Manuscript Document Issued by the New York High Court of Appeal, Signed (“John Cruger”) as Mayor of New York City, 1 p, folio, with oblong folio document joined, New York City, September 4, 1759, stamps and paper seals.
PIRATES OF COLONIAL NEW YORK.
COMPLICATIONS OF PRIVATEERING DURING THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WARS. The present legal documents relate to a case put before Lewis Morris, Jr. (1698-1762). The Commanders of three British privateers, the Defiance, Delancey and Marlborough had exceeded their commission by seizing cargo from the Dutch vessel De Vrouw Clara Magdalena although the Dutch were neutral in the Seven Years’ War.
The commanders of the privateers, New Yorkers, would successfully argue that the Dutch were transporting French cargo and so it was a lawful prize.
Lewis Morris, Vice Admiralty Court Judge understood how privateering could be financially beneficial to New York; between 1739 and 1748 privateers brought 91 prizes to New York, attracted there by Morris’ efforts on their behalf. As a result of Parliament’s Rule of 1756, Morris, who felt that he was an expert at discovering deception in Dutch Ships’ Papers, condemned almost every Dutch ship captured by privateers as “lawful prize”.