John Laurance was Judge Advocate.1 At the same time a Court was
convened to try Smith. It consisted of a number of line officers, mostly of
Connecticut regiments, with Colonel Henry Jackson, Sixteenth Massachusetts, as
As before noticed, Smith was acquitted, after the case had dragged along
with frequent postponements for four weeks from September thirtieth. The
report of the case is interesting. Smith, realizing his danger and able to see from
his window, if he cared to, the gallows erected for his unfortunate companion,
conducted his own defence with a degree of courage which compels admiration.
He cross-examined every witness (of whom he complains Hamilton and Lafayette
were unjust to him) and won. His liberty, however, was brief, as he was soon
arrested by the civil organization styled | Commissioners of Conspiracy," taken
to Goshen, and imprisoned until May 22, 1781, when he escaped to New York.2
While imprisoned, Andre was visited by a number of general officers, and
was treated with the utmost consideration—in marked contrast to the treatment
of Nathan Hale by Howe in 1777. He was allowed to write to Clinton3 and
• It is of interest to note that Knox had met Andre1 before, at the capture of St. John's, in 1775. Knox
was of the victorious force, and allowed Andre1 to share his quarters for a night.
1 Was Parsons at that very time holding treasonable relations with Clinton? The question is one requiring
more space for discussion than I can give it, but I do not credit it. A very full and interesting paper on
the subject, by Congressman George B. Loring, of Salem, Mass., will be found in the Magazine of
1 John Laurance (1750-1810) was an Englishman, born in Cornwall. He was afterwards a judge of the New
York District Court, a member of the first Federal Congress, and of the Senate (1796-1800). He held the
rank of Colonel in the Continental Army. His wife was a daughter of General Alexander McDougall.
5 Anxiety had undermined his wife's health, and she was unable to accompany him when he left New York with
the British troops, in November, 1783, but died there January 1, 1784. At the time of his departure he
owned No. 7 William Street, which was sold by his order in December. He lived in London, receiving a
small pension from the British Crown—6s. a day, in 1783-4; it had been f 1 per day while in New York—
until 1801, when he returned to the United States, and (as I am informed by an old resident) opened a
school in his old house in Haverstraw. Public opinion, however, was against him, and he soon withdrew,
went South, then returned to England, where he seems to have lived at Shepton Mallet, Somersetshire.
In 1808 he published his celebrated book: "An Authentic Narrative of the Causes which led to the death
of Major Jonn Andre." It was reprinted in New York the next year, and attracted general attention, as
all three of Andre's captors, and most of those who had witnessed his death, were still alive. In spite of
the generally unfavorable opinion which historians have entertained of it, I (as noted elsewhere) can but
think its statements credible on minor points. He married a second time, whether while living in England
or in the South is not determinable, though the lady's name, Anna Middleton, is common in South
Carolina, By his will, dated December 31, 1817, and proved in New York, October 15, 1818, he gives her
an estate in Shepton Mallet. He returned to New York, some time after 1808, and died there October 10,
1818. He was buried in a vault of either the Middle or North Dutch Church, New York.
The portrait given is the only known one of him, and is owned by a private collector in New York. It
has never Seen copied before. Trumbull met Smith in London, and the portrait is endorsed in his hand-
writing : "Joshua H. Smith, who was a very smart (?) man. Arnold and Andre met in his House. I met
him in England, 1808, and sifter in N. York, and were the best of friends. J. T."
3 Tappan, Sept. 29.
General Sir Henry Clinton, K. B., etc.
Sir,—Your Excellency is doubtless already apprised of the manner in which I was taken, and
possibly of the serious light in which my conduct is considered and the rigorous determination that is
Under these circumstances, I have obtained General Washington's permission to send you this
letter; the object of which is to remove from your breast any suspicion that I could imagine I was bound
by your Excellency's orders to expose myself to what has happened. The events of coming within an
Enemy's posts, and of changing my dress, which led me to my present situation, were contrary to my own
intention, as they were to your orders; and the circuitous route which I took to return was imposed
(perhaps unavoidably) without alternative, upon me.
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