An Admired Forerunner to Blackstone's Commentaries [C] Wood, Thomas [1661-1722]. An Institute of the Laws of England; Or, The Laws of England in Their Natural Order, According to Common Use. Published for the Direction of Young Beginners, Or Students in the Law; And of Others That Desire To Have a General Knowledge in Our Common and Statute Laws. In Four Books. [London]: Printed by E. and R. Nutt and R. Gosling, 1728. [ii], xi, , 663,  pp. Leaves in signature Y (pp. 161-168) bound out of order. Copperplate portrait frontispiece lacking. Publisher list to verso of final index leaf. Folio (12-1/2" x 8"). Contemporary reversed calf, rebacked in period style calf, raised bands, lettering piece and blind ornaments to spine, hinges mended. Rubbing to boards, nap neatly rubbed away from front board, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and somewhat worn. Light toning to text, somewhat heavier in places, light foxing to index leaves, early struck-through signature to head of title page. $300. * Fourth edition, one of two issues from 1728. First published in 1720, Wood's Institute was the only comprehensive treatise on English law until Blackstone's Commentaries. According to Holdsworth, Wood "anticipates Blackstone, just as, in some respects, he anticipates him in the design and execution of his book. In fact, as Blackstone recognized, the book had considerable merits. 'Upon the whole,' he said, 'his work is undoubtedly a valuable performance; and great are the obligations of the student to him, and his predecessor Finch, for their happy progress in reducing the elements of law from their former chaos to a regular methodical science'": Holdsworth, A History of English Law XII:419. English Short-Title Catalogue N7731.
Book number 68184