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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-05-02-02-0009-0001-0003
4. No “June” act or resolve of the New Hampshire legislature has been found which deals with this question. The first reference is thus in all probability to the Act of 3 July 1776, which expressly incorporated the resolve of Congress dated 23 March 1776, note 3 108 above, and, perhaps to avoid incorporating the Resolve of 25 Nov. 1775, note 3 108 above, with its provision for appeal to Congress, further provided that vessels
“used in supplying the Fleet, or Army, which have been, or shall at any time be employed, against the United Colonies or Employed by the Enemy in any respect, whatsoever; and those Vessels, which have been carrying supplies of any kind to the Enemy, or whose Masters or Super Cargoes, shall have designs of carrying supplies of any kind to the Enemy, or that shall be returning from the Enemy after having carried such Supplies, and shall be found hereafter on the high Seas, and shall be brought into the harbour of Piscataqua, or any place within this Colony, or found within the same,”
should be subject to condemnation, with their appurtenances and cargo. Actions under both provisions were to be brought in a specially created “Court Maritime,” which was to be held in Portsmouth or elsewhere in the county of Rockingham and was to sit with a jury under elaborate provisions made by the act. Appeals lay only to the Superior Court, except where a Continental vessel was involved. Act of 3 July 1776, 4 Laws of New Hampshire 25–32. The New Hampshire Resolve of 5 Sept. 1776 extended the jurisdiction of the Court Maritime to the new definition of belligerent contained in a Congressional resolution of 24 July 1776: “All ships and other vessels, their tackle, apparel and furniture, and all goods, wares and merchandises, belonging to any subject or subjects of the King of Great Britain, except the inhabitants of the Bermudas, and Providence or Bahama island.” 5 JCC 606; see N.H. Resolve of 5 Sept. 1776, PCC No. 44, fol. 258.