Page images


DURING one of the many visits I have had the pleasure of paying to my friend Dr. Lee, at Hartwell, the former residence of his distinguished relative Six GEORGE LEE, 80 well known as an eminent Advocate and Judge in the Courts of Civil Law, and particularly from the part he took in framing the celebrated Answer to the Memorial


· The following is a brief state- took possession of the money desment of the circumstances con- tined for the repayment of the Sinected with this memorial:

lesian loan. In the year 1738 the sum of On his part a representation was 250,000l. had been borrowed by made by M. Michell, the Prussian the Emperor Charles VI. of English Minister, at the Court of London, subjects, and certain mines in Si- justifying the proceedings of his lesia mortgaged for its repayment. own government, apon the ground

By the treaty of Breslau, in that the seizures of the Prussian 1742, the Queen of Hungary, then vessels had been made contrary to Empress, ceded the province of Si- all principles of international law. lesia, including these mines, to the The Memorial alluded to in the King of Prussia, who made himself text was the triumphant reply of responsible for the repayment of the English Government to this the loan.

representation, and was generally In the war which about this time supposed to have been the joint was declared by this country against composition of Sir George Lee and France and Spain, several vessels Mr. Murray, afterwards Earl of belonging to the subjects of Prussia, Mansfield. then a neutral power, had been The dispute between the two goseized by English privateers, and vernments was ultimately arranged brought in as prize, on the ground by mutual concessions on both sides. of their being engaged in con- On the part of Great Britain the veying contraband goods to the following declaration in Council was enemy.

made with reference to it:For these seizures satisfaction “ In order to put an end to the was demanded by the King of Prus- disputes which have arisen between sia, who, on failure of obtaining it, their Britannic and Prussian Ma-, jesties, it is declared that upon his Prussian Majesty taking off the attachment put upon the Silesian debt, and causing to be paid to his Britannic Majesty's subjects what remains due to them thereon, according to the original contract, as well interest as principa!, H. B. Majesty does promise and engage on his part to cause to be paid to H. P. Majesty the sun

of the King of Prussia, my attention was directed to a large and valuable collection of papers in the handwriting of Sir GEORGE himself, and relating chiefly to the Court of Admiralty.

Upon examination I found the collection to consist principally of copies of opinions, which he had given on cases submitted to him in the course of his practice, together with very full and copious notes of causes argued in that Court; in most of which he had himself been engaged as Counsel, but in some he appeared to have been only present in attendance upon the Court.

Amongst them was found the case referred to upon two occasions by Lord Stowell as the memorable and famous case of the Med Guds Hielpe (vide p. 191.), but of which no report has hitherto been published.”

With his usual liberality, Dr. LEE kindly placed at my disposal the use of these documents, expressing a wish that by publication they might be rendered more extensively useful.

of 20,000l. sterling, for extinguishing all and every claim from his said Majesty, or his subjects, upon H. B. Majesty under any pretence whatever.

Done at Westminster, the 16th
day of January, in the year of our
Lord 1756.

“ H. Fox."

On the part of the Prussian Go. vernment M, Michell, on the 15th June, 1756, communicated to the Earl of Holderness that part of the money for the repayment of the loan had been already lodged in the Bank of England, and the remainder of both principal and interest would be paid in a few days.

| This was the case of a ship belonging to subjects of Sweden, with a cargo of pitch and tar, the produce of that country, bound to a port of the enemy. The Court of Admiralty, on the ground of contraband, condemned both ship and cargo ; a sentence which was affirmed on appeal.

Since that decision it has been arranged by treaty between the two countries that such articles shall be only subject to right of pre-emption. – Nepturus, 6 Rob. 405.

The Profession is already indebted to a late distinguished Advocate at Doctors' Commons, and Professor of Civil Law in the University of Oxford, for a valuable accession to the knowledge of ecclesiastical and testamentary law by the publication of a collection of cases relating to those branches, selected from other papers


In the Memoir attached to those cases he has noticed the extraordinary care and diligence exhibited in the notebooks now remaining in the Library at Hartwell.

The papers from which the present selection is made afford many additional proofs of the justness of that observation, and show that the learning, application, and industry of Sir GEORGE in the other branch of his profession were no less extraordinary. Amongst these are also found not unfrequently traces of the independent and liberal spirit of the writer."

Much time has been occupied in a careful classification and arrangement of the papers, which were naturally collected together according to the period, and in the manner, in which they were originally written.

The present selection is composed of those relating to Contraband of War; a subject which, at the time when the papers came into my possession, was becoming one of increasing interest, and must ever remain one of primary importance.

It is my intention to prepare for publication further selections from these papers, embracing most of the sub

I See note at end of Preface.

jects which occupy the attention of the Admiralty Court as a Court of Prize during a time of war.

It may perhaps occasion some surprise that, under the altered circumstances of the times, it should be considered advisable to publish matters which, it is to be hoped, have for some time lost their interest. Independent, however, of the circumstances, that almost all the preparations have been already made, the opportunity of preserving from possible loss the valuable information contained in these papers, and which is not to be met with in any other quarter, appeared of too much importance not to be made use of, particularly as it is a source of much regret to the members of the Profession that so few records of the earlier proceedings of the Court at Doctors' Commons are known to exist.

To H. C. ROTHERY, Esq.,. the Registrar of the High Court of Admiralty, my best acknowledgments are due for the ready access he has always so kindly afforded to me to all documents and records, deposited under his custody in the Registry of that Court; and no less so to T. D. HARDY, Esq., of the Record Office in the Tower, for the facilities afforded me in examining the earlier books of the Admiralty Court now deposited there.

I have at all times received the most obliging attention from the latter gentleman and those acting under him. I have, however, to regret that the difficulty of devoting sufficient time to such researches, at a distance from the spot where other engagements necessarily detained me during those hours of the day when these offices are accessible, has prevented me availing myself in the manner I could have desired of the advantages placed at my disposal, and must plead my excuse should the result of my inquiries not prove so accurate or extensive as might be wished.

« EelmineJätka »