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The Common Law in Colonial AmericaVolume III: The Chesapeake and New England, 1660–1750$
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William E. Nelson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190465056

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190465056.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

The Establishment of Royal Government and Continued Reception of the Common Law

The Establishment of Royal Government and Continued Reception of the Common Law

(p.83) 7 The Establishment of Royal Government and Continued Reception of the Common Law
The Common Law in Colonial America

William E. Nelson

Oxford University Press

Even during the Dominion of New England, royal officials found themselves subject to significant legal restraints. Still, the people of Massachusetts had good reason to fear that the government of James II would wipe out the Puritan legal system they had established. Before that process could occur, however, James himself was overthrown and a new regime under William III put into place. Puritanism did not trouble the new regime, which in any event, needed the support of the Bay Colony in its wars against the French and was prepared to compromise to obtain that support. Thus, under a new charter in 1692, the Crown authorized the restoration with some modifications of the institutional structures of the old Puritan legal system, although it insisted that Puritans accept the 1689 Act of Toleration and cease persecuting other Protestant denominations and that Puritan legal institutions function through the use of common law forms.

Keywords:   Dominion of New England, juries, pleading, Puritanism, Vice Admiralty, witchcraft

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