Commentaries on the Laws of England (in four volumes)
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765, 1766, 1768, 1769.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1765, 1766, 1768, 1769. First edition. Four quarto volumes (250 x 194 mm) collating complete: , iii, , 4-473, , viii; , 520, xix, ; , 455, , xxvii, ; , 436, vii, . With the engraved "Table of Consanguinity" and folding "Table of Descendants" in Volume II. Rare 8 page "Supplement to the First Edition" bound in at the end of the first volume. Contemporary full calf boards with original spine labels preserved on three of the volumes, replaced to style on the fourth. Repairs to the spines preserving the original leather on two of the volumes, rebacked to style on two. An excellent set internally, generally clean and wide-margined, with only slight occasional foxing. A few leaves with marginal dampstaining, heaviest on the final two leaves of volume 4. Signed by the original owner, Mountague Cholmeley 1765, and with his son's bookplate on the inner paste-down; contemporary marginal annotations throughout volume I. Housed in a full leather slipcase.
"Blackstone's great achievement was to popularize the law and the traditions which had influenced its formation...If the English constitution survived the troubles of the next century, it was because the law had gained a new popular respect, and this was in part due to the enormous success of Blackstone's work" (Printing and the Mind of Man). First published in 1765, Blackstone made a complex legal system based on precedents, accessible to the average reader. The publication and great success of these commentaries marked a dramatic shift in the popular perception of the law within England and they became required reading for practitioners and scholars alike for many years.
PMM 212. Grolier 100 in English, 52. Rothschild 407. ESTC T57753. (Item #5390)