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of Mr. was honorable, and Josias Plaistowe, for petty larceny, was, with other punishment, sentenced to be called Josias, and not Mr. Josias as he used to be; when sergeant Perkins was ordered to carry forty turfs to the fort for being drunk; when Daniel Clark was fined forty shillings for being an immoderate drinker, and John Wedgewood was set in the stocks, for being in the company of drunkards; when Henry Felch was fined and admonished for his rash speaking, and Captain Lovel was admonished to take heed of light carriage, and Edward Palmer for his extortion in taking two pounds thirteen shillings and four pence for the wood work of Boston stocks, was fined and set in the stocks of his own making: and when for mean men to “ wear gold or silver lace, or buttons, or points at their knees, or to walk in great boots, or women of the same rank to wear silk or tiffany hoods or scarfs," was visited with a severe penalty.'
In the next period during the existence of the province, the profession took its origin, as a distinct body in the community, and arose to its first distinction and influence before the revolution. . During this period, by an act of the general court of April 2, 1731, the county of Worcester was incorporated; and Mr. Willard has examined the records of the court(a) and made inquiries of the survivors of the latter part of this period, besides resorting to the early histories for information respecting the lawyers who resided or attended the courts, in Worcester, before 1776.
The most distinguished advocates in Suffolk and the other counties of the province, attended the courts in Worcester, during the provincial times; an enumeration of whom, and the periods of their attending the courts in Worcester, are given by Mr. Willard. John Read, of Boston, to whom the profession is indebted for the precedents sanctioned by his name in Anthon's Collection, and who was pronounced by James Otis, to be the greatest common lawyer this country ever saw,' attended the courts in Worcester, 1733, &c. Richard Dana, of Boston, 1739 to '44; Jeremiah Gridley, of Boston, 1759 to '65; Willian Brattle, of Cambridge, (characterised by his neighbor, Mr. Foxcroft, as a man of universal superficial knowledge') 1736 to 54; Edmund Trowbridge, of Cambridge, 1732 to 67; when he was
(a) In examining these records, Mr. Willard finds some additional authorities in relation to a phrase used by Judge Jackson in his Treatise on Real Actions, the propriety of which has been the subject of some criticism and discussion. See Am. Jur. v. 1, p. 218; v. 2, p. 76. He says. As early as 1717 the expression, plea of land , was used in the declaration (in Clark v. Townsend) drawn up by Stephen Fessenden, he believes, and in another in 1768 by James Putnam (in Banks v. Green), and again in 1773 by Francis Dana, the late Chief Justice, in (Gibbs v. Thayer.) The two latter were students of Judge Trowbridge. This expression seems to have been adopted advisedly from the ancient English forms.'
VOL. IV.NO. VII.
appointed judge; Edmund Kent, of Boston, 1757 to '67; John Overing, of Boston, 1731 to '36; William Shirley of Boston, 1733, &c.; William Bollan, of Boston, 1733, &c.; Timothy Dwight, of Northampton, 1740 to '42; Josiah Dwight, of Springfield, 1740 to '46; Benjamin Pratt, of Boston, afterwards Chief Justice in New York, and celebrated for his literary taste and attainments, as well as his professional skill, 1757; Oxenbridge Thacher, of Boston, 1759, &c.; John Worthington, of Springfield, 1749 to 52; Joseph Hawley, of Northampton, 1752 to '56; Jonathan Sewall, of Boston, 1764 to '68; John Adams, of Boston (late President) (1758 to '69; Simeon Strong, of Amherst, 1764 to 974; Francis Dana, of Cambridge (afterwards Chief Justice) 1771 to 174; Caleb Strong, of Northampton, (Gov.) 1779 to 1800.
As to the resident practisers in the county, Mr. Willard says, that during the early part of this period for about thirty years from the incorporation of the county, many of them were those pioneers of the profession, who are always found on its frontiers; men who have no previously acquired stock of legal science, but who supply themselves, as well as they can, on the spur of the moment, with what may suffice for the occasion. There were, however, before the revolution in this country, seventeen regularly admitted practising lawyers, some of whom were of note in the province, and most of the survivors of whom, at the period of the revolution, found themselves on the side of the government, and became the subjects of banishment, and their estates were confiscated. Mr. Willard gives a biographical notice of each of these seventeen, as far as he could find materials. Among the most known, was Timothy Ruggles, more frequently called Brigadier Ruggles. He was member of the provincial assembly in 1762, and '63, and was delegated to the New York Convention of 1765, of eight of the colonies, to represent grievances to the king, and propose means of redress, and he was elected president of that body. But he voted against the most important resolve of the convention, namely, that declaring the right of the colonies to an exemption from all taxes except such as might be imposed by their own legislative assemblies. For his dissent from the proceedings of this convention, he was censured by the house of representatives of his province, and 'reprimanded by the speaker in his place.' James Putnam was also among the most distinguished of these seventeen provincial lawyers of this county. He quitted the province on the breaking out of the revolution, and in 1784, was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick. In these ante-revolutionary times, the popular opinion, which had spread through the community in consequence, no doubt, of the characters and practice of pettifoggers already mentioned, rendered honesty quite a distin
guishing trait in every lawyer, who was supposed to possess this quality; and accordingly Mr. Abel Willard, of Lancaster, another of the seventeen, was emphatically characterised as the honest lawyer. He also quitted the country on the breaking out of the revolution, and died in England, in 1781. Another of their number was Daniel Bliss, of Rutland and afterwards of Concord, in Middlesex, the executor, and supposed author of the celebrated epitaph of a negro buried at Concord. (a)
Of these seventeen members of the Worcester bar, fifteen were swept off by the revolution, leaving a clear field to the aspiring young lawyers of the popular side, who came into practice after the courts were again opened in December, 1775, after they had been closed for fourteen months of awful suspense, when all petty controversies were hushed, and the solemn silence was broken only by the notes of dreadful preparation for the coming conflict.
