[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

prefented as a fenfible, worthy woman; and on her death, three years afterwards (during which interval he continued at Newington), Mr. Howard was fincerely affected with his lofs; nor did he ever fail to mention her with respect, after his fentiments of things may have been fuppofed, from greater commerce with the world, to have undergone a change.

'His liberality with refpect to pecuniary concerns was early dif played; and at no time of his life does he seem to have confidered money in any other light than as an inftrument of procuring happinefs to himself and others. The little fortune that his wife poffeffed he gave to her fifter; and during his refidence at Newington he bestowed much in charity, and made a handsome donation to the Diffenting congregation there, for the purpose of providing a dwelling-houfe for the minifter.

His attachment to religion was a principle imbibed from his earliest years, which continued steady and uniform through life. The body of Chriftians to whom he particularly united himself were the Independents, and his fyftem of belief was that of the moderate Calvinifts.'

It was his conftant practice to join in the fervice of the establish. ment when he had not the opportunity of attending a place of diffenting worship; and though he was warmly attached to the interefts of the party he espoused, yet he had that true fpirit of catholicifm, which led him to honour virtue and religion wherever he found them, and to regard the means only as they were fubfervient to the end.

He was created a Fellow of the Royal Society on May 13. 1756.'-Three short papers by him' are published in the Tranf


After the death of his wife, in the year 1756, he fet out upon another tour, intending to commence it with a vifit to the ruins of Lisbon. The event of this defign will be hereafter mentioned. He remained abroad a few months; and, on his return, began to alter the house on his eftate at Cardington near Bedford, where he fettled. In 1758 he made a very fuitable alliance with Mifs Henrietta Leeds, eldest daughter of Edward Leeds, Efq; of Croxton, Cambridgeshire, King's Serjeant; and fifter of the prefent Edward Leeds, Efq; a Master in Chancery, and of Jofeph Leeds, Efq; of Croydon.'

It seems to have been the capital object of his ambition, that the poor in his village fhould be the most orderly in their manners, the neatest in their perfons and habitations, and poffeffed of the greatest share of the comforts of life, that could be met with in any part of England. And as it was his difpofition to carry every thing he undertook to the greateft pitch of perfection, fo he spared no pains or expence to effect this purpofe. He began by building a number of neat cottages on his eftate, annexing to each a little land for a garden, and other conveniences. In this project, which might be confidered as an object of taste as well as of benevolence, he had the full concurrence of his excellent partner. I remember his relating, that once, having fettled his accounts at the clofe of a


year, and found a balance in his favour, he proposed to his wife to make use of it in a journey to London, or any other gratification the chose. "What a pretty cottage it would build," was her anfwer; and the money was fo employed. Thefe habitations he peopled with the most induftrious and fober tenants he could find; and over them he exercised the fuperintendence of master and father combined. He was careful to furnish them with employment, to affilt them in fickness and diftrefs, and to educate their children. In order to preferve their morals, he made it a condition that they fhould regularly attend their feveral places of worship, and abstain from public houfes, and from fuch amufements as he thought pernicious; and he fecured their compliance with his rules by making

them tenants at will.'—

His charities were not confined to thofe more immediately connected with his property; they took in the whole circle of neighbourhood. His bounty was particularly directed to that fundamental point in improving the condition of the poor, giving them a fober and ufeful education. From early life he attended to this object; and he established schools for both fexes, conducted upon the most judicious plan.'


In this manner Mr. Howard paffed the tranquil years of his fettled refidence at Cardington; happy in himself, and the inftrument of good to all around him. But this ftate was not long to continue. His domestic felicity received a fatal wound from the death of his beloved wife, in the year 1765, foon after delivery of her only child. It is unneceffary to fay how a heart like his muft have felt on fuch an event. They who have been witneffes of the fenfibility with which, many years afterwards, he recollected it, and know how he honoured and cherished her memory, will conceive his fenfations at that trying period. He was thenceforth attached to his home only by the duties annexed to it; of which the most interesting was the education of his infant fon.'

