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Tory Hunting

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

January 23. –The Jersey boys are scouring Long Island. They have taken Justice French and some more ringleaders, and a great many arms. No opposition is made to them. The people curse their leaders, say they deceived them, promised to support them, and in the time of danger left them. They will never trust them again. An officer in this expedition says: “We set out from Woodbridge on Wednesday the seventeenth instant, with about six hundred militia, and were joined at New York with a detachment from Lord Stirling’s battalion, consisting of near three hundred. On Friday morning we crossed, with all our troops, at Horn’s Hook, near Hell Gate, and met with no opposition; we then proceeded on our way towards Jamaica, took in custody some of the principal persons proscribed; sent out parties, and brought in many of those who voted against sending delegates; disarmed them and required them to sign an obligation we had drawn up, in which we enjoin them not to oppose either the Continental or Provincial Congresses, but to be subject to them, and not to aid or assist the ministerial troops in the present contest. From Jamaica we went to Hampstead town, where we expected the warmest opposition, but were disappointed, as the inhabitants came in and brought their arms voluntarily, for two days, as fast as we could receive them. We have about three hundred stand of arms and a considerable quantity of powder and lead. We are now on our way to Oyster Bay, and shall scour the country as we go, and exert ourselves to discharge the trust enjoined on us. Colonel Heard sent his detachment home last Tuesday, as he thought the militia sufficient. He is indefatigable in discharging his duty; treats the inhabitants with civility and the utmost humanity. The delinquents express themselves well pleased that a detachment of Jerseymen, and not of New England, Were sent to disarm them. Many of those who are proscribed as principals, have either fled or secreted themselves; several we have in custody. Some others, I believe, are yet to be had, but by some means or other they procured a list of the persons pointed out as principals before our arrival. We are making inquiry how they got their intelligence, but are not yet informed. Those that have come in, and surrendered their arms, are much irritated with those who have led them to make opposition, and have deserted them in the day of difficulty. I conceive they will be as safe if not safer in our custody, than at present among their neighbors, of whom some of them seem very apprehensive, and complain that they have met with insults already.” 1


1 Pennsylvania Evening Post, January 25 and February 3.

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