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The Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor. Vol. I.




The Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor. Vol. I.

First Collected Edition. 8vo. [211 x 130 x 30 mm]. [4]ff, xxii, 446 pp. Bound in contemporary tree calf, smooth spine divided into six panels by gilt double fillets and a chain roll, lettered in the second panel on a red goatskin label and numbered in the fourth, the edges of the boards hatched in gilt, plain endleaves, sprinkled edges. [ebc5088].
London: printed for the Society by W. Bulmer and Co. And sold by J. Hatchard [and 16 others],1798

A fine copy of the first six reports of the Society, originally issued separately in 1797 and 1798. A second volume, comprising reports 7-12, was published in 1800 and the series continued with the 40th report being published in 1817. ESTC records only seven copies of this first volume (which it regards as a separate entry), at Bishopsgate Institute, British Library, National Library of Scotland, Senate House Library, John Rylands Library, Wellcome Institute and UCLA. There is a note that the first report has a title-page but it has been discarded in this copy.
Although numbered vol.1 on the title and the spine this volume may have always stood alone. There is a pencil inscription on the front free endleaf: "Mr. Haskins's respectful compliments to Mr. Reyner & begs his acceptance of the 1st vol. of the Reports of the Society devoted to the same exalted purposes to which Mr. Reyner has so successfully applied himself. Mr. H. will do himself the pleasure shortly of waiting on Mr. Reyner & requesting his opinion further on some points relating to the Poor". Neither Mr. Haskins nor Mr. Reyner are listed in the Appendix of List of Subscribers for 1797 and 1798 but J. Haskins Esq of Honiton subsequently subscribed £5/5/0 to the Society in 1798, 1799 and 1800.
"The Bettering Society" although widely supported by philanthropic individuals, not least by members of the Clapham Sect, including William Wilberforce and Zachary Macaualy, was essentially the creation of Sir Thomas Bernard (1750-1818), the son of Sir Francis Bernard, Governor of Massachusetts. The reports cover a variety of causes and concerns - they open with accounts of a friendly society at Castle-Eden in Durham, a village shop at Mongewell in Oxford, an incorporated house of industry in Norfolk, a spinning school at Oakham in Rutland, a jail and house of correction at Dorchester and so on.

Stock no. ebc5088

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Price: £500