ID: 26330
Religious and philanthropic tracts:

COWE, James, Religious and philanthropic tracts: consisting of 1. A discourse on the principles, the temper, and duties of Christians; the second edition, enlarged: 2. An essay on the state of the poor, and on the means of improving it by Friendly Societies, &c. 3. Rules for forming and managing Friendly Societies, with a view to facilitate their general establishment. London: J. Robson. 1797.

8vo., (2) + 131 + (1)pp., including the half-title, entirely unopened and uncut, in the original blue wrappers, inscribed 'From the author'> on upper wrapper. With minor edge wear and staining to wrappers and defective at spine (loss of paper) but overall a near-fine copy in its original state.

First edition.

Rev. James Cowe, the vicar of Sunbury (on Thames), Middlesex, seems to have been a man of many talents. For example, he kept a meticulous meteorological journal from 1795-1839 (not published until 1889), with daily readings of temperature (maximum and minimum), barometer, wind direction, rain gauge &c. He was vicar of Sunbury-on-Thames from 1790 to 1842. Cowe's three Religious and philanthropic tracts> of 1797 show him also to have been a shrewd but sympathetic observer of the plight of the poor and an enthusiastic promoter of Friendly Societies. 'Distress among the poor,' he observed, was due to a menu of causes: increasing prices; 'idleness and their disinclination to labour and honest industry'; inadequate Poor Laws; 'want of domestic oeconomy'; the proliferation of public houses 'one of the chief sources of their misery'; and their 'moral depravity, and their extreme backwardness to receive instruction'.