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Blackstone Commentaries On Laws Of England 1765-70 4v Supplement Bindings 1st Nr For Sale

Blackstone Commentaries On Laws Of England 1765-70 4v Supplement Bindings 1st Nr

OFFERED WITH is A GLORIOUS EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN CONCERNING ENGLISH LAW, THE 1765-70 FIRST EDITION OF WILLIAM BLACKSTONE’S “COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND,” printed at London in four quarto volumes in 1765, 1768, 1768 and 1770 (the first and third volumes are first editions, the second is a third edition, the fourth is a fourth edition), complete in all respects, INCLUDING THE VERY RARE SUPPLEMENT AT THE END OF THE FIRST VOLUME (absent from the vast majority of examples), adorned with the copperplate ‘Table of Consanguinity’ and the folding ‘Table of Descents,’ AND WONDERFULLY BOUND IN FULL MID-18TH CENTURY CALF, EXACTLY CONTEMPORARY TO THE TIME OF PUBLICATION, IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, WITH ALL LABELS RETAINED, AND WITH THE SPINES RICHLY GILT. The set may be referenced as Printing and the Mind of Man 212, Rothschild 407, Holdsworth’s “Historians” at 22, and Grolier’s “100 English” at 52.

 

THE FIRST EDITION OF BLACKSTONE’S “COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND,” THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK CONCERNING LAW IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, THE FIRST SYSTEMATIZED PRESENTATION OF THE ENGLISH COMMON-LAW, AND ONE OF THE FEW WORKS THAT CAN GENUINELY BE SAID TO HAVE ALTERED HISTORY. IT IS EXTREMELY UNUSUAL TO FIND SETS OF BLACKSTONE IN FINE AND UNIFORM MID-18TH CENTURY BINDINGS THAT ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION AND ENTIRELY UNRESTORED.

 

The full titles of the four volumes read as follows:

 

“Commentaries on the Laws of England. / Book the First. / By William Blackstone, Esq. / Vinerian Professor of Law, / and / Solicitor General to Her Majesty. / Oxford, / Printed at the Clarendon Press. / M. DCC. LXV [1765].”

 

“Commentaries on the Laws of England. / Book the Second. / By William Blackstone, Esq. / Solicitor General to Her Majesty. / The Third Edition. / Oxford, / Printed at the Clarendon Press. / M.DCC. LXVIII [1768].”

 

“Commentaries on the Laws of England. / Book the Third. / By William Blackstone, Esq. / Solicitor General to Her Majesty. / Oxford, / Printed at the Clarendon Press. / M.DCC. LXVIII [1768].”

 

“Commentaries on the Laws of England. / Book the Fourth. / By William Blackstone, Esq. / Solicitor General to Her Majesty. / The Fourth Edition. / Oxford, Printed at the Clarendon Press. / M.DCC. LXX [1770].”

 

The four books of Blackstone’s “Commentaries” were, of course, originally presented as 24 lectures in 1765-66. Earnings from the lectures decreased more rapidly than expected, and Blackstone’s resolved to publish them as a book – the great ‘Commentaries’ were the result. The four volumes correspond to four categories: ‘Rights of Persons’; ‘Rights of Things’; ‘Private Wrongs’; and ‘Public Wrongs.’ Immediately upon their publication, Owen Ruffhead declared the ‘Commentaries’ “Masterly … Mr Blackstone is perhaps the first who has treated the body of the law in a liberal, elegant and constitutional manner. A vein of good sense and moderation runs through every page.” History suggests that, if anything, Ruffhead was insufficiently enthusiastic.

 

Printing and the Mind of Man states the following: “Blackstone’s great achievement was to popularize the law and the traditions which had influenced its formation. Until the Commentaries, the ordinary Englishman had viewed the law as a vast, unintelligible and unfriendly machine. If the English constitution survived the troubles of the (nineteenth) century, it was because the law had gained a new popular respect, and this was due in part to the enormous success of Blackstone's work. . He did for the English what the imperial publication of Roman law did for the people of Rome.”

 

Holdsworth states the following: “The Commentaries are not only a statement of the law of Blackstone's day, but the best history of English law as a whole which had yet appeared. The skilful manner in which Blackstone uses his authorities new and old, and the analogy of other systems of law, to illustrate the evolution of the law of his day, had a vast influence, both in England and America, in implanting in the profession a sound tradition of the historical development of the law.”

