Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 2

Adams' Notes for His Argument

Editorial Note

Penhallow v. The <hi rendition="#italic">Lusanna</hi>: 1777–1795 Penhallow v. The <hi rendition="#italic">Lusanna</hi>: 1777–1795
Penhallow v. The Lusanna
Editorial Note Editorial Note
Editorial Note

Until comparatively recent times the valor of naval crews was stimulated by the prospect of a share in the proceeds of enemy vessels and goods captured as prize. The complicated questions of property and the law of war which this system of hazard pay produced were adjudicated in every country by special tribunals, administering a more or less common body of international law. From its 14th-century origins the English Court of Admiralty had exercised a jurisdiction in such matters. By the beginning of the 18th century, when Admiralty's powers in other fields were on the wane, the prize side of the court had become virtually a separate institution, with sessions, rules, and records distinct from the ordinary civil, or “instance” side. Although this jurisdiction was called upon only in time of hostilities, the warlike nature of the times meant a steady demand for it, so that a substantial body of prize law developed and the Admiralty was saved from the extinction which might otherwise have been its fate.1

In the colonies, the seat of much of the warfare, there was great need for a similar forum, since trial of colonial prizes in England was impracticable. After 1660, captures were tried first in the courts established by the governors under their powers as Vice Admirals, then in the Admiralty courts created in 1697 for enforcement of the Acts of Trade. Confusion over the source of these courts' power to sit in prize was laid to rest by an Act of 1708, which provided for trial in Admiralty under a precise and simple procedure and established fixed formulas for the division of proceeds among the captors.2 Under this statute the colonial Vice Admiralty judges, empowered by special Admiralty warrant, exercised the jurisdiction through all the wars of the 18th century. One authority suggests that this branch may have amounted to as much as a third of the courts' total business.3 Although it may be assumed that the Massachusetts Vice Ad-353miralty Court sat in prize until the cessation of hostilities in the Seven Years' War in 1763, John Adams had no prize cases before it, as far as is known.

At the outbreak of the Revolution the colonists soon found that, whatever their feelings about the Admiralty had been, the prize jurisdiction was a necessary element in naval warfare. Despite the efforts of advocates of seapower, including Adams, a Continental Navy was slow to develop. George Washington put a fleet of four vessels into action off Massachusetts, and the individual colonies established small navies of their own; but privateers, vessels fitted out at private expense and commissioned by Congress or a colony to sail against enemy shipping, were the substitute upon which the colonists chiefly had to rely.4 Since profits were even more important to the privateers than to regular naval vessels, Massachusetts as early as 1775 established its own maritime court to exercise jurisdiction in prize matters. The other colonies soon followed suit, and the hated royal Admiralty courts were succeeded by a system of state courts, which, however, were usually limited to prize cases and sat with a jury.5 Congress was also quick to recognize the need for its authority in this field. In November 1775 it adopted the report of a committee of which Adams was a member, establishing regulations for privateers, defining the objects of capture, recommending that the states establish prize courts, and providing that appeals from all cases of prize in those courts would lie to the Congress. Under this measure appeals were referred to special committees, until in January 1777 a Standing Committee on Appeals was created.6


Adams was appointed to the Standing Committee in March 1777 and served until November of that year, when he left Congress for good. Despite a busy schedule, he managed to participate in much of the Committee's work.7 Its surviving file papers reveal that of eleven appeals decided during Adams' tenure, he sat on at least five. In five others the appellate papers are incomplete, so that the members of the Committee who sat cannot be determined. Thus Adams may well have been involved in additional cases.8 The papers show that the Committee, which on at least one occasion took the style “Court of Commissioners of Appeals for the American States,” viewed itself, and was viewed by Congress, as a judicial body. Thus, its procedure included provisions for notice, payment of costs, and the like, reflecting the legal background of its members. Its decisions were based on a full record of the trial below, as well as upon oral argument. These decisions were handed down with oral opinions, were in the form of judicial decrees, and were accorded the legal effect of such decrees.9


The Court of Commissioners, and Adams' role in it, deserve a full analysis, which cannot be undertaken here. Despite the limitation of the court's jurisdiction to matters of prize, it foreshadowed the United States Supreme Court as the earliest permanent judicial body with a national jurisdiction. Equally important, the court, and its successor, the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, provided an opportunity for the development of an appellate procedure and jurisprudence, and a bar experienced in these matters, which permitted the Supreme Court to undertake its duties in 1789 unencumbered by the need for awkward experiment. Adams, who had had to resign from the chief justiceship of Massachusetts before he could enter upon the duties of that office, was thus finally enabled to serve on the bench in a much more significant way.10 He was, if briefly, a member of what was in effect the first Supreme Court of the United States; as such, he participated in the establishment of an institution capable of handing on the appellate tradition which it began.

In November 1777, when he took leave from Congress for a much needed rest and return to personal affairs,11 Adams was probably little aware of the long-range importance of his recent judicial activities. But he was soon to discover that they were of immediate value. Shortly after his arrival at Braintree he was plunged into a prize controversy between his old client Col. Elisha Doane, one of the richest men in New England,12 356and certain New Hampshire privateersmen, which brought into play his newly acquired expertise in such matters. The case is of real interest, not only because it marks Adams' last known appearance as an active trial lawyer, but because years later, in the Supreme Court of the United States, it led to an affirmation of the supremacy of the federal courts in a matter in which the states had yielded sovereignty.

The complicated story of the litigation can be pieced together from various contemporary sources, principally the files of the Continental Congress' Court of Appeals.13 It begins in the summer of 1775, when the Cape Cod whaling fleet returned from the South Atlantic, having “proved to be tolerable successful,” and Doane, whose headquarters were at Chatham, found himself with a considerable stock of whale oil on hand. The presence of the British fleet at Boston, and its evident intention to enforce the restrictions which Britain had laid upon New England's commerce,14 meant that there was no local market for the oil. Moreover, like many a businessman whose country is on the verge of hostilities with a former trading partner, Doane had a considerable balance in his favor on the books of Lane, Son & Fraser, London merchants, as well as an unsold shipment of whalebone in their warehouse. He determined to realize upon these various assets before the worsening political situation led to their confiscation.15 Accordingly, he loaded his brigantine Lusanna, already carrying considerable oil that she had herself brought back from the whaling grounds, with additional oil and other goods and arranged that his son-in-law Shearjashub Bourne, a lawyer and recanting addresser of Hutchinson, whose business had virtually disappeared with the closing of the courts, 357should go with this cargo to London and there see to its sale and to the securing of Doane's other interests.16

On 4 September 1775, a week before the effective date of the ban laid on exports to Britain by the Continental Association, the Lusanna, Matthew Wood master, sailed from Wellfleet, having earlier cleared out at the custom house in Plymouth. Her cargo consisted of 101 casks of spermaceti oil and 37 casks of head matter belonging to Doane and consigned to Lane, Son & Fraser; 208 casks of spermaceti oil and 82 of head matter, belonging in part to Doane and in part to some of his whalemen, consigned to Bourne; and a quantity of staves and cord wood, belonging to Doane and also consigned to Bourne.17

The instructions which Doane gave to Bourne and to Lane, Son & Fraser were very broad. To alleviate a shortage of cash in Massachusetts, the Lusanna's outward cargo of oil was to be sold and the proceeds brought directly to Doane by Bourne. If the acts of Parliament restricting New England were repealed, thus leading to the abrogation of the Continental Association, Bourne was to freight the Lusanna home with English goods, bought with Doane's London credits. If the Acts were not repealed, Bourne was to use Doane's funds to send the Lusanna with a cargo to the West Indies to be exchanged there for goods which did not violate the colonial ban on imports. If this was impossible, he was to carry English goods to Nova Scotia, take on a new, nonrestricted cargo there, clear out for the British West Indies, and come directly to Cape Cod. In any event he was to use his judgment in light of all the circumstances.18

Only a week after his departure Bourne met the setback which was to turn his trip from an ordinary if risky commercial venture into an epic voyage of mischance and duplicity. On 11 September, off Sable Island, 358about 200 miles east and south of Halifax, the Lusanna was “met by a violent gale of wind from E, and then shifting to ENE shattered our sails and rigging to a great degree carryd away our foretopmast without any canvas Spread and caused the brig to leak very much.”19 Thus damaged, she was forced to put into Halifax for repairs; on entering the harbor there, she was seized by a boat belonging to the Somerset man-of-war. The Lusanna was held for three weeks, although, according to Bourne, the attorney general at Halifax had ruled that all her papers were in order and that she was not in violation of any Act of Parliament.20 Finally she was released by order of Admiral Graves at Boston, and repairs were undertaken.

When the Lusanna was almost ready for sea, she was seized again on 28 October, apparently by virtue of new orders received by the Admiral from England, requiring all New England vessels to be detained until further notice.21 Bourne at once left for Boston, where he procured the vessel's release, reportedly on condition that he take out a new register in Halifax, listing the vessel as of that port.22 At the time it was rumored that he had also agreed to bring a cargo back to Halifax.23 It is even possible that in his negotiations with Admiral Graves he had adopted the role of fleeing loyalist which he later played in England to his subsequent embarrassment, but there is no evidence of this. Whatever Bourne's tactics, his success is attested by the fact that the Lusanna left Halifax, probably early in January, and arrived in London, “after a tedious passage,” sometime in March.24

Once in England, Bourne set about his assignment. The oil market was not at a desirable pitch in the spring of 1776, but, by October, Lane, Son & Fraser were able to report to Bourne that they had sold a good portion of the oil at a price near that which Doane had wanted, and that they expected little difficulty in selling the remainder.25 Bourne could not yet come home, however. He feared that an American vessel of ambiguous loyalties 359in London at that period would excite a certain amount of suspicion, and he deemed it unwise to hazard apprehension by the British until conditions improved.26 Other affairs kept him busy. Although witnesses later testified that Bourne had refused to charter the Lusanna to the military transport service, Lane, Son & Fraser got her a cargo to Gibraltar, which the evidence indicates was at least in part military stores. After having been registered again, this time as belonging to Shearjashub Bourne “of London,” she sailed for the Mediterranean at the end of September 1776, returning in February or March of the following year.27

Bourne was also charged with establishing correspondence with a London merchant for a new venture in the commission sale of “Oil, Pot and Pearl ashes &c.,” in which he, Doane, and Doane's son Isaiah sought to embark. No details of his “plan” for this enterprise have been uncovered, but he was able to report that he had “settled the correspondence come out for with the best house in England for our interest . . . so that nothing prevents a prosecution but the American war.” At the same time he took advantage of his enforced stay to travel around England, meeting influential merchants and learning as much as he could about manufacturing, markets, and trade, for future commercial use.28

Another matter which concerned Bourne was Doane's claim to a part of the cargo of the brigantine Industry, which had sailed from Wellfleet on 12 September 1775 and was seized off Plymouth on the same day by a British naval vessel. Aboard her were an additional 102 casks of whale oil belonging to Doane, consigned to Bourne or to Lane, Son & Fraser in London. A claim had been entered on behalf of the Industry's owner for vessel and cargo, but on 12 October both were condemned in the Massachusetts Vice Admiralty Court for failure to give bond as required by the Restraining Act of 1775.29 The troubled conditions in Massachusetts had 360prevented Doane from making an appearance in the suit. When Bourne heard of this he procured from Doane a power of attorney to act in the matter, and a certificate of the collector of customs at Plymouth that he had not had the proper forms available when the Industry had cleared.30

Extracts from Bourne's journal, and a memorial which he submitted to the Treasury in England, show that, for this purpose at least, he had assumed full loyalist coloration. He sought and obtained the favor of Thomas Hutchinson in London as he pressed his cause, and in the memorial told a sad tale of his flight from the colonies and his persecution at the hands of the villains who now were running the country. This document, prepared in January 1777, did at least reach the proper committee, but the claim was apparently rejected on the basis of an adverse opinion by Daniel Leonard, formerly of the Massachusetts bar, now solicitor to the American Customs Commissioners in London. Leonard found that Bourne could have had no interest in the voyage, that the owners had probably intended to bring back military supplies to the rebels, and that the collector had cleared her only under duress.31 An unintended result, however, was that journal and memorial were offered in evidence on the subsequent trial of the Lusanna as prize, doubtless contributing substantially to the jury's determination against Doane.32 Unfortunately for Doane and Bourne, Leonard's opinion was not available as a counterweight.

While he was pursuing the Industry claim, Bourne was apparently also seriously considering means of getting home. According to the later testimony of David Smith, a Cape Cod whaling captain who met him in London in February 1777, Bourne had at that date already developed what was essentially the scheme that he would later unsuccessfully attempt to carry out. When the last of the whale oil was sold, he planned to purchase a partial cargo for the Lusanna with £2000–3000 of Doane's funds, then take on other cargo for Halifax to avoid suspicion and clear out for that port. In Halifax he would obtain the remainder of Doane's English funds by negotiating bills of exchange on Lane, Son & Fraser, then clear the Lusanna out for the British West Indies with Doane's goods still aboard and the cash in his strongbox. En route to the latter destination it would be a simple matter to put into a port on Cape Cod or other friendly territory.33


Whether this was the plan or not, the Lusanna began loading in June 1777 and cleared out at London for Halifax at the end of July. About 20 August, she left London, actually sailing from the Isle of Wight on 13 September.34 Her cargo included various goods to the value of about £2000, consigned by Lane, Son & Fraser to Bourne at Halifax, and provisions and liquors worth about £200 consigned by Bourne to himself or Messrs. Thomas Cochran & Co., Halifax merchants. Witnesses later said that Bourne claimed the ownership of all of these goods. The Lusanna also carried miscellaneous merchandise shipped by eight other English merchants, some of it consigned to Bourne, the rest to specific consignees in Halifax.35 Several passengers were aboard,36 as well as goods belonging to Captain James Shepherd, a Bostonian who had left London aboard the Lusanna after a fruitless attempt to appeal the seizure of his ship at Halifax a year earlier. Shepherd had been forced to remain at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, when he had been taken sick just before sailing, but his goods stayed aboard, consigned to Bourne.37

Bourne carried with him letters of introduction not only to Halifax merchants, but to Captain William Spry, “Commanding Engineer” there, which recommended him highly and spoke of his intention to remain at his destination, chartering the Lusanna as a transport until the war should end.38 He also carried two letters of credit, permitting him to draw up to £7000 against funds in the hands of Lane, Son & Fraser, in London.39 His own letter of instructions to Messrs. Cochran indicates the somewhat ambiguous nature of his intentions.

He wanted to sell the goods shipped by others for the interest of the shippers. The provisions shipped by Bourne, which he described as “belonging to myself,” were to be sold for his own interest, and an accounting 362made with Bourne, Lane, Son & Fraser, or Doane. The goods in the amount of £2000 shipped by Lane, Son & Fraser, which Bourne also claimed as his, were to be stored until further orders from Doane, Lane, Son & Fraser, or Bourne, and the Lusanna was to be laid up on the same terms.40

The Lusanna sailed as part of a fleet in convoy with the British frigate Venus, but on the night of 25 October she lost her escort in the fog, and in the morning Wood and Bourne determined to proceed to Halifax as best they could. Four days later on the 30th, they sighted an American privateer, which later proved to be the McClary out of Portsmouth. The Lusanna fled, but after a chase of about an hour and a half, she was overhauled. Several broadsides were fired by the McClary, and the Lusanna, outgunned as well as outsailed, soon struck.41

The McClary brought the prize into Portsmouth, where on 11 November 1777 she was libeled in the Court Maritime of the State of New Hampshire.42 The libelants were John Penhallow and Jacob Treadwell, representatives of the fifteen Portsmouth merchants who owned the privateer; and George Wentworth, agent for the crew, who was also a Portsmouth merchant and the brother of one of the owners.43

Bourne at once began a desperate search for counsel; not only were there considerable sums at stake, but the circumstances of the capture were such that his loyalty to the American cause might be questioned. Oliver Whipple, a Portsmouth lawyer, was engaged to watch over the preliminaries. On 17 November, Bourne wrote for assistance to Robert Treat Paine, who had not returned to Congress after his reelection in December 1776, and was now a member of the General Court and Attorney General of Massachu-363setts. Paine apparently could not take the case because he had to attend the General Court which sat at Boston from 4 to 15 December.44 Luckily, however, Adams reached Braintree on 27 November and some time thereafter was engaged by Doane.45 Paine seems to have been kept on retainer, for he was supplied with full notes of the trial, made by Whipple (Document III), and he argued the case on appeal to the New Hampshire Superior Court in March and September 1778.46 John Lowell, another Massachusetts lawyer, who had lived in Newburyport until some time in 1777, was also engaged by Bourne and Doane.

