The First London Edition of Blackstone's Commentaries Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. Commentaries on the Laws of England. In Four Books. London: Printed for W. Strahan; T. Cadell, In the Strand; And D. Prince, At Oxford, 1774. Four volumes. Table of Consanguinity and folding Table of Descents in Volume II. Quarto (11" x 8-1/2"). Nineteenth-century speckled calf, gilt fillets to boards, rebacked retaining existing gilt spines with raised bands, lettering pieces and restored spine ends, hinges mended, ribbon markers. Light rubbing and some minor scuffs and scratches to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, corners bumped and somewhat worn, contemporary armorial bookplates (of Harrington Hulton) to front pastedown of each volume. Light toning to text, light foxing to a few leaves in each volume, later owner annotations to front pastedown and free endpaper of Volume I. A very attractive set. $3,000. * Sixth edition and the first edition published in London. The most influential publication in the history of modern Anglo-American law, the Commentaries on the Laws of England is based on a course of lectures delivered at Oxford University. Because they were not intending for aspiring practitioners, they described general principles rather than practical specifics. Sensitive to the systematizing trends of the day and the prestige of the natural sciences, it described the common law as an intricate, well-designed system akin to Newton's mechanistic universe. It was also an important account of the law's evolution. As Holdsworth notes, "the Commentaries are not only a statement of the law of Blackstone's day, but the best history of English law as a whole which had yet appeared...The skillful manner in which Blackstone uses his authorities new and old, and the analogy of other systems of law, to illustrate the evolution of the law of his day, had a vast influence, both in England and America, in implanting in the profession a sound tradition of the historical development of the law.": Holdsworth, The Historians of English Law 22. Eller, The William Blackstone Collection at Yale University 9. Laeuchli, A Bibliographical Catalogue of William Blackstone 12.
Book number 69812