Sir William Blackstone, 1723-1780
Commentaries on the Laws of England
Called the "magnum opus of the eighteenth century" by Sir John Baker, the Commentaries was a bestseller among law books both in England and in the colonies. Wrote legal historian Theodore Plucknett: "Twice in the history of English law has an Englishman had the motive, the courage, the power, to write a great, readable, reasonable book about English law as a whole. First it was Bracton, and five hundred years later Blackstone." (Plucknett, Concise History of the Common Law, 5th ed., 1956 at 286).
The Law Library holds an impressive collection of editions of Blackstone's Commentaries, including the first English edition and the first American edition, published in Philadelphia in 1771-1772.
Commentaries on the Laws of England, new ed. by John Frederick Archbold, 1811