In the year 1773, Mr. Howard was nominated High Sheriff for the county of Bedford. Being a Diffenter, and at the fame time poffeffing an active fpirit, and a degree of zeal not to be obstructed by perfonal hazard, he took on himself the office, without complying with the legal condition of qualifi


He entered upon his office with the refolution of performing all its duties with that punctuality which marked his conduct in every thing he undertook. Of these, one of the most important, though leaft agreeable, is the infpection of the prisons within its jurifdiction. But this to him was not only an act of duty, it interelted him as a material concern of humanity.'

The first thing which ftruck him, was the enormous injustice of remanding to prifon for the payment of fees, thofe who had been acquitted or difcharged without trial. As the magiftrates of his county, though willing to redress this grievance, did not conceive themfelves poffeffed of the power of granting a remedy, Mr. Howard travelled into fome of the neighbouring counties in fearch of a


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

precedent. In this fearch, fcenes of calamity and injuftice ftill
opening upon him, he went on, and paid vifits to most of the County
Gaols in England. Some peculiarly deplorable objects coming in
his view who had been brought from the Brideswells, he was induced
to enter upon an examination of thefe places of confinement; for
which purpose he travelled again into the counties he had before
feen, and into all the reft, vifiting Houfes of Correction, City and
Town Gaols.

• He had carried on thefe inquiries with fo much affiduity, that fo early as March 1774 he was defired to communicate his information to the Houfe of Commons, and received their thanks. As he was then little known, I cannot much wonder that fo extraordinary an inftance of pure and active benevolence was not univerfally comprehended, even by that patriotic body; for a member thought fit to ask him," At whofe expence he travelled?" a question which Mr. Howard could fcarcely anfwer without fome indignant emotions. Soon after this public teftimony given to the existence of great abules and defects in our prifons, a very worthy member, Mr. Popham, brought into the Houfe two bills, one for the relief of acquitted prifoners in matter of fees; the other, for preferving the health of prifoners. Thefe falutary acts paffed during the fame feffion, and made a commencement of thofe reforms which have fince been fo much extended. Mr. Howard, aware of the great deficiency of the mode of promulgating laws among us, had thefe acts printed in a different character, and fent to every keeper of a county gaol in England.'-

It was Mr. Howard's intention to have published his account of English prifons in fpring 1775; but as he was fenfible, that to point out defects, without at the fame time fuggefting remedies, would be of little advantage, he thought it beft to examine with his own eyes what had been actually put in practice with refpect to this part of police, in fome of the most enlightened countries on the continent. Accordingly, in that year he vifited France, Flanders, Holland, and Germany; and in 1776 repeated his vifit to those countries, and alfo went to Switzerland. In the intervals he made a journey to Scotland and Ireland, and revisited the county gaols and many others in England.

Thus furnished with a flock of information greater than had ever before been collected on this fubject; and, indeed, probably greater than any man had, in the fame space of time, ever collected on any fubject that required fimilar pains, he offered it to the public in 1777, in a quarto volume of near 500 pages, dedicated to the Houfe of Commons, by way of grateful acknowledgment for the honour conferred upon him by their thanks, and for the attention they had bestowed on the bufiness.' —

So zealous was Mr. Howard to diffuse information, and fo determined to obviate any idea that he meant to repay his expences by the profitable trade of book-making, that, befides a profufe munificence in prefenting copies to all the principal perfons in the kingdom, and all his particular friends, he infifted on fixing the price of the volume fo low, that, had every copy been fold, he would 6


[ocr errors]

ftill have prefented the public with all the plates, and great part of the printing. And this practice he followed in all his fubfequent publications; fo that, with literal propriety, he may be faid to have given them to the world. By the large expences of his journey, charities, and publications, he has made himself even a greater pecuniary benefactor to mankind than can readily be paralleled in any age or country, his proportionate circumftances confidered. Yet how fmall a part was this of the facrifices he inade!'.

The title of this first work is, The State of the Prisons in England and Wales; with preliminary Obfervations, and an Account of fome Foreign Prifons."

