The one case in which jurisdiction has been given to it by statute is to enforce forfeitures under the statute of 1538.
The only legislation affecting the civil jurisdiction of the High Court of Admiralty till the time of Queen Victoria is to be found in an act of 1540, enabling the admiral or his lieutenant to decide on certain complaints of freighters against shipmasters for delay in sailing, and one of 1562, giving the lord high admiral of England, the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, their lieutenants and judges, co-ordinate power with other judges to enforce forfeitures under that act - a very curious and miscellaneous statute called "An Act for the Maintenance of the Navy."
Nevertheless, of the death of a man, and of a maihem done in great ships, being and hovering in the main stream of great rivers, only beneath the [[[bridges]]] of the same rivers [nigh] to the sea, and in none other places of the same rivers, the admiral shall have cognizance, and also to arrest ships in the great flotes for the great voyages of the king and of the realm; saving always to the king all manner of forfeitures and profits thereof coming; and he shall have also jurisdiction upon the said flotes, during the said voyages only; saving always to the lords, cities, and boroughs, their liberties and franchises."
The governor may remit fines and forfeitures, and grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, but in the more serious cases only on the recommendation of a board of pardons, composed of the presiding judge, the secretary of state, and the attorney-general.
The state's revenue is derived from a general direct property tax, a licence tax, corporation taxes, a collateral inheritance tax, fines, forfeitures and fees; and the penitentiary yields an annual net revenue of about $40,000.
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