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Browsing: Legal Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-05-02-02-0006-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Sewall, Jonathan
DateRange: 1768-10 - 1769-03

Adams' Copy of the Libel and Report of the Trial1

Court of Vice Admiralty, Boston, October 1768-March 1769

Dowse vs. Thirty Three Hdds. Molosses
Libel
Be it remembered that on the 26 October 1768 Joseph Dowse of Salem in the County of Essex Esqr., Surveyor and Searcher for the Port of Salem and Marblehead in said Province, who prosecutes as well &c.2 comes and gives the Court to be informed that on the Sixth day of September last at Glocester in the Port aforesaid, he Seized as forfeited, one Third to the King &c.3 Thirty Three Hogsheads and four Tierces of Molasses, for that the same, on the same day was illegally imported, in some Ship or Vessell to the said Informant unknown, from foreign Parts, and was illegally unshipped and landed on Shore in Glouster aforesaid, no Report or Entry thereof having been first made and the Same being customable Goods and the Dutys thereon not having been first paid; against the Form of the Statute in that Case made and provided;4 whereby the Same Molasses is become forfeit to the Uses aforesaid. Whereupon as this is a matter properly within the Jurisdiction of this honorable Court, the said Joseph Dowse prays the Advisement of the Court in the Premisses, and that the same may by proper Process from this Court, be taken into Custody of the { 213 } Marshall of the same Court and by Decree be adjudged and decreed to remain forfeit to the Uses aforesaid.
[signed] Jona. Sewall Advo. for said Dowse &c.
David Plumer of Glocester in the County of Essex Merchant produces a Cockett from the Custom House in Salem 20 Aug. 1768 signed by Fisher Collector Mascarene Comptroller and John Turner Jr. Navall officer, for Thirty Three Casks of foreign Molasses, 3089 Gallons imported from St. Eustatia in the Earl of Glocester, duties paid by Moses Bray, now on board the Schooner Olive Branch Wm. Low Master, bound for Boston.5
And said Plumer proves by Witnesses that the Molasses now libelled against is the Same, that is mentioned in the above cockett.
1. In JA 's hand, in his Admiralty Book, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 184.
2. Omitted in MS is the remainder of the usual form of words in the qui tam information, “on behalf of the said Lord the King and of the Governor of this Province, as for himself.” See No. 46, note 3 80 .
3. The omitted language is presumably “One Third to the Governor of said Province, and one Third to him that informs and sues for the same,” the statutory scheme of distribution. See 4 Geo. 3, c. 15, §42 (1764), applicable here. See also No. 46, note 56.
4. See note 1 above.
5. A cocket was a document required for intercolonial shipment of goods, showing their quantity and quality, shipper, consignee, and where and when duties had been paid. 4 Geo. 3, c. 15, §29 (1764); 5 Geo. 3, c. 45, §25 (1765). Auchmuty had ruled in Dawson v. Lighter and Molasses (May 1768) that a cocket was not needed for shipments from port to port within a colony, but the Commissioners had asked for a ruling from the Treasury in London. The opinion of the attorney general upholding Auchmuty was not given until 8 Sept. See sources cited in Dickerson, Navigation Acts 214–215; Oaks v. Dawson, SF 101809. As to Fisher, see note 7 above. John Mascarene had been appointed comptroller of the port of Salem and Marblehead in Aug. 1764. See Quincy, Reports (Appendix) 434, 450–451. As to the Naval Officer, see No. 45, note 34.

Docno: ADMS-05-02-02-0006-0006-0001

Editorial Note

The documents that follow tell all that is known about this forfeiture proceeding in Admiralty. The basis of the suit was apparently the same statutory prohibition against unloading cargo before entry upon which John Hancock's Liberty had been condemned.1 The parties were cited to appear on 7 November, the date on which the in personam actions against Hancock and others involved in the Liberty affair began. Adams was thus certainly in court to make the brief minute of Otis' argument printed here as Document IV, and may also have been of counsel for Solomon Davis, the owner. The Minute Book entry (Document III) does not report the outcome, but presumably the Triton was acquitted, since no notice of sale was published in the Boston newspapers, and the Minute Book does not indicate a distribution of the proceeds of condemnation.
1. 15 Car. 2, c. 7, §8 (1663), set out in note 2 10 below. As to the Liberty, see No. 46, note 16.
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