Date of Original Version
With the union of the towns of Portsmouth and Newport in 1640, circuit quarter courts were established, which met alternately in the two towns. The records of most of these sessions are preserved in a manuscript volume entitled "Rhode Island Colony Records 1646-1669," which is in the custody of the Secretary of State. These records have been printed as Chapter XV of the second volume of Chapin's Documentary History of Rhode Island, and cover the years 1641 to 1646. In 1647 the Code of Laws was adopted and the Colony Court of Trials was established, superseding the Island quarter court. This new court was also a circuit court, at first semi-annual, but later quarterly. The records of the greater number of the sessions of this court are preserved in the aforesaid manuscript volume. A transcription of these records has been made and is printed in this volume. The editor wishes to express his appreciation of the courtesy extended to him and his assistants by Hon. J. Fred Parker, Secretary of State, and his staff.
In addition to the Colony Court of Trials, the towns also held monthly courts for the trial of cases which fell within the jurisdiction of these lesser courts. H. M.
"Rhode Island Court Records 1647-1662 (Volume I)" (1920). Library Archive. Paper 72.