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PARTIALLY PRINTED FORM, COMPLETED IN MANUSCRIPT - Adams, John - 1774. 
Boston. April 5, 1774. - p., docketed on verso. Folio. Old folds. Separation at some folds, with repairs on verso. Lightly soiled. Good. In a half morocco and cloth clamshell case, cloth chemise. Legal document for a suit brought against William McAlpine, bookbinder, by the "Proprietors of the Presbyterian Church in Boston"; the form is completed in John Adams' hand and endorsed by him on the verso. The Presbyterian Church in Boston, having submitted several books to William McAlpine for binding but never receiving them in return despite repeated entreaties, sued him via a specially appointed committee for the sum of £12,000. This document is addressed to the Sheriff of Suffolk County, demanding a bond of £100 from William McAlpine and remanding him for a court appearance on the third Tuesday of April, 1774. Adams has outlined the case thus: "The Proprietors of the Presbyterian Church in Long Lane, in said Boston, who sue by Simon Elliot of Boston in said county, Tobacconist, William McNeil of said Boston Rope Maker, William Mackay of said Boston Merchant, Robert Wier of said Boston Distiller, and John McLean of said Boston Watchmaker, a Committee specially chosen and appointed for that Purpose, in a Plea of Detinue, for that on the first day of last January, at said Boston, the said Proprietors delivered to the said William McAlpine, their books, called the Sessions Books, and also their other books called their Books of Records, of Marriages, Baptisms, and Deaths, (which books called the Sessions Books were to the said Proprietors, of the value of two thousand pounds, and which Books of Records of Marriages, Baptisms, and Deaths, are to the said Proprietors of the value of ten thousand pounds) to be redelivered to the said Proprietors on demand; yet the said William McAlpine, tho often requested hath never redelivered any of the said books to the said Proprietors but unjustly withholds and detains them." Before the Declaration of Independence from Britain, Adams was a well-known lawyer whose most famous case was the defense of the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre, in 1770. Though he worried at the time about the effects the case might have on his reputation, it certainly had no long- lasting negative ramifications - this letter is dated mere months before Adams was chosen to represent Massachusetts in the First Continental Congress, in September 1774. His reputation for fairness and equal-minded justice would see him through to the top ranks of the newly formed United States government. A wonderful piece of bibliographical history involving one of the greatest of Founding Fathers.
[Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
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