Theophilus Parsons

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Parsons, Theophilus,

1750–1813, American jurist, b. Byfield, Mass. One of the leading lawyers in New England, he was an outstanding member of the Essex JuntoEssex Junto,
group of New England merchants and lawyers, so called because many of them came from Essex co., Mass. They opposed the radicals in Massachusetts in the American Revolution and supported the Federalist faction of Alexander Hamilton.
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, which opposed (1778) the state constitution as framed by the legislature. As a delegate to the subsequent state constitutional convention (1780) he helped to frame a new constitution. A supporter of the Constitution of the United States, he urged its ratification by Massachusetts (1788). He was chief justice of Massachusetts from 1806 until his death. His son Theophilus Parsons, 1797–1882, also a lawyer, was born in Newburyport, Mass. A professor of law at Harvard, he wrote many law manuals. He was converted to Swedenborgianism and wrote several religious works.
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Parsons, Theophilus

(1797–1882) legal scholar; born in Newburyport, Mass. On the faculty of Harvard (1848–69), he was a popular lecturer and wrote several important textbooks including The Law of Contracts (1853–55).

Parsons, Theophilus

(1750–1813) judge; born in Byfield, Mass. He graduated from Harvard in 1769, practiced law in Maine and Massachusetts in the 1770s, and his ideas heavily influenced Massachusetts' Federalist constitution of 1780. His reputation grew steadily, and by the beginning of the 19th century he was considered the leading lawyer in the United States. An important legal scholar, he is given credit for rooting the U.S. legal system in English common law precedents rather than French ones. From 1806 to 1813 he served as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Notoriously untidy, legend held that he relied on his wife to dress him for public appearances.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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John Adams is a well known American name, but who has heard of Theophilus Parsons? School children learn of the Declaration of Independence, the names of the presidents, and are taught the wisdom of balancing the powers of government.
Theophilus Parsons was born on February 24, 1750, the third child and third son of the then pastor of the Byfield Parish Church, Reverend Moses Parsons and his wife Susan.
In a memoir written by the son of Theophilus Parsons we learn that Americans needed minds capable of creating a government structure strong enough to rule a free people.
Adams in turn may have come across the quotation in the Memoir of Theophilus Parsons (1859) written by his son Theophilus Parsons, Jr.
Theophilus Parsons Sawin, ~Browning's "Childe Roland" and Tennyson's "Vision of Sin"' (ix.256-65).