Abbildungen der Seite

item, first in the arrondissement budget, then in the departmental budget, and afterwards be submitted to the grand council of roads and bridges in an office at Paris, at the distance of two hundred leagues from the spot where the work is to be executed. The paltry charge in question having passed through all the delays of profound investigation, the desired permission is granted; provided, however, that not the slightest neglect of form should render it necessary to undertake, for a second time, the task of exploring the immense labyrinth by an inverse course. The accounts, after passing through an almost ende less series of progressive operations, retrograde with official delay to their first source ! An engineer is then permitted to execute at his leisure the trifling repair of the road which has occasioned this long and appalling train of official formalities, ascending and descending."

With regard to the comparative foreign commerce of France and Great Britain, the best calculations appear to show that in this department of national prosperity we even exceed our neighbours in a larger proportion than in agriculture and manufactures. The notions of some of the French writers on this point are a little hyperbolical. M. Moreau de Jonnes says, “In 1824 there entered the port of London, without enume

merating the thousand voyages of steam vessels, 23,618 vessels, of which the total freight amounted to 3,170,000 tons. If the merchandise they imported had been heaped together,” says M. Jonnès, “it would have formed a mountain of more than four leagues in diameter, and as high as Mont Blanc, the peak of Teneriffe, and Chimboraço, on the top of each other. If the 3,471,236 tons of merchandise carried by the 26,946 vessels, which, according to the speech of Mr. Huskisson, delivered in the House of Commons, on the 12th of May, 1826, were in 1825 engaged in the commerce of London, were ranged in one line, that line would extend to a length of 2,200 leagues, or more than the diameter of our globe, and it would require 220 days' journey, at ten leagues a day, to go from one extremity to the other. The commerce of France in the same year employed scarcely two-fifths of this number of vessels." These notions are unquestionably extravagant; but the commerce of London and of Liverpool may well excite unbounded wonder.

According to M. Dupin, and we believe the assertion to some extent, the general population of England has not profited in an equal degree with that of France, from this increase in agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing industry. The distribution of property amongst us is certainly less equal, and the extremes of unlimited wealth and absolute indigence, are too marked not to be deprecated by every well-wisher of his country. Our debt, too, is in a state that will bear no comparison with that of France. But, thank God, we have not paid the price which France has paid for these advantages ; and it remains for the steady good sense of the people to realize, gradually but surely, all the blessings of which this great nation is susceptible, without a convulsion which would render every blessing of doubtful value.

We present to our readers some curious calculations in M. Dupin's work, which go to prove that the consumption of food amongst the English people has not increased in the proportion of the increase of

population. We do not quite rely on the correctness of these documents ; nor upon the inferences which are drawn from them.

The consumption of provision, M. Dupin says, by the people of Great Britain, has remained nearly stationary, although the increase in the population since the year 1790 has been from 30 to 40 per cent. În 1800, for instance, the consumption of the three kingdoms was 20,358,703 lbs. of tea, and in 1803, 23,810,967 lbs. In 1801, the importation of sugar amounted to 2,773,797 cwt., and that of coffee to 122,573 cwt. ; and in 1823 there were imported of the former article 2,807,706 cwt., and of the latter 130,683 cwt. In 1801, the consumption of wine was 3,788,246 gallons, and in 1822 only 5,988,643 gallons. The consumption of tobacco alone seems to have adequately increased ; in 1801 it amounted to 12,121,278 lbs., and in 1825 the quantity consumed was 14,510,551 lbs. Lastly, from 1821 to 1825 there were annually sold in Smithfield market only about 36,000 head of horned cattle and 52,000 sheep-less in proportion to the population of London, than in the four years which elapsed between 1798 and 1802.

France has no poor-rates, and it would be difficult, therefore, to draw any thing approaching to an exact parallel between the number of poor in that country, and the amount of paupers in England. But the number, whatever it be, is certainly less than it was before the revolution, a period in which the property in land was more concentrated; and still more certainly may it be affirmed, that the paupers of France do not comprise, as with us, 40 per cent of the population.

The poor-rates for England and the principality of Wales, at the end of the last century, were no more than about two millions sterling. In 1812, 971,913 families, forming three-sevenths of the population, were maintained at the parish expense, and were paid an annual sum of 6,656,1051. sterling, equivalent to 1,061,438 quarters of wheat. In 1824, in short, 1,500,000 families were in a state of pauperism, and the poor-rates were equivalent to 1,860,000 quarters of wheat. We have reason to hope that a considerable reduction has taken place; but this is one of our great blots.

