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And be it further Enacted, that the process and proceeding upon any Vessell that shall be retaken from the Enemy by any person or persons shall be in the same manner as is herein provided for other Vessells; and if by Verdict of the Jury it shall appear to the Judge that such Vessell was taken by the Enemy and was retaken by such person or persons before Condemnation by the said Enemy thereon had, the said Judge shall order such Vessell with her Cargo and Appurtenances to be sold in manner aforesaid, and shall order not more than one third nor less than one quarter of what she shall sell for (after paying Charges of Trial and Sale) to be delivered to the Captors, as is before provided for other Vessells, and the Residue to be delivered to the Owner or Owners of such Vessell: And if such Vessell so retaken shall have been Condemned by the Enemy, then the Money she and her Cargo and Appurtenances may Sell for shall be delivered to the Captors, as is above provided for Vessells belonging to the said Enemy.

And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that each Judge of such Courts shall appoint an able Clerk, who shall keep a True and fair Record of all the proceedings of said Court and shall be duly Sworn to Act in said Office with Truth and fidelity, and his Attestations shall be received as Evidence in all Courts of Law.

In the House of Representatives, Novem'r 1st, 1775. This Bill having Had Three several Readings passed to be Enacted.

Sent up for Concurrence.

J. WARREN Sp'kr.

In Council Nov'r 1st, 1775, this Bill having had two several Readings passed to be enacted.

Perez MORTON D't'y Sec'ry.

We consent to the enacting of this Bill

JAMES OTIS
W. SPOONER
CALEB CUSHING
B: CHADBOUrn
JOSEPH GERRISH
JOHN WHETCOMB
JED'H FOSTER

ELDAD TAYLOR

MICH'L FARLEY

SAM HOLTEn
JABEZ FISHER
B: [WHITE]
MOSES GILL]
B: LINCOLN

JAMES PRESCOTT I

On November 10 a resolve was adopted in the House of Representatives, supplementary to the act of Novem

1. From the engrossed copy of the act in the State Archives.

ber 1, providing for the condemnation of captures made by persons not legally commissioned with letters of marque. The resolve was as follows:

Whereas by a Law of this Colony made in the present Session of the General Court, Intitled an Act for encouraging the fitting out Armed Vessels to defend the Sea-Coast of America and for erecting a Court to try and condemn all Vessels that shall be found Infesting the same — it is provided that all Vessels which shall be brought into this Colony and proved to be the Property of or any Ways employed by the Enemies of the United American Colonies or for Supplying the said Enemies, shall with their Appurtenances and Cargoes be deemed forfeited, and disposed of as by said Act is ordered and directed, and no Provision being therein made for Captors not legally commissioned therefor, who in certain Cases ought to meet with all necessary Encouragement,

Resolved, That when and so often as it shall appear to the Judge of any Court by said Act provided, that any Vessel or Vessels which shall be by such Court condemned, have been taken by any Inhabitants of the United American Colonies within thirty Leagues of the American Shore; in that Case it shall be lawful and such Judge is hereby authorized and directed to award to the Captors the amount of what such Vessel or Vessels with their Cargoes and Appurtenances shall produce, after deducting the Charges of Tryal and Condemnation; and also the Sheriff's Fees for Sale at public Auction, in the same Manner as would have been done had such Captors been commissioned with Letters of Marque and Reprisal by any of the Colonies aforesaid.

I

It would be interesting to know how many privateersmen sailed the seas without commissions. The petition of Agreen Crabtree, dated Watertown, July 30, 1776:

Humbly shews that your Petitioner fix'd out a small Schooner called the Hannah and Molly as a Privateer to Distress the Enemys of the United Colonies, said Schooner Mounted Eight Swivell Guns and carried Fourteen Men and has, since she was fix'd out, taken two Sloops Employ'd in carrying Provisions to the Enemy, both which Sloops are now Libeled at the Court appointed to Try the Captures of such Vessels, and as your Petitioner has never Received any Commission, he now desires that your Honors would 1. Journal of the House of Representatives.

To the Hond the Councel of the State of the Massachusetts

pray. The Petition of Aguen Grabtue Hembly Sheer

that your Petitioner find out a small Schooner called
the Hannah Ginolly, as a Privateer to Distress the
Inerney's of the limited leolonies, said Schooner Mon
leight sivivell quinns and Fourteen thin,
has since she was

find out, tathen two sloops Employd
in carrying Provisions to the Enemey, both which
Hoops are now Lebated at the Court appointed
to Try the leaptures of such tepels, and as your
Petitions has Never Received any Commission, he
now deceres that your Honors would take his cases
into your
Consideration and prant him alaptin
Commision for said Sesioner and your Piktioner

nduly bound with ever

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Petition for a Commission for a Vessel which has already taken

Prizes without one

See page 164

ت

INTRODUCTION

33 take his case into your Consideration and Grant him a Captain's Commission for said Schooner. [On the following day the Council] ordered that Agreen Crabtree be commissionated after giving Bond and complying with the Order of this Court in such Cases made.1

Later supplementary enactments on February 14, March 19, April 13, and May 8, 1776, were the result of further consideration of the subject by the General Court. It was provided that in addition to the places named in the act of November 1 for holding prize courts, they might also be held at Barnstable or Dartmouth for the Southern District; at Boston, Salem, or Newburyport for the Middle District; and at Falmouth (Portland) or Pownalborough (Wiscasset) for the Eastern District. The judges appointed for the trial of prizes were: For the Southern District, Nathan Cushing; for the Middle District, Timothy Pickering; for the Eastern District, James Sullivan, later succeeded by Timothy Langdon. Under the authority of this legislation privateering in Massachusetts was carried on throughout the Revolution. The first Continental law for the purpose was enacted March 23, 1776. A set of general instructions, issued by the Continental Congress April 3, for the regulation of privateers, is here reproduced:

Instructions to the commanders of private ships or vessels of war, which shall have commissions or letters of marque and reprisal, authorising them to make captures of British vessels and cargoes.

I. You may, by force of arms, attack, subdue, and take all ships and other vessels, belonging to the inhabitants of Great Britain, on the high seas, or between high water and low water mark; except ships and vessels bringing persons who intend to settle and reside in the United Colonies; or bringing arms, ammunition, or war-like stores, to the said colonies, for the use of such inhabitants thereof as are friends to the American cause, which you shall suffer to pass unmolested, the commanders thereof permitting

1. Mass. Archives, 165, 477. See below, pp. 55, 56, for schooner Dolphin, of Salem.

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