About Parts 1 and 2
This two-part print catalogue lists all currently known colonial cases appealed to the Privy Council from the 13 colonies that became the United States, and from the British Caribbean and Canadian colonies to 1783, with links to related documents. The accompanying digital catalogue provides links to the source material. Because reports of these appeals have not been easily accessible, the substance and practice of these appeals have been little studied. For the first time, the catalogue provides access to the source material. An introduction offers reflections gleaned from this 15-year project.
The predecessor of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) fashioned English rule in the empire, influencing social, economic, and legal matters in the American colonies before the Revolution, while the sugar trade flourished, and as Canada entered the British empire. Modern appellate courts in many countries trace their roots to these appeals, and aspects of this jurisdiction were absorbed into the early United States Supreme Court.
The two-part print catalogue describes more than 800 appeals between 1674 and 1783. Part 1 contains 257 reports (13 colonies); Part 2 contains 519 reports (British Caribbean and Canada). Importantly, 284 extant briefs are identified in repositories in the US and UK.
Each reports includes:
The annotated digital version facilitates research from any location by providing access to primary documents online: images of the extant briefs plus links to related documents in The National Archives. Useful lists include counsel on the briefs, named enslaved persons, privateering or trading vessels, and named Caribbean plantations with property in dispute.
The annotated digital catalogue can be accessed freely at https://amesfoundation.law.harvard.edu/ColonialAppeals/index.php.
The print volumes, each available separately from William S. Hein and Co., Inc., contain the online material without the digital images.
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Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and Professor of Law, Yale University
Professor, The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, President of the Society of Legal Scholars, and Treasurer of the Selden Society
Associate Director for Collections and Special Projects, Yale Law Library
Professor of History, Clemson University
About the Editors
Mary Sarah Bilder
Professor Mary Sarah Bilder is the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. She is the author of three monographs on early American constitutionalism: Female Genius: George Washington and Eliza Harriot at the Dawn of the Constitution (March 2023); Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Bancroft award; 2015); The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire (AHA Littleton-Griswold Award; 2004). She has taught at Boston College since 1994 and also has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School. She received her B.A. with Honors (English) and the Dean’s Prize from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, her J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School, and her A.M. (History) and Ph.D. from Harvard University in the History of American Civilization/American Studies. Professor Bilder is Literary Director of the Ames Foundation and a member of the American Law Institute, the American Antiquarian Association, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Sharon Hamby O’Connor
Sharon Hamby O’Connor is Professor Emerita at Boston College Law School where she served as Associate Dean for Library and Computing Services for 23 years. In that capacity, she was responsible, with the rest of the library staff, for providing academic, curricular, and technology support to the Law School. With Morris L. Cohen, she was the author of A Guide to the Early Reports of the Supreme Court of the United States (1995). She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, holds master’s degrees from Columbia University and Yale University in library science and environmental studies respectively, and a JD degree from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and the American Association of Law Libraries.
Charles Donahue, Jr.
Paul A. Freund Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
Private Scholar, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
About The Ames Foundation
The Ames Foundation was founded in 1910 with contributions from the friends of the late James Barr Ames of Harvard Law School “for the purpose of continuing the advancement of legal knowledge and aiding the improvement of the law.” The Foundation was organized as a charitable corporation under the laws of Massachusetts, and the directors of the Foundation determined to devote the efforts of the Foundation to publications in legal history.
Ames Foundation Publications can also be found in HeinOnline's Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law database.
About Selden Society Publications and the History of Early English Law
HeinOnline has partnered with the Selden Society and the Ames Foundation to bring early English manuscripts, yearbooks, and more to the forefront, providing access to English and American legal history in an online searchable format that has never been available before! In addition to primary publications, researchers will also find some of the most influential digests, abridgments, and modern encyclopedias that formed the foundation of English law, and had enduring effects on the development of law in America. From Nicholas Statham’s Abridgment of Cases to the End of Henry VI, published in 1490, and Fitzherbert’s Abridgment in 1577, to Coke’s Institutes in 1797 and 1809 and Coke’s Reports in 1826, this collection gives researchers a penetrating insight into the works of some of the most widely known authors of treatises, as well as the most important works of authority.