London: William Eyres for T. Cadell and N. Conant, 1777. 4to (28.3 cm, 11.1"). , 489,  pp.; plates.
First edition: As high sheriff, John Howard (1726-1790) considered it his responsibility to visit local prisons. He was shocked to find jailers paid by fees from prisoners. Howard convinced the House of Commons to create acts to salary the jailers, to free the innocent, to provide clean and ventilated quarters, clothes, and medical care. He spent a lifetime and much of his wealth researching prisons, hospitals and workhouses throughout Europe and Russia. A bill was passed based on Howard's conclusion that penitentiaries should provide regular labor and religious instruction so that prisoners would learn a trade and become reformed.
Lowndes p. 1127. ESTC T153060. PMM 224. Encyclopaedia Britannica vol. 13, pp. 832-833. DNB vol. 28, pp. 44-48. Aiken, A view of the life, travels, and philanthropic labors of the late John Howard, 1794. Contemporary polished calf; spine with raised bands, gilt rules, and gilt title on red morocco label; boards with gilt-decorated edges. All edges gilt. Three architectural folding plates. Index. Bookplate of Auchincruive, 18th-century country estate in Scotland, to front pastedown. Crown with loss, front joint cracking, wear to extremities, gilt edges dulled, scattered foxing, offset from plates, small bookmark offset to pp. 442-443. Important, first edition with wide margins and lovely plates. Very good+. Item #897