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come into use in England before the reign of Edward I., the first mention of the appointment of an Admiral of England occurring in the Patent Rolls of 23 Edw. I., in which there is the entry, “Willielmus Leybourne constitutus Capitaneus Marinariorum, etc. Idem constitutus Admirallus Angliæ.” It is true that in the third part of the Black Book of the Admiralty, which contains "ancient rules and orders about matters which belong to the Admiralty," there is reference to an ordinance made by the Admirals of the North and of the West at Ipswich in the time of Henry I., but the better opinion would seem to be that the Commanders of the Fleets of the North and of the West were properly designated Captains and Rulers of the Fleet (Capitanei et Gubernatores Navigii) in the reign of Henry I., precisely as we find the Commanders of the great fleet assembled by Richard I. at Oleron for the Fourth Crusade against the Saracens were entitled “ Ductores et Gubernatores totius Navigii.” The title of Admiral would thus appear to have been of novel adoption in the reign of Edward I., although the office was in a certain sense ancient; and we are disposed to think that the introduction of the new title had a special significance, and implied an enlargement of the judicial authority hitherto exercised by the “Capitaneus Navigii,” and by his Lieutenants throughout the coasts and ports of the Realm, and that the King's Admiral henceforth took a more active share in the exercise of that general jurisdiction in maritime matters, which had been hitherto exercised somewhat imperfectly by the Wardens and Bailiffs of the maritime towns and of the great Lords, who had maritime franchises. Besides, the Fourth Crusade had contributed to make more widely known Queen Eleanor's collection of Sea Laws, and a wellfounded tradition has assigned to her son, King Richard I., the credit of having published those Sea Laws in England on his return from the Holy Land. Whatever may be the value of this tradition, there is no doubt that the Laws of
Oleron were received in England in the reign of Edward I., and were administered in the English Maritime Courts as customary Laws of the Sea. The famous Roll of 12 Edward III., endorsed “De Superioritate Maris,” still exists in the Record Office, under which the King's Justiciaries were consulted “how best to resume and continue the mode of proceeding instituted by the King's grandfather and his Council (2 Edward I.) for the purpose of main. taining the ancient supremacy of the Crown over the Sea of England and the right of the Admiral's office over it, with a view to uphold the Laws and Statutes made by the Kings of England in order to maintain peace and justice amongst the people of every nation passing through the Sea of England, and to punish delinquents and afford redress to the injured, which Laws and Statutes," the Roll goes on to say, “were by the Lord Richard, formerly King of England, on his return from the Holy Land, corrected, interpreted, and declared, and were published in the Island of Oleron, and were named in the Gallican tongue, 'La ley Olyroun.'”
The Statute Book of the reign of Richard II. supplies evidence of a struggle on the part of the Admiral's Court to exercise concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of King's Bench in respect of certain matters arising within the realm, which the Court of King's Bench strenuously resisted ; and as it had been found expedient to restrain the Common Law Courts, by a special Order of the King and Council in 35 Edward III.,* from exercising jurisdiction over and
• This Order in Council has been referred to by Lord Hale as fixing the period " since which,” he says, “ I have not observed that the King's Bench or Courts of Common Law have proceeded criminally in cases of crimes of this nature committed on the High Seas.” The Order itself is recorded in the Close Roll 35 Edward III., membr. 28; and it is of so much importance in its bearings on the recent case of the Franconia that we subjoin it in full :“Rex dilectis et fidelibus suis Roberto de Herle et Roberto Belknap, salutem. Licet nuper assignaverimus vos et quosdam alios fideles nostros ad diversas transgressiones et felonias per quosdam subditos nostros et alios supra mare
applying the Common Law of the Realm to offences committed upon the Seas, so it was now found necessary to restrain the Admiral and his deputies, by 13 Richard II., ch. 5, from meddling with anything done within the Realm of England, with the exception, as provided by the subsequent enactment of 15 Richard II., ch. 3, that the Admiral should have cognisance of certain offences committed on board of great ships hovering in the main stream beneath the first bridges of the said rivers. It is a curious fact, illustrative of the well-founded fear entertained by the Barons in olden time, lest the Laws might be falsified by a skilful clerk, if the text of a written law were permitted to be cited as proof of the law without calling experts to testify to the law, that there are two readings of the wellknown Statute of 15 Richard II., ch. 3, which assign to the Admiral's jurisdiction very different limits, according as the word "pountes” (bridges), or the word “pointes" (headlands), is adopted. There can be little doubt that the former is the correct reading. It is the reading of the Par.
