A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


This foot note contained in document ADMS-05-01-02-0002-0001-0002
69. The form of the writ of execution in personal actions is prescribed in the Act of 3 June 1701, c. 2, §1, 1 A&R 460, and discussed at length in the dissenting opinion of Trowbridge, J., in Richmond v. Davis, Quincy, Reports 279–297 (SCJ Suffolk, March 1768). It called upon the sheriff or his deputy to render to the judgment creditor the cash value of his judgment in “the goods, chattels or lands” of the debtor, if they were acceptable to the creditor; otherwise the body of the debtor was to be taken and held until the debt was satisfied or discharged. This writ combined the features of the English elegit and capias ad satisfaciendum, but did not contain the provisions of the writs of fieri facias and levari facias, under which the sheriff could sell the debtor's land or effects and pay the creditor the proceeds. See 2 Bacon, Abridgment 348–352. This situation was partially remedied by the Act of 14 July 1772, c. 12, 5 A&R 207, by virtue of which the sheriff was empowered to sell the debtor's chattels, apparently confirming a settled practice. See Quincy, Reports 297 note.