New York: Printed by John Holt, 1764. 4to. , iv, 68 pp, with the half title, as issued. Front free marbled endpaper loose. Bound in 19th century half brown morocco [bookplate of Bar Assn of the City of NY, gift of George L. Ingraham (1847-1931), New York City lawyer and judge], some rubbing. Ownership signature of Nathan Sanford [1777-1838], prominent New York City lawyer and perennial politician. Institutional rubberstamp and accession number, mostly in margins of title; Very Good.
This is a rare imprint of an important case, asserting the primacy of the jury system in colonial America against official British meddling with American judicial deliberations. Publication was prompted by the desire to drive home to New Yorkers "the pernicious Consequences" of British interference with local juries "by a Method entirely new, unconstitutional and illegal."
Forsey had sued Cunningham for an assault and battery; a jury of their peers found for Forsey and assessed damages against Cunningham. Unhappy with the large amount of damages, Cunningham sought an appeal. He did not claim that the trial court committed any errors of law; he simply argued that the jury had misconstrued the facts. Allowing the appeal would have diminished the role of the jury in favor of appellate judges' assertions of their royal prerogatives. Nevertheless, Lieutenant Governor Cadwalader Colden permitted Cunningham to appeal. New Yorkers in 1764, already angered by British control of local affairs, found this interference with the role of the jury intolerable. They challenged Colden's decision to allow the appeal; in late 1765 the New York Assembly agreed with them.
Shipton & Mooney 41438. Bristol B2464. NAIP w021834 [6, including the AAS copy, which is defective]. Cohen 11975. Item #31578