The Irenarch: by HEATHCOTE, Ralph (1721-1795).

HEATHCOTE, Ralph (1721-1795).

The Irenarch: or, Justice of the Peace’s Manual. Addressed to the Gentlemen in the Commission of the Peace for the County of Leicester. By a Gentleman of the Commission. To which is prefixed, a Dedication to Lord Mansfield, by Another Hand. London, 1774.

Second Edition. 8vo, (210 x 125mm), pp. [ii], lxxv, [i], 82, stabbing marks still visible throughout the margin from an earlier temporary binding, in contemporary quarter calf over marbled boards, plain spine with raised bands.

A scarce history of the office of Justice of the Peace, with remarks on the duties of a justice, the importance of his office and the qualities needed to discharge it. It was first published, in a briefer form and without the dedication, in Leicester in 1771, although that edition is now particularly scarce (ESTC lists the Jesus, Cambridge and the Bodleian only). A further, expanded, edition was published in 1781.
The dedication to Lord Mansfield, said on the title-page to be by another hand, takes up almost half of the work. The author addresses what he perceives as the country’s present degenerate state of manners: ‘The English, my Lord, are not what they were, in the days of their old honest plainness and simplicity: they are become very licentious and very unprincipled people: and it is not only in our Towns, but even in our Villages, that the more Vulgar are with difficulty kept within any reasonable bounds of subjection and order’ (p. ii).

ESTC t104398, at BL, CUL, Glasgow, LSE, Rylands; Columbia, Harvard, Huntington and Macalester College.

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