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Biography of John Howard


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Howard, John. A noted philanthropist. Born in Hackney, Middlesex, 1726. Howard was left in easy circumstances at his father's death. A bitter experience as a French prisoner of war, and observations made while acting as sheriff of Bedfordshire, roused him to attempt some reform of the abuses and misery of prison life. He made a tour of the county jails of England, and the mass of information which he laid before the House of Commons in 1774 brought about the first prison reforms. He continued his visitations from year to year to every part of the United Kingdom, and to every quarter of the continent. During 1785-87, he made a tour of inspection through the principal lazarettos of Europe, visited plague-smitten cities, and voluntarily underwent the rigors of the quarantine system. Died 1790, at the Crimea, while on a journey to the East.