Derek Roebuck


It seems fair to assume that the first American colonists took with them attitudes and practices from home, including the ways in which they routinely resolved disputes. For example, on November 11, 1647 the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized the purchase of Edward Coke’s Reports, First and Second Institutes and Book of Entries, “to the end we may have the better light for making and proceedings about laws.” But does that mean it was natural then for parties with differences to look to litigation for an answer? This Article provides ample evidence of a preference for other ways of resolving their disputes. Its main purpose is to show what dispute resolution attitudes and practices prevailed in England that could have been transported to the American colonies. It ends by providing, from English sources, names of one or two individuals, namely Nathaniel Bacon and Francis Bacon, who could have been particular conduits, leaving it for others to find and assess the American evidence.



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