British Records: High Court of Admiralty

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The High Court of Admiralty had jurisdiction over maritime matters, administering the law in three distinct areas: civil (contracts, wages, wrongful injury, etc.); criminal (murder, piracy, mutiny, etc.); and the seizure of property from an enemy during wartime. The records of  the Court sitting in these three capacities are termed, respectively,  instance, oyer and terminer, and prize. Also included in the records of the High Court are various documents from courts of vice admiralty in  Britain and the colonies.

Examinations, Instance and Prize (copies)

The series HCA 13 comprises entry books of examinations of witnesses in suits brought before the High Court. Topics relating to North Carolina include proposed voyage to "Carolana" in the  1630s; capture by Spanish and French privateers of vessels trading to  North Carolina; charter of a vessel; voyage to Roanoke Island.

Instance Papers, Series Early (copies)

The series HCA 15 comprises depositions, libels, pleadings, accounts, petitions, commissions, and miscellaneous documents concerning suits brought before the High Court. Various vessels trading to North Carolina are represented in these papers.

Instance Papers, Series I (copies)

The series HCA 16 comprises depositions, libels, allegations, answers, decrees, warrants, accounts, and  miscellaneous papers concerning suits brought before the High Court. Various vessels trading to North Carolina are represented in these  papers.

Interrogatories -- Instance and Prize (copies)

Only two documents in the series HCA 23 relate to North Carolina. Both are concerned with the voyage to Roanoke Island.

Libels Etc., Instance and Prize (copies)

The series HCA 24 comprises pleadings,  inventories, accounts, etc., concerning suits brought before the High Court. Documents relating to North Carolina concern the voyage to Roanoke Island, and a projected settlement in Carolina in the 1630s.

Court Minute Books, Prize (copies)

The series HCA 28 comprises minutes of  proceedings in the High Court in cases of condemnation of vessels captured during the American Revolution. Documents copied for North  Carolina concern those vessels owned or registered there.

Miscellanea (copies)

The series HCA 30 comprises miscellaneous documents concerning instance and prize cases coming before the High Court.

Prize Papers (copies)

The large and diverse series HCA 32 is comprised of court proceedings (minutes, libels, allegations,  interrogatories, depositions, decrees, etc.) and ships' papers (registrations, clearances, letters of marque, crew lists, log books, manifests, invoices, bills of lading, orders, correspondence, etc.) in  prize cases coming before the High Court, and courts of vice admiralty in Britain and the colonies. A few papers concerning North Carolina vessels are found in the series for the wars of 1739-1748 and 1756-1763, but most are from the series for the Revolutionary War, many of which are from the New York court of vice admiralty. Subjects include mainly trade and shipping, and privateering, although interrogatories and private correspondence sometimes concern other matters.

Sentences, Prize (copies)

The series HCA 34 comprises entry books of sentences handed down by the High Court in prize cases. Entries copied for North Carolina concern those vessels owned or registered there during the Revolution, and one trading there in 1741.

Prize Appeals, Appeal Papers (copies)

The series HCA 42 is comprised of court proceedings (minutes, libels, affidavits, interrogatories, petitions, allegations, decrees, etc.) and ships' papers (registrations, clearances, invoices, bonds, letters of marque, accounts, etc.) in prize cases arising in various courts in Britain and America on appeal to the High  Court. Subjects relating to North Carolina concern trade and privateering during the American Revolution.

Proceedings in Vice Admiralty Courts (microfilm and copies)

The series HCA 49 consists of court proceedings (minutes, libels, depositions, interrogatories, answers, accounts, etc.) and ships' papers (registrations, clearances, etc.) in prize cases  arising in the New York court of vice admiralty during the Revolutionary War. Subjects include mainly trade and privateering.

Admiralty Muniment Books (copies)

The series HCA 50 comprises entry book copies of commissions and letters patent issued for various purposes relating to courts of admiralty and vice admiralty in Britain and the colonies. Subjects concerning North Carolina are appointments of various officials (vice admirals, judges, advocates, marshals), and commissions for trying of pirates.

Indexes to Admiralty Muniment Books (copies)

An Index to HCA 50; a summary list of officials referred to there, with dates of appointments.

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