U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Bradley's Copy of Blackstone's Handsome Edition of Magna Carta Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. The Great Charter and Charter of the Forest, With Other Authentic Instruments: To Which is Prefixed an Introductory Discourse, Containing the History of the Charters. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1759. [iv], lxxvi, [iv], 86 pp. Half-title and table of contents (Tabula) are bound between pp lxxvi and p. 1. Folio (13-1/2" x 10-1/2"). Contemporary paneled calf with later rebacking, raised bands, lettering piece and fragment of shelf label to spine, endpapers renewed. Light rubbing and minor scuffing to boards, considerable rubbing to extremities with loss to calf around fore-edges and corners, hinges repaired, faint vertical crack through center of spine, rear hinge partially cracked, backing added to front free endpaper. Moderate toning to text, finger smudges to a few leaves, library markings to endleaves, head of Tabula and verso of title page. Early owner signatures ("Leeman Tho: Redel" dated 1770 and "W: Leeman dated 1760" to title page, later owner signature of Joseph P. Bradley dated 1890, to front free endpaper. Item housed in lightly worn twentieth-century slipcase. $6,500. * First edition. Texts of documents in Latin, Blackstone's essay in English. The engraved dedication to the Earl of Westmoreland is surmounted with his armorial ensigns; initials in the text are ornamented with engravings of various buildings at Oxford University. The tail pieces on pages lxxvi and 73 are historical vignettes; the other ten tail-pieces are facsimiles of the royal seals are attached to the original documents. This remarkable work is esteemed for its production and scholarship. Its physical appeal was recognized as early as 1829 in Richard Thompson's An Historical Essay on the Magna Charta of King John, which described it as a "beautiful and rare edition." Blackstone's essay, which is based on a great deal of original research, argued that the charter was the foundation of English liberties. This idea, first proposed by Coke, was a central tenet of Whig ideology. More important, Blackstone's research into the original texts demonstrated that all earlier editions of the charter were based on the significantly different reissue of 1225, in the reign of Henry III, rather than the original.
Book number 69279