Treason? At Michilimackinac
The Proceedings of a General Court Martial Held at Montreal of Major Robert Rogers
The vision and sufferings of the famous Robert Rogers as recorded in the 1768 transcript of his trial for treason.
From the book: “Rogers’ troubles began in June of 1767 when Benjamin Roberts, appointed by Sir William Johnson as Commissary of Michilimackinac and secretly instructed to watch Rogers closely, arrived. Within a short time Roberts, a violent tempered man, and Rogers, who was jealous of his authority, came to blows. Though Rogers was able temporarily to put Roberts in his place Rogers’ position began to come apart at the seams. First he quarrelled with his secretary Nathaniel Potter who left Michilimackinac … then Tate and Carver returned without finding the Northwest Passage and finally letters addressed to subordinate officers arrived charging Rogers with treason and ordering his immediate imprisonment.
On December 6, 1767 Captain Frederick Spiesmacher, assisted by a file of soldiers, arrested the dumbfounded Rogers on the fort parade ground and ordered him confined. Through the long cold winter during which the frozen lakes cut off Michilimackinac from outside communication, Rogers languished in irons. When the warm winds of Spring opened the lakes he was thrown roughly into the hold of the schooner Gladwin and transported to Detroit. From Detroit he was shipped to Niagara … General Gage decided to hold the court-martial in Montreal so Rogers … was moved under heavy guard to await trial. On Thursday, October 20, 1768 the prisoner was brought out of prison to face his accusers.”