William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England was the first legal treatise to comprehensively describe the common law as it existed in England in the mid-eighteenth century. The Commentaries originated as a series of lectures Blackstone delivered at Oxford University. The lectures were extremely popular, leading Blackstone to publish the Commentaries in 1765. A 1767 review praised Blackstone’s achievement: “Mr. Blackstone has entirely cleared the law of England from the rubbish in which it was buried and now shows it to the public in a clear, concise, and intelligible form.” The impact of Blackstone’s Commentaries was immediate and profound in England, but its influence was greater still in the new American colonies.