When an enemy ship is taken for a prize, here are the procedures that follow such an event in the 1790 Regulations for use at Sea:
• When an enemy ship is taken, the ship is to be locked up to protect from embezzlement until it is assessed and sentenced by the Admiralty Court, which is impowered to take Cognizance of Causes [a] of that nature.
• The Captain is to have the officers of the prize vessel examined, including three or more of the crew, and bring them to the Admiralty Court. All necessary papers, Charter-Parties and Lading Bills found are to be presented also.
• If any Englishmen are to be found among the prisoners, their names are to be written down along with a recount of the circumstances of their capture. Their word can also be used against them.
• The aforementioned prisoners (who are found to be Englishmen) are to be examined before the Magistrate with his own witnesses. Copies of the Declaration they make are sent to the Secretary of the Admiralty.
• When a Privateer is taken, all the ship’s papers (especially the Commission) is to be secured. If no legal Commission is found, then the Prisoners are to be brought before a Magistrate for examination, and committed as Pirates.
[a] Cognizance: n. (1) Judicial notice or knowledge; the hearing, trying and determining of a cause or action in court. (2) Jurisdiction, or right to try and determine causes.
“American Dictionary of the English Language.” Websters Dictionary 1828, webstersdictionary1828.com/.
“Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea: Established by His Majesty in Council.” Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea: Established by His Majesty in Council, 13th ed., Printed in the Year, 1790.
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