National Geographic : 1949 Apr
( National Geographic Society 496 Painting bySir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A.Sir William Blackstone Codified English Law Although his famousCommentaries areregarded today more asahandbook for laymen than asacomprehen sive and authoritative legal treatise, they constitute the first book ofthe kind issued inEngland. His definitions of the civil rights of Englishmen express inclear and simple language political convictions that probably are still the most cherished opinions ofthemajority ofthe British electorate. When Blackstone, aswas his wont, took the ministerial sideinacontroversy inParliament over theMiddlesex election, oneofhisopponents answered him with arguments from hisown book and effectively silenced him. Our picture ofthefamous jurist, from a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, isamong the treasures oftheNational Portrait Gallery, London.