An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, &c. With Some Proposals for Remedying This Growth in Evil. The Present Reigning Vices are Impartially Exposed; and the Laws That Relate to the Provision for the Poor. and to the Punishment of Felons are Largely and Freely Examined.

London: A. Millar, 1751.

Price: $500.00

About the item

Second edition. xxxii, 228 pp. 12mo. Contemporary calf. Rebacked, corners worn; half-title darkened and with contemporary ownership signature, loss to title page top right not affecting text. Cross III, p. 320.

Item #339582

Second edition with revisions of Fielding's most important social tract, written as chief magistrate, "the most remarkable of his social tracts — a work as important for what it reveals about his temperament and character as for the remedies it prescribes for the disorders of the commonwealth" (Battestin, pp. 513-4).
Fielding advocates reforms to the penal code that would curb the social ills — drunkenness, gambling, prostitution, theft — that plagued mid-18th century England. The social order can only be maintained by instilling fear in the general population, and punishment should be harsh and swift. Executions, instead of being public spectacles, should arouse fear and terror and should be solemnly conducted in secret.