Samuel Adams On the Right to Trial By Jury

Liberty Letters Quote of the Day, Samuel Adams (1764)

And it is also certain that this Law admits of our Properties being tried, in Controversies arising from internal Concerns, by Courts of Admiralty, without a Jury. It follows, that at once, it annihilates the most valuable Privileges of our Charter, deprives us of the most essential Rights of Britons, and greatly weakens the best Security of our Lives Liberties and Estates; which may hereafter be at the Disposal of Judges, who may be Strangers to us, and perhaps malicious, mercenary, corrupt and oppressive.


Source: Samuel Adams, “Instructions of the Town of Boston to Its Representatives in the General Court, May, 1764.” [MS., Boston Public Library; a text appears in Boston Record Commissioners’ Report, vol. 16, pp. 120-122.], as quoted in “The Writings of Samuel Adams,” by Samuel Adams, collected and edited by Harry Alonzo Cushing, G.P. Putnan’s Sons, New York and London, 1904. This particular quote was not included in the formal instructions to the Representatives but was edited out. Spelling has been modernized in this quote by The Moral Liberal.


Liberty Letters are researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional commentary, explanatory notes, spelling modernizations and paragraph reformatting for easier reading) by Steve Farrell. Copyright © 2011 Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal.