HOWARD, JOHN, the celebrated philanthropist, was born at Enfield, about the year 1727. His father was originally an upholsterer in Long-lane, Smithfield ; but, having acquired a handsome fortune, had retired from business several years before his death. He was a strict Protestant dissenter ; and, wishing that his son should be educated in the sante principles, placed him under a pre ceptor at some distance from London, who seems to have been more distinguished by his religious character than literary qualifications. Under the tuition of this person, young Howard continued for the. space of seven years, without being thoroughly instructed in any one branch of knowledge ; and, though he was afterwards removed to the academy of Mr Eames, he never surmounted the de ficiencies of his early education. lie was not able to write his native language with grammatical correctness ; and, excepting the French, his acquaintance with other lan guages was very superficial. His father died when he was young, and directed, in his will, that his son should not come to the possession of his property till the twenty fifth year of his age. In conformity, also, it is supposed, to the wishes of his parent, he was bound apprentice to a wholesale grocer in the city ; but he .found this employ ment extremely irksome ; and, as soon as he caine of age, bought up the remainder of his time, and set out on his travels to France and Italy. Upon his return to England, he lived in the style of other young men of fortune ; hut had acquired a taste for the arts, and an attachment to the study of nature. The delicacy of his bodily health requir ed him to take lodgings in the country, and to follow a rigorous regimen of diet, which laid the foundation of his future extraordinary abstemiousness. About the 25th year of his age, he married Mrs Sarah Lardeau, as a return of gratitude for her kind attention during his invalid state while he lodged in her house at Stoke-Newington ; but she was twice as old as himself, as well as of a sickly habit, and died at the end of three years after their marriage, in the year 1756. After the death of his wife, he set out upon another tour, which he designed to have commenced with a visit to Lisbon, which had been recently overthrown by an earthquake ; but the packet, in which he sailed, was taken by a French privateer, and he endured for soma: time all the hardships of a prisoner of war in France. The sufferings of his countrymen in the same situation made a strong impression on his mind, and first directed his attention to the condition of those unhappy persons who are doomed to inhabit the cells of a prison. Having remained abroad only a few months, he fixed his residence, after his return, on his estate at Cardington, near Bedford ; and, in 1758, was united in marriage to the eldest daughter of Edward Leeds, Esq. of Croxton in Cambridgeshire. In this connexion and situation he spent the most tranquil and happy years of his life, occupying his leisure and his wealth in executing plans of beneficence for the more in digent part of mankind. But his domestic felicity was fatally interrupted by the death of his wife in the year 1765, soon after the birth of her only child ; and, for many years afterwards, he cherished her memory with the most affec tionate sorrow. For some time he was attached to his home, by an anxious attention to the education of his son ; but the child was sent to school at an early age, and Mr Howard began to assume a more public character. In 1773 he was nominated High•Sheriff of the county of Bedford ; and entered upon his office with a resolution .to perform its duties with his accustomed punctuality. In the inspection of the prisons within his jurisdiction, his humanity became deeply engaged by the distresses which he witnessed ; and, in the progress of his enquiries, he was led to extend his investigation to all the places of confine ment and houses of correction throughout the kingdom. Ile pursued his object with so much assiduity, that, in the beginning of 1774, he was desired to communicate his in formation to the House of Commons ; and, in consequence of his representations, two hills were brought forward for the relief and health of prisoners. Being desirous, before he should publish his account of English prisons, to sug gest remedies, as well as to point out defects, he resolved to examine personally the practice or the continental king doms in this branch of police. For this purpose, in 1775, he visited France, Flanders, Holland, and Germany ; re peated his visit in 1776, extending his tour to Switzer land ; and, during the intervals of these travels, made a journey to Scotland and Ireland, and most of the counties of England. In 1777, he published the information which he had collected with so much risk, toil, and expellee, and dedicated his work to the House of Commons. Anxious to diffuse the knowledge of facts so interesting to humanity, and, at the same time, desirous to obviate any suspicion of his wishing to repay his benevolent labours by the profits of bookmaking, he not only presented copies of his work to the principal persons in the kingdom, and his particular friends, but insisted upon fixing the price of the volume at a lower rate than the original expense of publication. In the conclusion of the work, he pledged himself, if a thorough parliamentary enquiry were instituted for the im provement of prisons, to undertake a more extensive jour ney into foreign countries, for the purpose of obtaining ad ditional information. The House of Commons having zea lously entered upon the business of regulating places of confinement, Mr Howard, agreeably to his promise, which he was well inclined to fulfil, began a new tour in 1778. In his progress, he revisited the establishments of a peni tentiary kind in Holland ; directed his course through Hanover and Berlin to Vienna ; went to Italy by way of Venice ; proceeded as far south as Naples, returning by the western coast to Switzerland ; pursued the course of the Rhine through Germany ; and, crossing the Low Countries, returned to England in the beginning of the year 1779. During the spring and summer of the same year, he made another complete tour of England and 'ales, besides taking a journey through Scotland and Ireland. In the year 1780, lie published the results of this extensive research, as an appendix to his former work ; and also a new edition of that publication, in which all this additional matter was incorporated. Still intent upon the
