenant Governor of this province reading to them the act made by the Generall Assembly for punishing Mutineers and Deserters___ and  after the same was read with exhortations ___ he perceived plainly a mutiny amongst them, they crying out One and all Dam'me Don't stir a man. The officers particularly the Lieutentnat Governor and Lieutenant John Riggs crying out March, March, and the said Lieutenant Riggs sayd You that will march, March. But they refused except only some few who followed Lieutenant Holland out of the Center; That in the interim a souldier since known to this Deponents by the name of Richard Fleming being being [sic] within the fort, and one of the Guard that day came on the wall, near where this Deponent was leaning over and called out to the men then under the fort in mutiny and disorder to [164b] this or the like purpose viz _______ Don't March till you have your pay for now is the time to gett it if ever O God! I'm upon the Guard, I can't be with you, but my heart is with you with much more to this like effect. This Deponent seeing the said Fleming a very lively fellow pittied him, and said to him, friend, you are in the wrong of it, for if the souldiers gett any thing from their mutiny and ___, altho you hold your tongue you will be a _____, and this forward way of yours may perhaps do you a _____, but he still cryed out Damm him he ___ not be wronged and hold his ___ and kept on incouraging the mutineers 
His Excellency the Earl of Bellomont affirmed that he having ordered one Flaming a Souldier to be committed to the Main Guard upon Mr _______ complaint against him, one William David also a souldier and near his Lordship cryed out boldly and daringly to his Lordship, Then you had as good committ us all, and his Lordship ________ to commit and punish him, he suddenly withdrew, upon which his Lordship ordered him to be putt upon the Guard.
Then the Court adjourned till tomorrow morning Eight of the Clock.
At a Court Marshall held at Fort William Henry this one and thirtieth day of October 1700.
[165b] Present as Yesterday.
The Court opened and Adjourned to the City Hall of the City of New York by his Excellency the Earl of Bellomonts direction.
At a Court Marshall held at the city of New York in the City Hall of the said City held this one-and-thirtieth day of October 1700.
Present as before.
The court being opened it was ordered to have the prisoners brought forth, which was done, and were all severally charged for mutiny and sedition by the Judge Advocate in manner aforesaid and thereunto
Jonathan Willford pleaded Not Guilty
Then John Butler a souldier sworn on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God sayth that he remembers not any  particular expressions, but that there was a generall mutiny, severall persons crying out One and all, and neglecting the commands of their officers, and sayeth that Corporal Morris commanded the souldiers at the church to ground their arms and that some obeyed him, some not, and that Willford the prisoner at the barr sayd that they would stay behind the fort untill they had theur sea pay, and hoped to have it by and by
The Hono. The Lieutenant Governor on oath sayd that on Monday the eight and twentieth instant when he ordered the souldiers to March from behind the fort which was imediately after the act for punishing mutiny and desertion [166b] was read to them, the said Jonathan Willford cryed out Halt, Halt, Don't March, and refused to march when ordered, and that when he heard that the fort would fire on them, ____ Willford cryed out, Damm them, lett them fire at the Devill, we will fire as fast as they. And the said Willford ___ himself to ___ of ___ that deserted from his post and went and drew up with others before the church.
Lieutenant John Riggs on oath declared to the same purpose as the Lieutenant Governon, and further that Willford sayd, now is the time we might have our sea pay and refused to march and was very ___, __ exciting the rest.
 Lloyd on oath declared that he went by order of the Lieutenant Governor to command the obedience of the souldiers when they were at the church, and that they refused, and that Willford was amongst them.
These six plead Guilty and throw themselves on the mercy of the King and the Court
William Clark pleads Not Guilty and no evidence appearing against him and Mrs Hutchins the Landlady of the said Clark, a woman of Creditt and reputation justifying on oath that the said William Clark was in her house [167b] all the time of the mutiny, and that he stayed there untill he was carried from there by a guard of the militia (which was raised on ___ of the Mutiny) to the fort he was discharged.
