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HOWARD, John.

The State of the Prisons in England and Wales,

with Preliminary Observations, and an account of some Foreign Prisons. [Bound with:] Appendix to the State of the Prisons in England and Wales, containing a farther account of Foreign Prisons and Hospitals, with additional remarks on the Prisons of this Country.

Warrington: printed by William Eyres, and sold by T. Cadell, and N. Conant, London, 1777 & 1780 Stock Code: 136194
£4,750.00
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"The first major practical work on the subject"

First edition of Howard's pioneering work on prisons and penal reform, "the first major practical work on the subject" (PMM), here bound with the 1780 Appendix in a particularly attractive contemporary binding from the library of James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater and 4th Earl of Seafield (1750-1811), with his bookplate to the front pastedown. "From the casual experience of visiting Bedford Gaol... 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... 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" (ibid.). The book's impact was instantaneous, with a bill passed establishing two penitentiaries on the lines of those Howard had seen in the Low Countries and recommended. Further journeys led to the Appendix of 1780, here bound in, and a further appendix in 1784, not present here most likely as the book had already been bound. The State of the Prisons in England and Wales joins Cesare Beccaria's On Crimes and Punishments as the two great penological works of the 18th century, but whereas Beccaria's treatise was chiefly theoretical, Howard's was primarily practical, intended for immediate application rather than abstract theorizing.

The owner of the copy, James Ogilvy, was noted for promoting British landscape garden designs across Europe; his own Cullen House estate (Robert Adam and James Playfair were commissioned to redesign the house) was visited by Boswell and Johnson on their journey to the Hebrides, recorded in Boswell's Journal of the tour: "we saw some part of his domain, which is indeed admirably laid out. Dr Johnson did not choose to walk through it. He always said, that he was not come to Scotland to see fine places, of which there were enough in England; but wild objects - mountains, waterfalls, peculiar manners; in short, things which he had not seen before".

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Description

2 works in 1 volume, quarto (269 x 212 mm). Contemporary calf, smooth spine richly gilt with urn and foliate design, red morocco label, gilt Greek key roll-border to covers, gilt serrated cover edges and turn-ins, marbled endpapers.

Illustrations

3 folding engraved plates; further 6 folding plates and another non-folding plate in Appendix.

Condition

Early shelf mark to front free endpaper verso. Very slight loss at head cap and superficial splitting at head of joints, a few minor marks of abrasion to covers; half-titles present, contents clean and fresh with very slight crease at fore edge, tiny chip with very minor loss to a few letters to Appendix pp. 47/48. A handsome, well-margined copy.

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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

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