previous next
[131] were not for him, viz. by the majority of 75 to 34; a proportion much greater on the side of the person chosen our Representative this year than he1 had who was our Representative the last. By this it seems a certain person elect has a growing interest.

Alas for the fickleness of popular favor. Mr. Vassall was not afterwards elected either Selectman or Representative until a few months before his death in 1747. His “interest” attained its full growth suddenly, like Jonah's gourd, and as suddenly collapsed. He was disturbed by a disparaging remark of a townsman, and sought legal redress with disastrous result. The history of the suit is entered on the Records of the Inferior Court for the County of Middlesex, December term, 1740, page 172. By this it appears that Samuel Whittemore of Cambridge, Deputy Sheriff, on the 13th of March, 1739, declared publicly that though Mr. Vassall had been elected Selectman, he “was no more fit to discharge said trust than the horse that he, the said Samuel, then rode on.” On the next day Vassall commenced suit, claiming £ 1,000 damage for defamation of character; he caused Whittemore to be arrested and imprisoned. On the trial, two months afterwards, the Court adjudged that “the words . . . . spoken by the said Samuel were not actionable.” Vassall appealed to the Superior Court, which affirmed the judgment of the Inferior Court. Whittemore then sued Vassall, for false and malicious imprisonment, and recovered £ 200 damage and costs of court. So much appears on record. Tradition says that the writ was served on Vassall at his own table, when surrounded by a large and fashionable dinner-party.

Mr. Vassall was equally unsuccessful in his appeal to the General Court for protection against what he regarded as a personal insult and an encroachment on his official privileges. John Hovey had recovered judgment against him on two bonds, notwithstanding his “plea of privilege (as on file) which was overruled by the Court,” and had levied on his estate. The Records of the General Court show that notice was issued, Dec. 5, 1740, to John Hovey and Samuel Gookin, to make answer to Mr. John Vassall, Representative of Cambridge, who complained of sundry insults received from them. Dec. 10, Mr. Samuel Gookin appeared, and the case was fully examined. “Then the question was put, whether it appears to this House that an attachment being served on Mr. John Vassall's estate on the 18th of November ”

1 He was his own predecessor. The increased majority indicated the “growing interest.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Vassall (9)
Samuel Whittemore (3)
John Hovey (2)
Samuel Gookin (2)
House (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1747 AD (1)
December 5th, 1740 AD (1)
1740 AD (1)
March 13th, 1739 AD (1)
December 10th (1)
December (1)
November 18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: