Chapter

The Public Good

Paul Slack

in From Reformation to Improvement

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198206613
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677243 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206613.003.0005
The Public Good

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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The Poor Man's Friend was one of a dozen tracts published between 1645 and 1653, all concerned with the problem of poverty, and all employing the same language to the same kinds of end. It lies in the way that they yoked together aspects of public welfare, from poor relief to reform of the environment, and imbued them with a common sense of purpose. William Petty's death in 1687 marked the end of the first, pioneering phase of improvement. The ideology of improvement for the public good had proved more successful than the absolute power of the early Stuarts in yoking together private and public enterprise in common purpose. Restoration England had notably failed to produce that authority to which Hartlib and his successors looked for reconciliation, not only between public and private interests but between their goals of decisive public action and the free exchange of information.

Keywords: The Poor Man's Friend; William Petty; Hartlib; poverty

Chapter.  14173 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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