 

Yet even these encomiums understate Blackstone’s significance: he truly was the first to show that the English common law formed a coherent whole – that it constituted a constitution. Moreover, he did this at a crucial point in the development of legal systems in Europe and European colonies. It was, after all, during the three decades following the ‘Commentaries’ that the great vogue for codified, scientific law took hold of the countries of continental Europe, as well as many of the leading minds of England and America, such as Jeremy Bentham. Had Blackstone not published when he did, and shown the coherence of the English common law, with such a great influence upon Jefferson, Adams, Marshall and others, it is highly probable that Canada, the United States, Australia, if not Great Britain itself, would have codified their laws in much the same way that was done in Prussia and in France (with the Napoleonic Code), and that the English Common Law would be largely a relic of the past, with the most profound consequences for Britain and former British colonies. Thus, in a very real sense, Blackstone’s ‘Commentaries,’ the first edition of which is offered here, can be said to have altered history’s course.

 

The four volumes are complete in all respects and are paginated as follows: [iv], viii, 473, viii; [viii], 520, xix; [viii], 455, [1], xxvii; [viii], 436, vii, [40]. Each volume measures about 27.7 cm by 23.0 cm by 4.5 cm; each leaf measures about 267 mm by 218 mm.

 

THE SET IS IN UNIFORMLY EXCELLENT CONDITION INTERNALLY, with clean pages, clear print and ample margins throughout. A few occasional leaves show very minor toning.

 

THE MID 18TH CENTURY FULL CALF BINDINGS ARE IN REMARKABLY EXCELLENT CONDITION. The four volumes are bound uniformly in full mid-18th century English polished calf, contemporary to the time of publication. The richly gilt spines are divided by raised and gilt bands into 6 compartments. Each spine displays the original mid-18th century burgundy and black morocco labels, which gives the author, title and volume number. Remarkably, even the handmade band at the head and foot of each spine has been retained. The book-blocks are very strong. The leather upon the hinges is lightly cracked, but the inner hinges and the cords hold very firmly. IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND A FIRST EDITION OF BLACKSTONE IN BINDINGS THAT MATCH THESE.

 

In all, this is A GLORIOUS EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PUBLICATIONS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN CONCERNING ENGLISH LAW, THE 1765-70 FIRST EDITION OF WILLIAM BLACKSTONE’S “COMMENTARIES ON THE LAWS OF ENGLAND,” printed at London in four quarto volumes in 1765, 1768, 1768 and 1770 (the first and third volumes are first editions, the second is a third edition, the fourth is a fourth edition), complete in all respects, INCLUDING THE VERY RARE SUPPLEMENT AT THE END OF THE FIRST VOLUME (absent from the vast majority of examples), adorned with the copperplate ‘Table of Consanguinity’ and the folding ‘Table of Descents,’ WONDERFULLY BOUND IN FULL MID-18TH CENTURY CALF, EXACTLY CONTEMPORARY TO THE TIME OF PUBLICATION, IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, WITH ALL LABELS RETAINED, AND WITH THE SPINES RICHLY GILT, and OFFERED AT A REASONABLE RESERVE.

 

 

Please take the time necessary to review the photos below in order to gain a better understanding of the content and condition of the volume. Please also take a moment to view my other sales of rare and desirable English and Continental printed books dating from the 15th through the 19th century.

 

Shipment is free for customers in the United States and Canada. For U.S. clients we ship either FedEx Ground for large shipments or USPS Priority for single books or smaller amounts. We ship using Canada Post for Canadian customers.

 

 Canadian buyers please note that we list on .com which automatically charges for international shipment. Your invoice will be amended to reflect free shipping.

 

 Please note as of January 2013 USPS has increased International shipping charges on average by 25%.

 

We charge for shipment of international orders.  We try to ship using USPS flat rate priority-mail boxes and we charge for shipment at cost or slightly below. Small 12mo books are shipped for USD 24.00. The cost of shipment for any book in Octavo, Quarto or small folio format is USD 60.00. The cost of shipment for large folios or quartos of equivalent size is USD 78.00. Multiple folio volumes and sets are, of course, generally more expensive and the cost of their shipment will always be quoted in the listing. With all of our sales if an individual client wins multiple books we charge only charge for the shipment of one book and cover the cost of shipment of the rest. Please note that mobile devices do not yet display correctly the shipment costs for international customers. Please enquire or consult the non-mobile site in order to obtain complete information concerning the cost of shipment.

   

All purchases save those by Canadian clients are shipped from New York State once per week, weather permitting. If you require faster service or special handling please let us know and we will do our best to accomodate.

                           


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Blackstone Commentaries On Laws Of England 1765-70 4v Supplement Bindings 1st Nr

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