In a panicked response to a series of fires at the Governor's Mansion, Chapel and army barracks, officials executed 30 slaves and 4 whites. Also known as the Negro Plot of 1741 or the Slave Insurrection of 1741, was a purported 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. Historians disagree as to whether such a plot existed and, if there was one, its scale. During the court cases, the prosecution kept changing the grounds of accusation, ending with linking the insurrection to a "Popish" plot by Spaniards and other Catholics.In 1741, Manhattan had the second-largest slave population of any city in the Thirteen Colonies after Charleston, South Carolina. Rumors of a conspiracy arose against a background of economic competition between poor whites and slaves; a severe winter; war between Britain and Spain, with heightened anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish feelings; and recent slave revolts in South Carolina and Saint John in the Caribbean. In March and April 1741, a series of 13 fires erupted in Lower Manhattan, the most significant one within the walls of Fort George, then the home of the governor. After another fire at a warehouse, a slave was arrested after having been seen fleeing it. A 16-year-old Irish indentured servant, Mary Burton, arrested in a case of stolen goods, testified against the others as participants in a supposedly growing conspiracy of poor whites and blacks to burn the city, kill the white men, take the white women for themselves, and elect a new king and governor.In the spring of 1741 fear gripped Manhattan as fires burned across all the inhabited areas of the island. The suspected culprits were New York's slaves, some 200 of whom were arrested and tried for conspiracy to burn the town and murder its white inhabitants. As in the Salem witch trials and the Court examining the Denmark Vesey plot in Charleston, a few witnesses implicated many other suspects. In the end, over 100 people were hanged, exiled, or burned at the stake. Most of the convicted people were hanged or burnt – how many is uncertain. The bodies of two supposed ringleaders, Caesar, a slave, and John Hughson, a white cobbler and tavern keeper, were gibbeted. Their corpses were left to rot in public. Seventy-two men were deported from New York, sent to Newfoundland, various islands in the West Indies, and the Madeiras.