The Alien & Sedition Act Trials


The Trial of Adams

Even in Boston * there was a Republican newspaper, the Independent Chronicle, edited by Thomas Adams.

Action was begun in 1798 against Adams under the Sedition Act; and, * he was indicted by the State of Massachusetts for libeling the members of the Massachusetts General Court. Adams succeeded in cheating the hangman: before he could be brought to trial he died of a lingering illness.

The death of Thomas Adams did not wholly balk the course of justice: his brother, Abijah, had also been indicted in the prosecution begun by the State of Massachusetts and upon him the full force of the law was turned. True, Abijah Adams had served only as bookkeeper; but as he sometimes sorted out the papers, he was legally held to be a principal.

The jury promptly returned a verdict of publishing a libel -
* Abijah Adams was fined and sentenced to a month in jail.

- Crisis in Freedom by John C. Miller [120-122]

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