When the Spanish expelled the Jews in 1482, many came to the “New World” is search of freedom and safety. Not surprising, many turned to piracy as both a means of income and as retribution for their mistreatment in Spain. Similarly, many Jews, already heavily involved in shipping and trade, began to arm merchant ships and send them out as privateers to prey on enemy commerce. Following his imprisonment by the British in Georgia, Mordecai Sheftall turned to “Privateering.” He managed to secure a twenty-ton sloop, the Hetty, sold shares in her to secure working capital,
crewed her with thirty men and armed her with eight guns, tomahawks, blunderbusses, and boarding pikes. Unfortunately, the Royal Navy captured the Hetty and scuttled her, but the persistent Sheftall raised and reoutfitted the vessel setting out once more.
Not all privateers were what we envision when we think of pirates. One form of privateer was a form of blockade-running and one of the most daring of the blockade-runners was the firm of Isaac Moses & Co. Its three partners Isaac Moses, Samuel Myers, and Moses Myers had an Amsterdam buying office which shipped their goods to Dutch St. Eustatius in the Caribbean. From there the company’s ships made the run to an American port, trusting to fate that they could slip past the Royal Navy.
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