The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: January 15

NORTHAMPTON, January 15, 1772.
RUN away, or STOLEN, from the Subscriber, a Negro Fellow named JACK, about twenty Years of Age, Virginia born, black, and slim made, and about five Feet seven or eight inches high. I am afraid a certain Peter Gossigon, formerly a Skipper from the Shore, but lately served on board a Man of War's Tender, may have carried him to the Western Shore; the following are my reasons for suspecting him: My Slaves inform me he has been endeavouring to persuade them to go with him and he will free them; that the said Fellow went off with him; that he requested them to advise him how to rob me, and even told them he would make away with me if they should be detected. Add to this, that on my detecting him in a Matter where he was about to defraud me, he vowed he was determined to have Satisfaction. As I have these Reasons to suspect him , and lost another Negro fellow some Time ago, whom I imagine he has also inveigled away, I do hereby caution the Publick to be aware of buying any Slaves of this Man; and I do hereby promise to repay the Purchase Money to any Person who shall convict him of selling this, or any other Slave he may have carried away clandestinely. I will give TEN POUNDS Reward for aprehending JACK, and the like Sum for the other, Whose name is JACOB, or their being securedin such a Manner as to enable me to get them again. And I do also promise to pay a Reward of FIFTY PISTOLES if the Fellow is convicted of stealing either of them. JOHN STRATTON.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) January 23, 1772

About this entry:

Peter Gossigon (alias John Scott) was sentenced to death in April 1772 for "Negro Stealing" but 3 weeks later was pardoned by the governor and deported to England. John Stratton was a prominent magistrate in Northampton County. He clearly believes that Gossigon is lying to the slaves and will sell them, not free them.

Language notes:

Pistole is a name applied to certain foreign gold coins. Pistoles were common currency used in VA.

Sources: OED; WMQ 13W(1)

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