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"On the Nature of Natural Law" by Sir John Fortescue

Reader comment on item: Conservatism's Hidden History

Submitted by Robert (United States), Aug 28, 2018 at 08:53

Dear Daniel Pipes,

I'll try to be extremely brief this time- so that you might be responsive.

Although Sir John Fortescue, who died in 1477, wrote in "English,"
English the was quite different,
to the point that is was difficult to read without some training;
for example where a "s" occurred, a font that looked like "f" occurred.
Only in 1997 (reprinted in 2002) did Cambridge University Press
re-print FIVE (5) of the texts and text excerpts,
of Fortescue, in beautiful modern English,
under the title "O the Laws and Governance of England."
It is this book which the two author's of the essay you "respect" here, cite.
That inspired me to buy it
because I knew that Fortescue was a Revolutionary Liberal, not a conservative,
though I never read him explicitly, but those scholars who only wrote about him.

On August 27, 2018 (yesterday)my copy arrived from Amazon.com.
The book only cost me $2.78 + $3.99 Shipping.

I want to direct your attention to Appendix A of this Fortescue anthology.
It is an Extract from Fortescue "On the Nature of the Law of Nature."
The fact is that Fortescue was a "liberal" by any definition of that term, at that time,
so that your favored 2 Israeli authors of the article here, are severely mistaken.
That is irrefutably demonstrated by reliance on the Law of Nature (=Natural Law)
which precedes its foundation on Axiomatics of John Locke,
and the (unmentioned) British Conservative, Thomas Hobbes, who Euclid,
who gave us, in the Mathematics, particularly Geometry, the Axiomatic Method,
which even Sir Isaac Newton used for Modern (non-Aristotlean) Physics.

Furthermore, as any scholar of English late medieval Constitutional history knows,
Fortescue founded his work on that of
his earlier British predecessor, HENRY DE BRACTON (1210-1268).
This at least "Liberal" (if not "Revolutionary"int he sense of "going back"
when completing the Cycle) had a basis in Natural Law of the Catholic Church
which itself acquired it from Ancient Greek Aristotle,
who had been re-discovered when Plato dominated earlier Medieval though.

Now Thomas Jefferson, like Sir John Fortescue,
it is well known, read the Brit, de Bracton.

Perhaps the most serious misunderstand in the work of these scholars you value
is the fact that until the American Revolution (1776),
"Revolution" meant a return to earlier times,
as in the Glorious Revolution (1688).
In the case of the British, the Monarchy was restored;
in the case of us Americans,the British monarchy needed constitutional "decapitation"
because the Colonies weren't represented in Parliament,
and the American gentry Colonies were being Taxed without representation,
particularly aggravated by the months it took for an American to reach London
back then before the Jet Supersonic Airplane.

So Thomas Jefferson was a Conservative Revolutionary
who wanted to exercise the Ancient Rights embodied in the Law of Nature.
And like Fortescue before him, was reading the earlier "Liberal," Henry de Bracton ,
particularly "De Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae"
("On the Laws and Customs of England"):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_de_Bracton

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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