published in the twelfth century. Law merchant originated in western Europe during the Middle Ages, and was subsequently recognized by the principal commercial nations. Although it was at first administered by separate tribunals in the principal trading cities, it eventually became part of the domestic law of the countries in which it flourished, including the United States. Law merchant was the basis of the modern system of admiralty law and the laws of negotiable paper and of sales. See Maritime Law. The American Peoples Encyclopedia, Grolier Incorporated, 1968,vol. 11. P. 296.
The law merchant went from being principles and rules applied to international merchants and traders, to being incorporated into the general laws of a country. Its effect -- the law merchants (merchants being the great men of the earth) took control of admiralty law and the common law of England which was then adopted into the laws of the States and the United States.
commercial law, the laws that govern business transactions...
Formal documents and other evidences of regularized trade practices were known in Egypt and Babylonia. In many parts of the ancient world foreign merchants, through treaty arrangements or other agreements, were allowed to regulate their affairs and adjudicate their own disputes without interference from local authorities. They tended to settle in special sections of commercial cities where they might follow their own religions laws, and customs. Roman law incorporated features of the already developed commercial law, which, however, was no longer handled separately in special courts but was treated simply as part of the whole legal system.
The barbarian invasions of Europe caused such social disruption that it was not until late in the Middle Ages that long-range commerce again became possible in Europe and merchants were once more able to determine the rules and regulations under which they could safely operate. In the cities of N Italy and S France the merchant class frequently dominated the state and could enact the needed rules as legislation. In other parts of Europe associations of merchants bought protection from powerful lords or kings * [the State] who granted them safe conduct and permitted them to conduct fairs and to establish regulations and methods of enforcement (see Hanseatic League). Both classes of merchants established special courts where summary judgment was granted with little regard for the technicalities of procedure and doctrine in the regular courts, and without the necessity for lawyers.
The term "law merchant" was applied to the substantive principles that eventually emerged from this quasi-judicial activity. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2005, Columbia University Press.
Law merchant. consisting of certain principles of equity and usages of trade which general convenience and a common sense of justice have established to regulate the dealings of merchants and mariners in all the commercial countries of the civilized world. The basis of the jurisprudence regulating bills of exchange and promissory notes, particularly the negotiability of such instruments, and the rights and liabilities of persons becoming parties to the instrument.
The lex mercatoria was not, like the common law, the custom of a place or territory; it was the recognized custom of merchants and traders... The merchant class and the controversies of its members arising out of commercial transactions, were not subject to the common law. During the sixteenth century the admiralty court declared the principles of the law merchant. Later, the common law judges encroached upon the field of admiralty over commercial transactions. Thus, the law merchant gradually became a part of the legal system of England. Ballentine's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed. (1969).
First, it should be said that the rules of commercial law or law merchants are not the problem. It is the deceptions and illusions, the trickery, that causes enormous problems and disharmony wherever the great merchants apply their trade.
In the foregoing, we find that principles of the law merchant go back to Babylon. The major merchants desired to be exempt from the laws of a country or place wherein they might conduct business. They sought to have their rules and remedies handled in special courts. The procedure of these special courts would later become integrated into the regular courts making the regular courts irregular, and the special court regular. The new regular judicial courts might be given a new name, but most people would be unaware of the change. The merchants could establish their own rules and regulations, which eventually might become a part of the general laws of the country and be enacted by the legislature and would benefit the merchants. Historically, the merchants might make payments to political officers in exchange for the passage of legislation, for protection of their trade, or other benefits. While we have seen it reported that the law merchant, rather than be separate and special, became a part of the exising legal system. It may also be appropriate to say today that the law merchant became the legal system.
We shall later see the deceptions involve banking and lending, and obtaining security or beneficial interests in assets through the illusion of being a creditor. In the following quote, the author gives the term "Lex Mercatoria" a broader definition than Merchant Law.
The Lex Mercatoria would seem to be in part based on Roman law, in part maritime custom, in part the law of the Medieval European fairs, and to a great extent upon the last.
Here we have coupled together Roman Law (the State is God), maritime law (international law of war and commerce) and Merchant Law which is the present-day law of national and international banking.
the law of negotiable instruments, with a few exceptions, is founded entirely upon the customs of merchants [known today as the Uniform Commercial Code].
A STUDENT'S COURSE ON LEGAL HISTORY by Helen West Bradlee of the SUFFOLK BAR, Boston 1929, HISTORY OF THE LAW MERCHANT [certain clarifications by a commentator retained in brackets]
From Handbook of Roman Law, by Max Radin, LL.B, PH.D., professor of law, University of California, West Publishing Co., 1927, we find the three categories listed under law merchant are (1) negotiable instruments, (2) bankruptcy, and (3) insurance.
Another way of looking at those categories would be that the law merchant deals with creditors and debtors, with liability, with securities or other things of value that can be used as collateral by debtors to secure a creditor's interest and protect a creditor from financial loss.