On making the same inquiries with respect to the number of crimes committed in England and Wales since the peace, the results will be nearly similar.

The number of persous who received judgment in the Assize and Sessional Courts of England and Wales in 1811, the population amounting then to 10,150,665, was 3,153, of whom 404 were condemned to death, In 1821, the population being then 11,978,955 souls, the number of convicted amounted to 8,788, of whom 1,134 were capitally condemned. In 1826, the population amounting to about 13,000,000, the condemnations were 11,095, of which 1,200 were capital. This statement shows an increase of more than three-fifths, between 1811 and 1825, and an augmentation of nearly one-third between 1821 and 1826. In 1811, the condemnations were in the proportion of 315 to every million of inhabitants; in 1821, they amounted to 732 in the million ; in 1826, they presented the number, constantly increasing, of 853 individuals condemned out of every million of inhabitants.

The reasons for the real and apparent increase of crime in England, have been ably pointed out in a late Report of the House of Commons. The following Extracts will be interesting.

“Your Committee have much satisfaction in stating their confirmed opinion that great part of the increase in the number of criminal commitments arises from other causes than the increase of crime. Offences which were formerly either passed over entirely, or were visited with a summary chastisement on the spot, are now made occasions of commitment to gaol and regular trial. Mr. Dealtry, a magistrate for the West Riding of the county of York, says,

I think one reason we may give for the increase of crime, or the greater exhibition of it to public view, is the seizure and delivery to the police of all those who commit offences, that are styled offences at all. I remember in former days, persons were taken and pumped upon, or something of that sort; but now they are handed over to the police and tried on it. Sir Thomas Baring and other witnesses give a similar testimony. The Malicious Trespass Act, the act for paying prosecutors their expenses in cases of misdemeanor, and other acts not necessary to mention, have tended to fill the prisons without any positive increase of crime. The magistrates likewise are more ready to commit than they used to be; and the fees paid to their clerks are a temptation to bring before them every case of petty offence arising out of village squabbles or trifling disorders. There appears no good reason why a regular schedule should not be made of the fees to be paid to the clerks of magistrates. Uniformity on this subject is most desirable, even were there no existing abuses, which the Committee have reason to fear is much to be apprehended.

“Another conclusion to which the Committee have come is likewise consolatory. It appears evident that the number of atrocious offences has not increased in proportion to the increase of population, and that with the advancement of civilization the darker crimes become less frequent. The number of persons convicted of murder from the years 1821 to 1827 inclusive, adding thereto those convicted of shooting at, stabbing, and administer. ing poison with intent to murder, were respectively, 35, 57, 26, 38, 29, 27, 47. The number charged with murder, shooting at, stabbing, and administering poison with intent to murder, were from 1821 to 1827, 232, 241, 239, 253, 273, 245, 288. The whole number of persons tried for offences against the person, in 1827, including robbery of the person, which ought not properly to be included, were under 1,000.

“Thus it appears, that although the number of offences in the mass of our dense population is very considerable, yet when the subject comes to be examined, security of life and limb was never greater. Property, it is true, is not equally safe; but even here there are not any large proportion of offences which reach to the ruin of the person agains twhom the offence is committed, or to subject property in general to any very serious risks.

" The most usual, numerous, and troublesome crimes consist of stealing from the house or the person, goods which are easily transported, and may be quickly converted into money.

“This view of the subject is important for two reasons: the one, as it tends to show that with some remarkable exceptions the state of society is not one of great depravity; the other, that it gives to the operations of Government a body which may be acted upon by law. Gangs of pickpockets, pilferers, and even housebreakers, may be, to a great degree, controlled and restrained by means of preventive police and exemplary punishment; their crimes are not the impulse of blind passion which is satisfied to satiate itself and to suffer for the enjoyment, but the result of a calculation of unprincipled men, on a cool view of their interests. If you can make the hazard greater than the probable gain, you may rest sure you will diminish the crime.

