The problematic of penal reforms in England in an unknown pamphlet «The Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Executions at Tyburn» (1725) by Bernard Mandeville

Philosophy of Law and Public Administration

The article is focused on the less-known work “The Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent Executions at Tyburn” by Bernard Mandeville, an early XVIIIth century English philosopher and moralist. The analysis of the pamphlet’s style and ideological content reveals the author’s attitude to the English system of criminal justice in the early XViii century. The study tests a comprehensive author’s view of the perception of the offender and crime in the public consciousness. The author of the pamphlet presented a shocking description of the procession of the condemned man to the place of execution at Tyburn and conducted in-depth psychological analysis of crowd behavior and criminal’s conduct. Bernard Mandeville justified the assumption that the causes of crime are based in the peculiarities of social attitude to this phenomenon, i. e. socially determined. Mandeville criticized the authorities for “shameful negotiations” with thieves, and disapproved contemporaries for “the false compassion of the tender-hearted” and indifference towards felony.