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St. George Tucker’s Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782–1825
Charles F. Hobson and Joan S. Lovelace
Cloth: 978-0-8078-3722-1 ($325.00)
University of North Carolina Press
In 1719, Jean-Francois-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny, son of a Paris lawyer, set sail for Louisiana with a commission as a lieutenant after a year in Quebec. During his peregrinations over the next eighteen years, Dumont came to challenge corrupt officials, found himself in jail, eked out a living as a colonial subsistence farmer, survived life-threatening storms and epidemics, encountered pirates, witnessed the 1719 battle for Pensacola, described the 1729 Natchez Uprising, and gave account of the 1739-1740 French expedition against the Chickasaws.
Dumont's adventures, as recorded in his 1747 memoir conserved at the Newberry Library, underscore the complexity of the expanding French Atlantic world, offering a singular perspective on early colonialism in Louisiana. His life story also provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of the peoples and environment of the lower Mississippi valley. This English translation of the unabridged memoir features a new introduction, maps, and a biographical dictionary to enhance the text. Dumont emerges here as an important colonial voice and brings to vivid life the French Atlantic.
About the Author
Gordon M. Sayre is professor of English and folklore at the University of Oregon and author of The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh.
St. George Tucker belongs with James Kent as one of the most important and influential legal thinkers of the post-Revolutionary era. His reports provide crucial insight into the legal debates shaping major ideological issues such as slavery, crime and punishment, debt regulation, the power between church and state, judicial review, and the common law in the new nation. Through the lens of a deeply divided court, we see these abstract intellectual questions made concrete in legal decisions affecting actual people. This is a real gift.
--Holly Brewer, University of Maryland
St. George Tucker was a towering figure among lawyers and judges of the early republic. His papers offer a comprehensive picture of law in Virginia across forty years, from the technical minutiae of procedure to broader questions of inheritance, contract, debt, land title, crime, and more, including whether a person was slave or free. This superbly executed edition will be an essential resource for anyone interested in the development of American law in a crucial period of its history.
--Bruce H. Mann, Harvard Law School
Hobson's skillfully edited volumes are required purchase for university libraries and will quickly become a common reference for scholars.
--Journal of American History
Carefully compiled and authoritatively annotated volumes of St. George Tucker's Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782–1825 are gathered from rare documents and thirty-five remarkable notebooks prepared by a principal early American attorney, judge, and legal scholar.