This is the first edition of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England Volume I. Blackstone's four volume analysis of English common. Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England . Blackstone, William, Sir, 4 v.: 2 geneal. tables ;27 cm. (4to) First Edition Oxford: Printed at the. Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England was a hugely influential treatise on English law that methodically rendered that massive body of statutes and legal decisions called the “common law” into a coherent system of legal principles intelligible to the lay-person.


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Commentaries on the Laws of England - Wikipedia

University of Chicago Press, The direct tendency of these libels is the breach of the public peace, by stirring up the objects of them to revenge, and perhaps to bloodshed. The communication of a libel to any one person is a publication in the eye of the law: For the same reason it is immaterial with respect to the essence of a libel, whether the matter of it be true or false; since the provocation, and not the falsity, is the thing to be punished criminally: In william blackstone commentaries civil action, we may remember, a libel must appear to be false, as well as scandalous; for, if the charge be true, the plaintiff has received no private injury, and has no ground to demand a compensation for himself, whatever offence it may be against the public william blackstone commentaries But, in a criminal prosecution, the tendency which all libels have to create animosities, and to disturb the public peace, is the sole consideration of the law.

And therefore, in such prosecutions, the only facts to be considered are, first, the making or publishing of the book or writing; and secondly, whether the matter be criminal: The punishment of such libellers, for either making, repeating, printing, or publishing the libel, is fine, and such corporal punishment as the court in their discretion shall inflict; regarding the quantity of the offence, and the quality of the offender.

By the law of the twelve tables at Rome, libels, which affected the reputation of another, were made a capital offence: Under the emperor Valentinian it was again made capital, not only to write, but to publish, or even to omit destroying them.

The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public: To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licenser, as was formerly done, both before and since the revolution, is to subject all freedom of sentiment to the prejudices of one man, and make him the arbitrary and infallible judge of all controverted points in learning, religion, william blackstone commentaries government.


At first, his Commentaries were hotly contested, some seeing in them an evil or covert william blackstone commentaries to reduce or codify the common law which was anathema to common law purists. For decades, a study of the Commentaries was required reading for all first year law students.

Lord Avonmore said of Blackstone: He found it a skeleton and clothed it with life, colour and complexion. He embraced the cold statue and by his touch, it grew into youth, health and beauty.

There is a lot of what would later be called " Whig history " in the Commentaries[ citation needed ]; the easy and contradictory assurance that England's current political settlement represented the optimal state of rational and just government, while claiming simultaneously that this optimal state was an ideal that had always existed william blackstone commentaries the past, despite the many struggles in England's history between william blackstone commentaries kings and wayward Parliaments.

But Blackstone's chief contribution was to create a succinct, readable, and above all handy epitome of the common law tradition. While useful william blackstone commentaries England, Blackstone's text answered an urgent need in the developing United States and Canada.

In william blackstone commentaries United States, the common law tradition was being spread into frontier areas, but it was not feasible for lawyers and judges to carry around the large libraries that contained the common law precedents. The four volumes of Blackstone put the gist of that tradition in portable form.

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They were required reading for most lawyers in the Colonies, william blackstone commentaries for many, they were the only reading. Blackstone's Whiggish but conservative vision of English law as a force to protect people, their libertyand their property, had a deep impact on the william blackstone commentaries that were cited in support of the American Revolutionand ultimately, the United States Constitution.

This dissection of Blackstone's first book made Bentham's name notorious, though it was originally published anonymously.

Quotations[ william blackstone commentaries ] "Of great importance to the public is the preservation of this personal liberty; for if once it were left in the power of any the highest magistrate to imprison arbitrarily whomever he or his officers thought proper, as in France it is daily practised by the crown, there would soon be an end of all other rights and immunities.