writ of assistance

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writ′ of assist′ance

(before the American Revolution) a writ authorizing officers of the British crown to search any premises for smuggled goods.
References in periodicals archive ?
Besides examining Otis's argument in the text, Judge Hubbart provides appendices with copies of the general writ of assistance at issue and Otis' entire speech.
James Otis thundered at British officials: "I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other, as this Writ of Assistance is.
A writ of assistance was a court order to individuals to assist customs officers in the performance of their duties.