Adams Papers

Adams’ Minutes of the Wadsworth Trial: Plymouth Inferior Court, Plymouth, April 1766

Adams’ Minutes of the Wadsworth Trial1

Plymouth Inferior Court, Plymouth, April 1766

Wadsworth vs. Loring et als.

Paine.2 Wadsworth, a Commissioner of Duxborough to take Care of the Herring Way.

Q. Whether Wadsworth did any Thing to defeat the Condition?3

Levi Loring. Deposition. Making Interest.4 Told Town, nothing was done.

Thomas Adams.

Pirez Loring. Would make Interest, but Lor[in]g said it was not fair.

Jno. McGlathly. Judah Sampson came and wantd him to see how [many?] would vote for Wadsworth.

Abner Louden. Askd to go to Meeting but not to vote. Voted against it.

Job Brewster. General talk unfair to make Int[erest].

434. 435. 436. Our Act.5

Confession—whose case.

Hovey. 6

Coll. Bradford. Fair Vote.

D[eaco]n Wadsworth. Defendants said make what Interest you can and so will I. Aggrievd the People.

Prior. Enemy.

P. Sampson. Petition not to give up the Priviledge.

1In JA’s hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185. Facing page is docketed “Supr. Ct. Wadsworth v. Loring & als.,” without more. See notes 5, 6, and 9, above.

2Robert Treat Paine, counsel for Loring et al.

3It is not clear from the MS whether this is JA’s query or Paine’s.

4That is, using influence in order to obtain votes.


“[W]hosoever shall hereafter erect or build any dam across any such river or stream where the salmon, shad, alewives or other fish usually pass up into the natural ponds, to cast their spawn, shall make a sufficient passage-way for the fish to pass up such river or stream, through or round such dam, and shall keep it open, for the free passage of the fish, from the first day of April to the last day of May, annually; and all the owners or occupants of any mill-dam, or other dams heretofore erected and made across any such river or stream where the fish can’t conveniently pass over, shall make a sufficient way, either round or through such dam, for the passage of such fish, at or before the first day of September next, and after that to keep such passage-way open from the first day of April to the last day of May, annually, on pain that every person offending, in any of the particulars aforesaid, shall forfeit and pay the sum of fifty pounds for each offence. . . . [T]he owners or occupants of such dam or dams shall allow sufficient water-passage round, through or over such dams, for the passage of such fish or their young spawn, in the season of their going down such rivers or streams, on penalty of forfeiting the sum of fifty pounds for every offence. . . . [T]he several fines and penalties arising by virtue of this act, shall be sued for and recovered in any court of record proper to try the same, by any person that shall prosecute and sue for the same; one half of such sum to be to and for the use of the prosecutor, and the other half to be to and for the use of the poor of the town where the offence shall be committed.” Act of 15 Jan. 1742, 2 A&R description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, ed. Ellis Ames, Abner C. Goodell, et al., Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends 1087–1088.

The numbers “434. 435. 436” in the text are unexplained. They do not refer to Acts and Laws, Of His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England (Boston, 1759), where the Act appears at p. 297.

6James Hovey, with JA, counsel for Wadsworth.

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