Pomp - Warrant for his arrest, enslaved by John Maley

Abraham C. Cuyler, Mayor
Date: June 9, 1775
Author: Abraham C. Cuyler, Mayor
Recipient: John Ostrander, Albany constable
Purpose: Warrant for the arrest of Pomp
Materials: Ink on paper

Wax seal, unreadable


Transcription and Interpretation
by Tricia Barbagallo – 2022 January

N.B. ~ this document contains harmful language

Albany Institute of History & Art Library
Collection: Slave Documents  
Catalog No.: MS-2368 #4 (Old No. EV-749)
Date: 1775 Jun 9
Title: Warrant for the arrest Pomp

City of Albany p. To any Constable of the City of Albany
These are in his majesty’s name ^ to require and command you
forwith to convey and deliver into the custody of the
Keeper of the Goal in the City & County of Albany
the Body of Pomp[1] the negro man of
John Maley[2] of the City of Albany. And you the said keeper
are herby required to receive the said Pomp. The negro man
of said John Maley. Into your custody in the said Goal
and him there Safely to keep. Until he be Delivered by
a due Course of Law. Hereof fail not at your Peril.
Given under my hand and seal this ninth day
of June in the fifteenth year of his majestys reign

Abrm C. Cuyler[3] Mayor

Reverse: The within pomp Delivered to the Goaler by

The Date within Jno Ostrander[4] Constable


[1] Abraham Cuyler likely wanted Pomp kept in jail for questioning or for a suspected crime. It was unlawful for a enslaved person to be out after dark without a pass. If a slave was seen out at night, the enslaved person could be arrested – and the enslaver could be fined and charged. This arrest warrant is important since it was produced two months after the battle of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775), which launched the Revolutionary War. Mayor Cuyler, who ordered the arrest of Pomp, was a known Loyalist. It is interesting that Cuyler sought to arrest Pomp, a man enslaved by a noted Patriot.

[2] John Maley was a French nationalist and was born about 1743 near Alsace. He settled in New York Colony by 1766 and became a merchant. He moved to Albany about 1769 after his marriage. He supported the American Revolution in many ways. From his Albany store, he became a leading supplier of the State Line and the Continental Army, and he provided military support and commanded an expedition into Stone Arabia to defend New York against the British and their Iroquois allies.

[3] Mayor Cuyler was a Loyalist. In 1776, during the American Revolution, he was arrested in Albany and was removed from office by local officials. His estate, including all his real and  personal property, were confiscated by the State of New York and sold at public auction, with the proceeds used to support the war. Cuyler was imprisoned at Fishkill, and eventually escaped to New York City. He was condemned to death for his Loyalty to the British. After the war, he was awarded a Loyalist Claim and received land in Canada. He died there in 1810. Cuyler’s descents lived in Africa for a time, where portraits of Cuyler and his wife were said to be found.

[4] At the time this warrant was created, John Ostrander served as a constable of the city, andhe also  worked for the Albany County Sheriff. In both positions, he served the British. Ostrander managed to capture Pomp and delivered him to the city jail, which was in the basement of City Hall, often called Stadt Huys. Many Ostrander families were living in Albany and had joined the patriot movement. No evidence has been found to determine the fate of Pomp - Barbagallo 2022.

Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Library
Digital Data Number: DI 1291
Catalogue Number: ms 2368 #4