The State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with Preliminary Observations, and an Account of Some Foreign Prisons / Appendix . . . containing a Farther Account of Foreign Prisons and Hospitals, with Additions.
Warrington: William Eyres, 1777.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003663
Two parts bound in one volume. 1777-1784. 4to (280 x 204 mm). Part I: , 489,  pp., 3 folding engraved plates. Part II: , 286,  pp., 18 engraved plates (15 folding). Includes first blank leaf A1 to part II and half-titles to both parts. Contemporary calf, spine with gilt-lettered label and gilt tooling, marbled endpapers and edges (joints split but cords holding, spine ends chipped, extremities worn). Text of part I very little age-toned, part II a bit more browned and dust soiled at outer blank margins, occasional minor spotting; first half-title and title with light browning to outer margins from binder's glue; plates with binder's direction noted in ink manuscript; light soiling to p.217 of part I; small hole at upper blank margin of plate 15, plate 19 somewhat browned; pp. 466-67 of part I with light offsetting from silk ribbon marker. ----
PMM 224; Garrison-Morton 1598; NLM/ Blake 223; Waller 224; Wellcome III, 306. FIRST EDITION of part I and much enlarged second edition of part II (first 1780 edition with 7 plates only). "From the casual experience of visiting Bedford Gaol - one of the most influential prisons in English history - came Howard's determination to improve prison conditions. His single-handed campaign not only caused a revolution in his lifetime, but is the direct progenitor of subsequent work in the most critical branch of penal reform. Howard, after some early adventures on the continent, might have spent the rest of his life in quiet philanthropy on his paternal estate. However, in 1773 he accepted office as high sheriff of Bedford, and when the assizes were held he insisted on visiting the gaol. The squalor and misery he found made a lasting impression on him; even more did the fact that the gaolers were dependent on the prisoners' fees for their own livelihood and that in consequence many prisoners were wrongly detained because they could not pay the gaol delivery fees. He proposed to the justices that the gaoler should be paid a salary instead, and was told to find a precedent for it. Accordingly he went from county to county, and although he found no precedent he saw enough to determine him to devote himself to prison reform. The following year Howard gave evidence before a committee of the House of Commons, and received its thanks for 'the humanity and zeal which have led him to visit the several gaols of this Kingdom'. Immediately an Act was passed liberating, free of charges, all prisoners against whom no true bill had been found, and providing a salary for gaolers from the county rate. It was followed by another Act providing for improvements to existing gaols arid better care, especially medical care, for prisoners. Howard characteristically had the new regulations printed in large type and sent to every gaoler and warder in the country. Encouraged by this success he then set out on a systematic tour of British and continental prisons. He noticed the comparative absence of crime in the Low Countries and saw the cause in the reformatory treatment there bestowed on criminals. The French authorities tried to prevent his access to their prisons, but he was able to circumvent them and published the results of his inspection. This and the report of his expedition as a whole formed part of The State of Prisons, the first major practical work on the subject . . . Howard's enthusiasm was remarkable not only in its immediate effectiveness, but also in the universal affection which he inspired. His cause found permanent support, and is commemorated in a body of which he would have been proud to acknowledge the foundation, the Howard League for Penal Reform" (PMM 224) - Visit our website to see more images!
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