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COMMENTARIES

ON

THE LIBERTY OF THE SUBJECT

AND

The Laws of England

RELATING TO

The Security of the Person.

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PREFACE.

It is more than a century since Blackstone published his Commentaries on the Laws of England, which were originally lectures delivered to students at Oxford. His object was to make the methodical study of those laws part of a university education. He had secured an audience of inquiring minds, full of fresh aspirations, but only dimly conscious of some vague influence by which the business of the world was guided, and more eager than certain how best to share that influence. Most of his audience were destined to be legislators, diplomatists, warriors, priests, heirs of great possessions, and a few were destined to the practice of the legal profession. But beyond that audience he sought to reach a still larger class of citizens, who were already engrossed with other pursuits—whether acting in various capacities as jurors, magistrates, and officials, or as the leading artificers of that wealth, with the pursuit of which human life is so busy. This wider circle must then, as now, have often been haunted with an unsatisfied desire to know more about the laws all were bound to obey, than could be acquired in any ordinary avocations. Though business is itself a legal education, yet it is seldom found to be sufficiently broad and deep to satisfy the wider scrutiny and insight of practical minds, always curious to probe the secrets of this vital essential

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