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Admiralty Court records

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: C#00180

Scope and Contents

Consists of file cases heard & adjudicated before British Court of Vice Admiralty; later Admiralty Court established by the General Assembly. Includes minutes, petitions, depositions & oaths made, cargo invoices & accounts, crew lists, warrants, references to vessels seized, prisoners of war, trials for piracy, statements of foreign parties involved, etc.


  • Creation: 1726-1786

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No special restrictions unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.

Biographical / Historical

Functions of the Court of Vice Admiralty transferred to the jurisdiction of the colony at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. June 16, 1776, James Honeyman ordered the General Assembly to give up commission as Advocate for the Court of Vice Admiralty under the crown of Great Britain. November 2, 1776, committee appointed to revise the Act establishing a Maritime Court for the trial of prize causes within this State. October 30, 1779, James Mitchell Varnum appointed Advocate of the court of Admiralty. July 20, 1780. Act establishing Court of Admiralty in this State passed by legislature (Acts & Resolves of the General Assembly, Vol. 13, p. 67; Vol. 14, p. 123; Vol. 19, p. 8; vol. 20, p. 1)


.22 Cubic Feet (11 volumes) ; 15" x 7 1/2" x 3"


Record of cases brought before courts of Admiralty & Vice Admiralty as established throughout the British colonies to adjudicate disputes involving maritime activities between merchants & seaman


Chronological & case adjudicated

Custodial History

Records of Court of Vice Admiralty transferred to custody of the Secretary of State pursuant General Assembly Resolution October 30, 1784 - Mr. John Manley appointed to receive of the executors of the late Thomas Vernon former register of the court of Vice Admiralty all the records, files and papers belonging to said office and deliver the same to the Secretary of this State (Acts & Resolves of the General Assembly, 1784 – 1785, Vol. 24, p. 51); receipt of Henry Ward Secretary, March 26, 1785 (Committee Reports, Rhode Island General Assembly, May 4, 1785, Vol. #4 #93)


No accruals are anticipated at this time.

Existence and Location of Originals

Microfilmed – seven reels; GSU order # 954917 through 954922

Related Materials

C#0181 - Admiralty Court Minute Books, 2 Vols. 1, 1727 - 1743, 1776 - 1783

C#0185 - Maritime Papers – Letters of Marque & Reprisal, 1776 – 1780

C#0257 - Governor Correspondence; C#00203 – RI Colony Records

C#0261 - Committee Reports, Rhode Island General Assembly, Vols. 1 – 3

C#0210 – Acts & Resolves of the General Assembly Bartlett, John Russell, Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England, 1636 - 1792, 10 Vols., Providence, 1856 – 1865

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rhode Island State Archives Repository

33 Broad Street
Providence RI 02903 USA