John Lowell (June 17, 1743 – May 6, 1802) was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation, a Judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture under the Articles of Confederation, a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the First Circuit.
Born on June 17, 1743, in Newburyport, Province of Massachusetts Bay, Lowell graduated from Harvard University before reading law. After being admitted to the bar, he entered private practice in Newburyport from 1763 to 1771, 1773, and 1775. He was a selectman for Newburyport from 1771 to 1772, in 1774, and in 1776. In the spring of 1774, he signed addresses complimenting royal governors Thomas Hutchinson and Thomas Gage, but made a public apology for doing so at the end of the year. He served in the Massachusetts militia as a major in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. He continued private practice in Boston, Massachusetts from 1777 to 1778, and from 1779 to 1781. After moving to Boston, Lowell became the leading attorney in Massachusetts representing privateer claims before the Admiralty Court, which formed the basis of his fortune. Of the 1100 privateering claims handled in Boston, Lowell was lead counsel in approximately 700, and assistant counsel in half the rest. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1778, and from 1780 to 1782. He was a delegate to the Massachusetts constitutional convention in 1780. He was a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation from 1782 to 1783. He was a Judge of the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture under the Articles of Confederation starting in 1783. He was a member of a commission on the boundary between Massachusetts and New York in 1784. He was a member of the Massachusetts Senate from 1784 to 1785.
Lowell was nominated by President George Washington on September 24, 1789, to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, to a new seat authorized by 1 Stat. 73. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 26, 1789, and received his commission on September 26, 1789. Lowell was nominated by President John Adams on February 18, 1801, to the United States Circuit Court for the First Circuit, to the new Chief Judge seat authorized by 2 Stat. 89. He was confirmed by the Senate on February 20, 1801, and received his commission the same day. His service terminated with his death in Roxbury, Massachusetts.