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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 3

This foot note contained in document ADMS-05-03-02-0001-0001
63. The Chamberlain Collection, MB, contains a capias in an unidentified hand, dated 20 Oct. 1770, requiring Edward Hill, Benjamin Davis, Henry Knox, Joseph Edwards, Benjamin Leigh, John Frost, James Waddell, “Andrew a Negro of Oliver Wendell, Jack a Negro of Dr. Lloyd,” and Theodore Bliss, to appear in court 23 Oct. “to give such Evidence as ye know on Our [i.e. the Crown's] behalf; on an indictment against Thomas Preston for Murder.” Actually, all except Knox and Bliss testified for the defendant. Another defense witness, Richard Palmes, had as far back as 31 July been put under recognizance to appear. See Boston Gazette, 25 March 1771, p. 2, cols. 1–2. The circumstances of Palmes' subpoena are mysterious. “In July last,” he was to write in March 1771,
“I had engaged to go a voyage to Newfoundland; had part of my goods on board, intending to sail sometime in August, and on the 31st of July I was stopt and put under recognizance to appear at October court on Preston's trial. In said term I applied to Samuel Quincy, Esq. then acting King's attorney, to call me as soon as he could, that I might be released from the recognizance which had so long and detrimentally held me: and was by him informed I was not 'a witness for the Crown' in that trial, but for the prisoner. Thus was I detained by Capt. Preston's desire, made to the King's attorney, and by him directed to the High Sheriff, who when he summoned me, threatned to imprison me in case I refused to enter into recognizance to appear at the trial.” Boston Gazette, 25 March 1771, p. 2, col. 2.
But Palmes testified for the Crown at the men's trial. Compare Rex v. Preston, text at note 2 62 and Rex v. Wemms, text at note 7 19 . The dispute between Palmes and Sheriff Stephen Greenleaf underlay the subsequent lawsuit between them. See vol. 1:58 above.