American Data from the Records of the High Court of the Admiralty of Scotland, 1675-1800by David Dobson. Published by Clearfield 200 East Eager Street, Baltimore MD 21202. 2000. 154 pp. Softcover. $16.50 plus $3.50 p&h.
The Admiralty Court of Scotland was responsible for civil, criminal and prize jurisdiction of the Lord High Admiral of Scotland. He was the King's lieutenant and justice upon the seas. This work is important in that it identifies the Scottish merchants and mariners who were trading with Colonial America, along with the Scottish factors and their servants who were often the leaders for following settlements. This book indicates many trade routes and places of settlement ranging from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Guinea, and from the Baltic Sea to Barbados.
These abstracts have been taken primarily from the court's Register of Decrees. All have some bearing on America and include cases dealing with pirates, privateers, colonial merchants, emigrants, slavers and seafarers.
Following is one example to illustrate the type of information to be found in the entries:
AC9/1297 1734 Hugh Vanns, merchant in Boston, New England, and his factor John Stark provost of Glasgow, v. Captain Archibald Yuille, merchant in Port Glasgow. For payment of a bill of bottomry on his ship the Brisbane, granted at Boston by her master James Hamilton, shipmaster of Port Glasgow.
Many of the entries are longer and hint at some fascinating stories worthy of further investigation.
The book has indexes for names, places and ships making almost anything easy to find. This is a useful set of court abstracts for Americans looking for Scottish connections.
Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.6, 2000