Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Adams Legal Document Twice Signed, "J. Adams" and "John Adams," with notations in his hand. One partially-printed page, 7.75" x 15.25", Cambridge, Massachusetts, February 26, 1768. In the lower margin of the recto, Adams has written, "and the said Samuel Pratt and Sarah Pratt came and defended . . . [illegible] and Say that they never promised in manner & form as the Plantiff had above declared against them and thereof . . . [illegible] [signed] J. Adams." Docketing on the verso contain three signatures: "John Sewall," "Peter Ball Dep. & Sheriff", and a large and bold "John Adams."

    The document begins by summoning Adams' clients-Samuel and Sarah Pratt-to court: "George the Third, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c. To the Several Sheriffs of our County of Suffolk . . . Greeting. We command you to attach the Goods or Estate of Samuel Pratt of Needham in our said County of Suffolk Gentleman, and Sarah Pratt of Newton in our County of Middlesex Widow to the Value of One hundred & Twenty Pounds, and for want thereof to take the Body's of the said Samuel & Sarah (if they may be found in your Precinct) and them safely keep, so that you have them before Our Justices of Our Inferiour Court of Common Pleas next to be holden at Charlestown."

    After graduating from Harvard, John Adams (1735-1826) became a lawyer, against his father's wish that he become a minister. During the year of this case, Adams moved his family from Braintree to a rented house in Boston to concentrate on his growing law practice. He quickly became the city's most assiduous lawyer. Following the Boston Massacre two years later, Adams had the unpopular task of representing the accused British soldiers. His early law career helped him lay the foundation for his later work as an American revolutionary leader and U.S. president. All text is bold and clear in this legal document. Smoothed folds. This document consists of three original parts that have been affixed to one another, giving the appearance of uneven toning. Also included is an engraving (6" x 8") of Adams.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 637

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Apr 11, 2013 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 December 9 - 10 Books Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search