Skip to main content

Appeals from Colonial Courts

APPEALS FROM COLONIAL COURTS

APPEALS FROM COLONIAL COURTS. Starting in the late seventeenth century, new proprietary and royal colonial charters reserved for the British king-in-council the right to hear certain cases on appeal from provincial courts. Through this appellate procedure the British Privy Council sought to bring the American colonial legal systems into conformity with England's, particularly in such matters as the rules of evidence and the jury system. Pending appeals, executions of the colonial courts were suspended. Such appeals were both costly and protracted.

Major issues of colonial policy—such as Indian relations, currency law, and intestate succession—were reviewed in litigation brought on appeal. For example, the Virginia clergy appealed to English authorities to disallow the Two Penny Act, a colonial law that effectively reversed earlier statutes that guaranteed Anglican ministers' tenures and salaries. Although the Privy Council upheld the appeal and disallowed the law, the ministers had to sue to recover back salaries from the period when the Two Penny Act was in effect, and these suits proved unsuccessful.

In another case, Winthrop v. Lechmere (1728), the council invalidated the Connecticut custom of divisible descent of intestate estates. In appeals of later cases, however, the council reversed its ruling, allowing colonial property law and inheritance customs to stand. The New England colonies at best grudgingly conceded the appellate authority. The Connecticut and Rhode Island charters made no provision for judicial review, and at times the Massachusetts authorities deliberately ignored an order of the Privy Council.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Greene, Jack P. Peripheries and Center: Constitutional Development in the Extended Polities of the British Empire and the United States, 1607–1788. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986.

Lovejoy, David S. The Glorious Revolution in America. New York: Harper and Row, 1972.

Richard B.Morris/s. b.

See alsoParson's Cause ; Privy Council ; Royal Disallowance .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Appeals from Colonial Courts." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Appeals from Colonial Courts." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/appeals-colonial-courts

"Appeals from Colonial Courts." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved September 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/appeals-colonial-courts

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.