Lowell filed three claims in the Portsmouth court on 1 December 1777. The first, on behalf of Elisha Doane, was for the Lusanna herself, her appurtenances and stores, and that portion of the cargo that had been consigned to Bourne by Lane, Son & Fraser. A second claim, in behalf of James Shepherd, was made for the goods which the unfortunate captain had shipped. The third claim was in the name of Isaiah Doane, the Colonel's son and trading partner, and was for the provisions and liquors which Bourne had shipped to himself, as well as for a few other items, apparently also Bourne's.47 Bourne had conveyed this property to Isaiah Doane on 24 November 1777 in an admitted effort to divest himself of all interest in the outcome, so that under strict 18th-century rules of evidence he could qualify as a witness.48 The rest of the cargo was unclaimed.

Originally set for 8 December, the trial was postponed until the 16th.49 Bourne had urged Adams to arrive in Portsmouth on Saturday night the 13th to allow ample time for consultation and preparation beforehand (Document I). Adams endeavored to comply, but on the 13th, his second 364day of travel, “a horrid cold Rain” that wet him through caused him to halt at Newburyport, while “Coll. Doane who was in a stage Coach and his son who was in a close sulky proceeded on.”50 Adams finally caught up with his seemingly inconsiderate clients at Portsmouth the next evening. After spending a night at “the Tavern, Tiltons,” headquarters of Doane's party, he moved to the house of General William Whipple, his friend and colleague in Congress, where his conversation seems to have made more of an impression upon the Reverend Ezra Stiles than his arguments later did upon the jury.51

On the eve of the trial Adams wrote most prophetically to Abigail: “The Cause comes on Tomorrow, before my old Friend Dr. Joshua Brackett, as Judge of Admiralty. How it will go I know not. The Captors are a numerous Company, and are said to be very tenacious, and have many Connections; so that We have Prejudice, and Influence to fear: Justice, Policy and Law, are, I am very sure, on our Side.”52 Adams was certainly not the first lawyer to discover that the latter three elements, however valuable, are not enough to outweigh a judge, who, despite old acquaintance, rules the “wrong” way on points of law, and a jury, whether prejudiced or stubborn, which refuses to accept a subtle interpretation of an ambiguous factual situation.

The evidence at the trial consisted primarily of papers found aboard the Lusanna, or submitted by Doane from his records, and the depositions of absent witnesses.53 Probably prior to trial, counsel for Doane had offered a set of interrogatories raising questions as to Bourne's role and the ownership of vessel and cargo, which were to be administered to Bourne, Matthew 365Wood, and “other witnesses.” On the libelants' motion Bourne and Wood were rejected by the court as interested in the outcome, thus defeating Bourne's stratagem of conveying away his interest.54 No other witnesses were called by the claimants to testify to the issues which the interrogatories covered, although many of the same questions were asked of the libelants' witnesses on cross-examination during the taking of depositions.

As Adams' minutes (Document II) and those of Whipple (Document III) show, the libelants asserted two principal grounds of condemnation, based on Resolves of Congress and New Hampshire statutes: (1) That the vessel and goods were forfeited as being the property of inhabitants or subjects of Great Britain. (2) That vessel and goods were forfeited because the Lusanna was carrying supplies to the “Fleet or Army” of the enemy.55 To the first point counsel for the captors argued that the evidence of the register and invoices, as well as several depositions, showed that the property in both vessel and goods was Bourne's, not Doane's, and that Bourne by his statements and actions, including insuring the vessel against loss to American privateers, had revealed himself as a loyal subject of the Crown. They also apparently argued that since English insurers would actually bear the loss, the goods were in effect British property. On the second point the libelants urged both the voyage of the Lusanna to Gibraltar in 1776 and her clearance with cargo for Halifax on her last voyage. Adams and Lowell sought to have evidence of the Gibraltar trip rejected as being outside the allegations of the libel, but the court once more ruled against the claimants. As to the Halifax point, the libelants could not offer direct evidence that the cargo was being shipped to the British forces, but pointed again to their evidence of Bourne's loyalist sympathies.

Adams and Lowell argued in opposition that on the facts the property was still Doane's, since Bourne had no authority as his agent to effect a conveyance; in any event, all of Bourne's representations of ownership were a “cover” designed to avert British suspicions. As to Bourne's alleged loyalty to George III, it was part of the “cover,” but even if it had been fact, it could not be imputed to Doane. In his argument as reported by Whipple (Document III), Adams contended that the insurance against privateers was also part of the “cover,” and that merely because it threw the loss on British insurers, it could not be deemed to pass the property to inhabitants of Great Britain. Having previously lost the argument on the relevance of the Gibraltar voyage, Adams and Lowell were forced to take the position that royal forces there were not “the enemy” within the meaning of the applicable statutes, and that the evidence was inadequate 366to show that supplies had actually been transported to the fleet or army. As for Halifax, they argued that the necessities of the situation, rather than loyalist sympathies, explained Bourne's clearing for that port, and that the evidence was to the effect that none of the cargo had been intended for the fleet and army.

Despite these arguments the jury brought in a general verdict for the libelants, and the court decreed the Lusanna and her cargo forfeit.56 The basis of the verdict of course cannot be known, but it can be justified on the facts. The first ground of condemnation urged in the libel, that vessel and cargo were the property of British subjects, should not properly have been the basis of forfeiture. The general situation and the letters and other papers of Bourne and Doane, which the libelants did not impeach, suggest most strongly that the property remained in Doane throughout, and that all actions and representations on Bourne's part tending to the contrary were only a ruse intended to prevent seizure by the British. The libelants offered no evidence that Bourne had used his own funds for goods or credit. Since the vessel and goods belonged to Doane, and his loyalty was unchallenged, the property could not be that of an inhabitant or subject of Great Britain; further, even if Bourne were a loyalist, to the extent that he acted as a British subject or inhabitant, he would seem to have acted outside the scope of the very broad authority given him by Doane, so that the latter could not be charged with such conduct.

The libelants were on stronger ground with the contention that the Lusanna had been carrying supplies to the enemy. The court's decision that evidence of the Gibraltar run was within the libel seems strained, because the analogy to a continuing trespass apparently relied on is dubious. Here two distinct events are in question; moreover, 18th-century practice generally favored an identity of pleading and proof.57 Once admitted, however, the evidence, if believed, provided an arguable basis for forfeiture. Adams urged that the applicable statutes covered only enemy forces actually arrayed against the colonies (Document III), a reasonable construction of the Resolve of Congress. The New Hampshire statute also relied upon by the libelants could be read to include activities in other parts of the world, however.58 If Adams argued that the latter statute did not apply in the face of resolves of Congress which occupied the field, Whipple did not record the fact.

As to the Halifax voyage, once again the New Hampshire act was broad enough to include carrying supplies to the inhabitants of enemy territory, as well as to enemy forces. Even if such a construction were not adopted, the evidence of Bourne's loyalist position, which was damning if the explanation of it was not believed, gave rise to an inference that he was dealing with consignees who would sell to the armed forces, thus indirectly supplying the enemy even in the narrower sense. No troublesome ques-367tions of Doane's liability for these acts of his agent had to be met, because, under the New Hampshire act at least, condemnation turned on the employment of the vessel, rather than on its ownership.59

In fairness to Bourne it should be noted that he had to go to Halifax; he could not leave Britain without clearing for a loyal port, and he could not draw the bulk of Doane's funds except through bills negotiated there, unless he wanted to carry them in specie, subject to both the natural perils of the sea and the danger of British or American naval action. In fairness to the jury, Bourne was in fact headed for Halifax with a history of loyalist sympathy and a cargo consigned there; whatever his intentions, he was still in a position at Halifax to trade with the enemy; and at the trial it was explanations by his counsel rather than hard evidence of his character or motives which were balanced against his prior conduct. Bourne in all probability intended to make for Cape Cod with whatever assets he could salvage as soon as he safely could, but he had sufficiently compromised himself through the exigencies of his situation that he had to bear the risk of being misunderstood. The Portsmouth jury was not only of local origin, but may well have been subject to influence by the McClary owners.60 On the evidence before it, however, the verdict of condemnation was not clearly the result of prejudice and bias.

After the decree the claimants sought an appeal to Congress. This the court denied, on the ground that the applicable New Hampshire statutes provided an appeal only to the state Superior Court.61 Here was the issue which was to keep the case in the courts until 1795—the question of federal against state power. Adams did not participate in the later phases of the litigation, but his argument at Portsmouth reveals that the problems of overlapping jurisdiction were present even on the lower level. He seemed to assume that the resolves of Congress would control, since, as has been noted, he apparently did not argue the point. Thus, not only did he base his argument entirely on those resolves, ignoring the conflicting language of the New Hampshire act, but he, and Lowell also, cited prior decisions from their experience with the Congressional Commissioners of Appeals as precedents for the construction of the resolves.62 In addition, Adams supplied a kind of “horse's mouth” legislative history, both of these statutes and of other Congressional measures, such as the Continental Association 368and Declaration of Independence.63 The jury seems to have ignored these authorities, as well as the implication that they alone were decisive of the case.

The trial of the Lusanna marked the end of Adams' active legal career in a very definite way. According to his Autobiography, it was while he was actually attending in court that “Mr. Langdon came in from Phyladelphia and leaning over the Bar whispered to me, that Mr. Deane was recalled, and I was appointed to go to France.”64 The date of this dramatic episode cannot be determined exactly, since the duration of the trial is not known, but it must have been between 16 December and the 20th, when Ezra Stiles reported in his diary that the news was known in Portsmouth.65 It was almost certainly on the latter date that Adams left for Boston, because he arrived at Braintree on 22 December. On the following day he accepted appointment as a Joint Commissioner to France in a letter to Henry Laurens, President of Congress. He can have had little time or inclination for further involvement in practice during the few short weeks of preparation before his departure from Braintree on 13 February 1778 aboard the Continental frigate Boston.66

The subsequent history of the Lusanna is of great complexity, and can be only sketched here. In March 1778 the case was entered at the Superior Court with Paine now joining Lowell as counsel for the claimants. There the jury disagreed and was discharged. At the September 1778 term of the court at Exeter, the case came on again for a lengthy trial.67 At least 38 new depositions were produced, nearly all of them for the claimants. The areas in which they sought to bolster their case are an interesting reflection of the weaknesses which appeared at the trial in the Maritime Court. Bourne was again rejected as an interested witness,68 but Matthew Wood's testimony as to the voyage out and Shepherd's predicament was 369this time accepted.69 Other witnesses testified to the extent of Doane's credits in the hands of Lane, Son & Fraser; to Bourne's character as a patriot and his occupation as a lawyer with no trading interests, who went to London merely as Doane's agent; to Doane's ownership of a share of the Industry's cargo; to the common practice among American captains of taking out false registers and clearances in British ports to avoid seizure;70 and to Bourne's plans in February 1777 to clear out with false papers and make for home.71

The chief source of contention seemed to be the status of Halifax, a matter which both sides had left to assumption in the earlier trial. The claimants produced at least twelve depositions to the effect that the British garrison there was small and unwarlike, that the inhabitants were friendly toward America, and that the consignees of the Lusanna's cargo were not army or navy supply contractors.72 Here the libelants interposed the only new evidence which they offered, two depositions stating that there was a sizable garrison at Halifax with a real military role, and that a substantial number of naval vessels berthed there.73 Finally, several depositions were offered in behalf of James Shepherd, testifying to his patriotism and to his ownership of the goods which he claimed.74 Despite this mass of evidence, the jury found for the libelants once more. The claimants' appeal to Congress was again refused,75 and on 18 September the Lusanna and her cargo were sold at auction under the court's decree. After court costs of £59 15s. and costs of sale were deducted, the “neat proceeds,” amounting to £3 3,957 10s. 3 1/2d., lawful money, were divided equally between the owners' representatives, Penhallow and Treadwell, and Wentworth, agent for the crew.76

Undismayed by the denial of his appeal, Doane proceeded at once to petition Congress for review, asserting as major defects in the New Hampshire proceedings the prejudice of the local jury in favor of the local owners, and the rejection of Bourne's testimony, which he claimed was vital to his case. On 9 October 1778, his petition was read in Congress and referred to the Commissioners of Appeal.77 In the meantime Congress was occupied 370with the momentous case of the sloop Active, an appeal from the Pennsylvania Admiralty Court, in which the Commissioners had reversed a decree based on a jury verdict in matters of fact. When the Judge and Marshal of the Philadelphia court refused to obey the Commissioners' decree, they suspended activities, and the matter was turned over to a special committee of Congress for study. On 6 March 1779, with the delegates of New Hampshire voting Aye, Congress adopted the committee's findings that Congress by virtue of the war power could try questions of law as well as fact in prize appeals; that no state law could interfere with the right to appeal to Congress in such cases; and that the Commissioners were competent to make a final decree in the case. Although the case of the Active remained unresolved for another thirty years, the Commissioners went back to work.78

The Lusanna was set for trial on 21 June 1779. The McClary party appeared, attacking the jurisdiction of the Commissioners on the basis of the New Hampshire statutes, as well as on procedural grounds, and perhaps also suggesting that the case was moot, the insurance having been paid to the claimants.79 The Commissioners held on 26 June that they had jurisdiction of the case, both by virtue of the original resolves of 1775 and under the resolution adopted in The Active. They declined to proceed, however, until New Hampshire should have time to react to the latter, which had been transmitted to the state legislature.80 Before the Commis-371sioners could take further action, Congress on 15 January 1780 established the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, to try all prize appeals from the state courts “according to the usage of nations, and not by jury.”81 The roster of three judges was completed on 4 May, and on the 24th of that month Congress ordered all appeals now pending before it or the Commissioners to be referred to the new court.82

On 1 March 1781, the Articles of Confederation became effective when they were ratified by Maryland, the last state to do so. Although the Articles contained a grant of exclusive federal jurisdiction in prize appeals, which served to confirm the establishment of the Court of Appeal,83 it was not until September 1783 that the Court called the case of the Lusanna for trial. The owners later complained that they had had no time to prepare, but at the argument held at Philadelphia on 11–13 September, both parties were represented by an array of distinguished counsel. After the jurisdictional objection was once more overruled, the case was reargued on the merits, apparently solely on the record and files of the New Hampshire proceedings. Minutes of the hearing preserved in the files of the Court of Appeals indicate that it was in the form of an appellate argument familiar to lawyers today, with considerably more emphasis on legal questions and authority than had been the case at Portsmouth in 177784 The arguments 372presented for the Lusanna prevailed, and on 17 September, the court gave its decree, reversing the sentence of the New Hampshire court and ordering the restoration of their property to the claimants. John Lowell, Adams' assistant at Portsmouth and now a judge of the Court of Appeals, did not take part in the hearing or decision.85

The McClary party now turned to legislative channels for redress. With the support of the New Hampshire legislature and General John Sullivan, who acted as their agent, they sought relief in Congress, complaining of the decision in “a cause so essentially affecting the Sovereignty and Independence of this State, as well as the rights and property of your memorialists,” by an authority “assumed and arbitrary to an extreme, by no means justified by the confederation, even if that had been completed at the time of the trials in this State, infinitely less so, as it was not until long after the sentence of our Supreme judicial Court within the State.” The question was referred to a committee which submitted a report, in Thomas Jefferson's hand, holding that, since the case had arisen and been submitted to the jurisdiction before the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, Congress was ousted of appellate jurisdiction by the New Hampshire statute. In Congress, 30 March 1784, on the question of agreement with the report, the affirmative could not sustain a majority of the states, and the question was lost.86

