. See Harrison v. The Liberty, et
al., Vice Adm. Min. Bk.
, 22 June 1768. The date and substance of the decree are known only from a contemporary
newspaper report that “Wednesday the 17th the Hon. Robert Auchmuty Esq. Judge of Admiralty
for this province, decreed the sloop Liberty, seized the 10th of June last, to be
forfeited; but the 200 barrels oil, and six barrels tar, which were on board her when
seized, were cleared.” Boston Chronicle,
22 Aug. 1768, p. 331, col. 3; Boston
Post-Boy, 22 Aug. 1768, p. 1, col. 3. This result is confirmed by the order of sale,
dated 31 Aug. 1768, which dealt with the vessel alone. Massachusetts Gazette,
1 Sept. 1768, p. 1, col. 2. Sewall's conduct of the cause, although successful, was
not vigorous enough to suit the Commissioners. They found that he had been dragging
his feet because he had been informed by Samuel Venner, their secretary, that they
had criticized his conduct in the matter of the Lydia
to the Treasury. This episode apparently had something to do with the delay in prosecuting
Hancock in personam
and may even have affected the outcome of that suit. See notes 27
, below. Although Sewall remained in favor, Venner was finally suspended by the Board.
See Minutes of Commissioners, 8 Aug. 1768, PRO
, Treas. 1:471, fols. 7–8. Other materials are in id.
at fols. 1–88, 303–312, 435–436, 492–502. See also Clark, “American Board of Customs,”
791 note; Dickerson, “John Hancock,” 32 MVHR
517, 532–534 (1946).