Annotated Copy Signed by Mary Willing Byrd, William Powell Byrd and Francis Otway Byrd Blackstone, Sir William [1723-1780]. [Byrd Family of Virginia]. Commentaries on the Laws of England. In Four Books. Re-Printed From the British Copy, Page for Page with the Last Edition. [Philadelphia]: Robert Bell, 1772. Volume IV [ONLY]. [xxii], [viii], 436, vii,  pp. Title page preceded by endleaf with tipped-in publisher advertisement (for Ferguson's Essay on the History of Civil Society). Octavo (8-3/4" x 5-1/2"). Contemporary sheep, blind fillets to boards, lettering piece and raised bands to spine, blind-stamped volume number chipped away. A few shallow scuffs to boards, light gatoring to edges, moderate rubbing to extremities, boards beginning to separate but secure, chipping to spine ends, chip to blind-stamped volume number, worming to pastedowns and endleaves. Moderate toning to text, light browning and faint dampspotting in a few places, three brief annotations in contemporary hand to a few leaves, signature of Mary Willing Byrd to front pastedown and rear endleaf, signature of William Powell Byrd to front free endpaper, signature of Francis Otway Byrd, dated 1772, to head of first leaf of subscriber list. $2,500. * First American edition, reprinted verbatim from the fourth Oxford edition (1770). This edition is a significant contribution to early American law and a landmark in the history of American publishing. Its subscribers included John Adams, John Jay, John Dickinson, several colonial governors and many other leaders of colonial America. Sixteen of these were signers of the Declaration of Independence who went on to serve as members of the Continental Congress. This copy probably belonged to the large library of William Byrd III housed at his Westover Plantation. It bears the signatures of three relatives. Mary Willing Byrd [1740-1814] was his second wife; Francis Otway Byrd [1756-1800] and William Powell Byrd [1777-1820] were two of his sons. The annotations are in Chapter 4, "Of Offences Against God and Religion." Two of them refer to Section 16 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), which protected freedom of conscience. One, to Blackstone's passage "Doubtless the preservation of Christianity, as a national religion..." reads "Bill of Rights of Va. 16." The other, to the passage "These [.
Book number 73158