Confirmed in their victory, the administrators of Elisha Doane (who had died in January 1783)87 and the other claimants set about obtaining satisfaction. Since the Court of Appeals had no power to enforce its own decrees they were forced to turn to the state courts. No record of an attempt to recover in New Hampshire has been found; the steadfast position of 373the state legislature in upholding the earlier decisions of its courts suggests that the effort was not deemed worth making. In June 1784 at the Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Inferior Court, the administrators began an action founded on the Court of Appeals decree. At the February 1786 term, on appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court, the decree was offered in evidence. According to later accounts, it was rejected by Justices William Cushing, Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant, and David Sewall, on the grounds that the Court of Appeals had lacked jurisdiction and the New Hampshire decree was final. The plaintiffs discontinued their action.88 Again in March 1786 the administrators, as well as Isaiah Doane in his own right and Shepherd, brought suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, proceeding by way of foreign attachment against a vessel belonging to one of the McClary owners found in Philadelphia. On motion to quash the attachments, the court at the September term, 1787, found it unnecessary to decide the questions of the Court of Appeals' jurisdiction, or whether the discontinuance in Massachusetts was conclusive upon the plaintiffs; it ordered the attachments dissolved, however, holding that a common-law court lacked jurisdiction to enforce the decree of an Admiralty court in a prize case, at least where to do so would raise the question of prize or no prize, which is exclusively of Admiralty jurisdiction.89

The case lay dormant until the new system of federal courts decreed in the Judiciary Act of 1789 was firmly established. Finally in March 1792 the administrators libeled the McClary owners in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire, setting forth the decree of the Court of Appeals and asking that it be carried into execution.90 Since John Sullivan, Judge of the District Court, had once acted as counsel for the owners, the action was removed to the Circuit Court for the District of 374New Hampshire under an Act of 1792 providing this procedure for such a situation.91 In October 1793 the case came on for trial in the Circuit Court before Justice John Blair, the only issues being jurisdictional. Blair found for the administrators and directed commissioners to ascertain the damages. A year later, with Justice William Cushing on the bench, the commissioners reported that at the time of the sale under the 1778 decree the Lusanna and her cargo had been worth £5895 145. 10d. Interest from the date of the sale until the date of the report was £5659 175. 4d. On 24 October 1794 Cushing handed down a final decree, awarding the administrators the equivalent sum of $38,518.69, with $154.30 costs, to be recovered in full against any one of the respondents separately.92

The case came up to the Supreme Court on writ of error and was argued and decided at the February term 1795-93 Eight errors were assigned, of which the following were the principal ones: (1) That the decree was void because the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction; (2) that it was matter of record that Elisha Doane was dead when the decree issued in his name; (3) that the libel sought performance of the Court of Appeals' decree of restitution, rather than damages for nonperformance; (4) that the decree of the Circuit Court held the owners' agents and the captors' agents each in full damages, although the proceeds had originally been divided equally between them; (5) that there was no jurisdiction in Admiralty of the libel filed in the District Court.94

The seriatim opinions of Justices Paterson, Iredell, Blair, and Cushing, which take up forty-one pages in the printed report, were primarily concerned with the jurisdictional issue.95 All four agreed that the Court of 375Appeals, sitting after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, was validly constituted and had jurisdiction of the subject matter by the authority of that instrument; thus its ruling that it had jurisdiction in the premises (which could not be overturned by collateral attack) also cured any defects arising from the fact that the case had been filed before the ratification of the Articles. Since the jurisdiction was exclusive, it ousted all claims of the states to create courts of last resort. Only Paterson and Blair clearly held that the inherent war power of Congress was sufficient to validate the jurisdiction in the period before the Confederation. It thus cannot be said that there was a decision of the court on this point.96 Doane's death was held not material, primarily because the action had been in rem, but it was agreed that the question was, in any event, foreclosed by the failure to raise it below. The four justices likewise agreed that the failure to pray for damages was cured by the libel's prayer for general relief; and that the District and Circuit courts had had jurisdiction of the matter in Admiralty, as the only courts competent, and by analogy to the jurisdiction to enforce the decrees of foreign Admiralty courts.

The only disagreement affecting the outcome was in the matter of damages. All concurred that interest should be allowed only from September 1783, the date of the Court of Appeals decree, and that the damages should have been levied severally in proportion to the original award in favor of the McClary. Iredell and Blair held that George Wentworth, the agent for the crew, should not be liable, since he had in good faith paid over the entire sum awarded under a decree binding under state law, without actual notice that the appeal was going forward. Since the court was evenly divided on this point, the prior judgment that Wentworth was liable stood, but the Circuit Court decree was modified so that the smaller interest figure was reflected. The total award was divided into two halves of $16,360.68, one half to be recovered against the agents of the owners, and the other against Wentworth.97

So eighteen years after Adams had argued their case in Portsmouth, the persevering Doanes prevailed. The decision brought a flurry of news-376paper and pamphlet criticism of the court for this blow to the sovereignty of the states, but the court withstood the attack as it has in similar circumstances since.98 Despite the intensity of the appellees' resistance, the Doanes were apparently able to recover about 80 percent of the sum awarded against Penhallow and Treadwell; Wentworth's liability was discharged on his submission of 10,000 acres of land valued at about $3300.99 The Doanes' troubles were not yet over, however. The English insurers of the Lusanna and her cargo, as patient as their erstwhile clients, now proceeded to sue the administrators in the Federal Circuit Court for Massachusetts to recover the sums paid out under the policy. From the beginning the McClary party had pointed to the insurance as defeating Doane, first as a transfer of property, then by making his claim moot through payment. These attacks had been resisted successfully, but now the reckoning must be paid.

Three actions were brought—one against Bourne, one against David S. Greenough (who had married Elisha Doane's widow) “et al.,” and one against Greenough's executors. The last-named suit was dropped in October 1801 as a “misentry.” In April 1802 a jury found a verdict for Bourne, and the suit against Greenough et al. was continued. At the October term 1802 in the latter action it was “suggested that the Plaintiff is dead,” and the case further continued. Finally, in June 1803 neither party appeared. Greenough and Doane now attempted to negotiate a settlement with the insurers. In February 1804 John Lane reported that at least some of the underwriters were ready to settle for their costs, and, in a reply dated 18 May, Greenough and Doane agreed to these terms, “upon condition, that we be secured from any farther suits, &c.” In July, however, Lane wrote that a settlement was not yet forthcoming due to the expense and difficulty of obtaining the consent of the individual underwriters involved. Since no further correspondence has been found, the conclusion of the Lusanna's voyage remains unknown.100


For a concise history of the English prize jurisdiction, see 1 Holdsworth, History of English Law 561–568.


6 Anne, c. 37 (1708).


Andrews, “Introduction,” Records of the Vice Admiralty of Rhode Island 41 (Washington, ed. D. S. Towle, 1936). For an account of the development of the jurisdiction, see id. at 35–42. For a contemporary account, including a copy of the warrant issued for trial of prizes in 1756, see Anthony Stokes, A View of the Constitution of the British Colonies 275–281 (London, 1783). Forms used in the West Indies appear in id. at 276–357. For some of the jurisdictional and other problems presented by appeals from the Vice Admiralty courts in prize cases, see Smith, Appeals to the Privy Council 186–187, 518–520.


For the first years of the Continental Navy, see Howard I. Chapelle, History of the American Navy 52–79 (N.Y., 1949). As to Washington's fleet, see William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy 1–98 (Baton Rouge, 1960). For the colonial navies and privateers, see Gardiner W. Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution, 1:42–52, 132–152 (Boston and N.Y., 1913). As to JA's interest, see 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography  201–202 note, 221–222 note.


For the Massachusetts court, see Act of 1 Nov. 1775, 5 A&R 436, 438–441, as amended, Act of 13 April 1776, 5 A&R 474. The jurisdiction was later extended to certain traditional maritime causes such as seamen's wages, salvage, and disputes between part-owners, as well as to offenses against a law prohibiting the exportation of naval stores, but the jury was retained. Act of 29 April 1778, 5 A&R 806; Act of 19 Feb. 1779, 5 A&R 930. For a summary of legislation in other states, see Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Adoption of the Constitution,” 131 U.S., Appendix xx—xxii (1889); Hampton L. Carson, The Supreme Court of the United States 44–47 (Phila., 1892). For the work of these courts, which did much to pass on the Admiralty tradition to the courts of the United States, see Wiener, “Notes on the Rhode Island Admiralty, 1727–1790,” 46 Harv. L. Rev. 44, 59–62 (1932); Hough, Reports 243–254; Ubbelohde, Vice Admiralty Courts 195–201. For JA's later comments on the Massachusetts act, see his letter to Elbridge Gerry, 14 April 1813, 10 JA, Works 37.


For the Congressional Resolve of 25 Nov. 1775, and a further resolve of 23 March 1776, see note 3 108 below. For the work of the special committees and the resolve creating the Standing Committee, see Davis, “Federal Courts,” 131 U.S., Appendix xxii—xxiii; 7 JCC 75. For the cases which came before special committees, see McAroy v. The Thistle, note 41 146 below; National Archives, The Revolutionary War Prize Cases 26–27 (pamphlet accompanying Microcopy No. 162, Washington, 1954). It has been suggested that the idea of trial by committee may have come from the example of the British practice under which appeals from the Vice Admiralty courts in cases of prize went to Lords Commissioners for hearing such appeals, a committee of the Privy Council. Jameson, “The Predecessor of the Supreme Court,” in J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Essays in the Constitutional History of the United States 13–16 (Boston and N.Y., 1889). It should be noted, however, that after 1762 this committee included the judges of the common-law courts. See 1 Holdsworth, History of English Law 565 note.


JA was appointed to the Standing Committee on 12 March 1777, when three members were added to the original five. 7 JCC 172. On 8 May 1777, when the old committee was discharged as being “too numerous,” he was one of a new committee of five, “they or any three of them to hear and determine upon appeals brought to Congress.” Id. at 337. In Oct. he was the only one reappointed to a new committee constituted because “a number of the members appointed to hear and determine appeals are absent.” Resolve of 13 Oct. 1777, 9 id. at 800. For his relief from the Committee, see Resolution of 17 Nov. 1777, 9 id. at 936. During this important year, he also presided over the constantly busy Board of War and Ordnance. There is no reference to the work of the Standing Committee in his diary, which is extremely fragmentary for this period, or in his Autobiography. See 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography   262 note; 3 id. at 447 note.


The papers are preserved in DNA: RG 267. They have been filmed as National Archives Microcopy No. 162, “The Revolutionary War Prize Cases: Records of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, 1776–1787,” and will be hereinafter cited as DNA Microcopy 162, Case— (numbered documents within a case file will be cited as No. –). The five cases on which JA definitely sat were Newman v. The Sherburne, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 10 (see note 9 below); Alsop v. Ruttenbergh, id., Case 11 (see note 42 147 below); The Industry, id., Case 14; Palmer v. Hussey, id., Case 17; The Greenwich, id., Case 19. The appeal papers are incomplete for White v. Sloop Polly and Cargo, id., Case 12; The Leghorn, id., Case 13; The Montgomery v. The Minerva, id., Case 15; Hopkins v. Derby, id., Case 6; and Fowkes v. The Roseanna, id., Case 20 (JA was familiar with the last-named case, decided just before his departure from Congress. See note 29 179 below). His name does not appear in the file of Pierce v. The Phoenix, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 8, but he had judged another phase of this case in The Greenwich, cited above.


For the style of the “Court,” see the decree in The Industry, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 14. The matters of procedure noted in the text appear in all of the cases having appeal papers which are cited in note 8 above. The attitude of Congress toward the court appears in the report of the Marine Committee on a petition apparently transmitted through JA by his former client, Timothy Folger (No. 45), in behalf of the crew of a Nantucket whaler condemned as prize. The court in affirming the condemnation had awarded wages to the crew, as provided by resolve of Congress (note 3 108 below), but Folger sought a share of the profits for them, claiming this to be the custom of whalers. The Marine Committee reported adversely, on the grounds that the petition raised questions of “construction of the promulgated resolutions of Congress, which make part of the code of laws of maritime war, which laws ought to be construed and applied by the courts of admiralty and commissioners of appeals in their judicial capacity, and not by Congress” and that since the case had already received “a judicial determination before the said courts” in which the issue might have been raised, it was improper for Congress to act upon it. The resolution was concurred in by Congress on 23 May 1777. See Newman v. The Sherburne, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 10; 8 JCC 383–384. The states were not so ready to recognize these decrees. See The Active, note 78 below.


As to JA as Chief Justice, see vol. 1:xci above. For evaluation of the court's role, see sources cited in notes 5, 6, above. The continuity between the Court of Commissioners and the Supreme Court is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that James Wilson sat as a Commissioner with JA in many of the cases cited in note 8 above, then argued before the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture (see note 84 below), and finally took his seat as one of the first members of the United States Supreme Court (see note 95 below).


JA was granted leave on 7 Nov. 1777, left York, Penna., on the 11th, and arrived at Braintree on 27 November. See 9 JCC 880; 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography 267–269. An account of his reasons, which included the desire to obtain some of the legal business created by the prize courts, appears in 4 id. at 1.


For another JA case involving Doane, see No. 52. Doane has been described as the second richest man in the Province. See Samuel E. Morison, Maritime History of Massachusetts 25 (Boston, 1921). Compare 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography 61.


See Doane v. Treadwell and Penhallow; the Brig Susannah, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30. The spelling “Lusanna” has been adopted in the present work for reasons stated in note 77 below.


For restrictions on Massachusetts and the Port of Boston passed in 1774, see No. 53, text at notes 1, 2. New England was further restricted by the statute, 15 Geo. 3, c. 10 (1775), which provided that after 1 July 1775 enumerated goods produced in New England could not be exported and that other goods could be shipped only to Great Britain or the British West Indies. No imports were to be permitted except from Great Britain and, in certain cases, Ireland. The trade of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia was similarly restricted by 15 Geo. 3, c. 18 (1775). It was not until the Act of 16 Geo. 3, c. 5 (1776), note 23 173 below, that all colonial trade was embargoed. See generally, Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution 538–540 (N.Y., 1918).


See Doane to Lane, Son & Fraser, 29 Aug. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 107; Deposition of Joseph Doane, undated, 1778, id., No. 133; Deposition of John Greenough, 19 Jan. 1778, id., No. 127; Deposition of David Greenough, 20 Feb. 1778, id., No. 136. An account furnished Doane in April 1781 by Lane, Son & Fraser, showed that, as of 30 April 1775, Doane's balance was £3690 19s. 6d. and that in April 1779, 34 bundles of whale fins in their hands sold for £530 17s. id. MHi: David S. Greenough Papers. For this and all other references to the Greenough Papers the editors are indebted to Mrs. Katherine A. Kellock of Washington, D.C., who has been of great assistance in the case of the Lusanna, not only by uncovering sources which might otherwise have been overlooked, but by supplying a chronology of the case, which was a valuable aid in the preparation of this editorial note.


Joseph Doane, who figured also in Doane v. Gage, No. 43, and Rex v. Nickerson, No. 57, had been master of the Lusanna on her whaling voyage and supervised her loading for the voyage to London. See his deposition, note 15 above. The Lusanna, a square-sterned brigantine of seventy tons, originally built as a sloop in 1760, had been purchased by Elisha Doane from his father's heirs and rebuilt in 1773. Ibid.; Lusanna's Register, 28 June 1773, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 62. For Bourne's recantation on 27 Sept. 1774 of his participation in the address of the bar to Governor Hutchinson at the latter's departure from the Province in June 1774, see Deposition of Nathaniel Freeman, 18 Aug. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 122. Bourne (1746–1806), Harvard 1764, had been admitted an attorney in the Superior Court in 1767, and a barrister in 1772. Min. Bks. 82, 97, SCJ. He suffered no permanent political ill effects from his involvement in the affair of the Lusanna, since he sat in the General Court in 1782–1785 and 1788–1790, was a member of the Ratification Convention in 1788, served in Congress from 1791 to 1795, and was appointed a Massachusetts Common Pleas judge in 1799. See Biog. Dir. Cong.


See “Invoice of the Brigantine Lusanna's Cargo to London,” undated, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 103. Bills of lading and other shipping documents appear in id., Nos. 90–99. For the certificates of bond which she gave on clearance, see id., Nos. 63, 64, 66. Compare Deposition of Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778, id., No. 118. As to the Continental Association, see note 16 121 below.


Doane to Bourne, 29 Aug. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 92; Doane to Lane, Son & Fraser, 29 Aug. 1775, id., No. 107.


Bourne to Doane, Halifax, 29 Sept. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 76.


Bourne to Doane, Halifax, 29 Sept. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 76.


