JamesOtisand The Writs of Assistance Case - Springer

Writs of assistance case

Writs of Assistance Case

$55.00
  • Review
  • TAG : general warrants and writs of assistance.
ADD TO CART
  • On the case, also see Maurice Henry Smith, The Writs of Assistance Case (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978); John P. Reid, In a Rebellious Spirit: The Argument of Facts, the Liberty Riot, and the Coming of the American Revolution (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1979), chap. 4.

    Within three weeks, the writs were challenged by a group of 63 Boston merchants represented by fiery Boston attorney A countersuit was filed by a British customs agent Paxton, and together these are known as "Paxton’s case." Otis argued the famous writs of assistance case in February 1761 and again on 16 November 1761. Although Otis technically lost, his challenge to the authority of Parliament made a strong impression on John Adams, who was present, and thereby eventually contributed to the American Revolution. In a pamphlet published three years later, in 1765, Otis expanded his argument that the general writs violated the British unwritten constitution harkening back to Magna Carta. Any law in violation of the constitution or "" which underlay it, was void.

  • Perhaps the Writs of Assistance Case is a missing hinge in Murrin’s story that might help explain the paradox he uncovered. Insofar as Otis’s 1761 argument challenged imperial authority over local law enforcement, it seemed to buck the Anglicization trend. At the same time, Otis had embraced the legal professionalization that accompanied legal Anglicization. His disciples also embraced that professional identity, in part by keeping copies of major court proceedings in commonplace books. The Writs of Assistance case, then, may not have been the driving force behind the Revolution that Adams claimed it was. But it may show lawyers in the process of reimagining their relationship to the Empire before the Imperial Crisis began. If we try to understand the case in terms of Joseph Hawley’s commonplace book, instead of Adams’ memory fifty years after the fact, it then may help clarify how lawyers whose livelihood and identity depended on their connection to the British Empire could lead a revolt against that Empire and then continue the process of professionalizing, and indeed Anglicizing, the bench and bar after the Revolution.

    Within three weeks, the writs were challenged by a group of 63 Boston merchants represented by fiery Boston attorney A countersuit was filed by a British customs agent Paxton, and together these are known as "Paxton’s case". Otis argued the famous writs of assistance case at the in Boston in February 1761 and again on 16 November 1761. Although Otis technically lost, his challenge to the authority of Parliament made a strong impression on John Adams, who was present, and thereby eventually contributed to the American Revolution. In a pamphlet published three years later, in 1765, Otis expanded his argument that the general writs violated the British unwritten constitution hearkening back to . Any law in violation of the constitution or "" which underlay it, was void.

    British laws relating to the American Revolution > Writs of assistance case

    Warrants > Writs of assistance case

    Legal documents > Writs of assistance case

    Writs > Writs of assistance case

  •  
    make breadcrumbs bigger

    British laws relating to the American Revolution > Writs of assistance case

    Warrants > Writs of assistance case

    Legal documents > Writs of assistance case

    Writs > Writs of assistance case

    Within three weeks, the writs were challenged by a group of 63 Boston merchants represented by fiery Boston attorney A countersuit was filed by a British customs agent Paxton, and together these are known as "Paxton’s case". Otis argued the famous writs of assistance case at the in Boston in February 1761 and again on 16 November 1761. Although Otis technically lost, his challenge to the authority of Parliament made a strong impression on John Adams, who was present, and thereby eventually contributed to the American Revolution. In a pamphlet published three years later, in 1765, Otis expanded his argument that the general writs violated the British unwritten constitution hearkening back to . Any law in violation of the constitution or "" which underlay it, was void.

of a Writ of Assistance to the Sheriff of Coos County, Oregon.

Today is the 250th anniversary of at the against the in , heard Tuesday, February 24, 1761. (See this from 2006). According to John Adams (see prior link), the issues and presentation in this writs of assistance case led to the adoption of the Fourth Amendment in 1791. Otis apparently was the first to say it in an American courtroom. Also for further reading is the excellent M. H. Smith, The Writs of Assistance Case (University of California Press, 1978). This is the only full-length book on Paxton’s case, and it reprints many original documents. It is, of course, out of print, but it can be obtained from used booksellers (see ). I got a copy years ago for $25.