Commentaries on the Laws of England. America: 1771-1772. 4 Volumes.
A Subscriber's Copy of the First American Edition of Blackstone's Commentaries in Its Original Binding [C] Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. Commentaries on the Laws of England. In Four Books. Re-Printed From the British Copy, Page for Page with the Last Edition. America [Philadelphia]: Robert Bell, 1771-1772. Four volumes. Copperplate Table Of Consanguinity and folding Table of Descents in Volume II. 22-page subscriber list in Volume IV, which lists the owner of this set, "Mr. Richard Thomas, "Farmer, Chester County, Pennsylvania," who signed the heads of the title pages. Publisher advertisements in Volume I, 2 leaves before title page and in Volume III at p. 456. Volume III includes the publisher's rare octavo broadside prospectus "To the Encouragers of Literature" tipped-in to leaf preceding title page announcing publication of An Interesting Appendix to the Commentaries; Volume IV lacks the advertisement leaf mounted on fly leaf preceding title page, which is often not present. Octavo (9" x 5-3/4"). Contemporary sheep, raised bands, lettering pieces, blind-stamped volume numbers and (at foot) hand-lettered later owner name to spines. Moderate rubbing and scuffing to boards, heavier rubbing to extremities, some cracking and flaking to spines, one board detached, other boards beginning to separate. Moderate toning, light foxing in a few places in each volume, sections torn from two leaves in Volume I (pp. 181-184) replaced with carefully joined facsimiles, minor careful paper repair to folding table (Volume II) near stub, which has some edgewear. Thomas's signature and later owner signature, Thomas Finletter, 1904, to head of each title page, other signatures of Thomas, Finletter and Richard Thomas, junior to preliminaries. Set housed in two lightly rubbed quarter-morocco clamshell cases, raised bands and gilt titles to spines. A desirable subscriber's copy in its original binding. $7,500. * First American edition, first issue. Blackstone's Commentaries, a synoptic review of the English legal system, is the most influential publication in the history of modern Anglo-American law. It was especially popular in America, where it was the standard introductory legal textbook into the late nineteenth century and was the primary, or only, book studied by hundreds of self-taught lawyers, such as A.
Book number 70777