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"). Recent period-style calf by Philip Dusel, raised bands, gilt fillets and lettering piece to spine, gilt tooling to board edges. Light toning, light foxing to a few leaves, soiling and two later library stamps to title page, another library stamp to pp. 23 and 39, discreet repairs to edges of title page and final leaf. A handsomely bound copy. $2,500. * 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 William Blackstone 542.
Book number 72614