The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 12. Magisterial work and humane efforts
When Fielding took the magistrate’s post, it was one of small honour, and of only such profit as could be made out of small honour, and of only such profit as could be made out of one or both parties to the cases brought before him. Squeezum and Thrasher were probably only too faithful portraits of the trading justices, as they were called. Fielding, however, took his work very seriously; considerably reduced its emoluments by his honesty; and endeavoured to remedy at the root the appalling evils due to ignorance, poverty, drink and the lack of an efficient police force. His Proposals for erecting a country work-house may, to modern ideas, seem repellently brutal; to his own age, they seemed sentimentally humane.