According to the accepted legal theory, the American colonists claimed the English common law as their birthright, brought with them its general principles and adopted so much of it as was applicable to their condition. Although this theory is universally adopted by the courts, a close study of the subject reveals among the early colonists a far different attitude toward the common law from that which is usually attributed to them. In none of the colonies, perhaps, was this more marked than in early Massachusetts. Here the binding force of English law was denied, and a legal system largely different came into use. It is the purpose of this work to trace the development of that system during the period of the first charter.