A Landmark in Poor Law Reform [Great Britain]. [Poor Laws]. Orders and Directions, Together With a Commission for the Better Administration of Iustice, And More Perfect Information of His Maiestie; How, And by Whom the Lawes and Statutes Tending to the Reliefe of the Poore, The Well Ordering and Training Up of Youth in Trades, And the Reformation of Disorders and Disordered Persons, Ande Executed Throughout the Kingdome: Which His Royall Maiestie Hath Commanded to be Published and Inquired of, By the Body of His Privie Councell, Whom He Hath Made Principall Commissioners for This Purpose. London: Imprinted...by Robert Barker and by the Assignes of Iohn Bill, 1630. [iv], 33, , 17 pp. With initial blank signed "A" not noted in the ESTC record. Quarto (6-3/4" x 4-3/4"). Recent quarter calf over marbled boards, gilt rules to calf edges, gilt fillets, title and date to spine, edges rouged. Moderate toning to interior, negligible light foxing and soiling to margins of a few pages, early marginal ink mark (crude manicule?) to p. , internally clean. A nice copy. $1,250. * One of three 1630 issues, the only one to include a list of the privy counselors and their responsibilities. Commonly referred to as the Book of Orders, this collection of royal edicts represents a landmark in poor law reform. As established under the reign of Elizabeth I, the poor laws empowered justices of the peace and churchwardens to register the poor and raise funds for their relief by setting a compulsory sum to be extracted from each parish. They also distinguished between the "worthy" poor, who would be provided monetary relief, and the "idle" poor, who would be treated as public nuisances. The versatility of the poor laws as a tool for social engineering is demonstrated by the wide range of the Book's stated goals: "the charitable reliefe of aged and impotent poore people," "the setting to work of idle persons," "the punishment of sundry Rogues and Vagabonds" and "the suppressing of that odious and loathesome sinne of Drunkennesse" (10-11). It established a royal commission of privy counselors to consolidate, supervise and approve the work of local JPs and sheriffs. This led to greater enforcement of the poor laws, both on behalf of the worthy poor and against the idle poor, but it also fostered resentment against Charles I and was viewed.
Book number 74505