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Treatises by Byron Beers
Treatise on Introduction to Law Merchant  continued
pass legislation and usurp the courts, because the political authority had the supposed superiority over the population of villeins.

Shortly after the Statutes of Merchants was passed, the Jews were forced to leave England. The presumption is, there were others who desired to take their place and run the law merchant business themselves.


This will be a very short explanation of a very complex issue. Money of intrinsic value, as gold or silver, which is mined, coined or weighed, and used in the exchange of goods or service increases as more gold and silver is put into circulation. If there is no money of intrinsic value, how does paper "money" come into circulation? How does it increase? A promise to pay is the substitute for real lawful dollars. You may be creating "money", when you believe you are agreeing to be a debtor.

At the time the government of the United States was taking gold out of circulation, Congress was discussing the issue of money. Below is a Congressional discussion on the Banking Emergency Relief Act of 1933.

If the Republican Party had released itself from the clutches of Wall Street and expanded the currency immediately after the stock-market crash in 1929 or within a year after the crash, our people would have been saved from this awful money panic. Our President will doubtless ask amendments to this new law when conditions are more normal and when it is better understood. Under the new law the money is issued to the banks in return for Government obligations, bills of exchange, drafts, notes, trade acceptances, and banker's acceptances. The money will be worth 100 cents on the dollar, because it is backed by the credit of the Nation. It will represent a mortgage on all the homes and other property of all the people in the Nation.  Congressional Record, House, Mr. Patman, March 9, 1933, p. 83

We see above that when banks give the Federal Reserve Regional Banks (I believe, not the U.S. treasury) Government obligations, bills of exchange, drafts, notes, trade acceptances, and banker's acceptances, they receive "money". This is new "money", meaning paper or computer digits. When the bank receives a promissory note from you and passes it on to the Federal Reserve, the bank receives the value, dollar for dollar, in paper Federal Reserve Notes or digits into its account. If you give the bank, or if a middle man delivers it, a $100,000 note, there will then be $100,000 more "money" in the total banking system. You just created money.

The following are two examples of trade acceptances, which I believe includes the paper you sign when you use a credit card.

A trade acceptance is a draft or bill of exchange, drawn by the seller on the purchaser of goods sold, and accepted by such purchaser, and its purpose is to make the book account liquid and permit the seller to raise money on it before it is due under the terms of sale.   Legal Discount Corporation v. Martin Hardware Co., 91 P.2d 1010, 1012 (Wash).

A trade acceptance is a draft drawn by the seller of goods upon the buyer for the purchase price of such goods, which draft has been accepted by the buyer. A trade acceptance properly drawn is negotiable paper and its use results in advantages to both buyer and seller. It is however properly used to represent current merchandise transactions only, and is in this respect distinguished from a promissory note which may be given for a past-due account, borrowed money or for any other consideration. Trade acceptances are bills of exchange "arising out of actual commercial transactions" which federal reserve banks may discount under section 2 of article 13 of the Federal Reserve Act, 12 U.S.C.A. 343, and which they may purchase in the open market under Section 1 of Article 14, 12 U.S.C.A. 353.   State Trading Corporation v. Jordan, 22 A.2d 30, 34 (Penn).

Many think they are debtors when they sign a paper evidencing a debt, but actually they just provided the other party with an asset that can be sold or delivered benefiting the holder.


It was the concept of a security interest in another's possessions that was innovative and devastating in its results. Under the common law, possession was everything, or, as they say, nine-tenths of the law. The law merchant is saying possession means very little if someone has a piece of paper presenting a claim in the nature of a security interest. Some of the English statutes referenced in the quotes above became known as statute merchant and statute staple. Concerning imprisonment, the following is footnote 46 from The Shetar's Effect on English Law.

46. M. ELON, RESTRAINTS OF THE PERSON AS A MEANS IN THE COLLECTION OF DEBTS IN JEWISH LAW (1961) (precis of doctoral dissertation) (Jewish tradition had no personal imprisonment for debt, reasoning that if a debtor's home could not be entered, even less could the debtor be taken; in the 13th century, Jewish scholars began to debate and approve imprisonment for evasive debtors, but only in carefully prescribed conditions).
Unlike Jewish law, English law specifically envisioned such imprisonment. See, Statute of Merchants, 1285, 13 Edw., Smt. 3 (establishing imprisonment of the body of a defaulting debtor); Statute of Avon Burnell, 1283, 11 Edw. (if debtor's goods insufficient to satisfy debt, debtor imprisoned pending repayment, but creditor responsible for assuring bread and water sufficient to sustain life of imprisoned debtor, who must further reimburse creditor upon release).

