The Genesis of Blackstone's Commentaries Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. A Discourse on the Study of the Law; Being an Introductory Lecture, Read in the Public Schools, October XXV, M.DCC.LVIII. Published by Direction of the Vice-Chancellor, Heads of Houses, And Proctors. Oxford: Printed at the Clarendon Press, 1758. 40 pp. Quarto (10" x 8"). Later three-quarter calf over pebbled cloth, "Blackstone" gilt-stamped to center of front board. Light rubbing to extremities with minor wear to spine ends and corners, small bookseller ticket to front pastedown, light toning to text, a bit of offsetting to corners of title page and verso of final leaf. $5,000. * First edition. This is the published version of Blackstone's inaugural lecture as Vinerian professor of English law. Presented to a large audience, it was "[h]astened into print less than a fortnight later as A Discourse on the Study of the Law, by late December a London correspondent claimed to hear Blackstone's lecture 'commended wherever I go.' What one reviewer terms 'this sensible, spirited, and manly exhortation to the study of the law' was reprinted in a further thousand copies next year; it also prefaced subsequent editions of the Analysis of the Laws, and eventually the first volume of the Commentaries": Prest, William Blackstone 151. Eller, The William Blackstone Collection in the Yale Law Library 233. Laeuchli, A Bibliographical Catalog of Will Blackstone 542.
Book number 67010