Parsons, Theophilus, 1750–1813, American jurist, b. Byfield, Mass. One of the leading lawyers in New England, he was an outstanding member of the Essex Junto, which opposed (1778) the state constitution as framed by the legislature. As a delegate to the subsequent state constitutional convention (1780) he helped to frame a new constitution. A supporter of the Constitution of the United States, he urged its ratification by Massachusetts (1788). He was chief justice of Massachusetts from 1806 until his death. His son Theophilus Parsons, 1797–1882, also a lawyer, was born in Newburyport, Mass. A professor of law at Harvard, he wrote many law manuals. He was converted to Swedenborgianism and wrote several religious works.
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