« AnkstesnisTęsti »
lative fame of 1832 does not, therefore, rest entirely on the Reform Bill, for in other respects it was a productive season. Mr. Lennard carried a bill in 1833 to abolish capital punishment for housebreaking. In 1834 Mr. Ewart carried the abolition of death for returning from transportation; and in 1835 for sacrilege and letter-stealing. We are convinced that the services of Mr. Ewart, in the reformation of the criminal code, have been very insufficiently acknowledged. He is a worthy successor of Sir Samuel Romilly, and although he has laboured in a better time, yet it must not be forgotten that his efforts tended, in a considerable degree, to make the opportunity.
Lord John Russell subsequently reduced capital punishment to a few crimes of the greatest mag-system nitude; and for several years the last punishment of the law has not been inflicted, except on murderers.
books; and are, therefore, uninformed regarding
During the discussions, in and out of Parliament, on all these measures, example was said to be the grand aim and object of punishment. the year 1785 there are said to have been ninetyseven persons executed in London alone for stealing out of shops; and the punishment in these cases could not have been inflicted for the improvement of the criminals. But in every instance down to Lord John Russell's speech, when introducing his measure, example has been pleaded as the great fruit of punishment. To deter the innocent from crime, the guilty are punished. We deny the propriety or soundness of this reasoning. Society has no right to punish any person for the good of another person or persons, or for its own benefit collectively. Example is a consequence of punishment, proceeding from it, necessarily and unavoidably, because we cannot prevent that; but still punishment can never be justly inflicted on this ground. A criminal may be justly punished, because he has violated the compact of his existence, and in the hope of improving his own character, but not with the purpose of improving the character of another individual. It is, however singular, that in secondary punishments, with "example," and the benefits of example running perpetually in the mind of the legislature, all means for obtaining that object should have been steadily neglected. The felon's fate affords to the evil disposed the smallest possible amount of warning. The criminal is closed up from public observation in the hulks, or consigned to the most distant colony. An air of mystery and even of romance is thrown around his fate.
attain-by good conduct, the exercise of good abi-
A considerable proportion of the inhabitants then free came out as convicts; and, as the children, under twelve years of age, are all enumerated amongst the free population, there can be no doubt that, in 1838, two-thirds of the effective colonists
either were or had been convicts.
Emigration to the Australian colonies is very capricious. There is not that regular stream of outgoing persons that has set in towards the west; but, on the contrary, in some years, a great body of wanderers has been thrown out to the south; while in others, immediately following, the felons who went in chains outnumbered the freemen who sought that land as their choice. For several years, the free emigration to the Australian colonies was very large. We subjoin the numbers, from 1837 to 1842 :→
In 1843, the arrivals had fallen to 3,478, little more than a tenth of the immigration for 1841. In 1844, there were 2,229 emigrants to all the Australian colonies; but of these parties there were only 1,179 for Sydney, and one only for Van Diemen's Land-so that the penal colonies had altogether 1,180 free emigrants, or little more than one-half of the persons who settled in this group of new countries. The average number of convicts annually transported, from 1825 to 1841, was 2,865. In the latter year, the number was considerably diminished; and the practice of confining convicts under short sentences to the hulks has increased since that period. Still, this great empire annually transfers a large body of its worst and most pernicious members from the centre to its farthest extremity; with the view, we might suppose, of creating a new Sodom on earth, and constructing a society that might be preeminently distinguished as the plague-spot of the world. Are these persons, of whom a large proportion have become criminal from public and private neglect, deserving of consideration? Shall they be tossed aside, like the worthless weeds of society, to waste forgotten and unheeded? When the ship has sailed, with her freight of crime and misery to be flung upon a distant shore, is our duty fairly accomplished? Can all who have weight and influence in the world then wash their hands and say that they are innocent of the fate of the banished felons, whom the law gives up as irrecoverable? The proceedings in their case answer in a dreadful affirmative; and yet charity is anxious to give a negative in its quiet whispers. There is a singular intermingling of confidence
