Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER IX.

The Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction of the British Colonies.

§ 118. At the time of the American Revolution, in addition to the admiralty and maritime tribunals of England and Scotland, there existed the Admiralty Courts of the British Colonies.

Under the British Constitution, the Statutes of the Imperial Parliament do not bind the colonies, unless they are expressly named, while the King's commissions runs through his whole dominions. It is under the King's commissions, that the colonial Vice-Admiralty Courts were created, and their jurisdiction remained as it had been originally granted. Those commissions were issued from the High Court of Admiralty, and thus furnished, at their respective dates, evidence not only of the jurisdiction of the Colonial Courts to which they were issued, but also of the High Court of Admiralty at home, from which they emanated. They issued from time to time to the Governors, Vice-Admirals, and Judges of Vice-Admiralty in the colonies. They are of four kinds. 1st. The commission to the Governor as Governor, which issued from the office of the Secretary of State. 2nd. The commission to the Governor as Vice-Admiral, which issued from the High Court of Admiralty. 3rd. The general commission to the Governor, and all the principal officers of state, under the act for the more effectual suppression of piracy, which issued from the office of the Secretary of State. 4th. The commission to the Judges of the Vice-Admiralty Court, which issued from the High Court of Admiralty.(a)

§ 119. Many of these commissions may be found in the offices of the various Secretaries of State of the States; but as they are not easily accessible, I shall insert one of each at full length, although some portion of their contents has no particular rela

(a) 2 Gall. 470. 5 How. 461.

tion to the matter of the admiralty jurisdiction. They are inserted without regard to chronological order, because from the imperfection of the records in the State of New York, they are not preserved in that order. The commission of the Governor gave him power to create courts of admiralty according to the commissions which he should receive from the High Court of Admiralty at home.(a)

120. A large portion of the commission of the governor, as the political head of the colony, has no further relation to this question than as showing how completely the organization and power of the courts was kept within the control of mere prerogative regulation. That portion of it will not be inserted here. The clauses giving the power to create courts are inserted, to show as well that the common law and admiralty jurisdiction were created in the same manner, as that the admiralty jurisdiction was granted in very general terms.

Commission of the Governor.

121. "Willliam the Third, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, defender of the faith, &c. To our right trusty and well beloved Edward Hide, Esq., commonly called Lord Cornbury, greeting. And we do

by these presents, give and grant unto you full power and authority, with the advice and consent of our said council, to erect, constitute and establish such and so many courts of judicature and public justice, within our said province and the territories under your government, as you and they shall think fit and necessary for the hearing and determining of all causes, as well criminal as civil, according to law and equity, and for awarding of execution thereupon, with all reasonable and necessary powers, authorities, fees and privileges belonging unto them, as also to appoint and commissionate fit persons, in the several parts of your government, to administer the oaths appointed by act of parliament, to be taken instead of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and the test, unto such as shall be obliged to take the same, and likewise to require them to sub

(a) 5 How. 454.

scribe the forementioned association. And we do hereby autho rize and empower you to constitute and appoint judges and justices of the peace and other necessary officers and ministers in our said province, for the better administration of justice and putting the laws in execution, and to administer or cause to be administered such oath or oaths as are usually given for the due execution and performance of offices and places, and for the clearing of truth in judicial causes."

122. "And we do hereby give and grant unto you, the said Lord Cornbury, full power and authority to erect one or more Court or Courts Admiral within our said province and territories, for the hearing and determining of all marine and other causes and matters proper therein to be heard, with all reasonable and necessary powers and authorities, fees and privileges, as also to exercise all powers belonging to the place and office of ViceAdmiral of and in all the seas and coasts within your government, according to such commission, authorities and instructions as you shall receive from ourself, under the seal of our admiralty, or from our High Admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of High Admiral of our foreign plantations for the time being."

123. The commission to the Governor as Vice-Admiral was very full, granting, in language so clear that it cannot be misunderstood, an admiralty jurisdiction as wide and beneficial as the most zealous supporters of the English Admiralty ever claimed for it.

