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CHARLES READER, LAW BOOKSELLER, 29, BELL YARD,
If the excellence of a book be best proved by the universality of its reception, there are few of greater merit than the Commentaries of Blackstone-a Work, although expressly treating of the Laws of England, not confined to the library of the lawyer, but occupying a distinguished place in every Collection of Books bearing in any degree the character of judicious selection. . The mass of information contained in it, not legal only, but historical, and of times where the researches of historians are confessedly involved in darkness, and its consequent doubt, often tends to corroborate facts the truth of which the isolated details of early history leave unascertained, from some chasm in the chain of consequences ill supplied, or inconsistency in the character of the persons or the circumstances connected with their production.
The enactment and repeal of statutes derive their cause and occasion from the vicissitude inherent in the nature of all human affairs—whether resulting from the schemes of Avarice, or the progress of Ambition-from the emulations of Genius, or the transforming powers of persevering Industry—from the darkness of Superstition, or the light of Science-and in the history of them transiently convey such sketches of the form and character of times, persons, and things long past and forgotten, as by no other means can now be known—and the customs and manners of the darker ages are sometimes rendered more clearly obvious by the detached clauses of an old decree than by the most laboured deductions from regular history. Of this species of illustration frequent instances occur in the Commentaries of Blackstone—but they are often illustration only to the more learned reader. Many no doubt there are, who in the perusal of his valuable pages find their progress continually impeded by the old law Latin and Norman French left, uninterpreted by the Author and his Editors, and to such, consequently, a large and important portion of the work is mere dead letter. To render it available to this description of its readers, the following Version is respectfully offered as a Companion to Blackstone, by the Translator, Nov. 1st. 1823. i
J. W. JONES.
The paging is regulated by the marginal paging of the Commentaries.
Where Blackstone has given the sense of any passage it has not been translated here.
The Work has been so printed that it may be separately bound at the end of each Volume to which the Translation belongs.
ADVERTISEMENT.---p. xi. Quam peritus ille et privati juris et publici! Quantum rerum, quantum exemplorum, quantum antiquitatis tenet! Nihil est quod discere velis, quod ille docere non potest! Mihi certe, quoties aliquid abditum quæro, ille thesaurus
How skilful he is both in public and in private law! What a knowledge he possesses of things, of examples, and of antiquity! There is nothing you would learn which he cannot teach. In every difficulty he is my constant resource.
p. 6. ' i 'Lietas! Facultas ejus, quod cuique facere libet, nisi quid vi, aut jure, prohibetur.
Its essence is the power of doing whatsoever we please, unless where authority or law forbids.