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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-05-01-02-0008-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1768-11

Adams' Notes of Authorities1

Suffolk Court of General Sessions, Boston, November 1768

Brooklyne vs. Roxbury.
Prov. Law. Page 23. Names returned.2
2. Salk. 482. Anonimous. 3 Men and families.3
2 Salk 485. Sylvanus Johnson.4
Foleys Poor Laws 427. Lenham vs. Peckham.5
Foley 426. Flixton vs. Roston.6
Form of an order of Removal, Burn V. 3, P. 378. V. 3, Page 377.7
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13 [&] 14 Car. 2, Chap. 12, cited in Burn V. 3, P. 375.8
Prov. Law, 4 W. & M. c. 12.9
Justice shall not act in his Town.
2 Strange 1173 Great Charte and Kennington. Foley Page 104. Statute, 16 G[eorge] 2d, c. 18. Act to impower Justices.10
1. In JA 's hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185. The present dating is based on the fact that the MS appears on a leaf with cases decided in April 1768 and May 1769 at Plymouth.
2. The reference is to the Act of 16 Nov. 1692, c. 28, §9, 1 A&R 67. JA is here citing Acts and Laws, Of His Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England 23 (Boston, 1742). Compare the citation to the same act in the 1759 edition, No. 24, note 13 4 . The section cited, set out in full in No. 25, note 4 2 , provided that persons remaining in the town for more than three months without being warned to leave, “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,” should be reputed inhabitants for relief purposes. The time period was extended to twelve months in 1701 and eliminated altogether in an Act of 1767 passed too late to be applicable to this case. Ibid.
3. Anonymous, 2 Salk. 482, 91 Eng. Rep. 415 (K.B. 1698): “An Order made to remove three Men and their Families was quashed, quia too general; for some of their Family might not be removeable.”
4. Case of Sylvanus Johnson, 2 Salk. 485, 91 Eng. Rep. 417 (K.B. ca. 1698). At sessions, “ordered that Johnson and his Wife and Family, should be removed to Sandherst, which was quashed; because Non constat what is meant by his Family, and some of them may have a legal Settlement [in the town removing], tho' J. had not.”
5. Robert Foley, Laws Relating to the Poor 427 (London, 4th edn., 1758), citing the unreported case of Inhabitants of Lenham v. Inhabitants of Peckham (Q.B. 1711): “Upon Complaint that A. was likely to become chargeable, the Justices make an Order to remove the Pauper, his Wife and Family; quash'd as to the Family.” There follow citations of the cases in notes 21 3 and 22 4 above.
6. Foley, Laws Relating to the Poor 426, citing the unreported case of Flixton v. Roston (Q.B. 1710): “This was a Motion to quash an Order of two Justices, which was made for the Removal of one Jane Smith and her five children. Exception. It's too uncertain; for it neither tells the Name or Ages of the Children: Wherefore the Order was quash'd as to the Children.”
7. The precise edition of Richard Burn, The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, cited by JA has not been located. “The form of a general order of removal” appears both in the 6th edition, London 1758, at 3:83–84, and in the 11th edition, London, 1769, at 3:432–433. It is here set out from the latter:
“Westmorland. To the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Orton in the said county of Westmorland, and to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Penrith in the county of Cumberland, and to each and every of them.
Upon the complaint of the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Orton aforesaid in the said county of Westmorland, unto us whose names are hereunto set and seals affixed, being two of his majesty's justices of the peace in and for the said county of Westmorland, and one of us of the quorum, that John Thomson, Mary his wife, Thomas their son aged eight years, and Agnes their daughter aged four years, have come to inhabit in the said parish of Orton, not having gained a legal settlement there, nor produced any certificate owning them or any of them to be settled elsewhere, and that the said John Thomson, Mary his wife, and Thomas and Agnes their children, are likely to be chargeable to the said parish of Orton; We the said justices, upon due proof made thereof, as well upon the examination of the said John Thomson upon oath, as otherwise, and likewise upon due consideration had of the premisses, do adjudge the same to be true; and we do likewise adjudge, that the lawful settlement of them the said John Thomson, Mary his wife, and Thomas and Agnes their children, is in the said parish of Penrith in the said county of Cumberland: We do therefore require you the said churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the said parish of Orton, or some or one of you, to convey the said John Thomson, Mary his wife, and Thomas and Agnes their children, from and out of the said parish of Orton, to the said parish of Penrith, and them to deliver to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor there, or to some or one of them, together with this our order, or a true copy thereof, at the same time shewing to them the original; And we do also hereby require you the said churchwardens and overseers of the said parish of Penrith, to receive and provide for them as inhabitants of your parish. Given under our hands and seals the [] day of [] in the [] year of the reign of his said majesty king George the third.
On the preceding pages are forms of summonses to paupers lacking settlement and to the churchwardens of a parish to which removal is sought to appear before a justice or justices for examination and adjudication of removal. Id. at 430–432.
8. 13 & 14 Car. 2, c. 12, §1 (1662), set out in Burn, Justice of the Peace 428–429 (1769), appears in pertinent part in No. 25, note 6 4 .
9. That is, the Act of 16 Nov. 1692, c. 28, 1 A&R 64–68, the basic Province poor law. Sections pertinent to removal are set out in No. 24, note 13 4 ; No. 25, notes 4 2 , 6 4 . JA 's point here and at note 26 8 above seems to be that the English forms cited in note 25 7 above are not dictated by statute, because the English and Massachusetts acts are similarly general in their language.
10. For the case of Greate Charte v. Kennington, set out from Strange's Reports in Foley, Laws Relating to the Poor 104, see No. 25, note 5 3 . The statute, 16 Geo. 2, c. 18, §1 (1743), noted by the reporter as passed “to remedy this” (i.e. the ruling in the case that the order of a Justice was void when it concerned his own town) is set out here from a copy in JA 's hand in the Adams Papers:
“16 G. 2, c. 18. Statutes at large. V. 6th, Page 501. An Act to impower Justices of the Peace to act in certain Cases relating to Parishes and Places, to the Rates and Taxes of which they are rated or chargeable. [§1] [ . . . ] 'It shall be lawfull to and for all and every Justice or Justices of the Peace for any County, Riding, City, Liberty, Franchise, Borough, or Town Corporate within their respective Jurisdictions, to make, do, and execute all and every Act or Acts, Matter or Matters, Thing or Things, appertaining to their office, as Justice or Justices of the Peace, so far as the same relates to the Laws for the Relief, Maintenance and settlement of Poor Persons, &c. Not with standing any such Justice or Justices of the Peace is or are rated to or chargeable with the Taxes, Levies, or Rates within any such Parish Township or Place affected by any such Act or Acts of such Justice or Justices as afore Said.'”
At the “&c.” JA has omitted provisions covering vagrants, highways, and taxes. JA must have argued or assumed that this Act was not applicable in the colonies. For a similar Province Act, passed in 1772, see note 14 above.