MARINE INSURANCE FRAUD

ID: 21115
£250.00
The trials of Patrick Maxwell Stewart Wallace, and Michael Shaw Stewart Wallace, for wilfully destroying the Brig Dryad, off Cuba,

TRIAL: PATRICK AND MICHAEL WALLACE,, The trials of Patrick Maxwell Stewart Wallace, and Michael Shaw Stewart Wallace, for wilfully destroying the Brig Dryad, off Cuba, with intent to defraud the Marine Assurance Companies and underwriters. London: Williams and Son, 1841.

8vo., viii + 294pp., prelims. misnumbered, original blind-stamped cloth, rather faded, spine neatly repaired. A good, uncut, copy.

First edition: scarce. Not in Kress or Goldsmiths.

A case of insurance fraud in which the defendants were charged with being "concerned in a scheme for fraudulently effecting insurances upon a ship and goods, and upon the freight of that ship, and of wilfully casting her away, for the purpose of defrauding the underwriters". The brig Dryad of 204 tons ("A.1. and coppered ... the ship being tight, staunch and strong"), part owned by Michael Wallace, had been chartered to the firm of Zuluetta and Co., for a voyage from Liverpool to Santa Cruz in Cuba, for a freight of 300. It seems that the Wallace brothers conspired with the ship's captain to scuttle the ship off Cuba, having already taken out large insurance policies on non-existent cargo. The men were found guilty and sentenced to transportation for life - presumably to Australia. The report of the trials provides a remarkably detailed portrait of the marine insurance market at the time and of the workings of the commercial shipping and international freight business then in operation from English ports.