Prosecution and Punishment: Petty Crime and the Law in London and Rural Middlesex, C.1660-1725

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 30, 1991 - History - 351 pages
The law was one of the most potent sources of authority and stability in early modern England. Historians, however, have argued over whether the discretion and flexibility embodied in the judicial system was used as a method of social control, and by focusing their attention on felonies and on the action of the protagonists in judicial decisions they have tended to ignore rich sources of information concerning attitudes towards and experiences of the law. Misdemeanour prosecutions affected many more people (and a broader social variety of participants) than felony prosecutions, and in their choice of methods of prosecution both victims and Justices of the Peace exercised considerably greater flexibility in responding to petty crimes than they did with felonies. This book examines the day-to-day operation of the criminal justice system in Middlesex from the point of view of plaintiffs and defendants, and offers an assessment of the social significance of the law in pre-industrial England.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
OPTIONS FOR PROSECUTION
19
PATTERNS OF PROSECUTIONS
42
INFORMAL MEDIATION BY JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
81
INDICTMENT AT QUARTER SESSIONS
127
HOUSES OF CORRECTION
166
PLAINTIFFS DEFENDANTS
201
THE REFORMATION OF MANNERS CAMPAIGN
238
GEOGRAPHICAL CONTEXTS
273
LAW AND SOCIETY IN PREINDUSTRIAL ENGLAND
311
APPENDICES
320
Population estimates used in calculating prosecution rates
327
Index
342
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Page 337 - Hall to the Societies for Reformation of Manners in the Cities of London and Westminster, on Monday, June 28, 1714.

About the author (1991)

Robert Shoemaker is Professor of Eighteenth-Century British History at the University of Sheffield. Holder of a Ph.D. from Stanford University, he is an expert on London history, gender, and crime and criminal justice in the 'long' eighteenth century.

Born in Australia in 1949, John Guy grew up in England. Early in life Guy developed a love of history. He pursued that interest and read History under the supervision of Professor Sir Geoffrey Elton, the pre-eminent Tudor scholar of the late-twentieth century. John Guy took a First and became a Research Fellow of Selwyn College in 1970. Awarded a Greene Cup by Clare College in 1970, he completed his PhD on Cardinal Wolsey in 1973 and won the Yorke Prize of the University of Cambridge in 1976. John Guy has lectured extensively on Early Modern British History and Renaissance Political Thought in both Britain and the United States. He has published 16 books and numerous academic articles. Guy's book My Heart is My Own: the life of Mary Queen of Scots (Harper Perennial, 2004) won the 2004 Whitbread Biography Award, the Marsh Biography Award, was a finalist in the USA for the 2004 Biography/Autobiography of the Year Award (National Books Critics' Circle), and has been translated into Spanish and Czech. Other books include Thomas More (Hodder Arnold, 2000), and The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 1990). For over twenty years he was co-editor of the acclaimed academic series Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History; and co-author of The Reign of Elizabeth I: Court and Culture in the Last Decade (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and contributed to The Oxford History of Britain, The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart Britain, and The Oxford History of the British Isles: the Sixteenth Century.

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