William Blackstone

Portrait, {{c.}} 1723—1780 Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist, judge and Tory politician most noted for writing the ''Commentaries on the Laws of England''. Born into a middle-class family in London, Blackstone was educated at Charterhouse School before matriculating at Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1738. After switching to and completing a Bachelor of Civil Law degree, he was made a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, on 2 November 1743, admitted to Middle Temple, and called to the Bar there in 1746. Following a slow start to his career as a barrister, Blackstone became heavily involved in university administration, becoming accountant, treasurer and bursar on 28 November 1746 and Senior Bursar in 1750. Blackstone is considered responsible for completing the Codrington Library and Warton Building, and simplifying the complex accounting system used by the college. On 3 July 1753 he formally gave up his practice as a barrister and instead embarked on a series of lectures on English law, the first of their kind. These were massively successful, earning him a total of £453 (£}} in terms), and led to the publication of ''An Analysis of the Laws of England'' in 1756, which repeatedly sold out and was used to preface his later works.

On 20 October 1759 Blackstone was confirmed as the first Vinerian Professor of English Law, immediately embarking on another series of lectures and publishing a similarly successful second treatise, titled ''A Discourse on the Study of the Law''. With his growing fame, he successfully returned to the bar and maintained a good practice, also securing election as Tory Member of Parliament for the rotten borough of Hindon on 30 March 1761. In November 1765 he published the first of four volumes of ''Commentaries on the Laws of England'', considered his ''magnum opus''; the completed work earned Blackstone £14,000 (£}} in terms). After repeated failures, he successfully gained appointment to the judiciary as a Justice of the Court of King's Bench on 16 February 1770, leaving to replace Edward Clive as a Justice of the Common Pleas on 25 June. He remained in this position until his death, on 14 February 1780.

Blackstone's four-volume ''Commentaries'' were designed to provide a complete overview of English law and were repeatedly republished in 1770, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1778 and in a posthumous edition in 1783. Reprints of the first edition, intended for practical use rather than antiquary interest, were published until the 1870s in England and Wales, and a working version by Henry John Stephen, first published in 1841, was reprinted until after the Second World War. Legal education in England had stalled; Blackstone's work gave the law "at least a veneer of scholarly respectability". William Searle Holdsworth, one of Blackstone's successors as Vinerian Professor, argued that "If the Commentaries had not been written when they were written, I think it very doubtful that the United States, and other English speaking countries would have so universally adopted the common law." In the United States, the ''Commentaries'' influenced Alexander Hamilton, John Marshall, James Wilson, John Jay, John Adams, James Kent and Abraham Lincoln, and remain frequently cited in Supreme Court decisions. Provided by Wikipedia
Showing 1 - 20 results of 222 for search 'Blackstone, William, 1723-1780', query time: 0.04s Refine Results
  1. 1
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1809
    London : Printed for Clarke and Sons, 1809.
    xv, [1], 703 p. : port. ; 21 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  2. 2
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1840
    London : E. Spettigue, 1840.
    xviii, 499, lii pages ; 22 cm.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  3. 3
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1799
    Boston : Printed by I. Thomas and E.T. Andrews, 1799.
    1 online resource (4 volumes) : portrait.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  4. 4
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1858
    Philadelphia : J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1858.
    1 online resource (2 volumes)
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  5. 5
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1856
    Philadelphia : J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1856.
    1 online resource (2 volumes)
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  6. 6
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1762
    Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1762.
    lxxvii, [4], 189, [14] p.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  7. 7
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1766
    Dublin : Printed for Elizabeth Watts, 1766.
    lxi, [4], 189, [14] p.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  8. 8
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1836
    London : S. Sweet, 1836.
    1 online resource (4 volumes) : portrait.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  9. 9
  10. 10
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1844
    London : S. Sweet, 1844.
    4 volumes : portrait ; 23 cm.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  11. 11
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1775
    Dublin : Printed for John Colles, 1775.
    4 v. ; 17 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  12. 12
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1771
    Dublin : Printed for John Exshaw, Henry Saunders, Boulter Grierson, and James Williams, 1771.
    4 v. ; 22 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  13. 13
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1807
    Portland [Me.] : Printed and published by Thomas B. Wait & Co., 1807.
    1 online resource (4 volumes, [3] leaves of plates (1 folded)) : genealogical tables, portrait.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  14. 14
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1796
    London : Printed for W. Clarke and Son, 1796.
    viii, 566 p. ; 22 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  15. 15
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1781
    London : Printed by his Majesty's Law Printers for W. Strahan, T. Cadell and D. Prince, 1781.
    1 online resource (2 volumes)
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  16. 16
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1873
    London : Longmans, Green, 1873.
    xxiv, [29]-352 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  17. 17
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1877
    London : John Murray, 1877.
    xx, 608 p. ; 19 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  18. 18
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1759
    Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1759.
    lxx, [4], 189, [14] p.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  19. 19
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1892
    New York : Banks & Bros., 1892, ©1890.
    xx, 1148 pages ; 24 cm.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource
  20. 20
    by Blackstone, William, 1723-1780
    Published 1770
    Oxford : Printed at the Clarendon Press, 1770.
    4 v. ; 28 x 23 cm.
    Also issued in microfiche.
    LLMC Digital
    Online Resource

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