Bourne to Lane, Son & Fraser, Halifax, 3 Nov. 1775, note 20 125 below; Deposition of Richard Baxter, 9 Jan. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 148.


Bourne to Lane, Son & Fraser, Halifax, 31 Dec. 1775, note 21 126 below. As to the condition, see Deposition of Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 118.


Doane to Bourne, 12 Feb. 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 113.


Bourne to Doane, London, 6 May 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 77. Deposition of Richard Baxter, 9 Jan. 1778, id., No. 148. On 11 April 1776, Samuel Curwen, chronicler of the doings of loyalists in London, reported that he had dined in company with “a Mr. Bourne, lately arrived from Halifax . . . a grave solid man.” Curwen, Journal and Letters 52–53 (London, 1842). The editors are indebted to Mrs. Kellock for this reference.


Doane wanted £45 per ton for body oil and a proportionate price for head matter. The sale in Oct. was at £43 for body oil. Lane, Son & Fraser to Bourne, 1 Oct. 1776, PCC No. 44, fol. 311. See Doane to Lane, Son & Fraser, 29 Aug. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 107.


Bourne to Doane, 12 Oct. 1776, note 23 128 below; same to same, 18 Sept. 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 78.


See Deposition of Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 118; Lane, Son & Fraser to Bourne, 1 Oct. 1776, note 9 114 below; Deposition of Lot Lewis, 4 Dec. 1777, note 117 below; Lusanna's register, 3 Aug. 1776, note 5 110 below; Deposition of David Smith, 13 July 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 135. Doane had suggested the change in register in a letter of 12 Feb. 1776. Id., No. 113. The Lusanna's account with Lane, Son & Fraser, furnished by the latter in 1781, and a letter of Doane's widow to them, 14 Nov. 1783, confirm that government stores were a part of the cargo out, and indicate that on the voyage the vessel called at Barcelona and took on freight at Malaga. MHi:Greenough Papers; see note 9 114 below.


Doane to Lane, Son & Fraser, 29 Aug. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 107; Bourne to Doane, 18 Sept. 1776, id., No. 78; see also same to same, 12 Oct. 1776, id., No. 29.


Note 14 above. The papers in the action are in DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 37–58. See note 25 130 below. See also Deposition of Jacob Williams, 31 Aug. 1778, id., No. 140. The claimant had sought an appeal to the Privy Council, but withdrew it upon advice of counsel. Opinion of Daniel Leonard, 4 Aug. 1777, PRO, Treas. 1:528. The Industry herself was reported destroyed in March 1776 when the British left Boston. Bourne to Doane, 18 Sept. 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 78. For some earlier problems of her new owners, see PRO, Treas. 1:513, fol. 266, et seq. Notes of the contents of the PRO documents were furnished to the editors by Mrs. Kellock.


See Deposition of John McFarland, In the Exchequer, 28 Jan. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 58; Doane to Bourne, 12 Feb. 1776, id., No. 113; Doane's power of attorney to Bourne, 1 Oct. 1775, id.,No. 61; Certificate of Edward Winslow, Deputy Collector, Plymouth, 1 Feb. 1776, id.,No. 57. It was later suggested that the claim had been made with Doane's assent and that he could have entered Boston to appear. Opinion of Daniel Leonard, 4 Aug. 1777, PRO, Treas. 1:528.


Opinion of Daniel Leonard, 4 Aug. 1777, PRO, Treas. 1:528, with endorsement of Richard Reeve, secretary to the Commissioners, 27 Aug. 1777, indicating that on the basis of the opinion Bourne's memorial would not be acted upon further.


Bourne's Memorial to Lords of Treasury, 30 Jan. 1777, in note 14 119 below. Extracts from Bourne's journal in note 8 158 below.


Deposition of Captain David Smith, 13 July 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 135. See also Deposition of William Claghorn, 20 Aug. 1778, id., No. 149. Doane had suggested a somewhat similar plan in his instructions to Bourne on 29 Aug. 1775, note 18 above. See Deposition of David S. Greenough, 20 Feb. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 136.


See Invoice and Bill of Lading, Lane, Son & Fraser to Bourne, 10 June 1777, note 6 111 below; Certificate of bond for enumerated goods, London, 26 July 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 32; Deposition of Thomas Casey, 3 Dec. 1777, note 8 113 below; Deposition of Lot Lewis, note 12 117 below.


For the first two invoices consigned to Bourne, see notes 6 111 , 7 112 , below (a complete inventory of the £2000 invoice appears in SF 104193). For the others, see DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 16–27. See also notes 11 116 , 34 139 , below.


See Depositions of Thomas and Mary Casey, 3 Dec. 1777, notes 8 113 , 10 115 , below; Deposition of Edmond Coffin, 2 Sept. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 121.


See note 27 132 below. As to Shepherd's problems, see Deposition of Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 146.


Edward Crosby to William Spry, 16 July 1777, note 13 118 below. See also William Cochran to Thomas Cochran & Co., 23 Aug. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 35.


See note 10 160 below. The oil had apparently not been sold at this date, since Lane, Son & Fraser's account in 1781 shows that it was not until Sept. 1778 that £3378 10s. 2d. was credited to Doane as proceeds of its sale, giving him a balance, with interest, of £7732 18s. 6d. No drafts against the letters of credit were ever charged to this account. MHi: Greenough Papers.


Bourne to Messrs. Thomas Cochran & Co., undated, note 11 116 below.


See Deposition of Thomas Casey, 3 Dec. 1777, note 8 113 below; Deposition of Lot Lewis, 4 Dec. 1777, note 12 117 below; Libel, New Hampshire Court Maritime, 11 Nov. 1777, note 2 107 below. The McClary, one of New Hampshire's leading privateers, was herself captured and her crew imprisoned at Halifax in 1778. Richard F. Upton, Revolutionary New-Hampshire 110, 112 (Hanover, N.H., 1936). See Library of Congress, Naval Records of the American Revolution 381 (Washington, 1906). The editors are indebted to Mrs. Kellock for the latter reference.


See note 2 107 below.


The owners were John Penhallow, Joshua Wentworth, Ammi R. Cutter, Nathaniel Folsom, Samuel Sherburne, Thomas Martin, Moses Woodward, Neil Mclntire, George Turner, Richard Champney, Robert Furniss, Jacob Treadwell, Thomas Dalling, Daniel Sherburne, and Keith Spence. See A Statement of the Cause of the M'Clary Owners, and Doane & Doane's Administrators from its Commencement in 1777, to its Close in the Supreme-Court of the United States, Feb. 1795 5 (Portsmouth, 1795). Their counsel is noted by JA only as “Sewall,” and no other reference to his name has been found. This is either Jonathan M. Sewall (1748–1808), a Portsmouth lawyer who was also register of the Court Maritime, or David Sewall of York, Maine, about to take his seat on the Massachusetts Superior Court, who was present in company with JA at General Whipple's on 18 December. See Bell, Bench and Bar of New Hampshire 629–630; 2 Stiles, Literary Diary 238. Since “Sewall” appears twice in JA's minutes (see text at note 2 107 , and following note 12 117 , below), it is possible that both Sewalls argued for the libelants. The second appearance, however, could reflect a recess and a resumption of note-taking by JA. See also note 88 below.


Paine had also had experience on prize appeals in Congress. See notes 41 146 , 42 148 , below. He had apparently already told Bourne's emissary that he could not attend the trial when Bourne wrote him requesting “Council in a Cause which nearly affects my interest, (if not Character),” and asking that Paine reconsider. He went on: “If Sir you are previously engaged, I can say no more. If you are under a retaining fee I can only say, I am unfortunate; if you are at liberty and so engaged, that you cannot attend me and Mr. Doane at the first tryal, and it so happens, that an appeal is claimed by either party, I must beg your assistance to support Mr. Whipple and Mr. Lowell, the first of which I have engaged, and the last I have this day dispatched an agent to engage.” Bourne to Paine, 17 Nov. 1777, MHi: Paine Papers. The editors are indebted to Mrs. Kellock for this reference. Paine did attend the General Court. See Paine Diary, 4–15 Dec. 1777, and his “Draft of an Address of the General Court to the People—on the Act to restrain the Circulation of the State Currency,” 12–15 Dec. 1777, Paine Papers. Whipple (1743–1813), Harvard 1766, came to Portsmouth from his native Rhode Island and was not related to William Whipple, the New Hampshire delegate to Congress. See Whipple to JA, 26 April 1790, Adams Papers. Bell, Bench and Bar of New Hampshire 739–741. In the weeks before the trial he was present at the taking of several depositions in Portsmouth. See notes 8 113 , 10 115 , 12 117 , below.


See Doc. I, below; note 11 above.


See note 67 below.


The three claims appear in DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 3, 4, 5.


See Doc. I. As to the rules on interested witnesses, see Gilbert, Evidence 122–134; No. 2.


See published notice of monition, dated 14 Nov. 1777, in Portsmouth Freeman's Journal, 29 Nov. 1777, p. 2, cols. 2–3.


JA to AA, 13 Dec. 1777, 2 Adams Family Correspondence 369.


JA to AA, 15 Dec. 1777, 2 Adams Family Correspondence 374. For JA's conversation on the evenings of 17 and 18 Dec., ranging from politics to law and history, see 2 Stiles, Literary Diary 237–238.


JA to AA, 15 Dec. 1777, 2 Adams Family Correspondence 374. Brackett (1733–1802), Harvard 1752, A.M. 1755, M.D. (Hon.) 1792, after first studying theology, took up medicine and became a successful practitioner at Portsmouth. After the Revolution he was an officer of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Medical Societies and donated $1500 toward a Harvard professorship in natural history and botany. He was appointed Judge of Admiralty at the beginning of the Revolution and held the post until the creation of the United States District Court in 1789. The sources consulted do not reveal the basis upon which he was given this position. He was active in the patriot cause, serving on the Committee of Safety, but perhaps his education and intellectual attainments were the qualifications which recommended him for the appointment. See Nathaniel Adams, Annals of Portsmouth 321–324 (Portsmouth, 1825); J. Farmer and J. B. Moore, eds., Collections, Historical and Miscellaneous: and Monthly Literary Journal, 2:17–21 (Concord, N.H., 1823); MH:Archives. Brackett may have been JA's old friend, but he was undoubtedly a current acquaintance of at least 10 of the McClary owners, who, with him, were members of Ezra Stiles' congregation. See 2 Stiles, Literary Diary 171–173; see also note 43 above.


There were also apparently at least two witnesses actually present at the trial. See note 18 123 below. The New Hampshire statute establishing the court required that all papers found aboard ship be filed with the court and permitted witnesses to testify either by deposition or in person. Act of 3 July 1776, 4 Laws of New Hampshire 25, 28, 31 (Bristol, N.H., ed. H. H. Metcalf, 1916).


See Interrogatories, with minute of court's ruling, undated, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 84. The “Instructions to Privateers,” contained in a resolve of Congress, dated 3 April 1776, followed Admiralty practice in requiring the submission to the court of interrogatories taken from the master and principal persons aboard the captured vessel. 4 JCC 253–254. There was no comparable provision in the New Hampshire act, note 53 above.


They asserted a third ground, that the goods were forfeit as being of British manufacture, but it was not seriously pressed and seems to have had little weight. See note 2 107 below.


See Decree, New Hampshire Court Maritime, 16 Dec. 1777, PCC No. 44, fols. 263–264.


See note 17 122 , text following note 19 169 , below.


See note 4 109 below.


The New Hampshire act, note 4 109 below, makes liable to forfeiture vessels “carrying supplies . . . or whose Masters or Supercargoes shall have design of carrying such supplies.” The resolve of Congress in question, note 3 108 below, deals with “all vessels to whomsoever belonging employed,” in carrying supplies, which might be construed to include only voyages to which the owner was privy.


The jury was Perkin Ayers, David Page, Ebenezer Neal, Benjamin Marston, James Neal, Samuel Rand, Joseph Philbrook, Richard Brown, David Lock, Thomas Johnston, Joshua Brackett, and William Simpson. Ayers was appointed foreman by the Court. DNA: RG 267, National Archives Microcopy No. 214, “Appellate Case Files of the Supreme Court of the United States” [hereinafter DNA Microcopy 214], Case 6, fols. 50–51. The relationship of the Joshua Brackett on the jury and Judge Brackett is not known.


See Decree, New Hampshire Court Maritime, 16 Dec. 1777, note 56 above.


See text and notes 41–43 146–148 , text and note 29 179 , below.


See text at notes 26–28 176–178 below. The rejection of the interrogatories, note 54 above, is another example of state refusal to accept federal directives.


4 JA, Diary and Autobiography 2–3.


2 Stiles, Literary Diary 239.


As to JA's return to Braintree and acceptance of the appointment, see 2 Adams Family Correspondence  375 note. For his departure for France, see 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography 269–271. He was retained in at least one other prize case after his return, giving advice to the privateer's agent, probably during his stay in New-buryport en route to Portsmouth in December (note 50 above). The trial at the Feb. 1778 Superior Court went on without him. See Samuel Tufts to JA, 6 Jan. 1778, 2 Adams Family Correspondence 377–378. JA was also forced to forgo an appearance in one of the Kennebec Company's numerous land cases set for the Feb. term. See John Lowell to AA, 22 Feb. 1778, id. at 393–394;——to AA, 23 Feb. 1778, id. at 394–395. The Company on 14 Jan. 1778 voted to give him a fee of $100 in this cause. 3 Kennebec Purchase Records 132, MeHi.


See Decree of New Hampshire Superior Court, Sept. Term. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 165. See also Paine's notes of both trials in the Paine Law Notes. Paine's diary shows that the March trial lasted from 11 to 13 March; on the 14th “the jury came in and informed the Court they could not agree. The papers taken from them and the Cause Continued.” The second trial lasted from 2 to 4 September. Paine Diary.


Interrogatories to Bourne, Sept. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 158.


Depositions of Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 118, 146.


See note 17 167 below.


Depositions covering all of the foregoing points are to be found in DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, passim,


DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 120, 124, 126, 130, 131, 132, 142, 143, 144, 147, 150, 152.


DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 125, 154.


DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 121, 123, 134, 146, 151, 162.


Decree of New Hampshire Superior Court, Sept. Term 1778, note 67 above. See Bourne to Paine, 10 Sept. 1778, Paine Papers.


Precept and return, 8 Oct. 1778, PCC No. 44, fol. 273. Costs were to be paid out of the proceeds by virtue of the New Hampshire act of 3 July 1776, 4 Laws of New Hampshire 25, 29.


Petition of 14 Sept. 1778, DNA Microcopy, 162, Case 30, No. 166; 12 JCC 992. See also Claim of Appeal to Congress, New Hampshire Superior Court, Sept. Term 1778, PCC No. 44, fol. 317. According to the June 1780 docket of the Court of Appeals, the case was “lodged” on 28 Nov. 1778. DNA Microcopy 162, Reel 15. Doane's vessel was called the “Susannah” in the contemporary printed congressional Journal for 9 Oct. 1778. 4 Journals of Congress 586 (Phila., 1779). This seems to have been the first appearance of an understandable copyist's or printer's error for “Lusanna.” The spelling “Susannah” was adopted elsewhere in the Journals and in Alexander Dallas' reports of two later cases involving the vessel (notes 89, 90, below), but “Lusanna” is the form used in virtually all other printed and manuscript sources and is undoubtedly correct. See 4 JA, Diary and Autobiography 2.


The matter was settled in favor of the jurisdiction in United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch (9 U.S.) 115 (1809). This decision, which in effect asserted the power of the United States courts over the legislatures of the states, met initial violent resistance in Pennsylvania, but was ultimately accepted. See Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History, 1:374–388 (Boston, 1922). For details of the case, see Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Adoption of the Constitution,” 131 U.S. Appendix xxix—xxxiv (1889); Jameson, “Predecessor of the Supreme Court,” 17–23; The Case of the Sloop Active (Phila., 1809); Richard Peters, The Whole Proceedings in the Case of Olmstead and others v. Rittenhouse's Executrices (Phila., 1809). For the proceedings in Congress, see DNA Microcopy 162, Case 39.