and suspicion in the felon's doom. It says that they cannot be trusted as servants in the towns or the peopled parishes of Britain; but, in the lonely settler's home, they may be employed to watch his flocks, to conduct domestic matters, or to tend and educate his children; for, however many may be blinded to the fact, yet the household servants in no small degree educate the children of the family. The felon's doom says that we cannot trust criminals in the lowest departments of our home society; but we send thein hence, ten thousand miles away, to represent our character, to support the dignity of our name, in another hemisphere, and to be the piles of an infant empire in the distant south. The fatality of the system arises partly from the resignation of the prisoner's improvement to chance, under the most unpromising circumstances. He is handed over as a slave to some sheep farmer; and, so far as the Government is concerned, no farther effort is made to improve his intellect or his morals. His fu ture position bars him from any means of selfculture. There is no teacher in the wilds where his flocks are fed. No church nor chapel bell rings over these broad prairies to mark the hour or even the day of prayer. His companions are the dissolute and the wretched. Their converse is of the guilt of past and the sufferings of present days. In their communications villainy hardens crime; until the mind becomes almost irretrievably polluted. The master walks abroad armed to the teeth against his own servants. All mutual confidence is lost and destroyed; while negligence is met by brutality; and the law of kindness seldom comes to soften the felon's heart, and melt it down again into the pliancy of its yielding youth. The bold and the desperate rob, murder, and become bushrangers; while the weak and the timid degenerate into a condition of sullen apathy, by no means superior to that of the depraved and heathen natives who are fading away before the white man- the graves of whose race are the footmarks of our civilisation.
We fear that little can be done in this coun-. try even for the reformed and recovered `felon. Society stamps its iron on his brow, and bids him 'sin or die." Men who seek forgiveness every morn and eve; scarcely know what forgiveness means in their own practice. They are very`` willing to pardon theoretically. They have no objection to be abstractly forgiving: so long as the exercise of that grace interferes not with their own arrangements, they are willing to exercise it; but, whenever they are asked to restore the criminal to his former place in society, they learn their own weakness and the extent of his fall. Lord Brougham told in the House of Peers a few evenings ago an affecting story. A man had lived out his days of punishment. He was turned into the world; and, sensible that he would seek work and confidence vainly in his former neighbourhood, he wandered far, and found employment. For several months his conduct was irreproachable; but, ultimately, some "busybody" discovered his asylum, and disclosed
his secret. He was then obliged to abandon his employment, and commence the weary search, "without a character," for a new home. Society is ever saying thus to its crime-stained "sin or die." And one man cannot reproach another with the fact, which is the consequence of a natural prudence that might be, but seldom is, subjected to discriminating inquiry. Men do not forgive in the broad and full meaning of the term, by restoring the forgiven to that trust, and favour, and confidence that they once held,
Transportation might be advantageously commuted into punishment and employment in penitentiaries at home, where the prisoner's fate might not only be in some measure an example to others; but where subjected to moral and religious culture, instructed in some useful trade, inured to strict discipline, and accustomed to regular habits, he might become a valuable emigrant to some of our colonies.
easy rest on a bundle of straw, without a better covering than the ragged clothes of the day, in a small apartment, cold in winter, without ventilation in summer, surrounded by stagnant sewers, while fever was eating its fatal way round them on every side.
It seemed that, by some terrible error, the prisoners were petted, and those who should be the bulwarks of society were its outcasts, of whose honesty and toil the world was ashamed; for crime lived within a palace, and virtue vegetated in a hovel.
The number of persons committed for trial, in 1845, was→
The proportion of committals to the population The Governor of Glasgow prison, in some sug- is much smaller in Scotland than in England, gestions recently circulated by him, urges the and in England than in Ireland. The convicsubstitution of imprisonment, with occasional emtions of 1845 were, to the committals, in Scotployment out of doors, for transportation: and the land, as 75.74 per cent; in England, as 71.60; removal of the prisoners to a colony only when while, in Ireland, 16,696 committals were foltheir conduct, under the rigid discipline of a lowed by only 7,101 convictions. The number of penitentiary at home, has in some measure re-persons committed for trial is only a small proestablished their character. This system, he says, would be more economical to the country than banishment; while it would be more beneficial to society, better for the individuals; and wiser for the colonists, who have a singular taste in favour of penal labour; and who deem an immigration of thieves and burglars conducive to the prosperity of their infant land.
