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Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

Extract from the Minutes of the Continental Congress
Monday, September 9, 1776

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to hear the parties on the appeal against the verdict and sentence of condemnation passed against the schooner Thistle and her cargo.1


The members chosen, Mr. Stockton,2 Mr. Huntington, Mr. Paine, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Stone.3

Printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 5:747.


The Thistle, Charles Roberts master, a “schooner from Pensacola, loaded with flour and lumber, and about 200 half joes” and bound for Grenada, was taken on Apr. 30, 1776, by the Pennsylvania privateer sloop Congress, George McAroy commander. The Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania condemned the Thistle on July 1, but the decision was appealed and overturned on Sept. 17. As a result, Congress resolved on Sept. 25 “that a passport and safe conduct be granted to Charles Roberts, master of the schooner Thistle, for himself and the said schooner, for the space of 60 days” (Naval Documents of the American Revolution, 5:73, 401, 6:992–993).


Richard Stockton (1730–1781), a New Jersey lawyer, was a 1748 graduate of the College of New Jersey. He joined the New Jersey Council in 1768 and in 1774 received a commission as one of the justices of the supreme court. On June 22, 1776, he was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress; he arrived in time for the final debates on independence and became one of the signers of the Declaration. During the latter part of 1776 Stockton was an active committeeman in Congress. He was in New Jersey late that year as part of a committee visiting the Northern Army when the British army invaded the state and captured him. Stockton was imprisoned in New York. Although eventually released, he was an invalid for the rest of his life ( DAB ).


Thomas Stone (1743–1787) practiced law in Maryland from 1764. He was a member of the Continental Congress (1775, 1776, 1778, and 1784), signed the Declaration of Independence, and was an important member on the committee that framed the Articles of Confederation. He was later a member of the Maryland state senate ( DAB ).