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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0008-0002

Plympton v. Middleboro

DocGroupNo:

1766

Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0008-0002-0001

Editorial Note

Josiah Marshall had lived in Plympton from 1747 until 1753, and had then spent five years at Middleboro as master of the grammar school. In 1758 he returned to Plympton, but in either 1760 or 1762 moved again, to teach school at Pembroke. According to his own testimony, he remained in the latter town for two years and two months. His next stop cannot be determined with certainty, but at some point in his wanderings he was warned and removed from Plympton. It was Plympton, however, which petitioned the Plymouth County Court of General Sessions in July 1766 for a determination of his status.1 Since such petitions were usually brought by the town in which a pauper was actually residing, it is probable that Marshall went from Pembroke to Middleboro and was removed from the latter town to Plympton, and that his removal from Plympton had occurred earlier in his career. It is also possible that he went from Pembroke to Plympton and that Plympton then removed him, subsequently petitioning to recover its charges for the period prior to his departure.
Whatever the facts, the case was tried at the October 1766 Sessions, with Adams as counsel for Middleboro and Paine apparently arguing for Plympton. According to their minutes (Documents I, II), the principal issue was the validity of Marshall's removal from Plympton. Adams argued against both the warrant of warning and the warrant to remove. Against the former he raised a series of formal objections, including the failure of the selectmen to make return of the warning to the clerk of the Court of General Sessions within the time required by statute. He also attacked the removal warrant on formal grounds and raised an issue that was to be important in later cases (No. 26, No. 27), that the justice who issued it was an inhabitant of Plympton, and so interested in the outcome. The court ruled in favor of Middleboro, according to Adams' account, because of the lack of a timely return to the warrant of warning.2
1. See JA , Docket, Plymouth Inferior Court, July 1766, a listing covering both the Inferior Court and General Sessions, which sat together. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 182. The facts of the case cannot be stated with certainty because the only sources of information available are the docket and JA 's and Paine's minutes (Docs. I, II), which are incomplete and not entirely consistent with one another.
2. Middleboro received its costs. See JA , Docket, Plymouth Inferior Court, Oct. 1766. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 182. This entry and the docket for July 1766 show that JA received a retainer of 6s. and a fee of £1 10s.
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Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0008-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-10

