Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis. Edward Gibbon WAKEFIELD.
Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis.
Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis.

Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis.

London: James Ridgway, 1831.

Small octavo, xii, 198pp., with leaf of advertisements bound to the rear; a very good copy in papered boards.

Probably the most personal of Wakefield's books, an investigation into English criminology and particularly Newgate Prison, based in part on his own incarceration.

Probably the most personal of Wakefield's books, an investigation into English criminology and particularly Newgate Prison, based in part on his own incarceration.

This remarkably forthright and engaging insight into criminal life and incarceration in nineteenth-century London pleads for greater understanding of criminal behaviour and psychology as the key to the successful reform of the courts, the prison system and transportation to Australia. The unique value of this work reflects the remarkable life of its author, who was incarcerated with his brother William in 1826 following the abduction and forced marriage of a teenage schoolgirl. The affair was a huge scandal that severely compromised the reputations of both men and thwarted their considerable social and political aspirations.

Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis was published two years after Wakefield's release from Newgate. Despite a reputation for obstinate tenacity, Wakefield was by most accounts a charismatic man who conversed deeply with his fellow prisoners. These testimonies make his account of criminal life both vivid and insightful. From the perspective of the reform and amelioration of English criminal law, Wakefield introduced the valuable notion that punishment was an effective deterrent due to its certainty rather than its severity. This persuasive book is an important work in the history of criminology written from firsthand experience within the prison system, and concludes with a chapter of sixteen pages critical of the transportation of felons to the Australian colonies.

Ferguson, 1497; Hocken, pp.49-50.

Price (AUD): $475.00

US$369.37   Other currencies

Ref: #4108067