William Bresbin pleads Not Guilty Mr Miles Forster and Mr ____ ___ being sworn both say that on Monday last __ the eight and Twentieth instant about noon being the same time the mutiny happened a person came to the house of Miles Forster to buy powder and bulletts which was the same person William Brisbin that now is on his tryall
 These one and twenty plead guilty and submit to the mercy of the King and the Court and were remanded to prison
[168b] Plead Not Guilty
And Lieutenant Henry Holland informing the court that they with some few others were under his command and not disobedient to him, but marched with him when commanded and stayed with him they were discharged by the court
Then the court Adjourned till tomorrow morning eight of the Clock
At a Court Marshall held at the City Hall of the City of New York the first day of November 1700.
Present as Yesterday
The court opened and ordered the prisoners to be tried to be brought into Ocurt, which was done, who were all  in manner aforesaid arraigned and accused for mutinyt and sedition to which
These twelve plead Guilty and throw themselves on the mercy of the King and the Court
Roger Lee pleaded Not Guilty and was discharged on Lieutenant Hollands affirmation of his being at his lodging all the time of the mutiny by his order.
[169b] John Copper plead Not Guilty and acquitted nothing being proved against him.
Charles Burn pleads Not Guilty and afterwards confessed he heard the Lieutenant Governor read the act while he was under arms, and that notwithstanding he deserted his officer in the field.
William Williams pleads Not Guilty, and Captain Mathews giving a good account of him he was discharged.
Thomas Lyon pleads Not Guilty and discharged on Serjeant Bolters affidavit that he marched as farr as commanded by his officers.
These twelve plead guilty and submitt themselves to the mercy of the King and the Court and were remanded to prison
Joseph Burt pleads Not Guilty and Lieutenant Holland affirming that he was one of those that followed him when he commanded them to march he is acquitted as also were
James David Who pleaded
Robert Henderson Not Guilty
[170b] These ten plead guilty and submit to the mercy of the King and the Court and were remanded to prison
John Dryden pleads Not Guilty and it appearing that he was wounded and sick in his quarters at the time of the mutiny he is acquitted.
John Fitzgerald pleads Not Guilty yet avers that he was behind the fort in arms, and that there he left his arms, ____ ____ _____ after he went to the church where the souldiers  were in mutiny, where he found his arms again, and there joyned with them, that he left the souldiers there and surrendered himself to Lieutenant Riggs.
Alexander Mohern pleads Not Guilty yett sayed that he was behind the fort in arms, where he heard the Lieutenant read the act of Assembly for punishing mutineers and deserters but di dnot submit at first, but afterwards layd down his arms and went into the Chappell a prisoner amongst the rest
John Mackentire pleads Not Guilty and no evidence being against him he was acquitted
John Ford pleads Not guilty Lieutenant [171b] Riggs swears he ordered the company in which he was Lieutenant to march, of which (as he believed) the said Ford was one, and they all refused, but Mr. Riggs's evidence not being positive as against him, the said Ford was acquitted.
James Hussey pleads Not Guilty, yett he avers he heard Lieutenant Holland command them to march, and that he refused being in the Third Rank.
Plead not guilty and no body appearing against them, they were acquitted
Joseph Collvill pleads Not Guilty and Lieutenant Gwyn swears that he remembers Collvill behind the fort, and notwithstanding his orders to the contrary he left his post and went to the Mutineers at the Church.
 William Sherman
Plead bot guilty, and one Anne Osburn Swearing that they were at her house all that morning, and untill they were _____ out by the officer they were acquitted.
Alexander Taylor pleads Not Guilty acquitted not being in arms that day.
Thomas Butler pleads Not Guilty and nothing appearing against him he was cleared on the Character given by his Officers Lieutenant Brewer and Lieutenant Holland.
Plead Not Guilty and acquitted on their officers giving a good character of
them and no evidence appearing against them.
[172b] Dennis Grade pleads not guilty and it appearing he was not in arms that day he was acquitted.
John Hodge pleads not guilty and no evidence appearing against him he is acquitted.
These twenty plead guilty and submit themselves to the mercy of the King and the Court
 Samuel Spicer
Then the court adjourned till tomorrow morning eight of the Clock.
At a Court Martiall held at the City Hall of the City of New York this Second day of November 1700.
Present as Yesterday.
