William Blackstone Laws of England


Of Public Wrongs is Blackstone`s treatise on criminal law. Here, Blackstone, the apologist, takes center stage; He attempts to explain how England`s penal laws were just and merciful, although they later became known as the Bloody Code because of their severity. He admits, however, that “it is a sad truth that among the variety of acts which men may commit daily, no less than one hundred and sixty have been declared criminals by the Act of Parliament without the benefit of the clergy; or, in other words, to be worthy of immediate death.” Blackstone often assured his reader that laws, as written, were not always enforced and that the king`s power of forgiveness could be exercised to correct difficulties or injustices. “[T]he principle of society is to protect the individual in the enjoyment of the absolute rights conferred upon him by the immutable laws of nature, but which could not be preserved in peace without mutual assistance and relations acquired through the establishment of friendly and social communities. It follows that the primary and primary purpose of human laws is to preserve and regulate these absolute rights of the individual. In this and other cases we have examined recently, where blasphemous, immoral, treasonous, schismatic, inflammatory or scandalous defamation is punishable under English law, some with greater severity, others with lesser gravity; Freedom of the press, properly understood, is in no way violated or violated. Freedom of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but it consists in not imposing prior restrictions on publications, not in not being subject to censorship for criminal cases when they are published. Every free person has the undisputed right to tell the public what he wants: to prohibit this is to destroy the freedom of the press; But if he publishes what is inappropriate, malicious or illegal, he must bear the consequences of his own audacity. To subject the press to the restrictive power of a licensor, as was the case before and after the revolution, is to subject all freedom of expression to the prejudices of one man and to make it the arbitrary and infallible judge of all disputed points of education, religion and government.

But punishing (as the law currently does) all dangerous or offensive writings that, when published, are deemed harmful in a fair and impartial trial, is necessary for the preservation of peace and order, government and religion, the only solid foundations of civil liberty. Thus, the will of the individual remains free; Only the abuse of this free will is punishable by law. Nor is freedom of thought and research restricted by this: freedom of private feeling remains; Spreading or publishing bad feelings that destroy society`s goals is the crime that society corrects. A man (says a good writer on the subject) is allowed to keep poisons in his closet, but not publicly, to sell them as liquors. And to this we can add that the only plausible argument used so far to restrict the just freedom of the press, “that it was necessary to prevent the daily abuse of the press”, will completely lose its force if it is demonstrated (by seasonal application of the laws) that the press cannot be diverted to bad ends without suffering an appropriate sanction: while it can never be used at a voucher when it is under the control of an inspector. It will be true that censorship of the license means preserving the freedom of the press. William Blackstone (1723-1780) wrote arguably the most influential treatise on the laws of England. Blackstone`s Commentaries on the Laws of England was an extremely influential treatise on English law, methodically transforming this massive body of laws and legal decisions called “common law” into a coherent system of legal principles understandable to the layman. In the eyes of the American founders, commentaries were the most important authority in common law. His articulation of common law logic was one of the reasons they chose to establish the American legal system on its foundations. Blackstone is still cited today by lawyers and judges to express the importance of American law and the Constitution.

Two decades after their publication, Blackstone`s comments were the subject of Jeremy Bentham`s mocking polemic titled Fragment on Government. This dissection of Blackstone`s first book makes Bentham`s name infamous, although it was originally published anonymously.[3] Federalists sought to justify the Sedition Act of 1798 in part by saying that it did not subject criticism of the U.S. government or its leaders to any prior restriction, and that it allowed individuals to defend themselves by trying to prove the truth of their accusations. The Rights of Individuals is the first volume in a series of four commentaries. It is divided into 18 chapters and deals largely with the rights of the individual; the rights of Parliament; the rights and titles of the King; the royal family; the King`s advice; royal duties; Royal Prerogative; the king`s revenues; subordinate judges; the people (foreigners, residents and natives); the rights of the clergy; marital status; Military and maritime States; the relationship between master and servant (in modern employer and employee terminology), husband and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward; and finally businesses. Berns, Walter. “Freedom of the Press and Aliens and Incitement Laws: A Reassessment.” The Supreme Court Review (1970): 109-159. For decades, the study of commentaries was required reading for all first-year law students.

Lord Avonmore said of Blackstone: “It was he who first gave the law the air of a science. He found a skeleton and dressed it in life, color and complexion. He kissed the cold statue and thanks to his touch, it became young, healthy and beautiful. Jeremy Bentham, who was a critic of the commentaries when they were first published, credits Blackstone with: “taught jurisprudence to speak the language of the scholar and the gentleman; He polished this harsh science, cleaned it of dust and cobwebs from the office, and, if he did not enrich it with that precision which comes only from the precious treasure of science, adorned it to the advantage of the toilet of classical scholarship, animated it with metaphors and allusions, and sent it abroad to a certain extent. to teach. [2] In 1841-45 Henry John Stephen published New Commentaries on the Laws of England (Partial Founded on Blackstone), which was modelled on Blackstone`s work and generously quoted from it; much of Blackstone`s text remained in the 16th edition of Stephen`s Commentaries until 1914; In 1922, under Edward Jenks, most of the text was rewritten, but the structure was adapted closer to Blackstone`s original. [4] Archive.org houses a digital copy of the fourth edition of Blackstone`s commentaries in the possession of John Adams. From the John Adams Library of the Boston Public Library. The Rights of Things, Blackstone`s longest volume, deals with property. Most of the text is devoted to land ownership, which is the most valuable type of feudal law on which English land law is based.

Movable property was already beginning to eclipse land ownership, but its law lacked the complex feudal context of the common land law and was not treated as comprehensively by Blackstone. Anastaplo, George. William Blackstone, Patrick Henry and Edmund Burke on Liberty (1765-1790). In Reflections on Free Speech and the First Amendment. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2011. Although James Madison and other authors argued in the 1800 Virginia Report that freedom of the press was not limited to the presumption of prior restriction, nearly all American founders agreed that freedom of the press adopted this assumption. Alschuler, Albert W. “Rediscovering Blackstone.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 145, No. 1 (1996): 1-55. Read the first issue online on the Avalon Project website. Blackstone`s work was particularly important in educating the rights of individuals against the government and protecting freedom from the actions of officials who sought to silence critics and suppress the press` ability to inform the public.

This Blackstonian presumption continues to serve as one of the fundamental principles of First Amendment jurisprudence, as evidenced by the Supreme Court`s reluctance to tolerate such deference even when a person publishes material deemed defamatory, as in Near v. Minnesota (1931) and New York Times Co. v. the United States (1971), the Pentagon Papers case, in which the government claimed that national security interests demanded such restrictions. Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 † – 14 February 1780), English jurist, including Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vol. (1765–69), is the best-known description of English legal doctrines. Work became the basis of academic legal education in England and North America. He was knighted in 1770. Of a kind very similar to the challenges are slander, libelli famosi, which, in their greatest and most complete sense, mean all writings, images or similar of an immoral or illegal tendency; But in the sense that we need to look at them now, they are malicious slanders of a person, especially a judge, published either in writing, in writing, with signs or images in order to provoke his anger or expose him to public hatred, contempt and ridicule.


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