Blackstone Argues for the Restriction of the Franchise [Blackstone, Sir William (1723-1780)]. Considerations on the Question, Whether Tenants by Copy of Court Roll According to the Custom of the Manor, Though Not at the Will of the Lord, Are Freeholders Qualified to Vote in Elections for Knights of the Shire. London: Printed for R. Baldwin, 1758. [ii], ii, 52 pp. Octavo (7-3/4" x 4-3/4"). Stab-stitched pamphlet bound into recent quarter sheep over marbled boards, gilt ornaments and lettering piece to spine. Moderate rubbing to extremities, light wear to spine ends, small hole to rear joint, front hinge cracked, rear hinge starting at head, faint offsetting to endpapers. Moderate toning to interior, somewhat heavier in places, negligible light foxing to a few leaves, Blackstone's name added to title page in ink along with early shelf mark. $1,500. * Only edition as an independent work. Commissioned by Sir Charles Mordaunt in the midst of an attempt by Tories to limit voter eligibility in county elections, this early Blackstone essay considers whether certain copyholders might, under limited circumstances, be considered freeholders and given the right to vote. Presented in the format of an extended legal case study, the argument considers both the "true theory and genuine principles of liberty" and the history of land tenure in the common law, threads that Blackstone would pick back up in Book Two of his Commentaries. He concludes that the hypothetical copyholder A.B. "is clearly no freeholder" and cannot be afforded the franchise, regardless of "what would be the best and most equitable constitution for this purpose." Considerations was later printed with minor changes as part of Law Tracts (1762). Eller, The William Blackstone Collection in the Yale Law Library 232. Laeuchli, A Bibliographical Catalog of William Blackstone 541. English Short-Title Catalogue T81250.
Book number 74372