See Commissioners' order of 5 May 1779, that appellants give appellees notice of hearing on 21 June, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30; Plea, 21 June 1779, and Replication, Ibid.; Memorial of Penhallow et al., 20 Oct. 1783, 6 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 448, 449. That the insurance payment was a ground of attack may be deduced from the presence in the file of the deposition of Thomas Casey, taken at the request of Penhallow on 24 May 1779 for use in the hearing on 21 June. Casey, who had already given evidence as one of the Lusanna's passengers (note 8 113 below), testified that William Cochran, Halifax merchant just returned from London, had told him on 10 Jan. 1779 that the insurance had been paid, and that this was the general opinion in Halifax. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30.


See copy of Commissioners' order, 26 June 1779, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30. New Hampshire on 18 Nov. 1779 passed an act in response to the Active resolution which allowed appeals in cases where the property of friendly foreign nationals was involved. 4 Laws of New Hampshire 238. A copy of this statute was duly filed with the Commissioners on 27 Dec. 1779. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30. According to the certificate of the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, dated 24 Jan. 1784, however, in the minutes of the Commissioners (and presumably in those of the Court of Appeals), “there do not appear to have been any further proceedings in the said Cause untill the Eleventh Day of September 1783.” PCC No. 44, fol. 230.


16 JCC 61–64. See sources cited in note 6 above, and Hogan, “The Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture,” 33 Oregon L. Rev. 95 (1954). Ubbelohde, Vice Admiralty Courts 201, states that establishment of the court without a jury was a recognition of the failure of that institution in the state courts of Admiralty. However, the Court of Appeals was a continuation of the old Commissioners, who had sat without a jury. Most of the state courts continued to employ a jury, so that creation of the Court of Appeals was merely a phase in the conflict between federal Admiralty courts and state civil juries which continued into the 19th century.


17 JCC 459. As to the judges, see Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Constitution,” 131 U.S. Appendix xxvi.


Articles of Confederation, Article IX: “The united States in Congress assembled shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of . . . establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of capture.” The form of the Articles had been agreed on in Congress on 15 Nov. 1777, and on 9 July 1778 they were ratified by eight states, including New Hampshire. By 5 May 1779 they had been ratified by four more states, leaving only Maryland, which could not be persuaded to join until 1 March 1781. See Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Constitution,” 131 U.S. Appendix xii—xiii.


As to the owners' objections, see Memorial of Penhallow et al., 20 Oct. 1783, 6 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 448, 450. They claimed that they had sought to obtain from England more evidence on the question of the insurance being paid, but the short notice had prevented them. Ibid. Counsel at the hearing included “Mr. Rush” (doubtless Jacob, brother of Benjamin) and William Lewis for the appellants, and Jonathan D. Sergeant and Jared Ingersoll for the appellees. James Wilson argued also, presumably for the appellants, since he appeared last, following Ingersoll. It is difficult to determine his position from the very brief minutes, however. Principal reliance seems to have been placed on two authorities which indicate a specialized approach to the questions of prize: R. Lee, Treatise of Captures in War (London, 1759); Emmerich de Vattel, Law of Nations (London, 1760). See Minutes, 13 Sept. 1783, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30. No authorities appear in Paine's notes of the proceedings before the New Hampshire Superior Court, note 67 above. The jurisdictional argument was held on 11 Sept. 1783 and the case “put off,” apparently until the 13th, after the decision. See Minutes, 11 Sept. 1783, DNA Microcopy 162, Reel 15.


Record and Decree, Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, 17 Sept. 1783, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30. Lowell had been appointed to the court on 5 Dec. 1782. 23 JCC 862; Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Constitution,” 131 U.S. Appendix xxvi.


Most of the papers submitted on the petition are in PCC No. 44, fols. 186–324. The selection, being ex parte, is rather one-sided on the merits, including none of the depositions favorable to the claimants. For the Penhallow memorial of 20 Oct. 1783, Sullivan's letter of 6 Jan. 1784, Jefferson's report of 8 Jan. 1784, and an account of the proceedings in Congress, see 6 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 447–455. See also Bourne's memorial, 6 May 1784, supporting his position, which was apparently unneeded. PCC No. 44, fols. 234–235.


Alfred A. Doane, The Doane Family 137 (Boston, 1902). Letters of Administration granted to his widow Anna and son Isaiah at Barnstable, 26 Feb. 1783, are in DNA Microcopy 214, Case 6, fols. 95–96.


See Statement of the M'Clary Owners 29–30; Charles Storer to JA, Boston, 7 April 1786, Adams Papers. See Doane's Administrators v. Penhallow, et al., 1 Dall. (1 U.S.) 218, 219 (Penna. C.P., 1787). The Massachusetts suit is undoubtedly Isaiah Doane et al. v. Thomas Martin et al., SJC Rec. 1785, fol. 22; Docket Bk. 4, SJC Suffolk, Feb. 1786, C–78, an action of trover brought by the Doane Administrators against George Wentworth and the McClary owners at the Suffolk Inferior Court in June 1784. In April 1785, seven of the owners appeared, and on a plea of not guilty entered by Christopher Gore, obtained a verdict. In the Supreme Judicial Court the appellants discontinued. The disputed decree does not appear in the file. SF 104193. If it was in fact David Sewall who was of counsel for the libelants at Portsmouth in 1777 (note 43 above), it is curious that he did not disqualify himself in the Supreme Judicial Court as did John Lowell in the Court of Appeal (note 85 above), and James Wilson later in the Supreme Court (note 95 below).


Doane's Administrators v. Penhallow et al., 1 Dall. (1 U.S.) 218 (Pa. C.P., 1787). Although they did not press the point on this occasion, the McClary owners had finally succeeded in getting convincing evidence of the payment of the insurance. On 17 Feb. 1787 at Portsmouth, John Lane, the “Son” of Lane, Son & Fraser, had given his deposition in perpetuam rei memoriam, testifying that insurance for a loss to an American privateer had been paid to his firm and credited to Doane. Statement of the M'Clary Owners 12–13.


See Penhallow et al. v. Doane's Administrators, 3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 54, 62–63. A copy of the libel appears in DNA Microcopy 214, Case 6.


Act of 8 May 1792, c. 36, §11, 1 Stat. 275, 278–279. The same statute also provided for the deposit of the records of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States, who was authorized to give copies of the records, which were to “have like faith and credit as all other proceedings of the said court.” Id., §11, at 279. See also Act of 2 March 1793, c. 22, §1, 1 Stat. 333, providing that where the Judge of a District Court was disqualified, the Supreme Court Justice assigned to the Circuit Court for that District was to sit alone. The McClary partisans later intimated that the first of these statutes, at least, had been passed especially for the Penhallow case. Statement of the M'Clary Owners 31. Their suspicion is perhaps justified by the fact that Shearjashub Bourne, now acting as agent for the Doane interests, was a member of Congress from 1791 to 1795. See note 16 above. The McClary party was also able to effect a statutory change when, on the appeal to the Supreme Court, Justice Cushing demanded a bond in the amount of the full damages. Statement of the M'Clary Owners 56. By the Act of 12 Dec. 1794, c. 3, 1 Stat. 404, it was provided that security in appeals need be taken only in the amount of costs.


See 3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 63–64, 108–113. The trial court record as certified to the Supreme Court appears in DNA Microcopy 214, Case 6.


See writ of error and return, DNA Microcopy 214, Case 6. The minutes of the Court for the argument of this case from 9 to 16 Feb. 1795 are printed in Surrency, ed., “The Minutes of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1806,” 5 Am. Jour. Legal Hist. 375–378 (1961).


3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 64–66. See Surrency, ed., “Minutes of the Supreme Court,” 5 Am. Jour. Legal Hist. 381, 384.


3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 79–120. The opinions are also printed as Dallas reported them in A Report of the Opinions of the Judges in the Important Cause of Pen hallow et al. against Doane's Administrators (Phila., 1795). James Wilson did not participate, presumably because he had been of counsel in the argument before the Court of Appeals, note 84 above. See Surrency, ed., “Minutes of the Supreme Court,” 5 Am. Jour. Legal Hist. 375–378, 381. Cushing, who had had the same issue before him as a state judge, did not exhibit a similar delicacy, but showed that he was unbiased, by reversing his earlier stand. See note 88 above.


Iredell strongly intimated that he would have held that Congress had the power, but he found it unnecessary to reach the question. See 3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 92–97. Cushing also did not reach the issue, but his feelings on it are less clear. Id. at 117. At least in later Supreme Court practice, the rule was clear that although the judgment of a divided court affirmed the result in the court below and was binding on the parties, it did not constitute a decision of the legal questions involved. See Etting v. Bank of the United States, 11 Wheat. (24 U.S.) 59, 78 (1826); The Independence, 20 How. (61 U.S.) 255 (1857). Blair's Circuit Court opinion upholding the power of Congress (3 Dall. 108–113) was thus presumably authoritative on this point, although of doubtful weight.


3 Dall. (3 U.S.) 89, 120.


For example, Statement of the M'Clary Owners, note 43 above. See also, 1 Warren, Supreme Court 123.


See “Invoice of Goods from London taken in Brigg Lusanna in Oct. 1777” [Nov. 1795], MHi:Greenough Papers. This account shows a net loss to the Doanes of $1691.71.


See Greenough and Doane to John Lane, 18 May 1804, and Lane to Greenough and Doane, 23 July 1804. MHi: Greenough Papers. Missing documents prevent a complete reconstruction of the litigation. For final disposition of the three suits, see Shoolbred v. Greenough Exrs., U.S.C.C.D. Mass. Docket Bk., Oct. 1801, C–16; Shoolbred v. Bourne, id., April 1802, C–7; Shoolbred v. Greenough et al., id., Oct. 1802, C–5; id., June 1803, C–5.

Shearjashub Bourne to John Adams<a xmlns="" href="#LJA02d083n1" class="note" id="LJA02d083n1a">1</a>, 6 December 1777 Bourne, Shearjashub JA


Shearjashub Bourne to John Adams, 6 December 1777 Bourne, Shearjashub Adams, John
Shearjashub Bourne to John Adams1
Boston 6th. Decr. 1777 Sir

Coll. Doane informs me, that he hath engaged you, in the Cause of 377his Brigantine, and his property found in her, at the time of her Capture;

And as Mr. Paine was not fully engaged at the time you was, he does not attend the Tryal (which is to be on the 16th. of this Month at Portsmouth). I herewith Inclose you a Brief of facts (without many perticular circumstances) which may give you a General Idea of the Question, Wishing it may suffice untill your arrival at Portsmouth; to which place I shall proceed on Tuesday next, not doubting of Seeing you there, the next Saturday night, which (if so) will give me an opportunity of instructing you in every perticular circumstance.

Mr. John Lowell is your assistant. There are three Claims, one in behalf of Coll. Doane for the Brigantine and goods, one other in the Name of Mr. Isaiah Doane, and the third in the Name of Wm. Shepherd.2 The goods Claimed by Isaiah Doane were sold him by me, for which I have given him a Release, (the Sale is Bona fide) to inable me to be a Witness for Coll. Doane.3

Coll. Doane is taking Depositions to his Character as well as Isaiah Doane.4 Mr. Lowell directs us how to proceed, and if any perticular plan be thot of by you, please to write me by the Bearer (Capt. Avory) who will wait your pleasure. By the time you Reach Portsmouth, hope to have it in my power to acquaint you with Every paper filed against us. I think Sir there is an absolute necessity of your beeing at Portsmo. next Saturday night, and wou'd Recommend Mrs. Tiltons House to you, to Lodge at, as I shall provide for the Company there.5 I am with due Respect Sir Your Most Obedt. Hmble Sevt,

Shearja. Bourne

I think Sir if you Sett Off for Portsmo. next week a friday, you may reach there on Saturday night, and if you Come to Boston next Week Call on Coll. Doane at his sons house, and he'll be Ready to proceed with you.


RC, Adams Papers, addressed: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Braintree.” Docketed in an unidentified hand: “S. Bourne Dec. 6th 1777.” The enclosure mentioned in the text has not been found.


An inadvertence for James Shepherd, the third claimant. As to the claims, see text at note 47 above.


See copy of a bill of sale, 24 Nov. 1777, in which Bourne on receipt of £122 14s. 5d. declared that he did “hereby release to him the said Doane all right title and Interest to” various goods “and all right and title thereto and to all other interest I have on board the brig Lusanna.”PCC No. 44, fol. 315; DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 85. The goods were identical to those subsequently claimed by Doane. Id., No. 4. The tactic was unsuccessful. See sources in notes 54, 68, 77, above.


See note 26 131 below.


See text at notes 50–51 above.

378 Adams’ Minutes of the Trial<a xmlns="" href="#LJA02d084n1" class="note" id="LJA02d084n1a">1</a>: New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777 JA


Adams’ Minutes of the Trial: New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777 Adams, John
Adams' Minutes of the Trial1
New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777
Penhallow and Treadwell vs. Brig. Lusanna and Cargo.

Mr. Sewall. 3 Causes sett forth.2 Resolve of Congress, 25 Novr. 1775. March 23d. 1776.3


Law of N. Hampshire, principally relyd on. In June 1776. 1777 April 19. Septr. 5, 1776.4

Vessell and Cargo the Property of Sherja. Bourne, who thought it safest to go to England and take shelter under the Wing of his Majesty K. George.

Register, in the Name of S. Bourne, 3 Aug. 1776.5

Invoices from Lane Son & Frasier, consignd to S.B.6


Provisions consignd to Cockran in the Absence of Doane.7

Deposition of Thos. Casey, a Passenger, with his Wife. Understood from Bourne that the Brig, was made over to Bourne. Understood B. was in Conjunction with his Father and Brother Doane. Knows the sewing silk was Shepards. He would store the Goods 3 Year if he could not get a good Price.8

Letter from Lane Son & Frasier. Gibraltar.

Employd in carrying Ordnance stores to Gibralter.

Letter speaks of the Brig, as Bournes Property.9


Deposition of Mary Casey.10

Mr. Lewis.

Letter Bourne to Cockran, Wait orders from Me, L. Son and Fr., E. or Is. Doane.11

Lot Lewis. Deposition. Went in her to Gibralter. Saild 1. Octr. 1776. Timber and Bricks the Cargo.

Ordnance Colours. Understood, the Property was Colonel Doanes. Carryd Pitch, Tar, Timber and Bricks to Gibralter. Understood they 382were Ordnance Stores because they wore Ordnance Colours, received of a Government Contractor as I took the Gentleman to be.12

Sewall. Swearing is a serious Matter. An honest Man must pause. Oath to the Register.

Invoices and Bills of Lading. Marked S.B.

Letter. E. Crosby, to Captn. W. Spry, Engineer at Hallifax. He will have a Vessell or two which he would be glad to get into Governments service.13 This to shew that Bourne was an Enemy to these States.

Bournes Memorial to the Lords of Trade &c. Always a loial subject.14 Where Conduct is uniform, I dont blame.


If the Goods are Doanes, all Bournes Acts as his Agent are his Acts. Bournes sending the Brig to Gibraltar was Ds. Act.

Goods all insured in London. Why should he guard vs. Privateers. He would wish to be taken. Premium 10. Guins. Pr. Ct. 4 to be returnd.15

Continental Association: We will not import.16 Breach of this, Proof of Disaffection to our Cause.

Indictment for running a Man thro with a sword. Evidence may be given that he cut off his Head with an Ax,—not that he poisoned him.17


Mr. McKay. Bourne said, if I loose her she is well insurd in London.

Mr. Baker. I dont want it insurd again for she is once insurd in England.18

Colonel Doane wont loose it, nor Mr. Bourne, but the Insurers.

Mr. Doanes Letter, respecting Sheppards Goods.19

Mr. Lowell. . . . Copy of

3 Nov. 1775. Letter to Lane Son and Frasier, from Bourne at Hallifax seized. Inferring that Lusanna belonging to Doane was seized.20

Ditto. 3d. Decr. 1775.21 1. Oct. 1776. Letter from L.S. & Fraser, write to Bourne about his Brigantine and his Interest.22


12. Octr. 76. Letter from Bourne to Doane. His situation very unhappy seperated from Family and Friends. Impossible to alter it, without exposing my Person and your Property. Am determind to make an Effort to see you and all Friends.23

Letter from B. to his Wife. Expectation of speedily returning.24

Libell vs. Brig. Industry at Boston 18 Sep. 1775. Condemnd. Bromfield claimd an Appeal to England. The Oil was consigned to Mr. Bourne, in London for Sale. Bourne applies to Smith Council who drew the Memorial for him to the Lords of Trade.25

Depositions of Mr. Hancock. Jno. Bradford, Jno. Emmery. Chas. Miller. Laz. Goodwin. Saml. Emmery.26


Bills of Lading of two Trunks and 29 Ib. silks of Shepards.27

Capt. Woods hand Writing to the sailing orders.28 In the Book. On the Risque of Elisha Doane.29

Agreed between Elisha Doane and Mathew Wood.30

Letter to Lane Son & Fraser, from Colonel Doane.31

Letter to Bourne from Doane, consigning Oil &c. by the Industry.32

July 17. 1777. Letter, from D. to Bourne.33


Bills of Lading S.B. Invoice from Edenson & Co. Invoice of . . ..34

Shepards Property admitted.

