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    Josiah Woodward. An Account of the Societies For Reformation of Manners, In London and Westminster...With A Persuasive To Persons of all Ranks, To Be Zealous and Diulligent in Promoting the Execution of the Laws against Prophaneness and Debauchery, For ANational Reformation. [with] An Abstract of the Penal-Laws Against Immorality and Prophaneness...[as issued]. London: for B[rabazon] Aylmer, 1699. Krown & Spellman retail: $600. First Edition. 8vo. ¹2,A10,B-M8,A6. [24],163,[9]p. Contemp. paneled calf, rebacked in morocco, title-label, portr. supported at inner margin, clean repaired tear in r.f.e.p. Frontis. port. of William III. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

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    "The Societies for the Reformation of Manners, established about two decades after the first of the Religious Societies, had only a tenuous connection with philanthropy .. No doubt the motive that inspired them was, as their historian suggests, 'a puritanic and militant philanthropy.' If so, this was a philanthropic impulse that misfired. The Societies purposed to raise the tone of public morals by directing against offenders (turned in by Society informers armed with sheaves of warrants) the force of the criminal law. Statistics of prosecutions - about 3300 in 1708 - tell a fearsome story of well-intentioned zeal. Not surprisingly, the Societies encountered a good deal of public resistance, active and passive, and Defoe could condemn the whole notion of thinking 'to wickedness.' Yet one must remember that the foremost philanthropists of the age were warm supporters of the crusade. Robert Nelson could exult that 'by the Blessing of GOD upon the Endeavours of this Society many Thousands of lewd and disorderly Persons have been brought to Legal Punishment.' What spelled failure for this unsavory campaign was, as much as anything, the gradual improvement of public enforcement agencies in the course of the century. Though one may appreciate some of the motives that inspired them, it is hard to view the Societies as other than aberrant examples of associated philanthropy.' [David Owen, English philanthropy 1660-1960.]   

    Wing W3512. ESTC r31843. Goldsmiths 3615. Kress 2135.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    31st Wednesday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 165

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