A Handsome Set of Blackstone's Commentaries

    [Sir] William Blackstone. Commentaries on the Laws of England. Oxford: Printed at the Clarendon Press, 1768-1769.

    Third edition of Volumes I and II, first edition of Volumes III and IV.

    Four quarto volumes. [4], [viii], 485, [3, blank]; [viii], 520, xix, [1, blank]; [viii], 455, [1, blank], xxvii, [1, blank]; [viii], 436, vii, [1, blank], [39, Index], [1, blank] pages. With the Table of Consanguinity and Table of Descents in Volume II, with the final blank in Volume I.

    Uniformly bound in contemporary full calf, boards double-ruled in gilt, spines elaborately tooled in gilt, with gilt burgundy morocco lettering labels, including oval gilt morocco number labels, gilt board edges and turn-ins, marbled endpapers. Front joint of Volume I just starting, some rubbing and minor wear to bindings. There is a neatly repaired tear to the title page of Volume II, page 199/200 in Volume IV has a paper flaw and a small hole near top (no loss to text), also in Volume IV, there is a marginal tear to page 289/290 (about two inches, not touching text). Some intermittent foxing in text, a few pages with neat crease to upper corner. With a neat contemporary owner's gift inscription (dated 1784) on the front blank in Volume I, and neat ink ownership signature on each title page. Overall, a near fine set.

    "Blackstone's great achievement was to popularize the law and the traditions which had influenced its formation...If the English constitution survived the troubles of the next century, it was because the law had gained a new popular respect, and this was due in part to the enormous success of Blackstone's work" (Printing and the Mind of Man). This work is one of the cornerstones of our legal system, and still regarded as the best general history of English law. In these lectures which he gave as the first Vinerian Professor of Law at Oxford, Blackstone taught (as even his critic Bentham noted) "jurisprudence to speak the language of the scholar and gentleman."

    Grolier, 100 English, 52. Printing and the Mind of Man 212. Rothschild 407.

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