Mr. Miller, to whose suggestions we have referred, estimates the annual cost of a transported felon to the country at £37 1s. 6d., and of an imprisoned criminal at £19, so the balance per annum in favour of imprisonment is £18 1s. 6d. in each case.
The amelioration of the criminal laws has been accompanied by improvement, not only in prison discipline, but also in prison accommodation. More attention has been recently bestowed and more money expended on the homes of the vicious, than on those of the virtuous and poor. We once had an opportunity of examining one of the largest penitentiaries in the country, immediately after visiting a densely peopled quarter of a large town, The contrast was painful. The cells in the penitentiary were small but comfortable. They were carefully warmed and ventilated. The food of the prisoners was abundant. Their clothes, by day and night, were clean and plentiful. They had the use of every appliance for securing and improving health. They had the benefits of secular and religious instruction provided for them; and, except for the silence of their solitary cells, they appeared to be in comparatively enviable circumstances. Without the prison walls beneath them-honest men pined for food-the children of the industrious shivered in cold-the homes of poverty were damp and cheerless-and thousands, who had never come before a magistrate, lay down, at night, supperless, to seek un
TOL XIV.NO. CLIX.
portion of those who pass through our prisons ;
In England, as 1 in 5.564 of the inhabitants.
To whatever cause this bad pre-eminence in Scotland may be traceable, its removal must be desired; for, with all our improvements in prison discipline, gaols have only been converted from the nurseries to the causes of crime, and the distinction is not worth much to society. Crime must be checked before it reaches a prison, or, in this country, it will not be checked in very many instances. Imprisonment implies degradation, and secures an almost invariable rejection of every application for employment by those who wear its brand. In seeking to reduce our criminal statistics, we must therefore look to their source, and endeavour to divert the stream, ever flowing hitherto from that neglected and polluted fountain. Recent inquiries have shown undeniably that the great majority, nine-tenths of criminals are uneducated persons. That fact does not solve the question whether the mere elements of education reduce the tendency to crime; although we are surprised that it ever should have been a question. Mr. G. R. Porter, in his valuable work on the progress of the nation, remarks that the tendency of mere education, comprehending in the phrase the elemen
of charity, it is a shame that he should be compelled to beg." This was the opinion of a great man, promulgated two centuries ago, but promulgated for two centuries in vain, because it is an obvious truth which Statesmen have deemed it their interest to disregard. This negligence of Legislators by no means relieves the people from their responsibility. They can easily and economically check this evil; and the ragged schools of London and its vicinity are beginnings in a right course. These ragged schools, however, meeting only on two or three evenings of each week, are incompetent to perform the neces sary work. They are not sufficiently comprehensive to embrace all the requisite objects. They offer instruction to the children of the poorest classes; but instruction without bread will not attain the end required. For that purpose, ragged schools must be converted into schools of industry, where the pupils will be taught and fed. Education to a child perishing for food is almost worthless; for the elements of reading and writing will not supply the immediate want of a quartern loaf; and it is little less than mock
also invited to be fed. For some years in Scotland there have been two great schemes propounded for the relief of the misery accumulated and accumulating from the proverbial deficiency of the Poor-law in that country. The two schemes have two authors, both celebrated for their benevolence. Dr. Chalmers insists on bringing the Bible to the poor; and Dr. Alison urges us to give them bread. Between the two, an excellent system may be wrought out, for the two plans are parts of one efficient scheme; and in the pamphlet, from which we have already quoted, the necessity of union between them, and the manner in which they can be united through these industrial schools, is thus stated:-
tary branches of reading and writing-may not exercise any moral influence in preventing the disposition to crime; while yet, by opening up new sources of employment, they lessen the temptation in individuals. The statistical returns on this subject are, however, useful in showing the classes from which criminals are supplied. They are chiefly the uneducated. And in society we have a floating mass of juvenile paupers, existing in alarming numbers, and rising to occupy our penitentiaries-to supply New South Wales with slaves-or to die prematurely under the most cruel neglect ever tolerated in any nation. The Moabites who made their children burnt offerings to idols had an infatuated hope of accomplishing a great object by the sacrifice. The Hindoo mother committed her child to the sacred river, trusting that its waters would float her infant to Elysium. How many British mothers, more enlightened, without any similarly vague expectations, submit their children to the most fiery ordeal!