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The common law of England feems to have been adopted by general confent throughout the United-States, under the modification of the municipal laws diftinct and peculiar to each, except where a difference of condition and local circumftances have made them improper, unneceffary, or inapplicable.

The adoption of the ftatute law is gènerally throughout the States extended to the reign of King James, and all acts previous to that period-but not to fubfequent statutes, unless particularly named or recognized by the legiflature of the country, whose acts and ordinances during the monarchy are digefted into codes, which, with the municipal law, forms the present fyftem of jurispru-' dence throughout the United-States *.

*See a pamphlet entitled, " The conduct of C..Colden, Efq. lieutenant-governor of New-York, 1767, relating to judges commiffions, appeals to the King, &c.



Of the Commercial Regulations in the United-States. Thofe to which the United-States were fubjected before the Revolution, with fuch Alterations as have fince taken place.


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T is a fundamental law of Europe, that all commerce with a foreign Colony fhall be regarded as a mere monopoly, pu nishable by the laws of the country; and in this case we are not to be directed by the laws and precedents of the antients which are not applicable *.


F 2


* The antients, very much reftricted the trade of their colonies. We are in a great measure ignorant of their civil constitution, commerce, and laws; enough however remains to prove, that their affumed jurifdiction over them was very great. The most authentic documents on this subject are the treaties between the Romans and Carthaginians, which breath the true fpirit of modern commerce. -See Polybius Lib. 3. ch. 22.

It is thus tranflated by CASAUBON.

"Amicitia Romania

"& Romanorum fociis, cum populo Carthaginienfi, Tyriis

" et

Sp. Laws.

b. 21. ch. 17.

It does not include a permiffion to trade in the Colonies, for thefe always continue in a state of prohibition *.


"et Uticenfibus eorumque fociis, his legibus efto. Romani ultra ulchrum promontorium, maftiam, & Iarfeium prædas. ne faciunto; ad mercaturam ne eunto, urbem nullam con"dunto. Si in Latio urbem aliquam Carthaginienfes ceperint, "quæ fubditione Romaliorum non erit, pecuniam et Captivos "ipfi habento; urbem reddunto. Si qui Carthaginienfium "aliquos ceperint queifcumque fædere fcripto juncti fint

Romani; qui tamen fub Romanorum Imperio non erunt: "hos in populi Romani portus ne deducunto; fi quis erit ❝ deductus, et manum Romanus injecerit, liber efto. Eodem "jure et Romani tenentor. Si Romanus ex aliqua regione


quae fub imperio Carthaginienfium erit aquam commeatusve "fumpferit; cum his commeatibus ne cui eorum noceto qui"buscum pax et amicitia est Carthaginienfibus * * * * facito, "Si qua injuria alicui facta erit, priyato nomine ejus perfecutio "ne cuiquam efto; fed ubi tale quid admiferit aliquis, publicum

id crimen efto. In Sardinia et Africa neque negotiator "quifquam Romanorum, neque urbem condito; neve co "appellito, nifi commeatus accipiendi gratia, vel naveis refici "endi, fi tempeftas detulerit, intra dies quinque excedito. In

Sicilia, ubi Carthaginienfes imperaverint, item Carthagine "omnia Romanus facito, vendito, quae civi licebit. Idem "Romae Carthaginienfi jus efto."

This treaty is in fome places imperfect, Polybius fupplies in the following tenor what refers to the allies of Rome.

Şimiliter Romani cavent ne fiat injuria Ardeatibus, Antiatibus, Circeienfibus, Jarracinenfibus; haec autem funt oppida Latii maritima, quae legibus hujus foederis volunt effe comprehenfa.

*The connection between the various colonies of the Ame rican empire of Britain arose from their being territories of


The disadvantage of a colony that loofes the liberty of commerce is compensated by the mother country.

When a foreign commerce with a Co. lony is prohibited, it is not lawful to trade in its feas. Nations (who are with respect to the univerfe what individuals are in a State,) like these are governed by the law of nature, and by particular laws of their own making. One nation may affign to another the fea as well as the land.

Selden, in his Mare Claufum, has proved

the fame State. When the independence of the United-States was recognized they became foreign countries with regard to the remaining plantations of Great-Britain;-and the citizens of the one, and the planters of the other, who had once been fellow subjects of the fame community, became aliens with respect to each other. The acts of Parliament which prohibited all future commerce between regions that had once been bound in the fame compact, only enforced the original fyftem which the law of nations had always enjoined.- -See Chalmers's opinion,

page 43.

It requires only a fhort recapitulation to trace up the rife of that system to its true fource. The policy of Spain, fays Lord Bacon, was to keep the trade of the Indies under fuch lock and key as both confederates and subjects were excluded commerce with thefe countries. Portugal caught the fame jealous fpirit; and France and England followed their example,and hence the maxim laid down by Montefqueu !


Rep. 188.


upon the Ame

a free-trade.

that the fea is capable of occupancy and dominion naturally as well as the land.

If these principles are admitted, it be

rican claim to comes a queftion of curious and interefting enquiry, how the American government

12 Car. 2. c. 18.

support their claim to a free-trade ?

They muft derive their right either from the law of nature or nations. If, from the first every foreign nation, (fays Vattel,) may decline the commerce they difapprove, without affigning even a motive-which confines them to fuch only as are willing to trade with them. If, from the latter, it is anfwered, That by the common consent of all European powers, it is a principle very early established, that the trafic of every Plantation or Colony belongs to that State which originally formed it. The law of nations has uniformly prohibited the intercourse of one foreign country with the Colonies of others.

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Statutes, Orders of Council, &c. Relative to American Cammerce.


Y 12 Car. 2. c. 18. no fugars, tobacco, cotton, wool, indicoes, ginger, fuftick, or other dying wood, of the growth and


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