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Dear Ms. S,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives website for references to Joshua Harding and whales. While we could not find a 1770 case that matches your description, we did find a transcribed document on our Founder Online website entitled “Adams’ Minutes of the Arbitration: Boston, October 1769” which references a Captain Joshua Harding in the context of vice admiralty court case Doane vs. Gage. The source for the document is: The Adams Papers, Legal Papers of John Adams, vol. 2, Cases 31–62, ed. L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965, pp. 75–92. Further information about this case can be found in the Editorial Note taken from The Adams Papers and in other original documents from The Adams Papers related to the case.
Because Doane vs. Gage predates the formation of the United States, the National Archives would not have any court records from the case. It may be possible that the Massachusetts Archives Division has references to this case in the docket book for the vice admiralty court. If you wish to contact them you can email Judicial Archivist Chris Carter at email@example.com and he will conduct a search for you.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!