-and no effort is made by the public authorities to restrain the iniquity; for this crime may be more frequently chargeable to the State than to the parent. Juvenile street-beg-ery to bid the destitute be taught, unless they are ing is the precursor of juvenile crime. Our common pauperism is the grand nursery ofour too common guilt. It is not possible that an infant can be trained to all the artifices of alms-seeking, and exercise them from its earliest years, without contracting the contamination of crime, if left without any intellectual or moral instruction; and this is the case in almost every instance of juvenile pauperism. Death interferes, in the great majority of cases, to save the public from an intolerable burden. The vast majority of children, who are exposed from any causes to the miseries of street-begging, die early. Those alone who are of the stoutest mould can withstand the vicissitudes to which they are subjected. But it is surely a miserable comfort to find our mode of treatment fatal to so many individuals, who might have lived to usefulness in a yet half-peopled world. It can be no great recommendation of our present system that it shields the public from an overwhelming mass of crime, only by throwing those who seem to be regarded as the refuse of time into eternity, without the experience of a single real kindness, or an hour of proper instruction. Those who are desirous of reducing the crime of the country must begin with the lowest depths of society, and improve them. They may demand an alteration in our Poor laws, and they may seek for legislative improvement; but we have the utmost reliance in the disposition of the State to do good by halves and quarters; and so it will be ultimately found that the work, to be done well, must be done by the people themselves. In a pamphlet recently published,* (which we have received since part of these pages were in type), on this subject, the writer quotes a remark by Daniel Defoe-"That begging is a shame to any country; if the beggar is an unworthy object of charity, it is a shame that he should be allowed to beg; if a worthy object * A Plea for Ragged Schools. By the Rev. Thomas
"We agreed with both, and confess that we could never very well see how they seemed to disagree with each other. In, as it were, the presence of such men, I schemes may go hand in hand; nay, more like the speak on this subject with unfeigned humility. The two twins of Siam-the presence of the one should insure the company of the other; and what, perhaps more than anything else, recommends this scheme both to our head these distinguished philanthropists. Under the self-same and heart, is this-it furnishes a common walk for both roof the temporal and the moral wants of our forlorn poor are provided for: both these Doctors meet most harmoniously in our school-room; Dr. Alison comes in with his bread-Dr. Chalmers with his Bible: here is cannot be abused--Dr. Chalmers's Bible is heard by willing food for the body-there for the soul Dr. Alison's bread ears: and so this scheme, meeting the views of both, lays its hands upon them both."
We rejoice to find that, in Edinburgh, in Glasgow, and in several other towns, schools of this description have been, or are to be established. In Aberdeen, Dundee, and Perth, they have existed for some time, and proved highly beneficial. In Ireland-at least, in one of its large towns, Belfast-the plan is likely to be introduced. In London, there is reason to expect its wide and general adoption. Nothing can be easier than its introduction into such places as Leeds, Birmingham, and Liverpool. It has been said that
no plain practical way of doing good, when pre- | tion might be obtained without any additional sented to the people of Manchester, ever lan-charge, the expense would not exceed £6 yearly; guished for want of funds; and these Industrial or an average of £21 for each child; whilst a Schools, like all efficient instruments, are remar- single convict costs £148 6s. for four years' The expense of educating seven kably simple in their operation. We are indebted punishment. for their adoption to a criminal judge-Sheriff children in these industrial schools is, therefore, Watson of Aberdeen. Whatever good they may paid for the punishment of one criminal by the ultimately accomplish may be traced to the pa-present system; and if uncared for and untaught, tient care with which that gentleman has watched their first beginnings. He was startled with the number of juvenile offenders brought before him in his official capacity; and found out practically that prison reformation was a change scarcely ever accomplished. In proposing to teach and feed the juvenile paupers of that city and neighbourhood, he met at first a limited encouragement. The project was thought to be visionary and expensive by those who forgot that its expense-and double its expense-was already incurred by the public, without obtaining one of its advantages. At the annual cost of a few hundred pounds, schools have been established and wrought, until the results may be best explained by an extract from one of Mr. Watson's letters to Mr. Hill, the superintendent of prisons :
"We have now no begging children either in town or county. I was rather surprised at the effects produced in the county districts. During the three months preceding 6th July, 1843, upwards of a hundred children were found wandering in the county, and reported by the rural police. During the corresponding period of 1844, fifty were found. In the corresponding period of 1845, only eight; and from the 8th of June to the 5th of July none were found."
