BANKS, Sir Joseph (1743-1820). Naturalist.
Autograph Letter Signed to Dr [James] Mease (1794-1848) in Philadelphia, 2 pages 4to with integral address-leaf bearing endorsements, Soho Square, 15 August 1818. With a letter from E[dward] Knatchbull to Mease on behalf of Lady Banks as executor of the late Sir Joseph, answering his query about letters or a journal of John Ledyard.
About crime and punishment: he acknowledges receipt of 'The Statistical View of the Operation of the Penal Code of Pennsylvania'; expresses sorrow that crime is on the increase in America as it is in England; puts this increase down to the increasing opulence of the middle classes rather than an increase in human depravity and declares a preference for increasing the size of penitentiaries on the grounds that 'if you do not destroy Convicted Prisoners you must Protect them', especially now that England is no longer inclined to deport its felons; Banks ends with his best wishes for the success of Mease's pattern farm which was tried in England but failed for want of good management.
James Mease was one of Philadelphia's most prominent citizens. His interests covered science, agriculture and natural history, besides his own speciality of medicine.
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