The Court being opened it was ordered that the prisoners following be brought into Court viz
[173b] Corporall James Morris
Which being done the Judge Advocate informed the court that the prisoners at the barr had been charged ___ and arraigned for mutiny sedition and desertion to which charge they had pleaded not guilty, and then particularly recited to the court the evidence at large that was given against each of the said parties, setting forth the notoriousness of their offenses and the dangerous consequences that might have attended them with the great horror and confusion it  brought in the Government, and danger to the Kings garrison and subjects, and that their offenses being all clearly proven, and of so horrid and high a nature, deserved the utmost punishment that could be given, and prayed the Court to give judgment according to their crimes. Then the court on mature deliberation of the evidence produced and sworn before them as aforesaid found them all guilty of mutiny and sedition Whereupon the prisoners were asked fi they had anything to say, why sentence should not pass against them according to Marshall Law, and they offering only frivolous excuses that forms were drawn [174b] and the like The president pronounced the sentence as followeth.
You James Morris Robert Cotterell Jonathan Willford and Richard Fleming shall be carried from here to the place from whence you came, and from thence you shall be brought behind the fort to the place where the mutiny began and there shall be shott to death on Wednesday next between the hours of eight and twelve in the forenoon.
Then the court ordered that William Davis Edward Short Alexander Marashlan should be brought to the barr. Together with Peter Morris who had pleaded guilty, which being accordingly done, the Judge  Advocate informed the court of their severall crimes and offenses, and at large sett forth the evidence that was given against them, and that their offenses being fully and clearly proved deserved severe punishment which the circumstances of the L__ affairs here commands may be justified, that for the future the like may be prevented, and good order, discipline and obedience be kept and maintained in his Majesties forces in this province. Then the court declaring them guilty gave sentence against them as followeth.
That William David and Peter Morris [175b] should from this time for the space of a month ensuing be kept in the hole in his Majesties fort William Henry in New York, and during that time should be fedd only with bread and water and that twice every week during the said time should be severely whipped on his naked back at the relief of the guard.
That Edward Short should be p_____ for six days one hour every day and from this time during the space of a month ensuing shall be kept in the hole in his Majesties fort William Henry and during that time be fedd only with bread and water.
That Alexander Marashilan shall be kept in the hole of his Majesties fort William Henry from this time during the space of a month next ensuing, and be fedd with bread and water only during the said time, and that he for his further punishment to run the gauntlett twice.
Then the court adjourned till Monday morning eight of the clock.
At a Court Martiall held at the City Hall of the City of New York this fourth day of November 1700.
Present as on the Second instant.
The court opened and adjourned till Wednesday morning eight of the clock.
[176b] At a Court Marshall held at the City Hall of the City of New York this sixth day of November 1700.
Present as on Monday last.
All the prisoners except those who had received sentence were called up, and the Judge Advocate was desired to lay before them their severall offenses and the greatness of their crimes, the badd and dangerous consequences of them and what they ought and ought not to do, and to demand what they had to offer why judgment should not be given against them, according to their severall offenses, and course of the Martiall Law,  to whom on the request of the court he proceeded.
You have _____ all of you severally had the fairet tryall in the most publik manner possible for the severall crimes whereof you have been charged, tried and arraigned in this court. You have severally heard your charges and accusations, which principally consist of mutiny and desertion and that in a very notorious manner.
To this most of you have pleaded guilty, and such of you as have stood on your tryall to maintain your innocence have upon evidence clear and positive [177b] been all found guilty, upon which not one of you can find reason to think he deserves otherwise than a severs judgment, and what severity soever shall be inflicted on you cannot surmount the merritts of your crimes.
Your offense indeed is such as cannot be aggravated being in it selfe not only mutiny of the deepest stain and highest nature, but of a most dangerous and of the last badd consequences full of horroe and threatening confusion to this Government for whose preservation and safety his Majestie hath sent you hither.
You have in contempt of your duty to your King and comander raised and carried on such a mutiny and sedition, even from the very hour of your landing, and hath been allmost beyond example, and to the great anger and disorder of the King garrison, and his subjects of this province, in which all of you have boldly proceeded even to the very borders of treason and rebellion, for indeed such had your crimes been, had you moved therein but one step further, had you seized the Kings garrison as you intended and attempted, or fought and opposed the Kings forces within it as you resolved; you had then involved all in blood and given your crimes the hateful names and nature too of [178b] Treason Murder and Rebellion. Those things considered with the high and dangerous consequences of your mutiny, your offenses will appear incapable of any aggravation, and more especially soe since not one man amongst you hath been able to find or offer the least reason to colour your rebellious attempts which is yett more heinous and inexcusable in you since you had the law before read to you by which your offenses were to be punished. Some of you I have heard at the time of the mutiny insolently demanded English pay, sea pay and to have certain souldiers in prison released.  To this I must observe to you what your officers have assured, that you were all fully paid as to the time of your going on shipboard in England and Ireland, and that the King pays five pounds for each mans accomodation and passage to this province, which comes to more than double your pay when in actuall service in the field, and this makes it very improbable as well as unreasonable that the King should be obliged to advance your ordinary subsistance besides, which you have so daringly demanded, and your officers say is wholly impracticable so to do.
