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The murder of Parmenas by Thompson 1843
The murder of Parmenas by Onderdonk 1846

History of New York During The Revolutionary War and of The Leading Events in the Other Colonies At That Period, By Thomas Jones, Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province, Edited by Edward Floyd De Lancy, 1879

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In the spring of 1781, three privates of the third Battalion of De Lancey's Brigade left their quarters at Lloyd's Neck, went to a lonely house, a small distance from Jerusalem, in Queens County, belonging to one Parmenas Jackson, an honest, worthy, loyal Quaker, broke it open, murdered the man in the most cruel manner, robbed the house of 1,200 (pounds) in cash, and went off.  Luckily a woman present, knew one of the villains, and knew the corps to which they belonged.   An express was immediately sent to the Colonel, the rascals were soon discovered, and the greatest part of the money recovered.  The criminals were sent to New York, tried by a Court Martial, found guilty, sentenced to be hanged, and the sentence confirmed by General Clinton.  But this sentence, just as it was, to the surprise and astonishment of most people, was never carried into execution. Good reason, however, may be given why sentence of this kind were not executed.  There may be a doubt, whether Courts Martial, in cases of murder, committed as these were, have power to try or punish, the power of such courts being restricted and limited by the mutiny act, and the articles of war.  And these murders being committed upon persons having no connections with the army, the offenses were cognizable only in a court of civil law.  If so, Clinton was prudent in not punishing for crimes not properly cognizable by courts Martial.  But pray what reasons can Governor Robertson give, to whom it was often mentioned, for not issuing a Commission of Oyer and Terminer for the trial of these criminals?  He was

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authorized so to do by his commission.  The Great Seal of the province was in his possession.  The court might have been as to its durations, limited to a fortnight, or three weeks only.  But in such a case there must have been civil judges, a Sheriff, constables, Grand Jurors, petty jurors, etc, and this would have had so much the appearance of the re-establishment of the laws of the land and the ordinary courts of justice, that the very idea was insufferable, and every hint of the kind spurned at.  The culprits lay in jail about three months, the only punishment for a horrid, wicked and deliberate murder, and were then discharged upon paying some trifling fee to the keep of the provost.


Transcribed by Jerry Gross
June, 2007

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Transcription by Jerry Gross. You are welcome to use any of this transcription; please properly cite where you received it.
 This page was uploaded July 31, 2007.