BOWLES, William Lisle. ~ Verses on the Benevolent Institution of the Philanthropic Society, for protecting and educating the Children of Vagrants and Criminals. Bath: Printed by R. Cruttwell; and sold by C. Dilly... T. Becket... T. Hookham... and J. Johnson... London. 1790.
4to (282 × 220 mm), pp. 27, , with half-title, errata slip pasted to foot of p. , floral woodcut head- and tailpiece; uncut; edges a little fragile, first and last pages dusty; preserved in nineteenth-century half calf; rubbed, small loss to head of spine; bookplate of John Sparrow.
Sole edition of Bowles’s contribution to the founding of the Philanthropic Society ‘... instituted in September 1788, for the Prevention of Crimes, by seeking out, and training up to virtue and industry, the Children of the most abject and criminal among the vagrant and profligate Poor; — by these means more effectually to alleviate human misery, and to oppose the progress of vice’ (from the ‘Advertisement’). The Society (existing into the twentieth century as the Royal Philanthropic Society) was founded through discussions in the St Paul’s Coffee House and was a pioneering attempt to separate the problem of youth crime from its adult equivalent. Crime and reform was a cause of deep concern to Bowles, who had published Verses to John Howard, F.R.S. On His State of Prisons in the previous year. Jackson, p. 162; Johnson, 123; ESTC lists 7 UK and 6 US copies.