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August 05, 2009


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This is really interesting! I look forward to reading your paper, but from what I see here, it seems as though Pastorius had some rather progressive ideas about reshaping the law and the legal system in a way that was truly fair and understandable to everyone. I think he'd certainly have mixed (but mostly negative) feelings about today's legal system if he could see it.

Again, I look forward to the whole paper--and wish that there would have been a course on historical legal theories at my law school--the legal field could benefit from a study of its history just as much as any other field.


Thanks for the kind words, GJEL; I'm looking forward to having the paper finished, too! You're right that reshaping the law in a way that's understandable (let's write down the rules and post them so everyone knows what they are) was a key part of Pastorius' thought -- and a lot of other people, like William Penn. Quakers (and other radical Protestants) were also big on following the rules once they're written. Pastorius was anti-lawyer (he didn't think people should be allowed to take money for pleading cases), too.


My understanding is that Quakers were not especially pro-lawyer--that Friends would not sue each other, for example. And I don't know if in general Quakers were in favor of having rules written down and then following them, but of course one of the things that Quakers are most known for is disregarding the rules enforcing slavery.



There was a split among 17th century Quakers on whether it was appropriate to file civil suits; some (I suppose it was a majority) found it acceptable. Pastorius was among those who thought suits acceptable, but he didn't particularly approve of them (hence the lack of forms in the Young Country Clerk's Collection). William Penn was in this group as well.

The anti-lawyer sentiment was related to their opposition to lawsuits -- lawyers made money from suits. At one point Pastorius criticized people who made money from pleading and from preaching, as well.

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