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Sewell, Samuel Order to search for kidnapped slave signed by Sewall as Chief Justice

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07448 Author/Creator: Sewell, Samuel Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Document signed Date: 3 December 1722 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 31.5 x 21.5 cm Order a Copy

Order signed by Sewall as Chief Justice of Massachusetts.

Samuel Sewall (1652-1730) was a devout Puritan, who emigrated from England to the Massachusetts colony in 1661. He settled in Boston, where he attended Harvard University, hoping to study for the ministry, but he eventually left to pursue a career in business. He also entered local politics, and was elevated to the judiciary that in 1692 judged the people in Salem accused of witchcraft. Sewall was perhaps the most remarkable one among the magistrates involved in the trials in that he was the only magistrate who, some years later, publicly regretted his role in the trials, going so far as to call for a public day of prayer, fasting, and reparations. In 1717, Sewall was appointed Chief Justice of Massachusetts.

Province of the
Massa, Bay
Suffolk ss To the sheriff of the County of Suffolk} this -
under Sheriff or Deputy & to ye Constables
of the Several Towns within ye sd County
& to each and every of them greeting -

Complaint being made to me the subscriber One of His majtys [struck: Justices of the peace within & for the County of Suffolk] Council and Chief Justice of the - Province aforesaid by David Stoddard of Boston in the County aforesaid Merchant, That this day he had clandestinely stollen or kidnapped from him a Certain Negro Boy named or called Cusam aged about seven years on thereabouts, by some person unknown, & that he violently suspects he is locked up or concealed in some private house or place to the intent he may be conveyed away and the Compet wholly loose his sd. Negro.

These are therefore in His Majtys named to Will and Require you to make diligent [inserted: search] for thee sd. Negro in all Suspected places where ye Complaint. Shall direct you or in any other place whatsoever where you shall think fit, and in case of any Opposition, if need be, to break open any doors or locks in order to find the sd. Negro, & him having found to bring before me or some other of His Majtys Justices of thee peace in order that he may be returned to his sd. master, and thee person with whom you find ye s.d Negro you are likewise to bring before me or some other of his Majtys - justices of the peace in ye sd. County [inserted: of Suffolk or Bristol or elsewhere in the province] to answer thee premises and be [struck: produce] proceeded with as to Law and Justice appertains. Hereof Fail not and make return of this Warrant with your doings therein when you shall have Executed ye some. Given under my hand & seal at Boston the third day of December Anno Domi 1722.
Samuel Sewall.

Judge Sewalls war-
rant to search for
a Negro boy

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