In the American Peoples Encyclopedia, Grolier Incorporated, 1968, we find, "Commercial law embraces principal and agent, bills and notes, insurance, carriers, surety and guaranty, and other titles... For origins of commercial law, see Law Merchant."
3. LAW MERCHANT, COMMERCIAL LAW, SUBSTAN-
TIVE LAW, MARITIME LAW, ADMIRALTY LAW, ADMIN-ISTRATIVE LAW, and POSITIVE LAW
The terms listed in the heading above have a common meaning and these terms are often interchangeable with one another. These terms are generally associated with an unnatural order of things. The treatise The Natural Order of Things explains that natural order begins with God or Creator, who created man and the people, who form a state for their benefit, followed by a constitution to establish and limit the activities of a government. In the unnatural order the government claims to be the State and is deemed to be the supreme entity with sovereign powers. We saw in an earlier quote a reference to Roman law as meaning the State is God. There cannot be two Gods; therefore, anything that references God, the Creator, and the Bible must be removed from public places. This is the environment desired by the great merchants -- a national, sovereign, political, central government with citizen-subjects (quasi slaves) owing fidelity and obedience to the national will.
In the treatise The Negative Side of Positive Law, we see Black's Law Dictionary, 4th edition, says positive law "is enforced by a sovereign political authority". It is distinguished from "the principles of morality and the so-called laws of honor". All laws that are "authoritatively imposed" may be "described as positive laws".
From Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, we find positive law is "a system of law promulgated and implemented within a particular political community by political superiors, as distinct from moral law or law existing in an ideal community or in some nonpolitical community."
The terms political community and body politic and corporate are important terms in understanding the overall picture of the unnatural order of things, but that topic will not be fully explored in this treatise.
Commercial law. A phrase used to designate the whole body of substantive jurisprudence (e.g. Uniform Commercial Code, Truth in Lending Act) applicable to the rights, intercourse, and relations of persons engaged in commerce, trade, or mercantile pursuits. See U.C.C. Black's Law Dictionary, 6th Edition
"law merchant", taken as meaning substantive law. Aslanian v Dostumian, 54 NE 845 (1899)
Substantive law, the positive law of duties and rights. Cochran's Law Lexicon, 1924
related to the substantive social policy embodied in an act of positive law. BIVENS v. SIX UNKNOWN FED. NARCOTICS AGENTS, 403 U.S. 388, 404 (1971).
The current legal system, evolving from the civil war era, is composed of substantive law and procedural law. Substantive law concerns duties, rights, and obligations and includes criminal law; while procedural law provides the methods used to enforce those substantive duties, rights, and obligations, including convicting a person of a crime. This is all under the commercial law or law merchant.
We see how law merchant, commercial law, substantive law and positive law are not only related to one another, but are practically synonymous terms. The one thing I am reminded of when seeing the term positive law, is that it is said to be the only type of law that can support slavery. Positive law is a concept that someone or some body has such a degree of power that he may act in a manner contrary to the laws of nature and nature's God. Positive law comes from a sovereign political power. I do not believe such a concept exists in law, except perhaps in a religious or spiritual connotation, as to defy the word or will of God.
That slavery is a relation founded in force, not in right, existing, where it does, by force of positive law, and not recognized as founded in natural right, is intimated by the definition of slavery in the civil law. Commonwealth v Ayes, 35 Mass. 193, 214-5 (1836).
[That] slavery is contrary to the principles of natural right and to the great law of love; that it [slavery] is founded on injustice and fraud, and can be supported only by the provisions of positive law are positions, which it is not necessary here to prove the very idea of slavery implies, that the slave is one who is in subjection to the will of another. Ch. J. Williams, Jackson v Bulloch, 12 Conn. 38, 40 (1857).
Earlier quotes said that substantive law is the positive law of rights and duties, and substantive law is commercial law. All crimes are commercial, but that statement does not give you sufficient information to understand its relevancy. The law merchant or commercial law deals much with creditors and debtors, but a major invention of the merchants was securities or having security interest in things, which they do not possess nor own. Another important invention of the merchants was imprisonment for debtors, which is why a community or nation of subjects or quasi slaves is important. Rather than say all crimes are commercial, the picture would be more clear if we said "All crimes pertain to slaves." If we understood that all crimes involve those who have a commercial obligation to another, and according to general law merchant theory, the property of a debtor and the body of a debtor is security for his debt, then you might see the slave relationship. Before you get to the concept that "the body of a debtor is security for his debt" (which is why prisons are overflowing), you need the potential debtor to be a slave with respect to the superior political authority even though this same individual appears to be free with respect to all others and may even be unaware he has a slave relationship. I need to direct you to the treatise A Society of Slaves and Freedmen for a more comprehensive discussion on this topic.
Slaves are commercial property or commercial persons. The law merchant is designed to operate in a society of quasi slaves known as freedmen or in the English feudal system known as