Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Howlett, John

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615147Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28 — Howlett, John1891Edward Carter Kersey Gonner

HOWLETT, JOHN (1731–1804), political economist, was doubtless son of John Howlett of Bedworth, Warwickshire. He matriculated from St. Edmund's Hall, Oxford, on 10 Nov. 1749, aged 18, and graduated B.A. from St. John's College in 1755, M.A. in 1795, and B.D. in 1796. He was presented to the living of Great Dunmow, Essex, in 1771, and was also vicar of Great Badow. He died at Bath on 29 Feb. 1804.

Howlett wrote much on the statistics and condition of the people, and severely criticised the theories and writings of Dr. Price. In contradiction to Price he maintained that enclosures resulted from the increase in population. As an economist he is wanting in originality. His merits as a statistician consist chiefly in the miscellaneous information which he brought together.

His works, apart from separately published sermons, are:

  1. 'An Examination of Dr. Price's Essay on the Population of England and Wales,' 1781.
  2. 'An Enquiry into the Influence which Enclosures have had upon the Population of England,' 1786.
  3. 'An Essay on the Population of Ireland,' 1786.
  4. 'Enclosures a cause of Improved Agriculture,' 1787. This is a rejoinder to the reviews of his previous work on enclosures.
  5. 'The Insufficiency of the causes to which the Increase of our Poor and the Poor's Rates have been generally ascribed,' 1788.
  6. 'At end of Wood's Account of Shrewsbury House of Industry a Correspondence with Howlett,' 1795.
  7. 'An Examination of Mr. Pitt's Speech in the House of Commons on 12 Feb. 1796, relative to the condition of the Poor,' 1796.
  8. 'Dispersion of the present gloomy apprehensions of late repeatedly suggested by the Decline of our Corn Trade, and conclusions of a directly opposite tendency established upon well-authenticated facts. To which are added Observations upon the first Report of the Committee on Waste Lands,' 1798.
  9. 'The Monthly Reviewers reviewed in a Letter to those Gentlemen, pointing out their Misrepresentations and fallacious Reasonings in the Account of the Pamphlet,' &c., 1798.
  10. 'An Inquiry concerning the Influence of Tithes upon Agriculture,' &c. (with remarks on Arthur Young), 1801.

[Gent. Mag. 1804, pt. i. p. 282; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; McCulloch's Lit. of Political Economy; Works.]

E. C. K. G.