This study examines the considerable changes that took place in the criminal justice system in the City of London in the century after the Restoration, well before the inauguration of the so-called 'age of reform'. The policing institutions of the City were transformed in response to the problems created by the rapid expansion of the metropolis during the early modern period, and as a consequence of the emergence of a polite urban culture. At the same time, the City authorities were instrumental in the establishment of new forms of punishment - particularly transportation to the American colonies and confinement at hard labour - that for the first time made secondary sanctions available to the English courts for convicted felons and diminished the reliance on the terror created by capital punishment. The book investigates why in the century after 1660 the elements of an alternative means of dealing with crime in urban society were emerging in policing, in the practices and procedures of prosecution, and in the establishment of new forms of punishment.
About the author
J. M. Beattie is a Professor Emeritus of History, University of Toronto.
'John Beattie is among the finest exponents of this more historically sensitive approach to crime and punishment . . . Crime and the Courts in England 1660-1800(1986)-a pioneering study of trends in crime and prosecution in Surrey-may now be seen as a prelude to a masterpiece. Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750 bears all the marks of protracted archival digging followed by mature reflection . . . [It] is a splendid achievement.' London Review of Books
'Review from previous edition meticulously presented and thoroughly convincing work by an acknowledged master of his subject. It illuminates many dimly lit areas both in the history of the criminal justice system and in the governance of early modern London, and is likely to remain a standard work on both subjects for many years to come.' Times Literary Supplement