farther improvement of his plans, he resolved to explore those countries of Europe which he had not yet visited ; and, in 1781, he set out on a tour to Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and Poland, from which he returned about the end of the year. In the year following, he made another complete survey of the prisons in England, and another journey into Scotland and Ireland. In 1783, he examin ed the prisons of Spain and Portugal, and returned through France, Flanders, and Holland. It• the summer of the same year, he again travelled into Scotland and Ire land, and visited many of the English prisons. In 1784, he communicated to the public the fruits of the preceding three years investigations, in the form of another appendix, with a new edition of the main work, comprising all the additions. With the vie`CN of acquiring information re specting the means of prventing contagion in general, and the formation of establishments for guarding against lential infection, he resolved to visit the principal Laza rettos in Europe, and to extend his researches to those countries which are most subject to the ravages of the plague. Aware of the hazards which he should have to encounter in this most perilous of all his journeys, he would not permit any of his servants to partake of these dangers, but determined to travel without attendants. About the end of the year 1785, he entered upon this tour, taking his way through Holland and Flanders to the south of France. His former visits, however, had so much alarmed the jealousy and excited the displeasure of the government in the last mentioned country, that he was apprehensive of his personal safety; and travelled with the greatest secrecy under the character of an English physician. From Nice, he went to Genoa, Leghorn, and Naples ; thence to the islands of Malta and Zante; and next to Smyrna and Con stantinople. Determined to obtain, by personal experience, the fullest information of the mode of performing quaran tine, he returned to Smyrna, where the plague then was, for the purpose of going to Venice in a vessel with a foul bill of health, which would necessarily subject him to the utmost rigour of the process. In the course of his voyage, the ship in which he was a passenger was attacked by a corsair from Tunis, which was beaten off after a smart skirmish, in which he rendered essential service, by point ing some of the guns. After leaving his quarters in the Lazaretto of Venice, in which his health and spirits suf fered considerably, he proceeded, at the close of the year 1786, to Vienna, where he had a private conference with the Emperor Joseph II. ; and, returning through Germany and Holland, arrived safe in England, in the beginning of the year 1787. During his absence on this journey, he received the afflicting intelligence of his son having fallen into a state of decided insanity; his only child, of whom he used to speak with all the pride and affection of a parent, and whose hopeless calamity it required all the fortitude of his mind, aided by the consolations of religion, to sustain. At the same time he was informed of a public subscription having taken among his countrymen, to express their esteem and veneration for his character, by erecting a statue or monument to his honour. This design, instead of tending to console his wounded spirit, only added to his distress ; and he instantly exerted himself to prevent its being carried into execution. In corresponding with his friends, he expressed, in the strongest terms, his aversion to the proposed honour; and, in a letter to the subscribers, while lie acknowledged his grateful sense of their appro bation, he displayed so determined a repugnance to the measure, that the matter was dropped during his life. In 1787 and 1788, he made several visits to the prisons, bridewells, infirmaries, Re. of England, Ireland, and Scot land, and, in 1789, he put to the press an account of his observations in these various journeys, abroad and at home; containing an account of the various Lazarettos in Europe, papers relative to the plague, with additional remarks on prisons and hospitals. After the printing of this work, he remained but a short time at home ; and prepared to re visit Russia and Turkey, and to extend his tour to Asia Alinor, Egypt, and the coast of Barbary. In this new jour ney, he is understood to have had no peculiar object in view; and to have been actuated chiefly by a conviction, that, in such researches, he was pursuing the path of his duty ; that, in those countries where he had formerly travelled, he might be still farther instrumental in relieving human suffering ; and that, in exploring new regions, he might discover farther subjects of observation connected with j his main pursuit. He had resolved to undertake this our ney also without an attendant ; and it was only in conse quence of most urgent entreaties, that a faithful servant obtained permission to accompany him. Arriving in land, in the beginning of July 1789, he proceeded through the north of Germany, Prussia, Courlaud, and Livonia, to Petersburgh ; thence to Moscow, and finally to the ex tremity of European Russia, on the shores of the Black Sea, where he fell a lamented victim to one of those infectious diseases, the ravages of which he was exerting every ef fort to restrain. While residing at Cherson, he was ear nestly requested to visit a young lady, about sixteen miles from that place, who had caught a contagious fever ; and it was his own opinion, that from her he received the dis ease. During his illness, which from its commencement he considered as likely to prove fatal, he received a letter from a friend in England, containing favourable accounts of his son. He was greatly affected by the intelligence ; and often desired his servant,if ever his son should be restored to reason, to tell him how much he had prayed for his hap piness. Except during the fits, with which he was occa sionally seized in the course of the distemper, he retained his faculties till within a few hours of his death, which took place on the 20th January 1790. He was buried, accord ing to his own request, at the villa of M. Dauphine, about eight miles from Cherson; where, instead of a sun-dial, which he had desired to be erected over his grave with out any inscription,* a rude pyramid surrounded by posts and chains, was raised by the inhabitants of the neighbour hood.