But suppose there had been money due to you, your generall my Lord Bellomont had no comand or instruction [179b] from London to advance and pay it here. Lett that matter of your demands be one way or other, it no way excuses this most rude and unwarrantable proceeding of yours. It is as well to your own shame as against your duty to demand what only you think your due, with swords in your hands, with a daring insolence to your Generall and Comanders, and this attended too with mutiny disobedience and rebellion.
This is such a practice as not only never gains your ends, but putts all in a shame, confounds the very ends of a souldiers duty, betrays the trust putt in his service, and is generally attended with blood and  confusion and seldom ends but in the loss of the lives of such as move therein. If at any time you think your selves under any grievance concerning your pay, subsistence or provisions, you must not yourselves be judges of your own wild complaints, but your only warrantable way to be redressed is and ought be to apply your selves with submission to your officers, and if they faile to relieve you, you will not be deneyed the justice and rights due to a souldier, on your humble application to your to your [sic] Generall or Comander in Chief.
Had those things been observed as in Duty they ought, you had not been [180b] in this Condition. Obedience gentlemen is the very life and strength of an army, and all Military affaires; without it a body of one hundred thousand men is rather dengerous than serviceable, and of this none of you can be ignorant.
It is observed there are three Essentiall Qualifications absolutely necessary to a good souldier. First an English courage and resolution. Secondly Exact Discipline. Thirdly a ready obedience to comands.
These three are Indispensably necessary to compleat a good souldier in the field, neither the one nor the other must be wanting, but least of all can obedience be left out of the number, the want of which  gentlemen now gives you occasion to want a pardon or suffer punishment.
Then the Judge Advocate asked the prisoners what they had to offer to the Court, why judgment should not be given against them, and punishment inflicted according to their severall offenses. They making no ______ but that they had thrown themselves on the King and the Courts Mercy, the Judge advocate acquainted them that a pardon was given them by the Governor the Earl of Bellomont at the intercession of the Judges, which being delivered to them by Lieutenant Riggs, they were advised to deliver it into Court which was done, and [181b] then the Judge Advocate further acquainted them that My Lord Bellomont their Captain Generall out of his generous inclination to Mercy, and trusting that they would with their utmost obedience and duty retrieve their offenses by taking care never to offend in the like manner for the future, hath been willing to pardon and forgive their offenses, of which in this Court they have been found, and confessed themselves guilty he did by order of the Court advise them on most humble manner to return their thanks to his Lordship, and to own to him their faults and offenses, with sorrow and detestation,  not feigned but sincere, and give him the strongest assurances possible of their steady resolutions to continue dutifull orderly and obedient to the Kings service and their oficers comands for the time to come, and by that means they would not only obliterate the memory of their offenses, but meritt a fair and just treatment and regard from their comanders, who no doubt would not be wanting to incourage and reward such ____.
Upon which after the president had ordered their pardon to be read and given them further directions and exhortations to keep firm to their respective duties, as the only means to do his Majesties service, and make themselves happy under their severall officers, they were all discharged.
This day according to the sentence signed by all the judges, and given the Second of November instant, James Morris, Robert Cotterell, Jonathan Willford and Richard Fleming were brought to the place of execution behind the fort, under the guard of about two hundred and soaventy private sentinells where having with Mr. Vosoy the Minister of Trinity Church in the City of New York been in prayers about half an hour, and after all four were on their knees, and two files of Musketteers were ready to discharge against them the Lieutenant Governor ordered  Fleming and Willford to rise and march off producing to them a reprieve from my Lord Bellomont, and imediately thereon comand was given to fire on the other two which was accordingly done, and they both shott to death.
B. Cosens Clerk of the Court Martiall