Henry Fielding at Bow Street

J. M. Beattie

in The First English Detectives

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695164
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738746 | DOI:
Henry Fielding at Bow Street

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Examines the crime wave after the conclusion of a war in 1748, particularly the extent of violent offences on the streets of the capital and on the highways on the outskirts. The chapter goes on to discuss Henry Fielding’s magisterial practice at his house in Bow Street and his ideas about the causes of crime and the need for a more effective response – principally more active prosecution. It explains the national government’s previous efforts to contain violence by paying large rewards for the conviction of felons, the failure of which led to the government’s agreement to supply Fielding with money to support the group of men he was assembling at his magisterial office to detect, prosecute, and give evidence against violent offenders.

Keywords: Henry Fielding; crime wave; Bow Street; police plan; government; rewards

Chapter.  6424 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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