Saturday, July 21, 2012

Litchfield


     The Committee of Litchfield wrote to the Convention of New York on 22 July1776.  Although “sensible of the situation of the State of New York, and grateful for the good opinion you express of our zeal in the common cause,” the Committee indicated it could not comply with the request to accommodate even more prisoners.     
     Litchfield had “near forty prisoners of war…besides six other prisoners sent here from Fairfield and Dutchess Counties…together with a number of other criminals for various crimes, all to be confined in two very uncomfortable rooms—the whole jail consisting of but three, one of which is occupied by a woman, confined for murder….” The situation “renders the confinement of those prisoners in this jail incompatible either with the publick safety, or even with the safety of the prisoners’ lives, some of whom are now sick.”
     Abraham Depeyster delivered the New York Convention’s plea for assistance, along with the prisoners themselves.  The prisoners included New York City Mayor David Mathews
     The town committee of Litchfield informed the neighboring state’s Convention, “For the above reasons, Mr. Depeyster has not committed to our care the Mayor of your city, but has taken for him private lodgings, under the care of a particular gentleman, for his safe custody, until he can know your pleasure in the premises.”  
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