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Hale, Matthew.  Several tracts. London: Printed by J. P[layford] for W. Shrowsbery, 1684. 8vo (17 cm, 6.7’’). Four parts in one, separate titles, signatures and pagination, [4], 49, [3] pp.; [6], 26 pp.; [2], 17, [1] pp.; [2], 37, [1] pp.

The first collected edition of these works of Sir Matthew Hale (1609–76), an English barrister, Lord Chief Justice of England, and author of many important works on English common law still cited in court today. The first of the four essays in this edition — with the second and fourth being reissued (ESTC) — is A Discourse on Religion that discusses the ends, uses, and life of religion and the "superstructions" to it, touching on ritual, religious "animosities" and different behaviors between groups including Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Quakers, etc. A Discourse touching Provision for the Poor presents the laws currently in force "for the Relief and Imployment of the Poor," with mention of workhouses and the education of children; A Letter to his Children is Hale's deep and sensible trove of suggestions to hone and enhance the skills of children gearing towards adult society, e.g., "There is not the meanest persons but you may stand in need of him in one kind, or at sometime or another, good words make friends."
        The final essay, a letter to one of his sons recovering from smallpox, is a most important personal testimony to the way smallpox affected the sick and their families in the 17th century. Hale recapitulates to his son — whom he still was not allowed to see "by reason of the Contagiousness of your Disease" — the days of his sickness, from the early symptoms; he proceeds to provide moral suggestions for his future behavior, keeping in mind his suffering and nearness to death.

ESTC R35715; Wing (rev. ed.) H259; McAlpin, IV, 169. Modern marbled paper–covered boards with maroon leather gilt-tooled spine label. Text with age-toning sometimes unto browning, and variable dust-soiling and variable evidence of old dampstaining; a sound and serviceable copy trimmed not quite square to type area.  (41336)   Please RESHELVE This.

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