Isaiah Doanes, purchased of Mr. Bourne.35

Laws of the State of N.H.36 Resolve of Congress 25 Nov. 75. 23. March. 76. 24. July 76. extended to all the subjects of G.B.37


The Voyage to Gibralter. French, Spaniards, Portuguese, Sweeds &c.39

Onus Probandi on the Libellant.

Deposition of T. Casey and Wife.40

Maccays Case.41 Mrs. Alsops Case.42


Bill Jacksons Case.43 Butlers Letter.44


1. Q. Is the Property Doanes? Yes.45

2d. Does the Voyage to Gibralter, forfeit the Property?

3. Does the Voyage to Hallifax forfeit.

4. Does the Goods being British Manufactures forfeit em and Brig.

5. Does the Insurance forfeit the Goods?


In JA's hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185.


The libel of John and Jacob Penhallow, agents for the owners of the McClary, and George Wentworth, agent for the crew (“the captors”), against the Lusanna in the New Hampshire Maritime Court, dated 11 Nov. 1777, alleged that the McClary

“did on or about the 30th day of October last on the high seas within the Jurisdiction of said Court seize and take the said Brigantine Lusanna and bring her into Piscataqua harbor, which said Brigantine the Libellants aver was together with the Cargo on board her the property of some Inhabitant or Inhabitants of Great Britain or some subject or subjects of the king of Great Britain other than the Inhabitants of Bermudas and Providence or the Bahama Islands and said Vessel so captured was at the time of her Capture carrying Supplies to the Enemies of the United States of America by means of all which and by virtue of the resolutions of Congress and the acts and resolves of the state of New Hampshire said Vessel Cargo and appurtenances are forfeited.”

The libel prayed process and condemnation and distribution “as the said laws resolves and resolutions direct.” DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 2. For the Congressional and state laws involved, see notes 3 108 , 4 109 , below. None of the copies of the libel used in later phases of the case contains the third “cause sett forth.” See PCC No. 44, fols. 265–266; DNA Microcopy 214, Case 6. Whipple's notes (at note 2 152 below) show that it was “That the property on Board was British Manufacture.” This basis for the forfeiture either may have been stricken from the libel on the basis of JA's arguments against it, text at notes 26 176–180 below, or Sewall may have tried to argue that the libel as quoted here should be construed to include it. As to the identity of “Mr. Sewall,” see note 43 above.


The Resolve of 25 Nov. 1775, a response to George Washington's complaints about the lack of machinery for dealing with captures, was drafted by a committee of which JA was a member. See 3 JCC 357–358; 3 JA, Diary and Autobiography 346–349. It provided for the condemnation as prize of enemy military and transport vessels and cargo; set up a requirement that no privateer cruise without a commission from Congress; recommended that the states establish prize courts sitting with juries, and subject to certain venue provisions; provided for an appeal from such courts “in all cases;” and provided for the distribution of proceeds, confirming prior awards by General Washington. 3 JCC 373–375. The provision relied on here, as modified by a Resolution of 19 Dec. 1775, was,

“That all transport vessels in the same [i.e. British] service, having on board any troops, arms, ammunition, cloathing, provisions, or military or naval stores of what kind soever, and all vessels to whomsoever belonging that shall be employed in carrying provisions or other necessaries to the British Army or armies, or navy, that now are or shall hereafter be within any of the United Colonies, or any goods, wares, or merchandizes, for the use of such fleet and army, shall be liable to seizure, and, with their cargoes, shall be confiscated.” Id. at 437.

See Jameson, “The Predecessor of the Supreme Court,” in J. Franklin Jameson, ed., Essays in the Constitutional History of the United States 6–8 (Boston and N.Y., 1889). The Resolution of 23 March 1776, which authorized the fitting out of armed vessels, provided in pertinent part,

“That all ships and other vessels, their tackle, apparel, and furniture, and all goods, wares, and merchandizes, belonging to any inhabitant or inhabitants of Great Britain, taken on the high seas, or between high and low water mark, by any armed vessel fitted out by any private person or persons, and to whom commissions shall be granted, and being libelled and prosecuted in any court erected for the trial of maritime affairs, in any of these colonies, shall be deemed and adjudged to be lawful prize; and after deducting the wages of the crew of captured merchantmen shall be condemned to and for the use of the owner or owners, and the officers, marines, and mariners of such armed vessel, according to such rules and proportions as they shall agree on: Provided always, that this resolution shall not extend to any vessel bringing settlers arms, ammunition or warlike stores to and for the use of these colonies, or any of the inhabitants thereof, who are friends to the American cause, or to such warlike stores, or to the effects of such settlers.” 4 JCC 230–231.

Other resolutions provided for the distribution of proceeds of captures made by vessels of the United Colonies, or a single colony, or by land forces. Id. at 231–232. For JA's role in the passage of this resolve, see 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography  233 note 10; 3 id. at 371–375


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.


See a copy of the Lusanna's register, taken out at the Custom House, London, 3 Aug. 1776, on the oath of “Shearjashub Bourne of London Merchant,” that he “of London in Great Britain is at present Owner thereof.” Endorsements dated 27 March and 14 July 1777 show changes of master. PCC No. 44, fols. 275–276; DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 8.


See Invoice, and bill of lading, 10 June 1777, for £2124 worth of assorted merchandize, to be shipped aboard the Lusanna by Lane, Son & Fraser, consigned to Bourne at Halifax. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 13, 14.


The MS reads “Doane,” but this is probably a reference to “Invoice of sundry goods shipped on board the Lusanna for Halifax in Nova Scotia by Shearjashub Bourne, Esqr. marked and numbered as per margin and consigned to Messrs. Thomas Cochran and Co. Merchants there in the absence of said Bourne.” DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 15. The goods, valued at £208 2s., were food and liquor, in casks marked SB.


See Deposition of Thomas Casey, Portsmouth, 3 Dec. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 9, in which he testified

“That on the 21st day of August he embarked as a passenger on board the Brigantine Lusanna bound from London to Halifax. That Mr. Shearjashub Bourne was also a passenger in the same brigantine, from whom this deponent understood that she was formerly ownd by Mr. Elisha Doane of Wellfleet, but that afterwards She was made over to him the said Bourne. That this deponent knows that the said brigantine was publickly advertized as a vessel to carry freight from London to Halifax having seen advertizements put up for that purpose about a fortnight before she saild. This deponent understood from conversation with Mr. Bourne that he the said Bourne had some goods on board the said brigantine.”

After describing the voyage and capture of the Lusanna (text at note 41 above), Casey testified that he had

“heard Mr. Bourne say that he should be a considerable loser thereby [i.e. by the capture]. Previous thereto said Bourne told the deponent that if the goods on board would fetch a good price at Halifax he intended to sell them there, if they would not, he determined to store them there and keep them two years rather than not sell them to advantage. This deponent says that he understood from Mr. Bourne that his father in law Mr. Doane together with his (Bourne's) brother were connected in trade together. That after the capture Mr. Bourne expressed a desire and his hopes of being retaken by some british vessel. That this deponent, Mr. Bourne, and all the other prisoners told the prize master who was fearful of being retaken that in case that event should happen they would do everything in their power to prevent his being a Sufferer.”

He further testified that he paid for his passage, 8 guineas in London and £27 in Portsmouth. On cross-examination by Oliver Whipple, attorney for the Doanes, Casey admitted that he did not “know” that the Lusanna was Bourne's property, but added that he understood from Bourne that there had been some kind of conveyance of the vessel. He further testified that Bourne had never said that he was Doane's factor, and that he, Casey, knew nothing of any such arrangement. Under Whipple's questioning, Casey testified that he had taken the helm during the chase by the McClary in an effort to aid the Lusanna in escaping. The deposition closed with his affirmative answer to Whipple's question, “Do you know that 29 Ib. of Sewing Silk shipped by Mr. James Shepherd was his property?” PCC No. 49, fols. 272–279.


Lane, Son & Fraser to Bourne, London, 1 Oct. 1776. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 12:

“We have your favors of the 3d and 27th inst. In respect to your Brig Lusanna, she is but just clear of the Channel. When she was upon the point of clearing out at the Custom House it was discoverd that the person who supplyd the Office of Ordnance with the Timber had made a mistake in the Entry, in consequence of which all the Fir was taken out and relanded, the Commissioners of the Customs insisting it should not go in the Vessel. Many applications were made to fill up with other Timber but refused. At length we had a meeting with the Shipper, who after much altercation agreed to pay full freight for the Goods taken out and also 66 £ for Demurrage. The Board of Ordnance insisted the Vessell should go forward with what was left on board, and finding we could not make the Board or the Shippers of the Wood answerable for any Loss or disappointment in regard to her homeward bound freight, we thought it for your Interest that we should accept the offer made us and let Capt. Wood go about his Business. Indeed, we think it luckey for the concern'd that he did not go sooner, as Six Vessells have been taken by a Provincial Privateer, and as we find our Men of War are now cruizing, apprehend there will not be so much risque by the Time your Vessell gets to Gibraltar as there was a month or six weeks ago. We have supplied Capt. Wood with Letters to our Friends at Malaga and Barcelona, at one of which places hope she will get a freight.” PCC No. 44, fol. 311.

See note 27 above.


See Deposition of Mary Casey, wife of Captain Thomas Casey (note 8 113 above), Portsmouth, 3 Dec. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 10:

“That she heard Mr. Bourne say in conversation that the reason he did not insure the brigantine Lusanna was that she belonged to his father Doane and in case of her being taken he would claim her. That she also heard said Bourne say that he expected to buy Prize Vessels at Halifax and that by that and his other trade there he expected in the course of the ensuing winter to clear five thousand pounds. That after the capture she also heard him say that he should loose all the profits on his goods. She also heard him say after the Capture that he hoped the brigantine Lusanna would be retaken by some of the Kings ships. That the said Bourne in England shewed this deponent some invoices of goods and offered to entrust her with some of them to sell at Halifax on Commissions.”

On cross-examination by Oliver Whipple for the claimants, Mrs. Casey testified that she had never heard Bourne say that he acted for Doane, but understood that the two were in partnership with Doane's brother; that she did not know who owned the Lusanna's cargo, but that she had known that the silk was Captain Shepherd's. PCC No. 44, fol. 281.


See Bourne to Messrs. Thomas Cochran & Co., undated, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 31. The letter advised the recipients, Halifax merchants, of the forthcoming arrival aboard the Lusanna of several consignments of provisions which they were to dispose of “to the Best Advantage for the Owners and Adventurers,” accounting with them or Bourne; of consignments of provisions belonging to Bourne, which they were to dispose of “to the best Advantage for my Interest,” accounting with him, Lane, Son & Fraser, or the Doanes; and of goods on bill of lading which they were to see delivered to the consignees, except that the goods “in one other Bill of Lading herewith Inclos'd and marked SB belonging to me you will store and wait the further order of Myself, Messrs. Lane Son & Fraser, Elisha or Isaiah Doane.” Bourne also ordered his correspondents to discharge master and crew and lay up the Lusanna until further orders from himself, Lane, Son & Fraser, or the Doanes. By way of postscript he added, “I Order those Goods to You, lest some Accident should befall me on my Passage there as I do not go out in my own Ship.” PCC No. 44, fols. 303–304.


See Deposition of Lot Lewis, mate of the Lusanna, Portsmouth, 4 Dec. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 11. Lewis testified that “he understood by the Register that the said brigantine Lusanna was owned by Mr. Shearjashub Bourne tho' he understood the property was in fact Mr. Elisha Doane's of Wellfleet and covered by Mr. Bourne in order to secure the property in that manner.” After describing the Lusanna's departure from St. Helen's, Isle of Wight, on 13 Sept., and her voyage and capture, he continued,

“That before this voyage the brig Lusanna beforementioned was employed to carry Pitch tar timber and bricks which he understood were ordnance Stores from London to Gibralter and he supposes on account of the Government of Great Britain as the flag they wore had in it the figure of three blue balls and three gun-carriages. That they sailed on the voyage last mentioned on the first day of October 1776. The colours above described were received of a Gentleman who I suppose to be a Government Contractor who used to ask why the Brig did not wear ordnance colours as she had ordnance stores on board; and on being answered that they had no ordnance colours on board the said Contractor supplyd them and afterward made Capt. Wood pay for them.”

On cross-examination by Oliver Whipple for the claimants, Lewis admitted that he did not “know” that the Gibraltar cargo was King's stores and stated that he had not known the vessel to be Doane's on the original departure from America, but that Captain Wood had told him that Bourne was acting as owner to protect Doane's property. Further questioning on behalf of the libelants brought out that Bourne had said to Lewis that part of the cargo, marked SB, was his. To Whipple's question Lewis answered that he did not “know of” any King's stores aboard the Lusanna when she was taken. Further questioning brought out that the Lusanna had had aboard two swivels, to be used “to answer signals” only, and some small arms and ammunition at the time of capture, and that the McClary had fired at her “eight or ten times” during the chase.


See Edward Crosby to “Capt. William Spry Commanding Engineer at Halifax,” 16 July 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 36:

“This is chiefly to beg leave to recommend to your notice my friend Mr. Bourne, who you may recollect din'd with us at Melatiah Bourne's in Boston. Soon after the present Contest in America he made his Escape to this country. He now proposes going out to Halifax in the first arm'd vessel that is sent out with Stores, and with the flattering hope of the Rebellion in America being finally settled this Season, and to be thereby enabled to join his family in New-England. If not, to remain at Halifax till that event takes place. He has loaded a Brigantine of his with the different kinds of Goods suitable for the Halifax market, which sails with the first convoy. He will likewise have a vessel or two, which he would gladly get into Government Service. If you can be of service to him of yourself in recommending to your Acquaintance shall esteem it a favor. Part of his cargo consists of Ben Keiston's best. By the way, I am become as great a Porter drinker as any Jack Roastbeef I meet with.” PCC No. 44, fol. 305.


Bourne's Memorial to the Lords of the Treasury, 30 Jan. 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 59. Bourne sought recompense for a portion of the cargo of the brigantine Industry, consigned to him at London, which had been condemned in the Court of Vice Admiralty at Boston in Sept. 1775. See note 25 130 below; text at notes 29–32 above. In support of his application he urged

“That your Memorialist hath ever been and still is one of his Majesty's loyal Subjects and by every Act in his power he hath maintain'd a firm Attachment to Government and his Loyalty to his most Sacred Majestys Person Government and Laws and while in America publicly and privately disavow'd all actions that might have a Tendency to subvert his Majestys Government and the Constitution, and by a steady perseverance had renderd his Person and Property unsafe. That he was obliged to convey himself with a very small part of his property away from his Native Land to this Kingdom and brought with him a very considerable quantity of Oyl, which he apprehended was very much wanted in this Kingdom; Directly contrary to the Resolves of a body of Men who took upon themselves the Stile or Title of the Continental Congress. And your Memorialist from the time of his departure from thence, left orders for the aforesaid One hundred and two Casks of Oyl the cargo of theIndustry to be forward[ed] him at the Port of London aforesaid.” PCC No. 44, fol. 308.

For even more damning evidence, apparently used to bolster the memorial, see the extracts from Bourne's journal, note 8 158 below.


The invoice of Lane, Son & Fraser, 10 June 1777, note 6 111 in above, shows that the goods there covered were insured to the value of 10 guineas per 100, “to return £4 pr. cent if sails with convoy and arrives.” PCC No. 44, fol. 292.


