Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 1

Adams’ Minutes of the Trial<a xmlns="" href="#LJA01d030n1" class="note" id="LJA01d030n1a">1</a>: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 JA Adams’ Minutes of the Trial: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 Adams, John
Adams' Minutes of the Trial1
Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767
Cotton vs. Nye

Hovey.2 Certificate.3

Benja. Fessenden. Bassetts Shop. Lying Papers. Set their Names to it.

D eaco n. Forster. Signd the Certificate,4 &c.

Dr. Smith. Cotton said in Barbers Shop that he had a Certificate from Committee to prove Nye a Lyar. Understood that it was agreed5 and to be destroyd.


John Jennings. False lying Paper, which you made yourself, and forgd their Names to it.6

Prince Tupper. A False lying Paper. Had stolen it or forgd it. Might as well do it as to put Turners Name to it. Annual Meeting, had been reading several Papers.

Nathl. Bassett. Cotton said he had read a Certificate about Nyes lying.7

Mathias Ellis. Whether he stole that, or made another just like it he could not tell.8

Nehemiah Webb. Made out of his own Head. Had stolen it or forged it, as he did some other. Mr. Spooners Name.

Paine. Wherever Words tend to the slander of a Mans Reputation I shall be for maintaining an Action to preserve the Peace.9

Court of Law a substitute in the Place of Passion.


In JA's hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185. The dating is based on similarity with Paine's minutes (Doc. III).


The position of this name in the MS and the Minute Book entry suggest that James Hovey was not of counsel and that his name appears inadvertently or inexplicably.


“Deft, objects to it, there ought to be an Attestation of the Clerk of the House. The committee have no right to sign.” Paine Law Notes, Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767. See note 1 note 22 below.


Deacon Thomas Foster was a Justice of the quorum and of Plymouth Inferior Court. Whitmore, Mass. Civil List 142, 96.


That is, the dispute was settled.


Jennings' deposition, to which he also swore in the Barnstable Superior Court, 14 May 1767, is in the file. SF 144208.


See to this effect deposition of Thomas Clapp. SF 144208.


Ellis' deposition, sworn to in the Barnstable Superior Court, 14 May 1767, is in the file. It contains the exact wording here set out. SF 144208.


See 4 Bacon, Abridgment 506: “and per Holt Ch. J. 'It is not worthwhile to be very learned on this point [i.e., the rule of mitiore sensu discussed in note 9 above]; for, wherever Words tend to slander a Man and to take away his Reputation, I shall be for supporting Actions for them for the Preservation of Peace,'” citing Baker v. Pierce, 2 Ld. Raym. 959, 960, 92 Eng. Rep. 139, 140; 6 Mod. 23, 24, 87 Eng. Rep. 787, 788 (K.B. 1704).

Paine’s Minutes of the Argument<a xmlns="" href="#LJA01d031n1" class="note" id="LJA01d031n1a">1</a>: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 Paine, Robert Treat Paine’s Minutes of the Argument: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 Paine, Robert Treat
Paine's Minutes of the Argument1
Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767


It may be part of a great plan to get Representation over that Paper.

It is true he made the Story for he drew it up.

Plaintiff put in memorial to cross Col. Cotton.2

The Committee had no business to sign said Certificate.

The design of the Paper was to fix a Lye upon Nye and was a parlimentary paper.

“A lying Paper,” no Slander.


This was not Forgery. 485 Bac. 4.3 HPC 1854

The House of Representatives would have votd he was crazy. Cotton's Character is not so imaculate.


Paine Law Notes, Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767. A portion of Paine's minute has been omitted because of its similarity to JA's (Doc. II). See note 15 3 above.


The sentence is clear in the MS, but makes no sense as it stands because Cotton was the plaintiff and had submitted the memorial.


See note 27 2 below.


See note 40 15 below.