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TO WILLIAM TUDOR. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO WILLIAM TUDOR.
Quincy, 24 June, 1818.
Mr. Otis said, such a “writ of assistance” might become the reign of Charles II. in England, and he would not dispute the taste of the Parliament of England in passing such an act, nor of the people of England in submitting to it; but it was not calculated for the meridian of America. The court of exchequer had no jurisdiction here. Her warrants and her writs were never seen here. Or if they should be, they would be waste paper. He insisted, however, that these warrants and writs were even in England inconsistent with the fundamental law, the natural and constitutional rights of the subjects. If, however, it would please the people of England, he might admit that they were legal there, but not here.
Diligent research had been made by Mr. Otis and Thacher, and by Gridley, aided, as may well be supposed, by the officers of the customs, and by all the conspirators against American liberty, on both sides the water, for precedents and examples of any thing similar to this writ of assistance, even in England. But nothing could be found, except the following: An act of the 12th of Charles II., chapter 22. “An act for the regulating the trade of Bay-making, in the Dutch Bay-hall, in Colchester.” The fifth section of this statute, “for the better discovering, finding out, and punishing of the frauds and deceits, aforesaid, be it enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for the governors of the Dutch Bay-hall, or their officers, or any of them, from time to time, in the daytime, to search any cart, wagon, or pack, wherein they shall have notice, or suspect any such deceitful bays to be; and also from time to time, with a constable, who are hereby required to be aiding and assisting them, to make search in any house, shop, or warehouse, where they are informed any such deceitful bays to be, and to secure and seize the same, and to carry them to the Dutch Bay-hall; and that such bays so seized and carried to the said hall, shall be confiscate and forfeit, to be disposed in such manner as the forfeitures herein before mentioned, to be paid by the weavers and fullers, are herein before limited and appointed.”
The Dutch Bay-hall made sport for Otis and his audience; but was acknowledged to have no authority here, unless by certain distant analogies and constructions, which Mr. Gridley himself did not pretend to urge. Another ridiculous statute was of the 22d and 23d of Charles II., chapter 8th, “An act for the regulating the making of Kidderminster Stuffs.”
By the eleventh section of this important law, it is enacted, “That the said president, wardens, and assistants of the said Kidderminster weavers, or any two or more of them, shall have, and hereby have power and authority to enter into and search the houses and workhouses of any artificer under the regulation of the said trade, at all times of the day, and usual times of opening shops and working; and into the shops, houses, and warehouses of any common buyer, dealer in, or retailer of any of the said cloths or stuffs, and into the houses and workhouses of any dyer, shearman, and all other workmen’s houses and places of sale, or dressing of the said cloths or stuffs, and yarns, and may there view the said cloths, stuffs, and yarns respectively; and if any cloth, stuff, or yarns shall be found defective, to seize and carry away the same to be tried by a jury.”
The wit, the humor, the irony, the satire played off by Mr. Otis in his observations on these acts of navigation, Dutch bays and Kidderminster stuffs, it would be madness in me to pretend to remember with any accuracy. But this I do say, that Horace’s “Irritat, mulcet, veris terroribus implet,” was never exemplified, in my hearing, with so great effect. With all his drollery, he intermixed solid and sober observations upon the acts of navigation, by Sir Joshua Child, and other English writers upon trade, which I shall produce together in another letter.
It is hard to be called upon, at my age, to such a service as this. But it is the duty of