The so-called Continental Association was “a non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement” bridging the gap between the earlier colonial nonimportation agreements and the Declaration of Independence, and seeking to force British redress of colonial grievances through economic sanctions. See Miller, Origins of the American Revolution 385–392. It was signed in Congress on 20 Oct. 1774. After a recital of grievances reminiscent of the Declaration, the Association stated the pledge of its signers “That from and after the first day of December next, we will not import into British America, from Great-Britain or Ireland, any goods, wares, or merchandise whatsoever, or from any other place, any such goods, wares, or merchandise as shall have been exported from Great-Britain or Ireland.” 1 JCC 76. Also banned were the importation of dutied articles and slaves, the consumption of all banned articles, and the exportation of all goods to Great Britain, Ireland and the West Indies after 10 Sept. 1775. Id. at 77. Goods imported before 1 Feb. 1775 were to be reshipped, stored for the duration, or sold with the profits going to relieve Boston; goods received thereafter were to be reshipped. Id. at 78–79. Violations were to be checked by locally chosen committees,

“whose business it shall be attentively to observe the conduct of all persons touching this association; and when it shall be made to appear, to the satisfaction of a majority of any such committee, that any person within the limits of their appointment has violated this association, that such majority do forthwith cause the truth of the case to be published in the gazette; to the end, that all such foes to the rights of British-America may be publicly known, and universally contemned as the enemies of American liberty; and thenceforth we respectively will break off all dealings with him or her.” Id. at 79.

See also an annotated text of the Association in 1 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 149–150.


The position of this statement in the MS on the page facing and directly op posite the notes of Lot Lewis' testimony, note 12 117 above, as well as its substance, suggest that it is a note by JA of the basis of his objection to admission of evidence on the Lusanna's Gibraltar trip. See text at note 11 169 below. JA may refer to 2 Hawkins, Pleas of the Crown 437:

“And therefore it is agreed, That if one be indicted or appealed for killing another with a Sword, and upon evidence it appear that he killed him with a Staff, Hatchet, Bill or Hook, or any other Weapon with which a Wound may be given, he ought to be found guilty, for the Substance of the Matter is, whether he gave the Party a Wound of which he died; and it is not material with what Weapon he gave it, tho' for Form's sake it be necessary to set forth a particular Weapon. . . . Yet it seems clear, That Evidence of poisoning, burning, or famishing, or any other Kind of killing wherein no Weapon is used, will not maintain an Indictment or Appeal of Death by killing with a Weapon.”


Depositions of Baker and McKay have not been found. They were probably passengers or crew members aboard the Lusanna who may have testified orally at the trial. It is also possible that they were Portsmouth insurance underwriters who had tried and failed to sell Bourne insurance on his arrival there.


No such letter of Doane's has been located. JA may have meant Bourne's letter to an unidentified correspondent “done in a hurry at Sailing” for Halifax in Sept. 1777. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 79. Bourne asked that if the expenses of Shepherd's illness could not be met from resources in the letter's hands, an account should be sent to Lane, Son & Fraser, “for this reason only, as Captain Shepherd has goods on board my Brigantine the Lusanna to the amount of £100 which are insured.” If the goods should be taken by privateers, Lane, Son & Fraser would discharge the account from the insurance proceeds; if the vessel should arrive safely Bourne would pay the account from proceeds of sale of the goods which were consigned to him. See note 27 132 below.


Bourne to Lane, Son & Fraser, Halifax, 3 Nov. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 6, informing them that “on the 4th of September last the Brigantine Lusannah belonging to Coll. Elisha Doane of Eastham laded with Oyl 2 Ct. bbl. of which were consigned to your good selves the remainder of the cargo was consigned to me (who married his eldest daughter) sailed from New England for London, and proceeding on our voyage,” was forced into Halifax, “and upon entering the port the brigantine was taken in custody by a King's ship.” The Lusanna was released, then taken again, requiring that Bourne travel to Boston to obtain her release. The letter dealt with other matters including the problems of the Industry, notes 29–32 above, and reported the draft of a bill of exchange on Lane, Son & Fraser for the Lusanna's repairs.


Bourne to Lane, Son & Fraser, Halifax, 31 Dec. 1775, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 7, repeating the information about the bill of exchange in his letter of 3 Nov., note 20 125 above, and adding: “You will further note that the Brigantine [Lusanna] was seized as the property of Elisha Doane Esqr. of Eastham who belongs to New England by virtue of a general order from Lord Dartmouth.” He then reported that he had obtained the vessel's release at Boston and was about to sail for London, having drawn a second bill of exchange for necessaries. The letter bears the apparently incorrect date of 3 Dec. at the head. The date 31 Dec. which appears at the end is more likely, because Bourne was reported to have been in Boston as late as the 13th. Id., Nos. 112, 113.


See note 9 114 above.


Bourne to Doane, London, 12 Oct. 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 29:

“My situation here is very unhappy as you may well think being seperated from my Family and friends; But it is neither in my power to change it nor in the least degree prudent to attempt it this winter without exposing my person and leaving your property unguarded. Therefore I must for the present remain here until I can return with more Safety to myself and friends.”

After reporting that his presence in England was working to Doane's great advantage, Bourne concluded,

“I am determined to make one Effort ere belong to see you and all friends when I find the gathering of the Storm to abate. When the Brigantine returns from Gibraltar I may sell her but that depends on Circumstances and price. Be assured that I have nothing more at heart than the welfare and interest of my friends and if it be in my power to add to their happiness and Interest I shall ever be ready to do it, tho' at the expence of my own small private fortune.”


Bourne to his wife, 12 Oct. 1776, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 30: “The anxiety under which I labour for your and my children's welfare and peace greatly disturbs me, but my expectations of speedily returning affords me some consolation.”


As to the role of the Industry in this case, see text at notes 29–32 above. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, contains the record of the proceedings in the Court of Vice Admiralty at Boston, including the libel filed against her by Samuel Fitch on behalf of John DeLaTouche, Commander of H.M.S. Halifax, dated 18 Sept. 1775 (No. 37); the claim of Henry Bromfield, agent for the owners of the Industry for vessel and most of the cargo (No. 38); decrees of Nathaniel Hatch, Deputy Judge, dated 10 and 12 Oct. 1775, condemning the unclaimed portions of the cargo, as well as the vessel and claimed portions (Nos. 39, 42); Bromfield's claim of an appeal to the Privy Council, dated 19 Oct. 1775 (No. 45); and an invoice, dated 7 Sept. 1775 (No. 89), and bill of lading, dated 17 July 1775 (No. 56), under which 102 casks of oil and head matter belonging to Doane were shipped aboard the Industry, consigned to Bourne or Lane, Son & Fraser in London. Bourne's journal, note 8 158 below, and his Memorial, note 14 119 above, document his petition to the Lords of Trade.


For the depositions of John Hancock, John Bradford, John Emery, Charles Miller, Lazarus Goodwin, and Samuel Emery as to Doane's good character as a patriot, all taken early in Dec. 1777, see DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 72, 70. 73. 71, 69, and 67. Hancock stated in part that Doane was “a friend to his country an advocate for liberty and an asserter of the rights and liberties of mankind.” Id., No. 72. He and the others testified to Doane's services as a member of the General Assembly, selectman, provisioner of the Continental Army, and general supporter of the patriot cause. Ibid. Doane was also given a clean bill of health by the Wellfleet Committee of Correspondence. Certificate of 27 Nov. 1777, id., No. 75.


See bill of lading, 10 July 1777, Lane, Son & Fraser, consigning two trunks of merchandize to James Shepherd at Halifax; receipt of Matthew Wood, 10 July 1777 to James Shepherd for 29 pounds of silk to be delivered to him at Halifax; acknowledgment apparently by Bourne, Cowes, 4 Sept. 1777, of indorsement to him by Shepherd of the bill of lading and receipt. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 19. See note 47 124 above.


The orders, signed by Doane and countersigned by Wood, provided that Wood was to proceed directly to London and on arrival there to “deliver your Cargo to Messrs. Lane Son & Fraser and Mr. Shearjashub Bourne agreeable to Bills of Lading and when you have delivered your Cargo apply to them for further directions about a Freight back &c.” DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 104. Dated 21 Aug. 1775 and produced from Doane's copy book, according to Wood's deposition of 28 Jan. 1778. Id., No. 118.


Probably a reference to the invoice of Doane's goods shipped aboard the Lusanna “on the proper account and Riske of Elisha Doane,” which was apparently also produced at the trial from Doane's copy book. See the invoice, DNA Microcopy, 162, Case 30, No. 103. A similar notation appears on a gauge of the oil obtained by Joseph Doane and consigned to Lane, Son & Fraser. Id., No. 93. Depositions of David Stoddard Greenough, 20 Feb. 1778, and Matthew Wood, 28 Jan. 1778. Id., Nos. 136, 118.


See agreement between Wood and Doane, 29 Aug. 1775, providing that Wood was to have “Ten barrels Priviledge” on the voyage to London and the like en route to New England from the West Indies, if the return trip was made that way. Certain arrangements were made for the division of commissions with Bourne, and Wood was granted living expenses of 2s. 6d. while in London in addition to his wages of £30 per month. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 105. This document was produced on the trial from Doane's copy book. See Wood's deposition, 28 Jan. 1778, id., No. 118.


Presumably Doane's letter of 29 Aug. 1775, reporting the departure of the Lusanna, commending Bourne to the firm's care, asking them to send him £1500 cash with Bourne, and giving instructions for the return cargo, depending on the political situation. See text at note 18 above. There are in the file, however, other letters, dated 12 Feb. 1776 and 17 July 1777 from Doane to Lane, Son & Fraser, giving further instructions. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 112, 115.


See Doane to Bourne, 7 Sept. 1775, inclosing invoice and bill of lading for Doane's share of the Industry's cargo. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 109. See also Doane's letter to Lane, Son & Fraser of the same date. Id., No. 108.


Doane to Bourne, 17 July 1777, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 116: “By your letter of Septr. last which came to hand we had great expectations of seeing you in America before now, but I suppose the difficulty of the times has occasiond your further stay, doubtless by this time you have settled all my affairs to my advantage and your satisfaction. When prudence should direct should be very glad to see you here.”


As to the various bills of lading in Bourne's charge, see Bourne to Cochran, note 11 116 above. For Lane, Son & Fraser's, and his own consignments, see notes 6 111 , 7 112 , above. See also invoice and bill of lading of Wm. Edenson & Co., 23 July 1777, consigning goods to the value of £1057 125. 6d. (including £66 8s. 6d. insurance), to Bourne. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 27, 17.


See bill of sale, note 3 103 above.


See note 4 109 above.


The Resolves of 25 Nov. 1775 and 23 March 1776 are set out in note 3 108 above. That of 24 July 1776 appears in note 4 109 above.


That is, the Continental Association, note 16 121 above.


Probably a comment that trade would be had in the Mediterranean with people of all of these nationalities as well as with British subjects. The Lusanna did in fact call at Barcelona and bring home cargo from Malaga. See note 27 above.


See notes 8 113 , 10 115 , above.


Spelling uncertain. Perhaps Roberts v. Schooner Thistle, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 1 (Sp. Com. 1776), an appeal from the Pennsylvania Court of Admiralty. The Thistle had been taken by the privateer Congress while en route from Florida to the West Indies with a cargo of flour, pitch pine, and oak to be sold there. The libel alleged that she was the property of inhabitants of Great Britain (amended to read enemies of the United Colonies), and that she was carrying supplies to the “ministerial army” of Great Britain. The vessel was condemned after a verdict that she was the property in part of inhabitants of Great Britain and in part of enemies of the United Colonies. A special committee of Congress, with Robert Treat Paine a member, reversed on 16 Sept. 1776. The reasons for reversal do not appear in the record.


Presumably Alsop v. Ruttenbergh, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 11 (Commrs. of App. 1777), an appeal from the Admiralty Court of Rhode Island. The Frank, originally out of New London, and claimed by Mrs. Alsop, a widow, of Middletown, Connecticut, had been captured by the privateer Montgomery, of Providence. The libel alleged that the Frank was en route from Newfoundland to Jamaica in one of a series of voyages she had made between those ports after obtaining a change of name and register at the latter. She had allegedly carried supplies to the fleet and army at Newfoundland. In an earlier proceeding based on a libel alleging only that she was the property of inhabitants of Great Britain the Frank had been acquitted by a jury. On the second libel, after the court overruled a motion to dismiss based on the earlier acquittal, the jury found that the voyages had been made as alleged and that the Frank was carrying supplies to the enemy. On appeal before JA, James Wilson, and Thomas Burke, the appellants were heard, but the appellees did not appear. On 20 May 1777, the Commissioners reversed the decree and ordered redelivery.


Presumably Wentworth v. The Elizabeth, William Jackson et al., claimants, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 2 (Sp. Com. 1776), a case in which Lowell himself was both a claimant and of counsel. The Elizabeth had been seized by three Continental privateers on 3 April 1776, en route from Boston to Halifax carrying loyalists evacuating the former city, their belongings, and goods looted during the evacuation. She and her cargo were libeled as having been recaptured after being in enemy hands for more than 96 hours, and for carrying supplies to the enemy. Under New Hampshire law, which adopted the language of a resolve of Congress, the recaptors of a vessel that had been in the possession of the enemy for more than 96 hours were entitled to one half the proceeds of sale, even if the enemy had not condemned her as prize. Act of 3 July 1776, 4 Laws of New Hampshire 30; Resolve of 5 Dec. 1775, 3 JCC 407. For the provision on supplying the enemy, see note 109 above. Jackson, a notorious tory, later tried for his participation, was one of 29 claimants; most of the remainder were citizens of Boston, like Lowell and John Rowe, whose effects had been taken by the departing loyalists. See Rowe, Letters and Diary 316–317. The vessel's owner, a Portsmouth merchant, also filed a claim. Jackson himself had gone as a passenger aboard the Elizabeth, ostensibly to protect his goods. See generally 1 Adams Family Correspondence 373–374. In Aug. 1776, a jury in the New Hampshire Court Maritime found that the vessel had not been captured as prize by the enemy, and was not carrying supplies to the British fleet and army, and that she and her cargo ought to be restored to the claimants. On the captors' appeal by their agent, Joshua Wentworth (also an owner of the McClary; see note 43 above), the special committee of Congress, which again included Paine, held that vessel and cargo were not forfeit as prize under the resolve of Congress dated 25 Nov. 1775, note 3 108 above, and that the Congressional resolve allowing a portion of the proceeds to recaptors was intended only for vessels which might be condemned as prize by the Law of Nations. The Committee ruled that the owners ought to make reasonable satisfaction for the return of their goods, however. The New Hampshire decree was reversed, and vessel and cargo ordered to be restored on condition that the claimants pay one-twelfth of its value to the recaptors. The report was accepted in Congress on 14 Oct. 1776. See 6 JCC 870–873. See also Clark, George Washingon's Navy 130–132, 136–138, 185–187.


Probably a reference to the letter of credit on John Butler of Halifax, which Bourne carried. Compare Whipple's notes of Lowell's argument, text following note 15 165 below. See also note 10 160 below.


These five questions are JA's notes of the heads of his own argument, repeated in slightly different form in Whipple's notes. See note 16 166 below.

389 Oliver Whipple’s Minutes of the Argument<a xmlns="" href="#LJA02d085n1" class="note" id="LJA02d085n1a">1</a>: New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777 Whipple, Oliver


Oliver Whipple’s Minutes of the Argument: New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777 Whipple, Oliver
Oliver Whipple's Minutes of the Argument1
New Hampshire Court Maritime, Portsmouth, 16 December 1777
John Penhallow and others, agents for the Privateer McClary vs. Brig Lusannar

The Libel sets forth three Facts as Causes of Condemnation viz.

1st. That the Property of Brig and Cargo belonged to some Inhabitant or Inhabitants of great Britain.

2d. That at the Time of the Capture She was Carrying Supplies to the Enemy.

3d. That the Property on Board was British Manufacture.2

NB They then indeavour to introduce a fourth Cause of Condemnation viz. that the Brig made a Voyage to Gibralter with King's Stores in the Year 1776, tho' this Cause is not set forth in the Libel.3

There are two Resolves of Congress principally insisted on viz. the one that makes british property confiscate, the other, that makes all Vessels, their Cargoes &c. forfeited carrying Supplies to the Fleets and Armies acting against America, which said Resolves are adopted in our maritime Law.4

The Agents Council open the Cause in such manner, as to make Mr. Bourne the ostensible Owner of the Brig and Cargo, and as he has not Claimed the Property, They draw a false Consequence, that Coll. Doane has no foundation or Right of Claim to the Property.