The difficulty in rationalizing how debtors could be put in prison stems from Deuteronomy 24, which suggests that giving a pledge does not allow for diminishing the life of the debtor or interfering with his body, since only an object is pledged.

6No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge.
71f a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
10When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
11Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.
12And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:
131n any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.    Deuteronomy 24

173. See Statute of Merchants, 1285, 13 Edw., Stat. 3 (upon creditors presentation of debt instrument to Mayor, debtor arrested and imprisoned; if he has not paid within three months, he is enabled to sell his lands or chattels to satisfy the debt; if he still has not paid in another three months, a reasonable portion of his lands and chattels are delivered to the creditor to hold as security against ultimate repayment or until the debt is satisfied out of their proceeds). See also A.W.B. SIMPSON, supra note 119, at 127-28 (same).

The statute-merchant and statute-staple were, in themselves, securities. If you acknowledge a debt is due, this can be converted into "money" in an accounting system like the Exchequer of England or Federal Reserve in the United States.

"Statute" also sometimes means a kind of bond or obligation of record, being an abbreviation for "statute merchant" or "statute staple."   Black's 4th ed "Statute"

Statute-merchant. In English law. A security for a debt acknowledged to be due, entered into before the chief magistrate of some trading town, pursuant to the statute 13 Edw. I. De Mercatori-bus, by which not only the body of the debtor might be imprisoned, and his goods seized in satisfaction of the debt, but also his lands might be delivered to the creditor till out of the rents and profits of them the debt be satisfied.  Black's 4th ed.

Statute merchant. Hist. 1. One of two ~ century statutes establishing procedures to better secure and recover debts by, among other things, providing for a commercial bond that, if not timely paid, resulted in swift execution on the land, goods, and body of the debtor. 13 Edw. , ch. 6 (1283); 15 Edw., ch. 6 (1285). These statutes were repealed in 1863.
2. The commercial bond so established. Cf. STATUTE STAPLE.
"It is not a little remarkable that our common law knew no process whereby a man could pledge his body or liberty for payment of a debt  Under Edward I, the tide turned. In the interest of commerce a new form of security, the so-called 'statute merchant', was invented, which gave the creditor power to demand the seizure and imprisonment of his debtor's body." 2 Frederick Pollack & Frederic W. Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward 1 (2nd ed. 1899)    Black's Law Dictionary, 7th ed. (1999)

Statute staple. list. 1. A 1353 statute establishing procedures for settling disputes among merchants who traded in staple towns. The statute helped merchants receive swift judgments for debt. 2. A bond for commercial debt. A statute staple gave the lender a possessory right in the land of a debtor who failed to repay a loan.
"A popular form of security after 1285  was the  'statute staple' - whereby the borrower could by means of a registered contract charge his land and goods without giving up possession; if he failed to pay, the lender became a tenant of the land until satisfied.   it later became a common practice under the common-law forms of mortgage likewise to allow the mortgagor to remain in possession as a tenant at will or at sufferance of the mortgagee." J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History 354 (3 ed. 1990)   Black s Law Dictionary, 7th ed. (1999)

Commercial bonds are being created by the commercial statutes. Bonds, like all other evidences of debt and promises to pay, are valuable in the current international marketplace. It rather comes down to the fact that, when dealing with the institutions of the great merchants, you really cannot be a debtor because there is no money, and they are not loaning anything they had when you walked in the front door. What they loan is what you create with your signature.


Earlier we saw: "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." The following are some observations concerning Medieval European fairs, and how those "courts" operated with respect to the "great merchants". The following quotes are found in The 'Law Merchant' and the Fair Court of St. Ives, 1270-1324, by Stephen Edward Sachs, 2002. Notice that the political officials will receive benefits from the merchant's fair and the courts of the merchants. It is also interesting to observe that the accused could bring his law by oath, or ask for an inquest like a jury, which could go out to gather evidence to aid the accused.

The abbot is the head or superior of a monastery and possibly the top official of the vill.

The fines and amercements paid in the fair court went to the abbot's treasury, and the watchmen and constables as well as the jurors of presentment were unfree men who owed services to the abbot as their lord. The abbot's men were responsible for collecting payments to the court, for distraining absent defendants by seizing their goods, and for conducting unlucky defendants to jail. ... Furthermore, St. Ives was not a free town, but a vill whose residents were largely of villein status and who owed tenurial obligations. The abbot therefore had direct, persona. jurisdiction over the many residents of St. Ives who appear in the court rolls, and they came before the fair court as before the court of their lord.

The merchants' decision-making role is emphasized by the parties themselves in

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Byron Beers