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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 57   View pdf image (33K)
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                         Introduction.            lvii

                    SHIPS AND MARINERS.

      Dnring this period no court of admiralty, designated as such, was held,
    and cases involving ships, shipowners, and mariners, came before the Pro-
    vincial Court. These ranged from confiscation of ships and cargoes for
    violation of the English navigation laws, to suits by sailors for wages and
    questions involving the ownership of vessels and cargoes, but none of these
    are specifically designated in the record as admiralty cases. Nor was a special
    sitting of the justices of the court held at Mattapany, March 19-20, 1667, so
    designated, when the forfeiture of two New England vessels for violation
    of the navigation acts was the issue. It will be recalled in this connection that
    in his charter the Lord Proprietary, among other titles conferred upon him,
    was designated as High Admiral of the Province, with power to hold such
    courts as he deemed wise, and that the present Governor, his son Charles Cal-
    vert, had been commissioned “our Lieutenant-General, Governor, Admiral, and
    Chief Commander both by sea and land of our said Province of Maryland”.
    That the Proprietary had full power to establish an admiralty court at any
    time he saw fit, was, of course, obvious. In the seventeenth century, however,
    both in England and in Maryland, cases involving violation of the navigation
    acts were tried in courts of law, not in admiralty courts.
      There are to be found three instances of forfeiture, or confiscation, of ves-
    sels under the English navigation acts. In these cases it would appear that the
    Lord Proprietary of Maryland assumed in his Province, under the English
    navigation acts, the same royal privileges specifically conferred in the acts upon
    the Crown. In the first of these cases entered in this record we find recorded
    the final act, the sale of forfeited ship and cargo, in the case of the forty-ton
    ship Hopewell of Kingsale, Ireland, at anchor at St. Mary's City, John Gilson,
    master. The proceedings leading up to the forfeiture of this vessel are recorded
    in a former volume of the Archives. The vessel and cargo had been confis-
    cated at the January, 1666, session, under the navigation act of 1663, which
    prohibited among other things, the carrying of goods of European origin, other
    than those from England, Ireland, Wales, and the Scotch town of Berwick on
    Tweed, under the penalty of forfeiture of ship and cargo, one-third to go to the
    Crown, one-third to the Governor of the colony where the forfeiture occurred,
    and one-third to the informer (Arch. Md. XLIX, xxiii, 560-563). It was the
    judgment of the court, however, that two-thirds of the vessel and cargo be
    forfeited to the Lord Proprietary and to the Governor, and one-third to the
    informer, William Calvert, the Attorney-General who prosecuted the case. In
    this volume will be found a bill of sale, dated March 1, 1665/6, recording the
    sale by Governor Charles Calvert of the Hopewell to Isaac Bedloe, “a free
    denizen and inhabitant” of Maryland, and a further declaration by the Gov-
    ernor on behalf of his father, the Lord Proprietary, that the forfeiture was
    made “to Us by our Royal Priviledges of Our said Province”. In plain words
    the “Royal Priviledges” of the Maryland charter was interpreted as putting
    the Proprietary in his Maryland palatinate in the place of the King as defined
    in the English navigation act of 1663, the Proprietary and not the Crown being

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 57   View pdf image (33K)
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