Thomas R. Gray, The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831

[p. 20]

The Commonwealth,

vs.

Nat Turner.

 

        Charged with making insurrection, and plotting to take away the lives of divers free white persons, &c. on the 22d of August, 1831.

 

        The court composed of - , having met for the trial of Nat Turner, the prisoner was brought in and arraigned, and upon his arraignment pleaded Not guilty; saying to his counsel, that he did not feel so.

 

        On the part of the Commonwealth, Levi Waller was introduced, who being sworn, deposed as follows: (agreeably to Nat's own Confession.) Col. Trezvant* was then introduced, who being Sworn, narrated Nat's Confession to him, as follows: (his Confession as given to Mr. Gray.) The prisoner introduced no evidence, and the case was submitted without argument to the court, who having found him guilty, Jeremiah Cobb, Esq. Chairman, pronounced the sentence of the court, in the following words: "Nat Turner! Stand up. Have you any thing to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced against you?"

 

        Ans. I have not. I have made a full confession to Mr. Gray, and I have nothing more to say.

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       * The committing Magistrate.

 

[p. 21]

 

        Attend then to the sentence of the Court. You have been arraigned and tried before this court, and convicted of one of the highest crimes in our criminal code. You have been convicted of plotting in cold blood, the indiscriminate destruction of men, of helpless women, and of infant children. The evidence before us leaves not a shadow of doubt, but that your hands were often imbrued in the blood of the innocent; and your own confession tells us that they were stained with the blood of a master; in your own language, "too indulgent." Could I stop here, your crime would be sufficiently aggravated. But the original contriver of a plan, deep and deadly, one that never can be effected, you managed so far to put it into execution, as to deprive us of many of our most valuable citizens; and this was done when they were asleep, and defenceless; under circumstances shocking to humanity. And while upon this part of the subject, I cannot but call your attention to the poor misguided wretches who have gone before you. They are not few in number--they were your bosom associates; and the blood of all cries aloud, and calls upon you, as the author of their misfortune. Yes! You forced them unprepared, from Time to Eternity. Borne down by this load of guilt, your only justification is, that you were led away by fanaticism. If this be true, from my soul I pity you; and while you have my sympathies, I am, nevertheless called upon to pass the sentence of the court. The time between this and your execution, will necessarily be very short; and your only hope must be in another world. The judgment of the court is, that you be taken hence to the jail from whence you came, thence to the place of execution, and on Friday next, between the hours of 10 A. M. and 2 P. M. be hung by the neck until you are dead! dead! dead and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul.

 

[p. 22]

A list of persons murdered in the Insurrection, on

the 21st and 22nd of August, 1831.

 

        Joseph Travers and wife and three children, Mrs. Elizabeth Turner, Hartwell Prebles, Sarah Newsome, Mrs. P. Reese and son William, Trajan Doyle, Henry Bryant and wife and child, and wife's mother, Mrs. Catharine Whitehead, son Richard and four daughters and grand-child, Salathiel Francis, Nathaniel Francis' overseer and two children, John T. Barrow, George Vaughan, Mrs. Levi Waller and ten children, William Williams, wife and two boys, Mrs. Caswell Worrell and child, Mrs. Rebecca Vaughan, Ann Eliza Vaughan, and son Arthur, Mrs. John K. Williams and child, Mrs. Jacob Williams and three children, and Edwin Drury--amounting to fifty-five.

 

______________________________________

 

A List of Negroes brought before the Court of Southampton,

with their owners' names, and sentence.

 

  • Daniel,-- -- -- -- Richard Porter, Convicted.

  • Moses, -- -- -- -- -- J. T. Barrow, Do.

  • Tom, -- -- -- -- Caty Whitehead, Discharged.

  • Jack and Andrew, -- -- -- -- Caty Whitehead, Con. and transported.

  • Jacob, -- -- -- -- Geo. H. Charlton, Disch'd without trial.

  • Isaac, -- -- -- -- Ditto, Convi. and transported.

  • Jack, -- -- -- -- Everett Bryant, Discharged.

  • Nathan, -- -- -- -- Benj. Blunt's estate, Convicted.

  • Nathan, Tom, and Davy, (boys,) -- -- -- -- Nathaniel Francis, Convicted and transported.

  • Davy, -- -- -- -- Elizabeth Turner, Convicted.

  • Curtis, -- -- -- -- Thomas Ridley, Do.

  • Stephen, -- -- -- -- Do. Do.

  • Hardy and Isham, -- -- -- -- Benjamin Edwards, Convicted and transp'd.

  • Sam, -- -- -- -- Nathaniel Francis, Convicted.

  • Hark, -- -- -- -- Joseph Travis' estate, Do.

  • Moses, (a boy,) -- -- -- -- Do. Do. and transported.

  • Davy, -- -- -- -- Levi Waller, Convicted.

  • Nelson, -- -- -- -- Jacob Williams, Do.

  • Nat, -- -- -- -- Edm'd Turner's estate. Do.

  • Jack, -- -- -- -- Wm. Reese's estate, Do.

  • Dred, -- -- -- -- Nathaniel Francis, Do.

  • Arnold, Artist, (free,) -- -- -- -- Discharged.

  • Sam, -- -- -- -- J. W. Parker, Acquitted.

  • Ferry and Archer, -- -- -- -- J. W. Parker, Disch'd without trial.

  • Jim, -- -- -- -- William Vaughan, Acquitted.

  • Bob, -- -- -- -- Temperance Parker, Do.

  • Davy, -- -- -- -- Joseph Parker,

  • Daniel, -- -- -- -- Solomon D. Parker, Disch'd without trial.

  • Thomas Haithcock, (free,) -- -- -- -- Sent on for further trial.

 

[p. 23]

  • Joe, -- -- -- -- John C. Turner, Convicted.

  • Lucy, -- -- -- -- John T. Barrow, Do.

  • Matt, -- -- -- -- Thomas Ridley, Acquitted.

  • Jim, -- -- -- -- Richard Porter, Do.

  • Exum Artes, (free,) Richard Porter, Sent on or further trial.

  • Joe, -- -- -- -- Richard P. Briggs, Disch'd without trial.

  • Bury Newsome, (free,) -- -- -- -- Sent on for further trial.

  • Stephen, -- -- -- -- James Bell, Acquitted.

  • Jim and Isaac, -- -- -- -- Samuel Champion, Convicted and trans'd.

  • Preston, -- -- -- -- Hannah Williamson, Acquitted.

  • Frank, -- -- -- -- Solomon D. Parker, Convi'd and transp'd.

  • Jack and Shadrach, -- -- -- -- Nathaniel Simmons, Acquitted.

  • Nelson, -- -- -- -- Benj. Blunt's estate, Do.

  • Sam, -- -- -- -- Peter Edwards, Convicted.

  • Archer, -- -- -- -- Arthur G. Reese, Acquitted.

  • Isham Turner, (free,) -- -- -- -- Sent on for further trial.

  • Nat Turner, -- -- -- --Putnam Moore, dec'd, Convicted.