What Were the Vice Admiralty Courts

The Frenchman acquired a copy of the British war plans, including the activities of Shirley and Johnson. Shirley`s efforts to fortify Oswego ran into logistical difficulties, exacerbated by her inexperience in managing large expeditions. In this regard, he was informed that the French were gathering to attack Fort Oswego in his absence while he was planning to attack Fort Niagara. In response, he left garrisons at Oswego, Fort Bull, and Fort Williams, the last two at Oneida Carry between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek in Rome, New York. Provisions were stored at Fort Bull for the planned attack on Niagara. These were mainly price cases ruling on the condemnation and public sale of ships and cargoes captured by privateers and, to a lesser extent, by the Royal Navy during the Seven Years` War. The captured ships were mostly French, picked up from places off the coast of Newfoundland in the West Indies. Some cases involve the seizure of smuggled vessels and goods by customs officers and seafarers` wage claims. Price case reports include “lybell” (defamation) or the hijacker`s plea for legal seizure, which indicates capture and location at sea; all other procedures; and the decision of the Court of Justice. In some cases, the shipping company or crew included slaves that were considered captured property.

The volume concludes with the 1770 case against William Dean of Windsor, Cumberland County, Vermont for cutting white pine without a permit, filed by John Wentworth, Her Majesty`s Surveyor General of Woods in America, followed by a lawsuit for objects recovered from a shipwrecked ship at Rockaway and an incomplete inscription. The files also include memoranda that record the agreed payment of parties seeking commissions for acting as buccaneers, primarily New York merchants. The memoranda shall indicate the names of the partners, the vessel and its master, as well as the date of the transfer and the Court`s instructions. Orders and instructions are given in full for the ships Hardy (August 1756), Anne (December 1756) and Prince of Brunswick (April 1762), which are cited in the following entries. Most of the fighting ended in America in 1760, although it continued in Europe between France and Britain. The notable exception was the French conquest of St. John`s, Newfoundland. General Amherst heard of this surprise action and immediately sent troops under his nephew William Amherst, who regained control of Newfoundland after the Battle of Signal Hill in September 1762. [61] Many British troops stationed in America were redeployed to take part in other British actions in the West Indies, including the capture of Spanish Havana when Spain belatedly entered the conflict on the side of France, and a British expedition against the French Martinique in 1762 led by Major-General Robert Monckton. [62] American colonists argued that vice-admiralty judges were corrupt and often abused their power. In the deliberations of the Continental Congress, held in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, a complaint was filed with King George III that “judges of the courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty are entitled to receive their salaries and honoraria from titles condemned by themselves,” customs officers being authorized “to dismantle and enter houses without the authority of a civil judge.” [7] James Otis had also complained about the lack of justice in jury trials and the burden of proof on the accused. The lawsuit before the Continental Congress probably relates to payments made to the judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court in Halifax, where they actually received their payment not through a salary from the crown but through compensation through fees collected for the condemnation of a ship and through participation in the profits arising from the condemnation of that ship.

[8] This was not the case in the vice-admiralty courts of Boston, Charleston and Philadelphia, where judges were paid only by salary. [9] In fact, the British government responded to the complaints of Congress in its Address to the People of Great Britain to the American People, where it mentioned that “four great courts of vice-admiralty .