James Madison Papers

Motion on Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, [22 November] 1782

Motion on Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture

Printed copy (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XXIII, 749). The manuscript of the motion has not been found.

[22 November 1782]

On motion of Mr. [James] Madison, seconded by Mr. [Samuel] Osgood,

Resolved, That Monday the 2d of December next, be assigned for electing two judges for the court of appeals in cases of capture, one in the room of Mr. Paca, resigned, and one in the room of Mr. Hosmer, deceased.1

1See Notes on Debates, 7 November 1782, and nn. 2, 7, 10. Trained in the law at the Middle Temple in London, William Paca (1740–1799), a native of Maryland, was admitted to the bar in 1764. He served in the Maryland provincial assembly from 1771 to 1774, in the Senate of the General Assembly from 1777 to 1779, as chief justice of the Superior Court from 1778 to 1780, as governor from 1782 to 1786, and as a member of the state convention of 1788 which ratified the Federal Constitution. While in Congress, 1774–1779, as a delegate from Maryland, he signed the Declaration of Independence. He was on the bench of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture from 1780 to 1782. At the time of his death he had been for ten years a judge of the United States District Court for Maryland (John Philemon Paca, V, “William Paca,” Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine, LXXXIX [1955], 403–4).

Titus Hosmer (1737–1780), a graduate of Yale College and a lawyer, had been a resident of Middletown, Conn. During the seven years immediately preceding his death he was a member of the legislature of his state and also was one of its delegates to Congress in 1775, 1776, and 1777–1779 (Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History [6 vols.; New York, 1885–1912], II, 468–70). In a letter of 12 April 1780, written less than four months before his death, he accepted the office of judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, to which he had been elected on 22 January of that year (JCC, XVI, 79, 411).

On 22 November, although unnoted in the printed journal, the names of persons to fill the vacant judgeships were proposed. John Lowell of Massachusetts, Henry Marchant of Rhode Island, and William Peartree Smith of New Jersey were nominated by Samuel Osgood, David Howell, and Elias Boudinot, respectively. On 2 December Thomas FitzSimons nominated George Read of Delaware (NA: PCC, No. 186, fol. 1). For the outcome of the election, see Notes on Debates, 5 December 1782, and n. 3.

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