The routine pursued in the Aberdeen schools, which we regard as the model institutions, is so simple that it may be stated in a few words, extracted from the report of the County Prison Board of Aberdeen :
"The peculiar feature of the Industrial Schools is the combination of instruction in useful employment with education and food. The children have three substantial meals a-day; three hours of lessons, and five hours of work suited to their ages. All the boys (and girls) return to their homes every evening. On Sundays, they receive their food as on other days, and attend public worship, and they have also religious instruction in
We should add that part of the time, on working days, is occupied very properly in recreation. The average expense
"Of each child is about £6 per annum; £3 12s. per annum, or about 24d. a-day, being the cost of victuals for each; and the other expenses, such as rent, salaries, &c., being met by the additional £2 8s.
"From the above sum-£6 for each boy-there must be deducted the average earnings of each, which, for last year, amounted to £ 10s.-thus making the actual cost about £4 10s. for each. The earnings of some of the children are very small; others, according to the nature of the work, will make 3d. or 4d. a-day, and, in a few Cases, even 6d. ; but such cases are rare, and the work
The schools were commenced in the year 1841; but since then a considerable number of the children have obtained situations, and their average attendance would probably never exceed three and a half to four years. Even if they were supplied with necessary clothing, of which some por
we believe that the seven children would produce two or three criminals. But the annual cost of rearing these children falls on the public. They must defray the charges either in a regular or an irregular manner. They must tax themselves, or be taxed by the operations of the juvenile beggar and the juvenile thief. They cannot escape from the burden of supporting these young persons in the meantime; and it would be wiser to lay out the money in rendering them good members of society than in contracting farther and heavy liabilities by leaving them on the road to crime.
Economy and humanity are thus happily combined in pleading for the general establishment of these institutions. They would at once save money and character to the country. Our object has been to show the cheapest mode of eradicating crime; but it should not be forgotten that the means which prevent evil will accomplish good. The endeavours made to improve prison discipline, emanating principally from humane men in charge of our large gaols, deserve the utmost encouragement; but we cannot trust much to their efficiency; and we should not make crime and the police office the only avenues by which many can reach shelter, food, and instruction. quote a passage from Mr. Guthrie's pamphlet, in which all the argument is most eloquently expressed :
"For example, I was returning from a meeting one night, about twelve o'clock: it was a fierce blast of wind and rain. In Princes Street, a piteous voice and a shivering boy pressed me to buy a tract. I asked the child why he was out in such a night and at such an hour. lie had not got his money; he dared not go home without it ; he would rather sleep in a stair all night. I thought, as we passed a lamp, that I had seen him before. I asked him if he went to church. 'Sometimes to Mr. Guthrie's,' was his reply. On looking again, I now recognised him as one I had occasionally seen in the Cowgate Chapel. Muffled up to meet the weather, he did not recognise me.
I asked him what his father was. His mother? 'She have no father, Sir; he is dead.' is very poor.' But why keep you out here?' and then knew her well, and reluctantly the truth came out. had visited her wretched dwelling. She was a tall, dark, gaunt, gipsey-looking woman, who, notwithstanding a cap, of which it could be but premised that it had once been white, and a gown that it had once been black, had still some traces of one who had seen better days; but now she was a drunkard; sin had turned her into a monster; and she would have beaten that poor child within an inch of death, if he had been short of the money, by her waste of which she starved him, and fed her own accursed vices. Now, by this anecdote illustrating to my stranger friend the situation of these unhappy children, I added that, nevertheless, they might get education, and secure some measure both of common and Christian knowledge. But mark how, and where. Not as in the days of our blessed Their only Saviour, when the tender mother brought her child for His blessing. The gaoler brings them now. passage to school is through the Police Office; their passport is a conviction of crime; and in this Christian and enlightened city it is only within the dark walls of a prison