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PREFACE.

The following sheets contain the substance of : Laws of England, which were read by the author i His original plan took its rise in the year 1753 novelty of such an attempt in this age and country, conceived against any innovations in the established the satisfaction to find and he acknowledges it w gratitude--that his endeavours were encouraged an in the university and out of it, whose good opinion pally desirous to obtain.

The death of Mr. Viner in 1756, and his ample be for promoting the study of the law, produced abo regular and public establishment of what the author The knowledge of our laws and constitution was ado general academical authority; competent endowm support of a lecturer and the perpetual encourage compiler of the ensuing Commentaries had the hon Vinerian professor.

In this situation he was led, both by duty and in elements of the law and the grounds of our civil po and attention than many have thought it necessary of late years have attended the public administration that a masterly acquaintance with the general spirit universal jurisprudence, combined with an accurate k cipal constitutions, their original, reason, and history energy to many modern judicial decisions, with w wholly unacquainted. If, in the pursuit of these inqu able to rectify any errors which either himself or ot imbibed, his pains will be sufficiently answered; and mistaken, the candid and judicious reader will mak difficulties of a search so new, so extensive, and so la

Nov. 2, 1765.

POSTSCRIPT.

Notwithstanding the diffidence expressed in the foregoing work completed, but many of its positions were vehement) (even opposite) denominations, religious as well as civil ; others with a less, degree of acrimony. To such of these ar within the author's notice (for he doubts not but some have this obligation, that they have occasioned him from time to respect to the particulars objected to; to retract or expunge really erroneous; to amend or supply it when inaccurate or explain it when obscure. But, where he thought the objectic and shall leave the book to defend itself, being fully of opini false and his doctrines unwarrantable, no apology from hims if founded in truth and rectitude, no censure from others can

iv

A MEMOIR

OF

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE ,

BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR.

The ambition of posthumous fame is very general, if not universal, among

d. It is one of the strong arguments for our immortality, that we La mut our desires beyond the brief span of our present existence and live E ter future. Å sal and dreary thought would it be to a man,--that of dying abript by any one, unhonoured by any survivor, and entirely forgotten as Bu a la removed froin sight. If not an actor upon the more prominent e sire of the world's history, within some narrower circle of society-his Barbwd, his friends, his family, or at least his descendants—every one is undurly forward, in the hope that his memory will be respectfully - sid, his faults and foibles overlooked and excused, his virtues adorned a ti larst and loveliest colours. Whether, in that spirit-land where pertal natures still live after their earthly tabernacles have crumbleri & cur mual clay, they have any knowledge of or interest in the affairs of tv.ri wa h they have left behind, we do not know: it has not been rePrito 18. From that bourne no traveller has returned. The faculties and parts of that sou, especially memory,--the strong affections of the heart, all two to aui constituting an inseparable part of its spiritual nature, as well w.wary.lig activity even while the burly reposes in soundest slumber, The let it, to say the least, a reasonable conjecture that, though engaged in u ra ari intellectual employments and enjoyments much nobler and purer ta eril's, they are still spectators--interested, curious spectators--in the

Gui's providence which relate to his moral creation. The common ***... * of the people in all ages and countries, which may be regarded ***! * the tradition of an original revelation or the result of a stronglyprvi .Date sentiment, are not without weight on such a question. Such

I have intertwined themselves with the earliest poetry: they form Apari the legends of childhood: in spite of ourselves, we are all, more or deve, bo w wers in the communion of spirits. The man who has entirely cast of 2 prepudre or superstition, if we please to term it so, has lost one Ekst wbuch bis bern knuwn to exert its salutary influence when even the Hae: of her accountability has been disregarded. We may well fancy, then,

a power in departed spirits of watching and tracing the Lives, writings, or actions upon those who have come influences have been for human virtue and happiness extended the purer must be the pleasure afforded; if th must be the source of bitter, unavailing, and neverconsiderations may well excite us to the practice of v cultivation of noble and generous sympathies and em appropriate reward may be the observation hereafter of as they spread with their influences for good the name to the remotest generation.

The fame of a lawyer, however much he may live i however large may seem the space he occupies in the p in general a very narrow and circumscribed one.

He is his own day and generation and among his contemporari defends the accused and oppressed; he maintains the c friendless; he succours those that are ready to perish; rant, he guides and saves those who are wandering and when "he has run his course and sleeps in blessings,” hi of orphans' tears wept on them.” How much untold honest, wise, and generous man, in the full practice of t even those to whom he has consecrated his time and t hope of adequate compensation never appreciate! How own interest, does he succeed in calming the surges of pa: bitter partisan to measures of peace and compromise! beneficence possess that best and purest characteristic of that his right hand knoweth not what his left hand doet! circle of his own profession, the student of which may occ few brief evidences of his learning and industry in print dusty report-book, and pause to spell his name and wond terity will scarcely ever hear of him, and his severest effo tellectual achievements will sink forever in the night o portant case of Taylor on the demise of Atkyns vs. Hurd Lord Mansfield and the court of King's Bench about one The title to a large estate was at issue; knotty and difficu learning were required to be discussed, and they were dis ing research and ability. It is not to be doubted that were the most eminent at the English bar. We have a fur the character of some of them. Mr. Pratt,--afterwards L forever associated with English liberty, as the dauntless warrants, and the champion of American colonial rights Parliament, Mr. Yorke, son of Lord-Chancellor Hardwich Yorke, afterwards Lord-Chancellor, are named as of c With them were Mr. Caldecot, the compiler of the Settleme to these men, there were for the defendant the names o Perrot, and Mr. Sergeant Prime. Pratt and Yorke having

