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Notes on the Boston Massacre trials, by John Adams, 1770, "Captn. Prestons Case"

Notes on the Boston Massacre trials, by John Adams, 1770, `Captn. Prestons Case`


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    These are some of John Adams's legal notes, made while he worked as the defense attorney for the British soldiers accused of the murder of Crispus Attucks and four other colonists. This set of notes consists of eight pages and relates to the case against Capt. Thomas Preston (Rex v Preston), in which Preston was eventually found not guilty.

    John Adams kept many numerous sets of legal notes during his legal career. The Massachusetts Historical Society has three sets of notes.  The first set is described above.  The second set of notes consists of ten pages and includes the testimony of Crown witnesses in the soldiers' trial, beginning with the last part of Dodge's testimony and ending part way through Burdick's. The third set of notes, also ten pages in length, contains Adams's notes on the testimony of the first twenty defense witnesses from Rex v Wemms, et al.

    Transcriptions for all of Adams's trial notes are available via the Adams Papers Digital Editions in the Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 3. See also the description of Adams' Massacre Minutes from the same volume.