The Council for the Agents first proceed to prove the Property in Mr. Bourne, and that he is an Inhabitant of Great Britain. To this end they Produce the Register in his Name.5 The Goods being marked in his Name.6 His Departure from the Country at the Commencement of the Despute.

His Memorial to the Lords of the Admiralty7 to recover Part of the Cargo of the Brig Industry. His Journal to show him an Enemy to the Country.8


Mr. Crosby's Letter of Recommendation to the Commanding Ingineer at Hallif ax.9 Two Letters of Credit from Mr. Lane, and Watson and Company to Mr. Butler at Hallifax in Favour of Mr. Bourne for about 7000.10

Also the Deposition of one Casey.11

The Deposition of Mrs. Casey.12

The Deposition of Mr. Lewis the Mate.13

And also produce a Letter from Mr. Bourne to Mr. Cockran at Hallifax.14

Answered by Mr. J. Lowell.15

By giving a general History of the Voyage and the whole transaction thereof, and showing the Property of the Brig and Cargo to be in Coll. Doane and that the altering the Register was to cover the Property from Seizure.

The marking the Goods SB was for the same Purpose.

His Departure from the Country was not criminal at that Time, as he went for the Purposes of Business for his Father as agent and with Intent to git his property out of England. That the Memorial ought not to be considered as Mr. Bourne's Sentiments, but as his Council's who framed it, to answer the Purpose. That there is nothing in the Journal (saving the Memorial) that looks unfriendly, but it shewes his Intentions were to return to his Family and Friends again.

That Crosby's Letter (whatever were Mr. Bourne's Intentions) cou'd not opperate to defeat Coll. Doane of his Property, nor cou'd 391any Acts of Mr. Bourne as a Factor, defeat him of his Property. That Mr. Lane's and Watson's Letters were disigned that Mr. Bourne should draw the Money at Hallifax, as an equivalent for Coll. Doane's Property in England in their hands, which Mr. Bourne did not think proper to risque in Specie or Goods across the Water, and disigned to have sent the Money, when received in some secret Way to Coll. Doane.

The Depositions were mostly favourable to the Defense of the Claimants, and were well observed on.

NB Mr. Adams, after recapitulating the main Points of the Evidence, as stated by Mr. Lowell, divided the Cause into the following Heads viz.16

1st. Whether it was not legal for any man to git his Property from an Enemy's Country?

2d. Whether taking the Register at Hallifax and another in London, in Mr. Bourne's Name to secure and cover the Property from Seizure, alterd the Property, and made it liable to Forfeiture?

Answer'd by Mr. Adams.

1st. That a man having property in an Enemy's Country, had an undoubted Right to transport that Property to any Place, where there was an appearant Probability, of geting it, or the Proceeds thereof to his Home, that he had a Right to chuse the Mode or Manner of securing his Property and transporting it Home, unless the States had by Law pointed out the Channel in which it was to be done (which is not the Case) and relyed much on the Justice and Equity of permitting it to be done, and concluded that it was the general Sentiment of the Congress to favour the Design.

2d. He observed, that Registers do not always identify the Property, and that taking out a Register and swearing to it was no Method known in Law to convey Property, if it was, it wou'd be in the Power of every man who had the Care of a Vessel, to deprive the rightful Owner of her by taking out a Register; he relyed on the Necessity of altering apparently the Property of a Vessel &c., where liable to be seized, that it was Justifiable upon the Principles of Commerce, and sanctified by almost universal Custom of Persons intrusted with Property abroad.17


3d. Whether the Voyage She made from London to Gibralter freighting Kings Stores, in the Year 1776, was a Cause of Forfeiture?

NB The Council for the Agents indeavoured to introduce the Evidence of the Brig's haveing made a Voyage to Gibralter with King's Stores tho' not set forth in the Libel as a Cause of Condemnation;18 This was objected to by the Councel for the Claimants; That no Evidence cou'd be given of any Matter that was Cause of Condemnation unless set forth in the Libel, that every Cause of Condemnation in the Law, ought to be shown to the Court, before Evidence given, and that if they might be allowed to give Evidence of Facts that did not appear in the Libel, it wou'd be unnecessary to have any Libel at all, and that they cou'd not go out of the Libel for Matter of Condemnation, but must abide by their Allegations.19 The Councel for the Agents likened it, to an Action of Trespass, where if the Evidence of the Fact was before the Time laid in the Declaration, it was good, if the Evidence related to any Part of the Trespass.

NB This is by no Means a similar Case, for Evidence never was given of any Trespass unless specially set forth in the Declaration, but the Judges gave it in their Favour, but wrong.


He Adams observed that from the ninteenth of April 1775 none but general Gage and the Troops under his Command, in Conjunction with the Fleet, were looked on as Enemies, nor did the Congress till some Time in the Year 1776 even look on great Britain, or Ireland or any foreign Garrison as their Enemies in a General Sense,20 and insisted there was no Law or Resolution of Congress that prohibited a Voyage to Gibralter, the Troops and Fleet not coming within the Meaning of the Law ie, Enemies acting against the united States of America. That the Sense of the Law and the Word Enemy was wholly limitted to the Fleets and Armies at that Time here, and on the Coast of America and that there is Yet no Law forbiding the Supplying a foreign Garrison of the King of Great Britain;21 for if the word Enemy was to be construed in a general Sense to all the Dominions of the King of great Britain, it wou'd be absurd to say, That this Vessel, or any other, That was transporting Goods, or Provisions from one 393Place to another within those Dominions, was carrying Supplies to the Enemy; because the Enemy were supplied with the Goods &c. previous to their Imbarkation; That the Superiour Court of the Massachusetts Bay and all other Courts, which had decided on the Question were of a Similar sentiment.22

4th. Whether the Brig being bound from London to Hallifax was a Cause of Forfeiture?


That all Vessels in London must be cleared out for some British Ports,23 that Hallifax was the nighest Port to these States, that is open, except Garrison'd Towns, that there was every Probability if he got his Goods and Property at Hallifax, he might git them for the Doanes from thence in some secret Way, that there was no Law or Resolve, prohibiting the bringing home british Property, or directing the Mode, (as observed before) it is therefore left to the Choice of the Party; nor is there any Law that makes a Vessel forfeited for carrying Freight or anything else to Hallifax, provided it be for the Inhabitants, and not for the express Use of the Fleet and army; That not a single Article of the Cargo was for the Fleet and army, is express in the Depositions of Casey, Wife and Lewis,24 and that there was no apparent Intention, Design or Mark of supplying the Fleet or Army, unless the Captors cou'd search out the Hart of Col. Doane and Mr. Bourne; and added that all Vessels or Transports bringing supplies or Stores to the Fleet and Army, did not clear out at the Custom House at London or elsewhere, but only had orders and a Certificate to deliver their Stores to the King's Commissary at the Place of Destination.25

5th. Whether the Property Claimed, and consisting of English Goods, and insured was a Cause of forfeiture?

394 Answer'd

He observ'd that there is no Law now in being against bringing Home british Manufactures, and that the Goods being made in England was no Cause of Forfeiture. The Act of Association, went no further than to forbid Importation of british Goods, but did not declare them forfeited, but were only to be Stored or reshipped as the Importer chose, and all the Penalty was to stigmatize the Importer, “as an Enemy to Liberty.”26

That the Declaration of Independancy, repeated all former Resolves of the Association;27 that Independancy, or the Declaration thereof, did not respect british Manufactures, and there is no Expression therein, that prohibits the Importing british Goods, or that makes them liable to Forfeiture as Such; That it was the general Sentiment of the Congress that Property Goods in England, tho' british, belonging to Americans, might be brought here without a Liability of Forfeiture, and that it was for the general good of the Country.28 Mr. Adams then Instanced a Case at Carolina, where Goods were condemned at a maritime Court, because brought from Statia, and were british Manufactury, but on appeal to Congress, the Decree was reversed, it being no Cause of Forfeiture.29


Mr. Adams observed that the Court of the Massachusetts, agreed in Sentiment with the Congress on that head; for they had given in many Instances, Licenses to People to go to Hallifax, and to others that were there who were desirous to come into these States, to bring their Property consisting of British Manufactures, into these States, without the least Idea of Forfeiture,30 which if it was not permitted, wou'd opperate as an inconceivable Injury to many Good Subjects of these States.

He observed,31 That Insurance was only a Wager, that it did by no Means pass the Property, and that every one wou'd act imprudently who did not insure his Property even against Common Accidints; that this was never known to be a Cause of Forfeiture of a Friends Goods, because insured by an Enemy, perhaps they were not insured to half the Value, and then the assured must loose the Remainder. That this Insurance was made for a Cover, that they might not suspect any ill Designs; had it not been done, they on the other Side the Water, wou'd have suspected a Design that the Brig was destined to some Port in America, and he added that if the rankest Tory existing was bringing his Goods to America with a View to settle here, the same wou'd not be subject to Forfeiture.32

Mr. Adams spoke largely to each of the foregoing Questions, added many incidental Observations, and concluded, if the Property in Despute had belonged to a Southern State Instead of the Massachusetts, the Owners wou'd Send forth armed Ships to make Reprisals.


In Whipple's hand. Paine Law Notes. The notes of Whipple, a Portsmouth lawyer retained by Bourne, were apparently prepared for Paine, who entered the case as counsel after JA's departure for France. See note 44 above.


See note 2 107 above. Compare JA's notes of the libelants' argument, notes 2–4 107–109 above.


See text at notes 18, 19 168, 169 , below.


For the resolves of Congress and the New Hampshire laws, see notes 3 108 , 4 109 , above.


See note 5 110 above.


See note 7 112 above.


A possible inadvertence for “Treasury.” See note 14 119 above.


See extracts from Bourne's journal, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 60:

“Jany. 30th 1777. This day having all the papers compleated from Mr. Smith my Attorney, carried them to the Court of Chancery to be enrolled, they were accordingly enrolled. After which Mr. Lane and I went to the honorable Jona. Sewall Esqr. to sollicit his favor in order to introduce me to Lord Norths Secretary (Mr. Robinson), but as Mr. Sewall had no acquaintance with the Gentleman I was obliged to apply to Governor Hutchinson for his favor on the topick who readily gave me a letter of Introduction to Mr. Robinson and afterwards wrote to Mr. Robinson to assist me with my memorial by presenting it to Lord North the head of the Treasury.”

The remainder of this entry, and entries dated 11 and 26 Feb. and 1 and 5 March 1777, record Bourne's continuing and apparently unsuccessful attendance on the Treasury during their consideration of his memorial, notes 14 119 , 25 130 , above. PCC No. 44 fol. 309.


See note 13 118 above.


See Letter of Credit, Lane, Son & Fraser, to Bourne, 21 Aug. 1777, for £3000, and Letter of Credit in Bourne's favor, Watson & Rashleigh to John Butler, 21 Aug. 1777, for £4000. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 33, 34.


See note 8 113 above.


See note 10 115 above.


See note 12 117 above.


See note 11 116 above.


Compare JA's notes of Lowell's argument, text at notes 20–44 125–149 above.


Compare JA's own summary of the heads of his argument at note 45 150 above. Whipple has made two heads out of JA's first point. JA's points 2–4 are herein points 3–5. JA's fifth point is an unheaded final paragraph. See note 31 181 below.


There was testimony at the trial on appeal in the Superior Court that this was a common practice. See Depositions of Jonathan Mason and Nathaniel Libbee, 3 March 1778; John Parrot, Joseph Pierpoint, and Richard Salter, 31 Aug. 1778. DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, Nos. 143, 144, 147, 139, 131, 138. Compare Statement of the M'Clary Owners 22. For a JA case under the British customs acts in which Doane seems to have attempted to alter a vessel's papers, see No. 52.


See notes 9 114 , 12 117 , above.


See note 17 122 above.


Compare the Congressional Resolve of 24 July 1776, note 4 109 above.


See the applicable resolves and laws, notes 3 108 , 4 109 , above.


It has not been possible to identify with certainty such a case in the Records of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature or Supreme Judicial Court.


That is, vessels clearing for America. Trade with Europe was not prohibited. See 17 Geo. 3, c. 41, §§4, 5 (1777). JA probably referred to the statute 16 Geo. 3. c. 5, §§1, 3 (1776), which prohibited all trade with the rebellious colonies, and provided, with exceptions not material here, that all vessels “found trading in any port or place of the said colonies, or going to trade, or coming from trading, in any such port or place,” should be forfeit to the Crown and liable to be taken as prize.


See notes 8 113 , 10 115 , 12 117 , above. At the trial in Superior Court in Sept. 1778 there were numerous depositions to the effect that Messrs. Cochran, Bourne's principal correspondents at Halifax, not only did not supply the royal forces, but were sympathetic to the American cause, supplying American prisoners whenever possible. See text and note 72 above.


The statute 16 Geo. 3, c. 5. §2 (1776) provided that a vessel in His Majesty's service or carrying supplies to Crown forces or the inhabitants of a garrison town should not be subject to seizure as prize under id., §§1, 3 (note 23 173 above), if it produced a license from the Admiralty, a military or naval commander, or a loyal governor, specifying the voyage and the cargo.


See note 16 121 above. JA was a signer of the Association and was present at the debates on it. See 2 JA, Diary and Autobiography 137–140, 147–149, 155.


That is, the grievances upon which the Association was based, which were largely the Acts of Parliament raising a revenue and extending the Admiralty jurisdiction, and the so-called Coercive Acts of 1774. These measures were among the far longer list of grievances contained in the Declaration, with the difference that the blame was shifted from Parliament and the Ministry to George III himself. Compare the Association, 1 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 149–154, with the Declaration of Independence, id. at 429–433.


JA presumably meant that such a sentiment was expressed, or at least assumed, in the debates on the Association in 1774 (note 26 176 above), although he was also an active participant in the debates on the Declaration of Independence in June and July 1776. See 3 JA, Diary and Autobiography 396–398; 1 Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 309–315. No record of discussion of this point has been found in either debate, however. That JA correctly stated the position of Congress at this period is suggested by the fact that on 27 March 1781 that body passed a resolution forbidding the practice of bringing property from Great Britain on safe conduct. 19 JCC 314–316. The editors are indebted to Mrs. Kellock for this reference.


Probably Fowkes v. The Roseanna, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 20 (Commrs. of App. 1777), an appeal upon which JA may have sat. See note 8 above. The Roseanna, owned by John Brown of Rhode Island through his Nantucket agents, had been seized at Cape Fear, allegedly carrying goods the property of British subjects. The libel further alleged that cargo had been loaded at Nantucket ostensibly for non-British islands, but that this had been deception and that she had imported a cargo into the Bahamas to aid the enemy. Further, she had brought a cargo of British-manufactured goods from the Bahamas into North Carolina, contrary to the resolves of Congress. In a trial of the master's claim without a jury, the Roseanna was adjudged forfeit on the latter two grounds. The master appealed to Congress. No record of the result appears in the files, but according to other sources the decree of the court below was reversed. Davis, “Federal Courts Prior to the Constitution,” 131 U.S., Appendix xxxviii.


For examples of licenses to come from Nova Scotia granted by the General Court, see Resolves of 28 Oct. 1776, 19 A&R 624; 29 Oct. 1776, id. at 629. A resolve of 23 April 1777 forbade the departure of persons “to Great Britain or elsewhere” under prior resolves, perhaps to prevent one Ephraim Deane from going to Nova Scotia to get his family under a resolve of 19 April 1777. Id, at 896, 905. But subsequent petitions were granted, both permitting Nova Scotians to settle in Massachusetts, and permitting Massachusetts inhabitants to go to Nova Scotia for their effects. Resolves of 1 Oct. 1777, 20 id. at 146; 15 Oct. 1777, id. at 167–168; 17 Feb. 1778, id. at 295; 9 March 1778, id. at 322; 3 Oct. 1778, id. at 502. At the trial in the New Hampshire Superior Court in Sept. 1778, the deposition of one who had gone for this purpose was offered. See Deposition of Joseph Pierpoint, 31 Aug. 1778, DNA Microcopy 162, Case 30, No. 131.


This paragraph is actually JA's fifth point. See notes 45 150 , 16 166 , above.


See Resolve of 23 March 1776, note 3 108 above.