State Documents on Federal Relations/5n

New Hampshire and the Federal Judiciary.

1794, 1795.

The first the following remonstrances was due to a decision rendered by the United States Circuit Court for the District of New Hampshire, October 24, 1793, enforcing the decree of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, in a case growing out of the capture of the brigantine "Susannah" by the privateer the "McClary" in October, 1777. The latter vessel was owned and manned by citizens of New Hampshire, but was acting under the commission and authority of Congress. The Courts of New Hampshire condemned the "Susannah" and her cargo as lawful prize, and refused to grant an appeal to Congress as contrary to the law of the State. A petition for an appeal in this case (Treadwell and Penhallow v. brig Susannah) was, however, sent to Congress, and its prayer granted by the Court of Commissioners, June 26, 1779, by virtue of the Resolves of Congress of November 25, 1775 (Journal of Congress [ed. 1800], I, 241, 242.) The case came up for trial before the legal successors of this body, the newly erected Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture (Resolves of January 15, 1780, Jour. of Cong., VI, 10) in September, 1783. This Court reversed the decision of the New Hampshire Courts. Here the case rested until Elisha Doane, one of the appellants, finally brought proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of New Hampshire in 1793, with the result as indicated above. On a writ of error the case was brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, and judgment was given, February 24, 1795, in the case of Penhallow et al., v. Doane's Administrators, maintaining the jurisdiction of the United States Courts, and confirming the decision of the inferior courts. The second of these remonstrances was presented to Congress three days later.

References: Texts: Amer. State Papers, Misc., I, 79, 123, 124. See the case of Penhallow v. Doane, 3 Dallas, 54, for full facts in the case. For history of the United States Courts prior to the adoption of the Constitution, and incidentally of this case, see J. F. Jameson, The Predecessor of the Supreme Court, in Essays in Const. History, ch. 1; J. C. Bancroft Davis, Courts of Appeal in Prize Cases, 131 United States Reports, Appx. xxix–xxxiv.