quickly, a tally for loyal opposition (Duty)

November 14, 2007

Edward Coke’s Institutes… see Part IV for a proper description of courts. He listed nearly one hundred of them.

A History of American Law, Lawrence M. Friedman, Simon and Shuster, New York, (1973)
offers an introduction of American Law in the Colonial Period, calling it the dark age before quickly stinging with a larger Part II on Revolution/Post-Revolutionary law.  Part I shall be of some use:

Laws and Liberties of Massachusetts (1648) is one of the colonial statutes was considered lost, until it turned up sometime in the 20th century.  You can see the 1929 edition in reprint (look up.)  Law changes, old law becomes of less use, the quaint and out of date only interest collectors or antiquarians, and scholars if we are lucky. 

In the 18th century a resuscitation of English law occurrs, revived and also imported as changing economic conditions spread in the way they are want to do.

For a list of misconceptions about Massachusetts law see:  George L. Haskins, Law and Authority in Early Massachusetts (1960) Dangerous overstatements are all that can be made about the law.  Massachusetts law was less origanally less common law, and more a moder-designed system, based on the Bible.  Regarding overstatements, remember, that by 1776, the nation was too big for generalizations apart from the earnestly apporpriate, or regional implications which state one thing about a region and pretend it to be the case elsewhere until proved wrong.  Climates legal in colonies varied.

Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702); The Pynchon Court Record, Joseph H. Smith, 1961.  Looked at court systems;  “The Court of Assistants, composed of the governer, deputy governor, and magistrates, heard appeals from lower courts, and took original jurisdiction in certain cases…Below it were the county courts”…which were not merely courts but ampitheaters of social control (see: Television)…”they dealt with probate and administration, approprionment of charges for the repair of bridges, provision for the maintainence of the ministry, punishment of interference with church elections, punishment of heretics, ordering highways laid out, licensing of ordinaries, violation of town orders regulating wages, settlement of the poor, settlement of houses of correction, licensing of new meeting houses, and punishment of vendors charging excessive prices.” Smith p. 69.

Southern Regions
The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century 1607-1689, Wesley Frank Craven, (1949)
Proceedings of the Maryland Court of Appeals 1695-1729, Carroll T. Bond, (1933)

New Hampshire
Laws of New Hampshire, Provice Period 1679-1702, 1904?
Judicial Beginnings in New Hampshire 1640-1700, Elwin L. Page (1959)

New York
Select Cases of the Mayor’s Court of New York City 1674-1784, Richard B. Morris, (1935) [Funny I found some letters by Morris this morning]
Minutes of the Court of Session, Westchester County, 1657-1696, Dixon R. Fox, (1924)
Supreme Court of Judicature of the Provice of New York, 1691-1704, Paul M. Hamlin and Charles E. Baker(1959) [multi-volume]

General Works
A History of American Law, Lawrence M. Friedman, Simon and Shuster, New York, (1973)
Studies in the History of American Law, Richard B. Morris, (1959)
The Vice Admiralty Courts and the American Revolution, Carl Ubbelhode, (1960) “By 1763 nine separate vice-admiraly courts had been estabilished in the area of the thirteen colonies.”
Organization of Courts, Roscoe Pound, (1940)

to be continued…..


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