Adams' Minutes of the Argument1

Plymouth Court of General Sessions, October 1766

Plymton vs. Middleborough.
Benja. Shurtliff. Deer. 21st 1753. Marshall went from Plympton to Middleborough.
Josa. Marshall. 25 Aug. 1747 came to Plympton first, to 10 Novr. 1753. 7 July 1758, returned to Plympton from Middleborough, where I went first 21st Deer. 1753.
2 Years and 2 months at Pembroke. Came from there 4 Years ago last Spring.
Mem. This Cause was decided in my favour, who was for Middleborough, by a great Majority of the Court, upon this single Point, vizt. that Caution was not entered in the Clerks office within the Year. The Q. was upon the Words of Prov. Law. 4. Wm. & Mary, C. 12, the Act for Regulating Townships &c. The 9th Clause in the Act is “if any Person &c. sojourn or dwell &c. 3 months, &c. not having been warned by the Constable, and the Names, Abode and Warning returnd unto the Court of Quarter Sessions, &c. shall be reputed an Inhabitant, &c.”2 Not having been warned, and the Warning &c. not having been returned, within 3 months, in [is?] the obvious and grammatical Construction.
'Tho many other Points were stirred by me, particularly the Warrant to carry out, was given by Justice Bradford of Plympton, and so { 296 } a Person interested, and I produced the Case of the two Parishes of Great Charte and Kennington B.R. 16. G. 2. Strange Rep. 1173. Order of 2 Justices quash'd, because one was an Inhabitant of the Parish from whence the Pauper was removed.3
Making an order of removal a Judicial Act, and the Party interested is tacitly excepted out of 13 & 14th C[harles] 2d, c. 12, which gives the Power to any 2 Justices of Peace, as our Prov. Law does to the next Justice.4 Lord Raymond went off the Bench when an order of Abbotts Langley the Parish where he lived came before the Court.5
1. In JA 's hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185.
2. Closing quotation marks supplied. JA is citing “An Act for Regulating of Townships, Choice of Town Officers, and Setting Forth Their Power,” 16 Nov. 1692, c. 28, §9, 1 A&R 67: “[I]f any person or persons come to sojourn or dwell in any town within this province or precincts thereof, and be there received and entertained by the space of three months, not having been warned by the constable or other person whom the selectmen shall appoint for that service to leave the place, and the names of such persons with the time of their abode there, and when such warning was given them, returned unto the court of quarter sessions, every such person shall be reputed an inhabitant of such town or precincts of the same,” so as to charge the town for his support if he stands in need of relief, subject to a proviso if there are relatives, set out in No. 24, note 13 4 . By the Act of 12 March 1701, c. 23, §§4, 5, 1 A&R 453, no town was to be charged with a newcomer unless his presence had been approved by the selectmen of the town, or “unless such person or persons have continued their residence there by the space of twelve months next before, and have not been warned in manner as the law directs, to depart and leave the town, any law, usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.” The requirements for approval were made more stringent by the Act of 5 Jan. 1740, c. 9, §1, 2 A&R 995. The time period was eliminated altogether and approval made the only basis for gaining a settlement in the Act of 19 March 1767, c. 17, §6, 4 A&R 911.
3. Here and in the following paragraph, JA has paraphrased the case of Parish of Greate Charte v. Parish of Kennington, 2 Str. 1173, 93 Eng. Rep. 1107 (K.B. 1742). The order of the two justices had been quashed in Sessions. In favor of the order it was argued before the King's Bench that the practice was authorized by statute (note 6 4 below), was necessary because there might be a corporation with only two justices, and was saved because there was an appeal on the merits to the Sessions. For the result, see note 7 5 below.
4. In Greate Charte v. Kennington, note 5 3 above, it had been argued that the practice complained of was authorized by the statute, 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 12, §1 (1662), which provided that upon complaint made to a justice by the churchwardens of any poor person within forty days after his arrival, it should be lawful “for any two justices of the peace, whereof one to be of the quorum, of the division where any person or persons that are likely to be chargeable to the parish shall come to inhabit, by their warrant to remove and convey such person or persons to such parish where he or they were last legally settled.” By §2, an appeal to the Quarter Sessions was provided for any person aggrieved. The “Prov. Law” referred to by JA is the Act of 16 Nov. 1692, c. 28, §10, 1 A&R 68: “That any person orderly warned as aforesaid [under id., §9, note 4 2 above] to depart any town whereof he is not an inhabitant, and neglecting so to do by the space of fourteen days next after such warning given, may by warrant from the next justice of the peace be sent and conveyed from constable to constable unto the town where he properly belongs or had his last residence at his own charge, if able to pay the same, or otherwise at the charge of the town so sending him.” This provision was also eliminated by the Act of 19 March 1767, note 4 2 above, which, in §7, authorized removal of all persons not approved by the town. There is evidence, however, that the practice of warning was still followed. See 5 A&R 260.
5. This paragraph is based on the conclusion of the court's opinion in Greate Charte v. Kennington, note 5 3 above: “But the court held, that this was a judicial act, and the party interested is tacitly excepted. Lord Raymond, who lived in the parish of Abbotts-Langley, went off the Bench, when one of their orders came before the court. They said the practice could not overturn so fundamental a rule of justice, as that a party interested could not be a Judge. And as to the case of corporations, they said that if it appeared that there were no other justices, it might be allowed; to prevent a failure of justice. And therefore they confirmed the order of sessions.” The reporter adds, “Vide the act 16 Geo. 2, c. 18. to remedy this.” For this statute, see No. 27, note 28 10 . The court's last point is an interesting contrast to the absolute force given the proposition that a man may not be judge in his own cause in the authorities cited in the argument on the writs of assistance in 1761. See No. 44, note 71 19 . For another Massachusetts case in which both Greate Charte and the latter authorities were cited, see Jeffries v. Sewal (Suffolk Inferior Court, Nov. 1762), reported in 1 JA, Diary and Autobiography 230–231. As to the parish of Abbotts Langley, see King v. Inhabitants of Abbots Langley, 1 Barn. K.B. 148, 94 Eng. Rep. 103 (1729), in which Lord Raymond, “being of this parish, ... said he would give no opinion.”
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Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0008-0002-0003

Author: Paine, Robert Treat
Date: 1766-10

Paine's Minutes of the Argument1

Plymouth Court of General Sessions, October 1766

Plympton vs. Middleborough
Warninig.
Shurtleffe. J. Mar[shall] went from Plym[pton] to Mid[dleborough] 21. Dec. 1753.
Mr. Josiah Marshal. Came to Plymp[ton] Augt. 1747 till 20th Novr. 1753.2 Then to Midd[leborough], returned to Ply[mpton] 7th July 1758. Was Grammar School Master at Midd[leborough]. I went to Pembroke 4 yr. ago and kept school there 2 yr. and 2 months.
Capt. Sprout. Mr. Marshal kept School at Midd[leborough] 5 years.
Adams
Pity there should be a dispute.
Warrant of Warning no Seal no mention made of his Wife and children, not to depart within 14 days. A man and his family means nothing more than the man; Marshals Wife was born at Plymton.
Warrant to remove, not setting forth the cause, given by a Justice in the same Town
Strange. 1163.3
1. In Paine's hand. Paine Law Notes.
2. Thus in MS . JA 's notes read 10 November.
3. That is, Greate Charte v. Kennington, note 5 3 above. Paine has erroneously written “1163.”