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Sir William Blackstone
1723 - 1780

English lawyer, judge, and professor. Author of a series of published lectures entitled Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765) which influenced lawyers and lawmaking in England for much of two centuries after their publication.


Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolate. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.

1765 - from Commentaries on the Laws of England
The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights.

1765 - from Commentaries on the Laws of England
In all tyrannical governments the supreme magistracy, or the right both of making and enforcing the laws, is vested in one and the same man, or one and the same body of men; and wherever these two powers are united together, there can be no public liberty.

1765 - from Commentaries on the Laws of England
These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself in all his dispensations conforms; and which he has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render every one its due...

1765 - from Commentaries on the Laws of England