"The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights" First Edition of william Blackstone's Influential Work Commentaries on the Laws of England

  • Commentaries on the Laws of England.

Commentaries on the Laws of England.


Item Number: 5008

Oxford: Printed at the Clarendon Press, 1765-1769.

First editions with “Table of Consanguinity” and “Table of Descents” (folding) bound into second volume. Without the eight-page Supplement to the first edition. Quarto, 4 volumes, uniformly bound in contemporary tan calf, rebacked to style. In very good condition with toning to the margin of the beginning of the first volume, a very clean example of this classic work.

Blackstone's work succeeded that of Edward Coke as the foundational treatise on English law. PMM states "Blackstone's great work on the laws of England is the extreme example of justification of an existing state of affairs by virtue of its history... Until the Commentaries, the ordinary Englishman had viewed the law as a vast, unintelligible and unfriendly machine... Blackstone's great achievement was to popularize the law and the traditions which had influenced its formation... He takes a delight in describing and defending as the essence of the constitution the often anomalous complexities which had grown into the laws of England over the centuries. But he achieves the astonishing feat of communicating this delight, and this is due to a style which is itself always lucid and graceful." The influence of Blackstone on the Founding Fathers should not be understated. While Jefferson ultimately grew to dislike Blackstone, Hamilton cited the Commentaries in Federalists No. 69 and 84 to bolster the case for the Constitution. Grolier/English 52; PMM 212; Rothschild 407.

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