Skip to main content

Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume 4

A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769

Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769) stands as the first great effort to reduce the English common law to a unified and rational system. Blackstone demonstrated that the English law as a system of justice was comparable to Roman law and the civil law of the Continent. Clearly and elegantly written, the work achieved immediate renown and exerted a powerful influence on legal education in England and in America which was to last into the late nineteenth century. The book is regarded not only as a legal classic but as a literary masterpiece.

Previously available only in an expensive hardcover set, Commentaries on the Laws of England is published here in four separate volumes, each one affordably priced in a paperback edition. These works are facsimiles of the eighteenth-century first edition and are undistorted by later interpolations. Each volume deals with a particular field of law and carries with it an introduction by a leading contemporary scholar.

Introducing this fourth and final volume, Of Public Wrongs, Thomas A. Green examines Blackstone’s attempt to rationalize the severity of the law with what he saw as the essentially humane inspiration of English law. Green discusses Blackstone’s ideas on criminal law, criminal procedure, and sentencing.

514 pages | 5.90 x 8.90 | © 1979

Law and Legal Studies: Legal History

Table of Contents

Book IV - Of Public Wrongs
1. Of the Nature of Crimes; and their Punishment
2. Of the Persons Capable of committing Crimes
3. Of Principals and Accessories
4. Of Offences against God and Religion
5. Of Offences against the Law of Nations
6. Of High Treason
7. Of Felonies, injurious to the King’s Prerogative
8. Of Praemunire
9. Of Misprisions and Contempts, affecting the King and Government
10. Of Offences against Public Justice
11. Of Offences against the Public Peace
12. Of Offences against Public Trade
13. Of Offences against the Public Health, and the Public Police or Oeconomy
14. Of Homicide
15. Of Offences against the Persons of Individuals
16. Of Offences against the Habitations of Individuals
17. Of Offences against Private Property
18. Of the means of Preventing offences
19. Of Courts of a Criminal Jurisdiction
20. Of Summary Convictions
21. Of Arrests
22. Of Commitment and Bail
23. Of the several Modes of Prosecution
24. Of Process upon an Indictment
25. Of Arraignment, and it’s Incidents
26. Of Plea, and Issue
27. Of Trial, and Conviction
28. Of the Benefit of Clergy
29. Of Judgment, and it’s Consequences
30. Of Reversal of Judgment
31. Of Reprieve, and Pardon
32. Of Execution
33. Of the Rise, Progress, and gradual Improvements, of the Laws of England

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press