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Resolutions of the Congress


"November 25,1775. — Resolved, That all such Ships-of-War, Frigates, Sloops, Cutters, and Armed Vessels, as are or shall be employed in the present cruel and unjust war against the United Colonies, and shall fall into the hands of, or be taken by, the inhabitants thereof, be seized and forfeited to and for the purposes hereinafter mentioned.

"That all Transport Vessels in the same service, having on board any Troops, Arms, Ammunition, Clothing, 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 Merchandise, for the use of such Fleet or Army, shall be liable to seizure, and, with their cargoes, shall be confiscated.

"That no Master or Commander of any Vessel shall be


entitled to cruise for or make prize of any Vessel or Cargo before he shall have obtained a commission from the Congress, or from such person or persons as shall be for that purpose appointed in some one of the United Colonies.

"That it be, and is hereby, recommended to the several Legislatures in the United Colonies, whether Assemblies or Conventions, as soon as possible to erect Courts of Justice, or give jurisdiction to the Courts now in being, for the purpose of determining concerning the captures to be made as aforesaid; and to provide that all trials in such cases be had by a Jury, under such qualifications as to the respective Legislatures shall seem expedient.

"That all prosecutions shall be commenced in the Court of that Colony in which the captures shall be made; but if no such Court be at that time erected in the said Colony, or if the capture be made on open sea, then the prosecution shall be in the Court of such Colony as the captor may find most convenient. Provided, That nothing contained in this Resolution shall be construed so as to enable the captor to remove his prize from any Colony competent to determine concerning the seizure, after he shall have carried the Vessel so seized within any harbour of the same.

"That in all cases an appeal shall be allowed to the Congress, or such person or persons as they shall appoint for the trials of appeals, provided the appeal be demanded within five days after definitive sentence, and such appeal be lodged with the Secretary of Congress within forty days afterwards; and provided the party appealing shall give security to prosecute the said appeal to effect. And in case of the death of the Secretary during the recess of Congress, then the said appeal to be lodged in Congress within twenty days after the meeting thereof.

"That when any Vessel or Vessels shall be fitted out at the expense of any private person or persons, then the captures made shall be to the use of the owner or owners of the said Vessel or Vessels; that where the Vessels employed in the capture shall be fitted out at the expense of any of the United Colonies, then one-third of the prize taken shall be to the use of the captors, and the remaining two-thirds to the use of the said Colony; and where the Vessel so employed shall be fitted out at the Continental charge, then one-third shall go to the captors, and the remaining two-thirds to the use of the United Colonies. Provided, nevertheless, That if the capture be a Vessel-of-War, then the captors shall be entitled to one-half of the value, and the remainder shall go to the Colony or Continent, as the case may be, the necessary charges of condemnation of all prizes being deducted before distribution made.

"That in cases of recaptures, the recaptors have and retain, in lieu of salvage, one-eighth part of the true value of the Vessel and Cargo, or either of them, if the same hath, or have been, in the possession of the enemy twenty-four hours, and less than forty-eight hours; one-third part if more than forty-eight and less than ninety-six hours; and one-half if more than ninety-six hours; unless the Vessel shall, after the capture, have been legally condemned as prize by some Court of Admiralty; in which case the recaptors to have the whole. In all which cases, the share detained, or prize, to be divided between the owners of the Ship making the recapture, the Colony, or the Continent, as the case may be, and the captors, agreeable to the former Resolution.