Torture, Bribery and Licentious Conduct at Ilchester Gaol Hunt, Henry [1773-1835]. Investigation At Ilchester Gaol, In The County Of Somerset, Into The Conduct Of William Bridle, The Gaoler, Before The Commissioners Appointed By The Crown. The Evidence Given By H.B. Shillibear. Dedicated, With An Address To His Majesty, King George The Fourth. London: Thomas Dolby, 1821. viii, 7, , 271, , 8 pp. Main text in parallel columns. Etched portrait frontispiece of Bridle, by George Cruikshank, holding the tools of his trade (leg irons, manacles and a hangman's noose), five etched plates, probably by Robert Cruikshank, woodcut text illustration on p. 261. Complete, including the two supplementary addresses found in some copies. Octavo (8-1/2" x 5"). Contemporary three-quarter calf over marbled boards. Moderate rubbing with some wear to spine ends, joints and corners, crack in text block between title page and following leaf. Moderate toning, light foxing in a few places. Later inscription in pencil to front pastedown, interior otherwise clean. $1,250. * First edition in book form. This was originally issued in six parts, "price one shilling" each, in blue paper printed wrappers. Henry Hunt, the radical politician, had presided over the Smithfield reform meeting on 21 July 1819, and at the meeting in St. Peter's Fields, Manchester, on 16 August, which was broken up by the yeomanry, and became known as the Peterloo Massacre. Hunt was tried at the York Assizes, in March 1 820, for his part in the protest, and was convicted. He spent his two-year term at Ilchester Gaol. The report of the Commission of Inquiry into Ilchester Gaol, instigated because of Hunt's complaints, provides a vivid portrait of the corruption, health hazards and horrifying regimes in place in local prisons in the early years of the nineteenth century. Hunt leveled 21 charges against Bridle, the gaoler. These included gross neglect of duty, drunkenness, gambling, cruelty, torture, bribery, embezzlement, false accounting, "licentious conduct towards female convicts (Bridle was suspected of fathering children with two of them), not feeding inmates properly, and for "making boys sleep with a man convicted of beastiality". It was Hunt himself who examined the witnesses and principals involved. The plates by Robert Cruikshank are mock portraits of: "The Revd. T.G.D.
Book number 65000