Mr. Willard then proceeds to a cursory notice of the most distinguished members of the Worcester bar, admitted to practice during the revolution, and since deceased, namely, Levi Lincoln, William Stearns, Nathan Tyler, Daniel Bigelow, Dwight Foster, William Caldwell, William Sever, and Peter Clarke. Some of these names will be recollected as belonging to our public history. Of the members admitted since the revolution, and now deceas
ed, he enumerates some few of the most distinguished. The late • Samuel Dexter, whose lofty and solemn eloquence, when once heard, was never to be forgotten, the last tones of whose voice in forensic debate were uttered before the national tribunal at Washington, commenced his professional career in this county. And the late Mr. Francis Blake, distinguished for brilliancy and energy of genius, passed his whole professional life there. After a careful examination of his briefs, Mr. Willard assures those young men who would fain rely upon intellectual resources in defiance of labor, that they cannot allege Mr. Blake's example in their defence, for he finds the evidence of a careful and laborious preparation, even of his jury cases.
The remainder of this address is occupied with general views of the profession and its practice. The discourse is in general very well written, affording, every where, signs of an elaborate preparation, highly creditable to its author, and abounding in
(a) As many of our readers may not have met with this epitaph, we copy it from the first volume of Timothy Alden's collection.
"God wills us free; man wills us slaves. I will as God wills, God's will be done. Here lies the body of JOHN JACK, a native of Africa, who died March 1773, aged about 60 years. Though born in a land of slavery, he was born free; though he lived in a land of liberty, he lived a slave, till by his honest, though stolen labors, he acquired the source of slavery, which gave him his freedom, though not long before death, the grand tyrant, gave him his final emancipation, and set him on a footing with kings. Though a slave to vice, he practised those virtues, without which, kings are but slaves.'
classical and legal allusions and citations, selected from a pretty wide range, and appropriately introduced.
Coventry and Hughes's Digest. This digest published in England in 1827, begins to appear in our libraries. This and Harrison's index include a complete series of legal reports down to Hilary term, 1829. The work of Coventry and Hughes is entitled ‘An Analytical Digested Index to the Common Law Reports from the time of Henry III. to the Commencement of the reign of Geo. II., with Tables of the Names and Titles of Laws. The work is in two volumes of 1666 pages, and imported from England, costs twenty dollars or over. The compilers say, in their preface, 'To render the work more extensively useful, the whole of the modern matter to be found in the valuable potes to many of the reports, has been faithfully embodied, and references have also been made to cotemporaneous Reports in the Courts of Equity, and also to important recent decisions and statutes, showing the alterations which have been made in particular branches of law.'
These volumes include the following eighty-seven sets of reports, namely :
Alleyn, Anderson, Andrews, Barnard, Barnadiston, Barnes, Bendloe, Bailee and Dalison, W. Blackstone, J. Bridgman, Orl. Bridgman, Brownlowe and Goldesborough, Bulstrode, Bunbury, Burrow, Burrow's Settlement Cases, Carter, Carthew, Cases Temp. Hardwicke, Cases of Practice in C. P., Clayton, Coke, Comberback, Comyns, Cooke, Croke, Cunningham, Davies, Dyer, Fitzgibbon, Foley, Fortescue, Foster, Freeman, Gilbert, Godbolt, Gouldsborough, Hardress, Hetley, Hobart, Holt, Hutton, Jenkins, Sir Th. Jones, Sir Wm. Jones, Keble, Keilwey, J. Kelyng, Sir Wm. Kelynge, Kenyon, Latch, Leonard, Levinz, Ley, Lilly, Littleton, Lutwyche, March, Modern, Moore, Noy, Owen, Palmer, Parker, Plowden, Pollexfen, Popham, Practical Cases in K. B., T. Raymond, Ld. Raymond, Ridgeway, Rolle, Salkeld, Saunders, Saville, Sayer, Shower, Siderfin, Skinner, Strange, Styles, Vaughan, Ventris, Willes, Wilson, Winch, Year Books, Yelverton.
Harrison's Digest, is a continuation of Coventry and Hughes's, and is entitled 'An Analytical Digest of all Reported Cases determined in the House of Lords, and several Courts of Common Law, both in bank and at Nisi Prius, and also the Crown Cases reserved, from Michaelmas Term, 1756, to Hilary Term, 1829; including the manuscript cases from the best modern treatises, not otherwise reported;' in two volumes, 1775 pages; price, imported, from sixteen to twenty dollars. The last two hundred pages of the second volume consist of Addenda of cases reported during the time of the work's being in the press, and also of cases overlooked by the compiler and omitted in the previous part of the work; for the omission of which the magnitude of the undertaking, and press of business, are offered as an apology.
The following is a chronological list of the reports comprised in the Digest; the dates having reference to the reign; it will be recollected that the reign of Geo. III. commenced 1760, and that of Geo. IV. 1820.
In the House of Lords. Brown's Reports to 40 Geo. III; Dow, 53 to 58 Geo. III; Bligh, 58 Geo. III. to 3 Geo. IV.