'id', al positions, their lives have been written, their characters have w travel and will be preserved. Who were these others deemed worthy : It! its and measure lances with them in this important intellectual pod ops Where is their memorial, even among the members of that profession

1...,wule they lived, they were the pride and ornament? 1 1.4i 141 and political position, which must frequently give character H=, the lawyer, there are some other exceptions --of those who hand .." names within the bounds of their profession by contributing valu.: rist its legal literature. The legal writings of Lord Coke have con

re than his office and influence to this result. Hale, Foster, Gilbert, 2 may be placed in the same category. But that they have largely in 1. do ht which, according to Lord Bacon, every man owes to his profes

L**would the names of Fearne, Hargrave, Butler, Preston, Powell, ward Williams have to be classed with those of Knowles, Perrot, and

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Ture is (ne English legal writer whose fortune in this respect is peculiar, Edun an elementary work,-written with so much system and accuracy, 22:29 style and language 80 pure and elegant, that it not only at once assumed ei Leer since maintaind the place of First Institute of legal education 6'da wis make the common law of England their special study, but became a Prvo sa v retruction and interest to scholars and gentlemen of all pursuits,-w Lawn for that reason translated into many other tongues. That JarWas Sir William Blackstone. An American author has in like manner ***** his name by a work which both here and abroad will forever stand

ir and are the enviable fame of that of the illustrious English con5. It is unnecessary to name James Kent. T:- kr of Sir William Blackstone was Charles Blackstone, a citizen and

an of London, whose family was from the West of England. He was bing the leth July, 1723: his father had died before, and he lost his mother : Pariyar of eleven.

B: t early lows of both parents, William and his two brothers Charles cillary were thrown upon the care of their maternal uncles. Charles and B: wta elucated at Winchester, under the care of Dr. Bigg, who was

toif that school. Both of them took orders in the Church. The care 2-daan of William fell to the lot of another uncle, -Mr. Thomas Bird, tint surgeon of London.

I: 1734. Wam, then about seven years old, was put to school at the 12.? H x-r, and in 1735 was, by the nomination of Sir Robert Walpole, httr influence of another member of his mother's family, admitted as

its foundation. He is said to have been a studious and exemor by ani to have gained the favour of his masters. At the age of fifteen : at the head of the school, and was thought sufficiently advanced to be ad to the univerzity; and he was accordingly entered a commoner at in Colege, in Oxford, on the 30th of November, 1736. He was allowed W can at school until after the 12th of December, the anniversary com

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memoration of the foundation of the Charter-House, in order deliver the customary oration in honour of Richard Sutton,-by w much applause.

After having been three years prosecuting his studies at this of learning, on the 20th November, 1741, being then eightee himself a member of the Middle Temple and commenced the stu He was called to the bar as soon as the probationary period of expired, -viz., on the 28th November, 1746.

In the early periods of English jurisprudence, the Inns of C sorted to by large numbers of young gentlemen, not merely to: fession, but to complete a liberal education by the study of the country. In the time of Fortescue, who wrote in the reign there are said to have been about eighteen hundred or two thous in the Inns of Court and Chancery. The number was still very in the time of Ben Jonson, who has left on record his estimate of t and character in the dedication of his comedy of Every Man out of which he inscribed “To the noblest nurseries of humanity and 1 kingdom, the Inns of Court.” To characterize a law-school as t] sound learning and civil liberty is indeed a highly-wrought eul legal profession, ma praise, however, which its history shows to ha deserved. In the Inns of Chancery the younger students of t usually placed, “learning and studying,” says Fortescue, "ihe orig it were the elements, of the law; who profiting therein, as they { ness, so were they admitted into the greater inns of the same the Inns of Court."

The word “Inns" was anciently used to denote town-houses, i nobility and gentry resided when they were in attendance at cou frequently employed by the old poets to denote a spacious and eleg The Inns of Court were in old French termed hostells. In theo in Latin they are called hospitia; while diversoria is the name appli lodging-houses, which are now commonly known as inns. Th originally purchased for the purposes of these legal societies, hav the time private residences, still retained in their new use the an by which they were designated. The Middle and Inner Temples we dwellings of the Knights Templars; Lincoln's and Gray's Inn ancient to the Earls of Lincoln and Gray. So the names of the several In cery are taken from the names of their original proprietors, -excep Staple Inn, which belonged to the Merchants of the Staple, and Lion was a common tavern, with the sign of the lion.

There can be no doubt that there was originally provided in the some system of instruction for the students. Competent persoi readers, were appointed to deliver public lectures. Such men as M and Holt were chosen as readers. They fell into disuse, however; the time of Blackstone the student at the Inns was left to his own and was even called to the bar, after a set time, without any examina

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