quibusdam mercatoribus, tam alienigenis quam indigenis existentibus in quadam navi Johannis Goldbetere, Johannis Salaman de Anglia et Jakemart Fleming mercatoribus, unde Christianus de Lescluse magister extitit, et quæ navis diversis bonis et mercimoniis ad valenciam viginti millium librarum apud Nauntes in Britann, carcata fuit, exinde usque Flandriam ducendis illatas et perpetratas ut dicebatur, audiendas et terminandas secundum legem et con. suetudinem Regni nostri. Quia tamen, negocio hujusmodi coram nobis et consilio nostro jam noviter deducto, videtur esse consonum dictis legi et consuetudini, quod feloniæ, transgressiones, seu injuriæ super mare factæ, non coram Justiciariis nostris ad communem legem, sed coram Admirallis nostris juxta legem Maritimam deducantur et terminentur: volentes fieri quod est justum, dictam commissionem nostram sic vobis factam ducimus revocandam. Et ideo vobis mandamus, quod execucioni alicui de dicta commissione sic vobis facta, faciendæ omnino supersedentes, vos inde in aliquo ulterius non intromittatis. Teste Rege apud Westm., II die Maii. Per ipsum Regem et Concilium." The italics are our own. The important bearing of this Order in Council on the case of the Franconia is not in what regards the Court before which the master of the Franconia was arraigned, but in what regards the Law, which that Court was asked to apply to an offence committed on the High Seas by a foreigner on board a foreign ship-namely, the Common Law, or custom of the Realm of England.
liamentary Roll No. 30, which has been followed in the edition of the Statutes of the Realm, published under the authority of the Record Commissioners. It is also the reading of a MS. in the British Museum (MS. Vespasian, xxii. in the Cotton Collection), which was prepared with great care for the use of Sir Thomas Beaufort, who was the first person appointed to the office of Admiral for life, and who held that office from 9 Henry IV. to 4 Henry V. (1407-1426). The text of the Statute, as set forth in this MS., has been published in the Black Book of the Admiralty, Rolls Edition, Vol. I., Appendix, p. 413. The other reading, “pointes," rests on the authority of Coke's Fourth Institute, which it is believed was never revised by Lord Coke himself-a fact which is the more probable in this instance, seeing that a case in the Common Pleas (6 Henry VI., Rot. 305) is cited soon afterwards in the same Institute, in which the reading of the Statute is quoted in Latin as “ infra primos pontes,” beneath the first bridges.
It is to the Admiralty of Sir Thomas Beaufort that we may refer with tolerable certainty the final settlement of the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, and the regulation of its procedure. Sir Henry Spelman is an authority that under the Admiralty of John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, the immediate predecessor of Sir Thomas Beaufort, the business of the Admiralty Court was much increased, and it had cognisance' both of Civil and Criminal Causes; whilst the Statute of 2 Henry IV., ch. II, was passed about the same time, to secure to all persons redress by an action on the case against any exercise of the Admiral's authority contrary to the Statutes passed in the reign of Richard II. What the law was, that was administered in the Admiralty Court at this time, may be gathered from the Articles of the Admiralty Inquisition, which is the last on record in the
• It is to be regretted that in the Report of the Judgment of the Lord Chief Justice of England in the case of the Franconia, the reading of "points" has been adopted without calling attention to the erroneous reading of the Statute.
Black Book of the Admiralty, and from a petition recorded in the Rolls of Parliament, in the fourth year of the reign of Henry IV., namely, that “they were the Laws of Oleron and the ancient Laws of the Sea." The Letters Patent of the Admirals are to the same effect, authorising them to do all things appertaining to the office of Admiral, “prout de jure et secundum legem maritimam fuerit faciendum." That the Laws of Oleron were also observed at this time by the Admiral of France is shown by the instructions to the Admiral, published by Fontanon in his Recueil, tom. iii., p. 864, and of which a more authentic text has been published for the first time from a MS. in the British Museum, in the Rolls edition of the Black Book of the Admiralty, vol. i., p. 448.* That the same Sea Laws were in use in Flanders may be inferred from a Flemish translation of them, in a hand of the fourteenth century, under their full title of “ The Rolls of Oleron of the Judgments of the Sea,” which is preserved in the Archives of the Town Hall of Bruges, the centre of Flemish commerce at that time, as well as from the name which they subsequently acquired in Flanders as the Judgments of Damme.t That they were received in the Baltic is a necessary inference from the fact, that they form part of the collection of Sea Laws, known as the Maritime Law of Wisby. That they were adopted in Spain is known from a Norman Ordinance issued by Charles V. of France in 1364, granting to the merchants and mariners of Castile, who traded with the Norman ports, the privilege of having their causes adjudicated “ selon les coustumes de la mer et les droiz de Layron dehors.” What the Laws of Layron were, may be learnt
* Item le dit Admiral doibt administrer justice à tous marchans sur la mer selon les droitz, jugemens, coustumes et usaiges d'Olleron.
+ The town of Damme was in fact the port of Bruges at the time, when the estuary of the Zwyn was the entrepôt of the Gascony wine trade with Northern Europe. That great estuary, in which the famous naval victory of the Zwyn was gained by the English fleet in 1340 over the united French and Flemish fleets, is now dry land.