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2021-01-01 21:11:17
F[IRMIN], T[homas]
Some proposals for the imploying of the poor, especially in and about the City of London. And for the prevention of begging, a practice so dishonourable to the nation, and to the Christian religion. In a letter to a friend, by T.F.
London printed for Brabazon Aylmer at the three Pigeons in Cornhill, 1678. 4to., 24pp., bound in 20th century marbled boards with title in gilt on red morocco spine label. A very good crisp copy. First edition. Thomas Firmin (1632-1697) had learned to distrust mere almsgiving and made it his business to enquire into the condition of the poor by personal investigation and to reduce the causes of social distress by economic effort. His first philanthropic experiment was occasioned by the trade disorganisation of the plague year (1665). He provided employment at making up clothing for hands thrown out of work. Other schemes involved the building of storage space by the river for corn and coals to be retailed to the poor in hard times at cost price. Early in 1676 he had started a workhouse in Little Britain, for the employment of the poor in the linen manufacture. Firmin employed as many as 1700 spinners, besides flax dressers and weavers. His arrangements for the comfort and cleanliness of his hands and for the industrial training of children rescued from the streets was admirable. But the scheme never paid. Firmin sold his linens at cost price and the annual loss on the venture was £200. In addition to his philanthropic efforts on behalf of the poor, Firmin was a prison philanthropist and worked hard to alleviate the condition of prisoners, particularly those imprisoned for debt. The present work is his most important and best known publication. It contains, amongst other things, an account of his own Work-House. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
Bookseller: John Drury Rare Books ABA ILAB [Manningtree, United Kingdom]
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