“On the other hand it must be confessed, that of late years the art of crime, if it may be so called, has increased faster than the art of detection, The

improvement of communication, the employment of young thieves by the elder and more practised, the crowded state of our gaols, and other causes, have tended in many parts of the country to make the plunderers of property a species of organized society, having their division of labour, their regular leaders, and premeditated means of escape. At the same time, in the agricultural counties, the business of detection is often left to a village constable, who is perfectly unfit to deal with any but village crimes. In many of our large towns, likewise, police has not been improved in most instances with the increase of population, and in some instances this defect appears to arise from worse than negligence.”

The comparative account of crime in England and France are thus stated, in the same Report :

“ Your Committee have examined with attention an account of the state of Criminal Justice in France for the year 1812, presented to his Majesty Charles the Tenth by his Keeper of the Seals. Some of the results stated in that account may be compared with those contained in the summary statement for the gaols of England and Wales in the same year. In France, the total number of Accused were

6,988 Acquitted

2,640 Convicted



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

5,052 Convicted


16,147. Of 4,348 convicted in France were condemned to death

150 In England, of 11,095

1,200 “Of those condemned to death in France, it would appear that the greater part were executed; in England, of 1,200 only 57 were executed.

“Of the crimes for which punishment of death was inflicted, we find in the French statement-murder, 11 ; attempt to murder, 88; parricide, 4; infanticide, 6; poisoning, 11; false money, 9; robbery on a public road, 1 ; other robberies, 2; arson of houses, 17; arson of other descriptions, 1. The English statement, besides the crimes contained above, contain, bur, glary, 10; forgery, 1; horse-stealing, 7; larceny in a dwelling-house to the value of 408.

, 5; rape, 2; sheep-stealing, 3. In France it appears to be the practice to condemn in the first instance to the punishment intended to be inflicted. For instance, in France, robbery on the highway gives condemned to death, 1; hard labour for life, 30; for a term, 8; solitary confinement, 5; correctional punishments, 22. The English gives robbery on person, on the highway and other places, sentenced to death, 144 ; executed, 15.

“Of secondary punishments, France gives, hard labour for life, 281; for a term, 1,139 ; solitary confinement, 1,228 ; au carcan, 5; banishment, 1; degradation from civil rights, 1 ; correctional punishments, 1,478. In England we have transportation for life, 133; for 14 years, 185; 7 years, 1,945; imprisonment 5 years, none; 3 years, 11; 2 years and above 1 year, 297; 1 year, 1,201 ; 6 months and under, 5,813 ; whipping and fine, 310. “With respect to terms of imprisonment, we find in the French statement, For 20 years

48 15

59 10



531 .

[ocr errors]


[Dec. From 1 to 5 years

512 6 months to 1 year

68 Less than 6 months

104 “In France the number of accused'were in the proportion of 1 in 4,195 of the population; of the accused tried, 1 in 4,557. In England, the proportion would be greatly superior. But it is difficult to draw any parallel in this respect. The offences tried before the correctional tribunals in France, are of a graver character than those which are punished in this country out of the Courts of Assize and Quarter Session. For instance, in France, under the head of crimes punished by the correctional tribunals, there appear under the title l'ols. 10,796, of whom 4,364 were condemned to imprisonment for a year or more.

“Distinguishing crimes against the person, and those against property, the number under the former head are in France, of accused, 1,907 ; under the latter, 6,988; leaving out Corsica, the former number would be 1,821,

the latter 6,939. In England, including the same class of crimes, the numbers are,

Against the person
Against property

But adding to the 6,939, 10,796, the numbers would be
for France, against the Person

1,821 Property

17,735 England


15,616 "Being in France, in the proportion of more than 1 to10, while in England it is little more than 1 to 30. Without pretending to any great exactness on this subject, it may be inferred that the whole quantity of crime is greater in proportion to the population in England than in France; but that of offences against the person there are more, both in proportion to the whole number of offences, and to the population, in France than in England. The general conclusion from this and other facts seems to be, that crowded towns and flourishing manufactures tend to increase depredations on property, and to diminish acts of violence against the person.

.“ Passing to the tribunals of correctional police, under the head of Chasse et Port d'Armes, there appear 6,578 prévenus, of whom 5,047 were condemned, but 5,020 only to a fine. Under that of délits ruraux, the number prévenus are 5,109 ; of 3,659 are condemned 2,929 to fine.

It appears that the number of these judgments given in 1“26 exceeds those of 1825 by 8,260, and that of these 6,049 were délits forestiers. No reason is given for this augmentation.

We must reserve any general considerations arising out of this mass of important facts, for a future occasion.

« ZurückWeiter »