The House of Commons now took up, with laudable zeal, the important bufinefs of regulating the prifons; and in the draught of a bill" to punith by imprisonment and hard labour certain offenders, and to establish proper places for their reception," the plan was formed upon the Rafp and Spin-houfes in Holland. Mr. Howard was now called upon by his promife, as well as his inclination, to make a new tour for the purpose of acquiring fresh and more exact information. He accordingly, in April 1778, went over to Holland, and revifited with the greatest attention the wellconducted establishments of the penitentiary kind in the United Provinces. Thence he travelled into Germany, taking his course through Hanover and Berlin, to Vienna. From this capital he proceeded to Italy by Venice; and, having gone as far fouth as Naples, returned by the western fide of that country to Switzerland. Thence he pursued the course of the Rhine through Germany; and, croffing the Low Countries to France, returned to England in Jan. 1779. During the fpring and fummer of this year he made another complete tour of England and Wales, and likewife took a journey through Scotland and Ireland.

The labours of thefe two years were certainly not lefs productive of useful information than his former journies. In fome refpects they were more valuable, fince, being now fully mafler of his fubject, and acquainted with the means of procuring the best intelligence, he purfued his inquiries with greater eafe and effect. He was now, too, a diftinguished character in Europe, and might venture to affume that kind of authority, to which the collection of facts, interesting to all civilized nations, feemed to entitle him.'

[ocr errors]

His tours were likewife rendered richer in utility by the comprehenfion of another great object, that of hospitals. To thefe intitutions of humanity Mr. Howard had long been attached; he had been a promoter of them, and attentive to their improvement; and in his journies through this kingdom, he had feldom failed to vifit the hofpitals and infirmaries fituated in our principal towns. He had alfo, in his firft publication, taken curfory notice of a few which he faw abroad. But he now made them an avowed object of his examination; a circumftance, it may be fuppofed, not a little pleafing to his medical friends. For, although the knowledge col

* We gave an account of this very interefting publication in the 57th volume of our Review, p. 8.


lected by a profeffional man with fimilar opportunities would, doubtlefs, have been more applicable to the purpofe of fcience, yet matter of fact, accurately ftated by a fenfible oblerver, muft ever have its value. Besides, where can we expect to fee the spirit and qualities of a Howard, united, in one of our profeflion, with his fortune and leifure?

The fruit of all this research appeared in the year 1780, in an Appendix to the Prifons in England and Wales; containing a further Account of Foreign Prifons and Hospitals, with additional Remarks on the Prifons of this Country.'.

Although his refearches in thofe foreign countries which promifed moft information, might have been fuppofed to have exbaufted that fource of improvement, yet, on furveying fo large a tract of Europe as yet unvifited, he could not be fatished to remain unacquainted with the useful facts relative to his purpose, which might poffibly lie there concealed. And he was convinced, that every new vifit, even to places already examined, would afford new inftruction.

It was therefore no furprise to those who intimately knew him, to learn, that in the fummer of 1781 he was fet out on a tour to the capitals of Denmark, Sweden, Ruffia, and Poland, with the further intention of revifiting Holland and part of Germany. From this tour he returned towards the clofe of the year.'

The year 1782 he employed in another complete furvey of the prifons in England, and another journey into Scotland and Ireland. The Irish Houfe of Commons having appointed a gaol committee, he reported to it the ftate of feveral of the prifons in Dublin. Other objects in that ifland alfo engaged his attention, of which an account will be given hereafter.

Spain and Portugal yet remained untouched ground. Confidering how much the spirit of religious bigotry and civil defpotifm has thrown thefe countries back in the progrefs of modern improvement, much inftruction was not to be expected from them; yet the very circumstance of their difference from the rest of Europe made their fyftems of police an object of curiofity. He failed to Lisbon in February 1783, and proceeded thence by land into Spain, paffing from Badajos to Madrid, and through Valladolid, Burgos, and Pamplona, to France. From this last country he returned through Flanders and Holland. Travelling in Spain is a fevere trial of patience to thofe who have been accustomed to easy conveyance and luxurious indulgences; but Mr. Howard's wants were eafily fatisfied. "The Spaniards (fays he, in a letter to a friend) are very fober, and very honeft; and if a traveller can live fparingly, and lie on the floor, he may pafs tolerably well through their country." From Lisbon to Madrid he could feldom get the luxury of milk with his tea; but one morning (he tells his friend) he robbed a kid of two cups of its mother's milk. He remained, however, in perfect health and fpirits; and received that mark of attention which he most of all valued, a free access to the prifons of all the cities he visited, by means of letters to the magiftrates from Count Campomanes. • After

« VorigeDoorgaan »