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IN FOUR BOOKS.
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, KNt.
ONE OF HIS MAJESTY', JUDGES OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS.
By ROBERT BELL, at the late UNION LIBRARY, in Third-street,
PHILADELPHI A. M DCC LXXI.
HE inhabitants of this continent have now an eafy and advantageous opportunity of effectually eftablishing literary manufactures in the British colonies, at moderate prices calculated for this meridian, the establishment of which will abfolutely and eventually produce mental improvement, and commercial expanfion, with the additional recommendation of poffitively faving thoufands of pounds to and among the inhabitants of the British empire in America.-Thus-The importation of one thousand sets of Blackftone's Commentaries, manufactured in Europe, at ten pounds per fet, is fending very near ten thousand pounds across the great Atlantic ocean. Whereas-One thoufand fets manufactured in America, and sold at the small price of three pounds per fet, is an actual faving of seven thousand pounds to the purchasers, and the identical three thousand pounds which is laid out for our own manufactures is ftill retained in the country, being diftributed among manufacturers and traders, whofe refidence upon the continent of course causeth the money to circulate from neighbour to neighbour, and by this circulation in America there is a great probability of its revolving to the very hands from which it originally migrated.—
American Gentlemen or Ladies who, at this juncture, retain any degrees of that antient and noble, but now almost extinguished, affection denominated patriotism, and are now pleased to exemplify it by extending with celerity and alacrity their aufpicious patronage through the cheap mode of repofing their names and refidences (no money expected till the delivery of an equivalent) with any Bookseller or Printer on the continent, as intentional purchafers of any of the literary works now in contemplation to be reprinted by fubfcription in America----will render an effential fervice to the community, by en couraging native manufactures----and therefore deferve to be had in grateful remembrance----by their country---by pofterity---and by their much obliged, humble fervant, the Publisher--
SUBSCRIPTIONS for Hume, Blackflone, and Fergufon, are received by faid Bell, at the late Union Library, in Third-ftreet, Philadelphia; and by the Bookfellers and Printers in America.
Printed SPECIMENS, with Conditions annexed, for reprinting the above Books by Subfcription, may be feen at all the great Towns in Ame-
PREFA C E.
H E following sheets contain the fubftance of a course of lectures on the laws of England, which were read by the author in the university of OXFORD. His original plan took it's rife in the year 1753: and, notwithstanding the novelty of fuch an attempt in this age and country, and the prejudices ufually conceived against any innovations in the established mode of education, he had the fatisfaction to find (and he acknowleges it with a mixture of pride and gratitude) that his endeavours were encouraged and patronized by those, both in the university and out of it, whofe good opinion and esteem he was principally defirous to obtain.
THE death of Mr VINER in 1756, and his ample benefaction to the university for promoting the study of the law, produced about two years afterwards a regular and public establishment of what the author had privately undertaken. The knowlege of our laws and conftitution was adopted as a liberal fcience by general ተ academical
academical authority; competent endowments were decreed for the fupport of a lecturer, and the perpetual encouragement of ftudents; and the compiler of the enfuing commentaries had the honour to be elected the firft Vinerian profeffor.
IN this fituation he was led, both by duty and inclination, to investigate the elements of the law, and the grounds of our civil polity, with greater affiduity and attention than many have thought it necessary to do. And yet all, who of late years have attended the public adminiftration of justice, must be fenfible that a masterly acquaintance with the general spirit of laws and the principles of univerfal jurisprudence, combined with an accurate knowlege of our own municipal constitutions, their original, reason, and hiftory, hath given a beauty and energy to many modern judicial decifions, with which our ancestors were wholly unacquainted. If, in the purfuit of thefe inquiries, the author hath been able to rectify any errors which either himself or others may have heretofore imbibed, his pains will be fufficiently anfwered: and, if in fome points he is still mistaken, the candid and judicious reader will make due allowances for the difficulties of a search so new, so extenfive, and fo laborious.
2 Nov. 1765.