An Inquiry into the Nature of Benevolence, chiefly with a View to elucidate the Principles of the Poor Laws, and to show their Immoral Tendency
London, Sold by Rowland Hunter, 1817.
Octavo (235 x 145 mm), iv, 145 pages.
Modern quarter cloth and marbled papered boards, with a contrasting leather title-label on the front cover; occasional light foxing and mild signs of use; a very good uncut copy.
James Bicheno (1785-1851), 'author and colonial secretary', devoted much of his life to the study of economics and science (in particular botany). This 1817 'attack on administration was expanded and republished in 1824 as 'An Inquiry into the Poor Laws'. In 'Observations on the Philosophy of Criminal Jurisprudence, with Remarks on Penitentiary Prisons' (London, 1819) he argued that punishments were too severe and protested against burdening the colonies 'with the refuse from prisons'' (Australian Dictionary of Biography). In 1842 he was appointed colonial secretary of Van Diemen's Land, and of all the early holders of this office, 'his personal views were least reflected in the official records of his department'. Goldsmiths 21867; Kress B.6869; Williams II, page 229.