Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blackstone's Commentaries

You can find William Blackstone's classic work, Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769), at The Avalon Project. Also online is St. George Tucker's 1803 annotated Blackstone, with notes of reference to the United States (it's still a bit under construction, though).

Of a constitution, so wisely contrived, so strongly raised, and so highly finished, it is hard to speak with that praise, which is justly and severely it's due: --- the thorough and attentive contemplation of it will furnish it's best panegyric. It hath been the endeavour of these commentaries, however the execution may have succeeded, to examine it's solid foundations, to mark out it's extensive plan, to explain the use and distribution of it's parts, and from the harmonious concurrence of those several parts to demonstrate the elegant proportion of the whole. We have taken occasion to admire at every turn the noble monuments of antient simplicity, and the more curious refinements of modern art. Nor have it's faults been concealed from view; for faults it has, left we should be tempted to think it of more than human structure: defects, chiefly arifing from the decays of time, or the rage of unskilful improvements in later ages. To sustain, to repair, to beautiful this noble pile, is a charge intrusted principally too the nobility, and such gentlemen of the kingdom, as are delegated by their country to parliament. The protection of THE LIBERTY OF BRITAIN is a duty which they owe to themselves, who enjoy it; to their ancestors, who transmitted it down; and to their posterity, who will claim at their hands this, the best birthright, and noblest inheritance of mankind.

--Commentaries, Bk 4, ch. 33.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.