Papers of John Adams, volume 12

To James Searle

From James Lovell


Enclosure not found. On 4 Dec., Congress adopted an ordinance, to come into force on 1 Feb. 1782, that established “what captures on water shall be lawful” and revoked all previous regulations on the subject. With regard to neutral trade, it brought American maritime practice into accordance with the provisions of the armed neutrality and the Franco-American commercial treaty by establishing the rule that free ships made free goods, except in the case of contraband or ships going to a blockaded port. It also provided that from 1 March 1782 all British merchandise, with very limited exceptions, would be “liable to capture and condemnation” if found within three miles of the coast (same, 21:1153–1158).