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for lands within the said limits, to or for the separate use of any person or persons whatsoever, shall be, and the same are hereby declared utterly void and of no effect.

CHAP. XXVI. (From Revis sed Bills of An act constituting the Court of AdXCII. p. 63.

miralty. Chan. Rev. p. 104.)

BE it enacted by the General Assembly, That the Court of admiralty esta. court of admiralty to consist of three judges, any two blished. of whom are declared to be a sufficient number to con

Number of stitute a court, shall have jurisdiction in all maritime judges Jurisdiction. causes, except those wherein any parties may be ac

cused of capital offences now depending and hereafter to be brought before them, shall take precedence in court according to the order in time of their appoint

ments, and shall be governed in their proceedings and By what laws decisions by the regulations of the congress of the Ugoverned.

nited States of America, by the acts of the general assembly, by the laws of Oleron, and the Rhodian and Imperial laws, so far as they have been heretofore ob

served in the English courts of admiralty, and by the Provision, laws of nature and nations. If the regulations of conwhere regu- gress happen to differ from those of general assembly, lation of

the latter are declared to be supreme in cases wherein congress conflict with citizens only are litigants, and the former in all other laws of state. cases: Every future judge of this court shall be chosen Judges, how chosen.

by joint ballot of both houses of assembly; and before he enters on the duties of his office, besides taking the

oath of fidelity, he shall take the following oath, to be Oath of jud- administered by the governour in council: “ You shall ges. swear that well and truly you will serve this common

wealth in the office of a judge of the court of admiralty; that you will do equal right to all manner of people, great and small, high and low, rich and poor, of what country or nation soever they be, without respect of persons. You shall not take by yourself, or by any other, any gift, fee, or reward, of gold, silver, or any


other thing, directly or indirectly, of any person or persons, great or small, for any matter done or to be done by virtue of your office, except such fees or salary as shall be by law appointed. You shall not maintain by yourself, or by any other, privily or openly, any plea or quarrel depending in the said court. You shall not delay any person of right for the letters or request of any one, nor for any other cause; and if any letter or request come to you contrary to the law, you shall nothing do for such letter or request, but you shall proceed to do the law; any such letter or request notwithstanding. And finally in all things belonging to your said office, during your continuance therein, you shall faithfully, justly, and truly, according to the best of your skill and judgment, do equal and impartial justice, without fraud, favour, affection, or partiality." The taking of which oath, or the certificate thereof, shall be registered in the said court. Any judge executing his office before he shall have taken

Penalty for

acting with the said oath, or given assurance of fidelity to the com- out oath. monwealth, shall forfeit five hundred pounds of current money, to the use of the commonwealth. court or any two judges thereof, when it is not sitting,

Register, ad

vocate, and shall appoint a register, an advocate, and a marshal, marshal. when those offices shall become vacant, who shall take the oath of office, and of whom the register and marshal shall moreover give bonds, the former in one thousand pounds, and the other in ten thousand pounds, payable to the governour or his successours, with sureties, to be approved by the court or two judges, with condition that they will faithfully and impartially perform their respective offices, and account for and pay all money which may come to their hands by virtue thereof; upon which bonds, suits may be severally brought for the benefit and at the costs of any persons grieved by breach of the conditions until the damages to be recovered shall be equal to the penalties. The

Tenure of judges, register, advocate, and marshal, shall continue office. in office so long as they respectively demean themselves well therein. The court shall sit so often as there shall

Court, where be occasion, at the capitol in Williamsburg, until the to sit: general assembly shall appoint'another place, or at, or in such house or place as the governour, with advice of the council, shall by writ of adjournment direct, in case an accident by fire or tempest, or a pestilential

disease, or an enemy, shall make it necessary. This Sale of per. court shall have power to order sale of perishable ishable goods to be made at any time, taking sufficient caugoods.

tion for securing the proceeds of the sale to him who shall be entitled to them by the final sentence. Every commander of a ship of war or other vessel belonging to the commonwealth, or to any citizen thereof, when he shall be required, shall assist the marshal of the said court acting by virtue of the process thereof, to seize and secure any vessel or goods subject to such process, so as not to violate the right of any other of

the United States, or of any state, or prince in amity Rules of with them.

When a citation shall have been served practice. upon the owner or master of a vessel therein mention

ed, if no person appear aț the return day, or at such further time as the court for peculiar reasons shall ap

point, and enter into the litigation, the libel shall be Libel. taken for confessed; and if return be made that the mas

ter or owner was not found, and no person appear and

claim, the court shall make an order, to be published Citation. three times in the Virginia Gazette, that the libel be

taken for confessed, unless the party interested shall ex appear and shew cause to the contrary at a certain

day to be limited in the order, not being less than three

nor more than six weeks after the making thereof; and Publication. the said order being so published, if there be no such

appearance before expiration of the time limited, the libel shall be taken for confessed accordingly, caution being given to secure the effects so that they may be subject to the future order of the court; and the sens

tence given thereupon shall be published in manner Defence. aforesaid; and if the master, owner, or other person

interested at any time within one year after such last mentioned publication, or that being omitted within seven years after sentence, by petition desire that the cause be reheard, and give security for payment of such costs as may be awarded against him, the court shall admit such party to make his defence or claim, in the same manner as if he had appeared at the return of the citation and give such sentence as they

think just and agreeable with the laws prescribed for Depositions.

the rules of their decisions. Commissions for taking the examinations of witnesses may be awarded, and such examinations may be read in like cases as they


may be in an action at common law. In a case where both parties are citizens of the commonwealth, every Trial by ju. matter of fact affirmed by the one and denied by the ry, when. other, shall be stated as a formal issue and tried by the same court by a jury in like manner as such issue ought to be tried in an action at common law. *• Theo court may at any time after, but not before an interlo

Security for cutory sentence, if they see good cause, require a per- costs; when. son pretending a claim to any vessel or goods mentioned in the libel to give security for the costs which may be occasioned by discussion of the claim, and may refuse to admit him until such security be given, and may award any party to pay costs when they judge it reasonable, unless he be the master or owner appearing and making a defence or a claim at the return of a citation; and the like execution for such costs may issue, and there shall be like proceedings thereupon as for costs recovered by judgment in an action of common law, otherwise than that the execution shall bear teste the day of emanation, and may be made returnable to any day not less than one month thereafter. In case of a capture from an enemy, if there be Sales of a condemnation and neither of the United States in goods congeneral, nor the commonwealth in particular be inter-demned. ested therein, the court shall order the sales to be made, and accounts thereof to be returned by the libellant or "his agent, if it be his desire. A party thinking himself aggrieved may appeal from the final sentence of Appeal, the court, to such court and in such manner as is or right of, and

to what tri. shall be appointed by congress, except in cases be- bunal. tween the citizens of this commonwealth; which shall be to the court of appeals, giving bond with surety, in the latter to prosecute the appeal and perform the sentence, if it be affirmed. If the seizure of any vessel has been or hereafter shall be made by an officer of this commonwealth, and a prosecution instituted there. on, in which the respondent or respondents shall have prevailed or hereafter may prevail, one moiety of the costs of such prosecution after having been audited by the auditors of publick accounts, shall be paid by the treasurer, provided the court have certified or 'shall certify that there was probable cause for such seizure. The judges of the present court of admiralty, to wit: Present jud. Benjamin Waller, Richard Cary, and William Ros- ed in office.

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