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William BlackstoneLaw and Letters in the Eighteenth Century$
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Wilfrid Prest

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199550296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550296.001.0001

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‘Between the University and the Temple’ (1744–53)

‘Between the University and the Temple’ (1744–53)

(p.52) Chapter 4 ‘Between the University and the Temple’ (1744–53)
William Blackstone

Wilfrid Prest (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an account of All Souls College, where Blackstone was elected to a fellowship in 1743. It discusses his two earliest surviving letters, both written from All Souls, which illuminate his maturing attitudes and values, as does the remarkable poem ‘A Lawyer's Farewell to his Muse’, which sets out an ambitious agenda of legal reform and renovation. After glancing at the nature of the civil law studies which led to his graduation with a BCL degree in mid-1745, we move on to consider his study of the common law at London's Middle Temple, and subsequent ill-starred attempt to establish a practice as a barrister in the central courts of Westminster Hall, while remaining heavily involved in Oxford commitments. The chapter concludes by examining the implications of his accepting a provincial legal post, as recorder of the Berkshire borough of Wallingford.

Keywords:   All Souls College, poetry, law reform, civil law, common law, Middle Temple, Westminster Hall, London, Wallingford, Berkshire

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