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Laws of England
IN FOUR BOOKS
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, Knight
One of the Justices of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas
NOTES SELECTED FROM THE EDITIONS OF ARCHBOLD, CHRISTIAN, COLE-
MODIFYING THE TEXT
WILLIAM DRAPER LEWIS, Ph. D.
REES WELSH & COMPANY
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1897,
By REES WELSH & COMPANY, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
THE LAWS OF ENGLA N D.
BOOK THE SECOND.
Of the Rights of Things.
OF PROPERTY, IN GENERAL.
The former book of these commentaries having treated at large of the jura personarum, or such rights and duties as are annexed to the persons of men, the objects of our inquiry in this second book will be the jura rerum, or those rights which a man may acquire in and to such external things as are unconnected with his person.(1) These are what the writers in natural law style the rights of dominion, or property, concerning the nature and original of which I shall first premise a few observations, before I proceed to distribute and consider its several objects.
*There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and [*2 engages the affections of mankind, as the right of property; or that sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.(2) And yet there are very few that will give themselves the trouble to consider the original and foundation of this right. Pleased as we are with the possession, we seem afraid to look back to the means by which it was acquired, as if fearful of some defect in our title; or at best we rest satisfied with the decision of the laws in our favor, without examining the reason or authority upon which those laws have been built. We think it
(1) Goodeve's Modern Law of Real Property 6 (3 ed. 1891).
(2) Freeman on Co-tenancy and Partition 82 (2d ed. 1886). 1 Barbour's Rights of Persons and Property 86 (1890). Thomas's Universal Jurisprudence 25 (2 ed. 1829). The right of exclusive enjoyment by some one individual, of portions of what might at first seem a common heritage—the earth and its products-is too well settled as an elementary principle in the organization of society to render it necessary to go behind the simple fact itself in discussing its laws. 1 Washburn on Real Property (5 ed. 1887) 1-2. One man may not lawfully for his own pleasure or convenience make use of or interfere with the property of another without his permission. Bruch v. Carter, 3 Vroom (32 N. J.) 554, 562 (1867). The right of property extends not only to its corpus, but to its ordinary and essential characteristics, of which the right of sale is one. People v. Toynbee, 20 Barb. 168, 215 (N. Y. 1855).