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Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Vol. 1 1st Edition
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I should warn you that it is written in older English using f's in place of s's. For example, congreff. So if you do not like the idea of learning a mildly different form of English you may become frustrated reading this work. It also has quite a bit of Latin in it, about half of which is also expressed in English.
There are also intro's not written by Blackstone, written by jealous angry modern authors who wish their works could get published. Skip those.
The book explains a great deal about the common law upon which the US was initially built and which is still pretty much the law of the land. It also delves a little bit into the area of law which legal positivism has taken over.
Here is a little gem I loved (paraphrased):
The great advantage of the law being expressed in Latin was that Latin was a dead language and did not suffer from the ever changing meanings of modern English terms. Nonetheless, in XXXX the law was re-written in English to make it easier for the common people to understand, and yet within a few years the law had become more incomprehensible to the commoner than it had been when in Latin.
In addition he also explains the historical origins of the common law and the political structure of England's government at the time just before our nation's independence and why it had been superior, at that time, to any other form of government in all of Europe in the securing and preservation of human liberty. I highly recommend at least volume I to law students and even to any reader interested in better understanding the origins of our government. His explanations in particular will give you a much better understanding of how English government functioned and how our government distinguished itself in substantial ways from England.
Any scholar, student, or avid reader of political science, law, or history will benefit and enjoy this great literary work.
Ignore the earlier critique of the font, the facsimile of the first edition really transports you back in time and the font is not that difficult to navigate. The only real difference is "f" is used in place of "s" everywhere but in the last letter of words ("greateft" "fortrefs" "fubject" etc.). Generally it's very clear when the "f" is an "s" although there are a few confusing exceptions (e.g. "wife" is "wise" as in the "wife laws of England..."). The first edition included footnotes where Blackstone cited English, Latin, and Roman works and these are reproduced here as well.
So if reading paffages like thif bothers you fomewhat, you may defire to find something elf. Me, I kinda find it grows on you after a while and it gets easier,... though I still can't follow the reaffoning as to when they choofe to use what when, and why the "f"s still look like "f"s when lots-- but not all-- of the "s"s do too! Perhaps the typesetters were saving the "s"s from prematurely wearing out~.
He states, "(the Creator) has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one natural precept, 'that man should pursue his own happiness.' This the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law." (Pg. 41) He asserts, "Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be suffered to contradict these." (Pg. 42)
He says, "the community should guard the rights of each individual member, and that (in return for this protection) each individual should submit to the laws of the community." (Pg. 48) Later, he adds, "The absolute rights of man, considered as a free agent... are usually summed up in one general appellation, and denominated the natural liberty of mankind. This natural liberty consists properly in a power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, unless by the law of nature...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
tried to read this but the old English writing style was simply too much for me...Published 3 months ago by Norvell Maples
Good version of a seminal work in law. much better than many facsimile copies that are out there for older books that are otherwise out of print.Published 8 months ago by phantomrose22
Excellent service with quality copy of the book sent in a timely way. Thanks!Published on August 26, 2014 by RSG
Books are great, double ordered by mistake, was told I could resell them but no return. Not happy. Books are fine policy needs revamping.Published on October 3, 2011 by Gypsy