The commission to Lord Cornbury as Vice-Admiral was as follows. The original commission is in Latin, and I have availed myself of the English translation of similar commissions. given by Stokes and Du Ponceau.(a)

Commission of the Vice-Admiral.

121. "Letters patent granted to the very noble and honorable, Edward, Lord Cornbury, Governor of the provinces and colonies of New York, Connecticut, and East and West New

(4) Dunlap's Ad. Prac. 35. Stokes' View of the Colonies, 166. Du Ponceau, 158.

Jersey, in America, and of the same Commander in Chief, for the time being, for the office of Vice-Admiral in the said provinces and colonies of New York, Connecticut, and East and West New Jersey.

"William the Third, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, and Defender of the Faith, to our well beloved, and liege Edward, Lord Cornbury, our Governor of our provinces and colonies of New York, Connecticut, and East and West New Jersey, in America, and Commander in Chief of the said provinces and colonies for the time being, greeting:

125. "We confiding very much in your fidelity, care, and circumspection in this behalf, do, by these presents, which are to continue during our pleasure only, constitute and depute you the said A. B. Esq., our Captain General and Governor in Chief aforesaid, our Vice-Admiral, commissary, and deputy in the office of Vice-Admiralty in our provinces and colonies, aforesaid, and the territories depending thereon in America, and in the maritime parts of the same and thereto adjoining whatsoever; with power of taking and receiving all and every the fees, profits, advantages, emoluments, commodities, and appurtenances whatsoever due, and belonging to the said office of Vice-Admiral, commissary, and deputy in our provinces and colonies, and the territories depending thereon, and maritime parts of the same and adjoining to them whatsoever, according to the ordinances and statutes of our High Court of Admiralty in England.

126. "And we do hereby remit and grant unto you, the aforesaid A. B., our power and authority in and throughout our provinces and colonies, aforementioned, and the territories depending thereon, and maritime parts whatsoever of the same and thereto adjacent, and also throughout all and every the sea shores, public streams, ports, fresh water rivers, creeks, and arms, as well of the sea as of the rivers and coasts whatsoever of our said provinces and colonies, and the territories depending thereon, and maritime parts whatsoever of the same and thereto adjacent, as well within liberties and franchises as without.

"To take cognizance of, and proceed in, all civil and maritime causes, and in complaints, contracts, offences, or suspected offences, crimes, pleas, debts, exchanges, accounts, charter-parties, agreements, suits, trespasses, injuries, extortions, and demands, and business civil and maritime whatsoever, commenced or to be commenced between merchants, or between owners and proprietors of ships and other vessels, and merchants or others whomsoever, with such owners and proprietors of ships and all other vessels whatsoever, employed or used within the maritime jurisdiction of our vice-admiralty of our said provinces and colonies, and the territories depending thereon, or between any other persons whomsoever, had, made, begun, or contracted for any matter, thing, cause, or business whatsoever, done or to be done within our maritime jurisdiction aforesaid, together with all and singular their incidents, emergencies, dependencies, annexed or connexed causes whatsoever or howsoever, and such causes, complaints, contracts, and other the premises above said, or any of them, which may happen to arise, be contracted, had or done, to hear and determine according to the rights, statutes, laws, or dinances, and customs anciently observed.

127. "And moreover, in all and singular complaints, contracts, agreements, causes, and businesses civil and maritime, to be performed beyond the sea, or contracted there, howsoever arising or happening: and also in all and singular other causes and matters, which in any manner whatsoever touch or any way concern, or anciently have and do, or ought to belong unto the maritime jurisdiction of our aforesaid Vice-Admiralty in our said provinces and colonies, and the territories depending thereon, and maritime parts thereof, and to the same adjoining whatsoever; and generally, in all and singular all other causes, suits, crimes, offences, excesses, injuries, complaints, misdemeanors, or suspected misdemeanors, trespasses, regrating, forestalling, and maritime businesses whatsoever, throughout the places aforesaid, within the maritime jurisdiction of our Vice-Admiralty of our provinces and colonies aforesaid, and the territories depending thereon by sea or water, on the banks or shores of the same howsoever done, committed, perpretrated, or happening.

128. "And also to inquire by the oaths of honest and lawful

« PředchozíPokračovat »