Skip to main content


New York Conspiracy of 1741

The Conspiracy of 1741, also known as the Negro Plot of 1741 or the Slave Insurrection of 1741, was a supposed plot by slaves and poor whites in the British colony of New York in 1741 to revolt and level New York City with a series of fires.

New York City was thrown into an uproar when a sixteen-year-old white woman, an indentured servant named Mary Burton, testified that she was privy to a monstrous conspiracy against the white people of Manhattan

The Negro Plot

Witchhunt in New York: The 1741 rebellion

“Fire, Fire, Scorch, Scorch!”: Testimony from the Negro Plot Trials in New York, 1741

On March 18, 1741, the first of a series of suspicious fires broke out in New York’s Fort George. When a few weeks later a black man was seen running from the scene of one of these fires the cry went up: “The negroes are rising!” The extent of the plot, or even if there really was a plot, has never been absolutely proven. What is true is that the threat of a slave uprising was enough to send the city’s white population into hysteria. Of the 181 people arrested during the “Great Negro Plot,” 34 were sentenced to death and 72 were transported from New York.

A primary source by Daniel Horsmanden