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Regimental Courts Martial of John Newton and Michael Forgristrim

Proceedings of a Regimental Court Martial of the King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Held by order of Major GRAY, Montreal August 5th 1783.


John NEWTON Private Soldier in Capt. John MUNRO’s Company, confined by Ensign MUNRO, for being drunk & Disobedience of Orders and Impertence.


Ensign MUNRO being called upon, informs the Court, that on the 2nd of August, David MILLER of Capt. Jno. MUNRO’s Company (accompanied by the Prisoner) waited upon him to settle his Accts. with Capt. MUNRO,

at which time the Prosecutor called the Prisoner to receive some Money he had the day before been delivered by Capt. Archd. McDONELL, to pay him for cutting of Wood at Carrillon last Spring, at the Rate of nine pence per day, which the Prisoner refused receiving, saying it was not the Allowance in the King’s Works and sure he would be damn’d sooner than receive it, and would apply to Br. Genl. Sir Jno. JOHNSON upon his Return from the Upper Country and then would sweat the Prosecutor for his Behaviour towards him;

then the Prosecutor desired the Prisoner to hold his Tongue and ordered the aforesaid David MILLER to take him to the Gaurd–House, but the Prisoner again said that he would be damn’d sooner than go there, upon which the Prosecutor took from the Prisoner his Side–Arms, deliver’d them to the said MILLER and desired him to call the Relief which he just then saw at Br. Genl. St. LEDGER’s Quarters and into whose Charge he delivered the Prisoner to be carried to the Gaurd House.

Evidence for the Prosecution

David MILLER Private Soldier in Capt. Jno. MUNRO’s Company, being called upon; affirms as above, only supposing that the Prisoner had been drinking in the Morning of said day that he was confined.


The Prisoner being put upon his defence, denies being drunk when sent to the Gaurd–House, also says he refused going Prisoner with said MILLER, Knowing him to be in the Surgeon’s Report, but that upon Arrival of the Relief sent for, he the Prisoner then went to the Gaurd House.

The Prisoner further says that on the 2nd Instant, he was ordered by Ensign MUNRO to call upon him with some others of the Company to settle with him for cutting of Wood last Spring at Carillon,

that on the 2nd Instant in the Morning he waited upon the Prosecutor at the Barracks at the Time directed, and asked the Prosecutor whether he would settle with him there or if he should go up to Capt. MUNRO’s House at the same time asking him at what Rate he could pay him and being answered nine pence per day,

the Prisoner told the Prosecutor that he would not receive that, (Knowing it not to be the Fault of Ensign MUNRO) but would wait untill the Return of Br. Genl. Sir Jno. JOHNSON from Niagara;

and on his way from the Barracks met Major GRAY and acquainted him of the Money offered him by the Prosecutor at the Rate of nine pence per day altho’ Sir Jno. JOHNSON had desired Capt. DAYLY to tell Corporal McEMPEY that every Man should have the Allowance of others in his Majesty’s Works, and notwithstanding Capt. MAURER having told Serjeant Ronnald McDONELL that the Men should be paid at the Rate of one shilling Currcy. per day,

that then Major GRAY answer’d & told him that Capt. Archd. McDONELL had received no more Money than for to pay them at the Rate of nine pence per day.

Then he the Prisoner went up to Capt. MUNRO’s Quarters, where the Prosecutor asked him, you damn’d Rascal what brings you here then? and says that then his Answer to him was disrespectful but does not recollect it particularly.

Evidence for the Prisoner

Corporal PARK being called upon says that the Prisoner was not drunk, when he took Charge of him from Ensign MUNRO, altho’ he might (unknown to him) have taken a Dram.

The Court having examined and duly considered the Evidences for and against the Prisoner do not find him guilty of the first Charge and do therefore acquit him thereof, but find him guilty of a Breach of the 3rd Article of the 20th Section of the Articles of War, and do therefore sentence him to receive One hundred Lashes after [sic—in] the Usual Manner.


Michael FORGRISTRIM, Private in Capt. Archibald McDONELLs Company confined by Adjut. VALENTINE, for being out of his Barrack at 10 O’Clock at Night and on Suspicion of having an Intention to desert.


Ensign VALENTINE being called upon, informs the Court, that coming from the Coffee–House last Night about 10 O’Clock, he met the Prisoner in Barrack–Street (in Company with two Sailors) having a Bundle under his Arm, in asking the Prisoner where he was going, answered him that he had been to a Washer Woman in the Suburbs for his Linen, upon which he the Prosecutor sent the Prisoner to the Gaurd–House.

Evidence for the Prosecution

Philip CLEYNE and Jno. SAWYER being called upon, say, that they saw the Prisoner (when dark) go out of his Barrack with a Bundle in his Hand.

Michael McMULLEN being called upon, says that he saw the Prisoner take out of his [illegible] some Shirts and heard him say that he was going to a Washer Woman.


The Prisoner being put upon his defence declares that he had not the least Intention to desert and acknowledges being out of his Barrack, but did not suppose it to be so late, and says the Reason was, that he had been looking for a Washer–Woman in the Suburbs to wash two Shirts for him, which were in the aforesaid Bundle,

and upon his Return met with the two Sailors Acquaintances of his, who asked him to take a drink of Grog with them and accordingly complyed with their Request, after which accompanying them the Sailors to the next Gate they not wishing to attempt passing the Centinel at the Quebec Gate, was seen by Adjt. VALENTINE who immediately sent him to the Gaurd–House.

The Court having examined and duly considered the Evidences for and against the Prisoner are of Opinion that he had no Intention to desert, but find him guilty of a Breach of the 3rd Article of the 14th Section of the Articles of War and do therefore sentence him to receive Fifty Lashes after [sic—in] the Usual Manner.

[signed]   Archd. MacDONELL Capt.
& President

Archives of Ontario, Malcolm McMartin Papers, MU 1974.

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