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The poor-laws, with the influence exerted by them on the con-
dition moral and political, of the lower classes;-the state of
prisons andof prison discipline;-and the state and actual ope-
ration of that portion of the criminal laws under which capital
punishment is denounced;-all subjects of high importance,
and bearing upon each other by several points;-have under-
gone the laborious and able investigation of parliamentary
committees; and copious extracts from their reports and
minutes of evidence will be found in this volume. These
documents, which are not regularly accessible to the public
at large, will, it is hoped, be regarded as a valuable addition
to the contents of an Annual Register; at a period, espe-
cially, when the sciences of legislation and of political eco-
nomy are cultivated with an ardor absolutely unprecedented,
and when the active benevolence so long characteristic of
the English nation, is daily becoming, under their guidance,
more reflecting, and more enlightened.

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