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master, but also to receive his scholars ; and, secondly, a fixed salary, which is not to be less than 200 francs (81.) for an inferior elementary school, and 400 francs for a superior elementary school. The position of the elementary instructors will not indeed be very advantageous; but it is evident to those who know the actual state of elementary education in France, that the realizing of these two conditions, a house and a fixed salary, all through the country, will be a very considerable improvement. When this first step shall be made and secured ; when the state of public morals and political education shall permit the government to propose more extensive measures, and the citizens to confide to the government a larger share of influence, then a system of public instruction may arise in entire harmony with the other social and intellectual improvements which have distinguished France during the last forty years.
The exposition of the motives of the new law has declared, that, for the future, elementary instructors must confine themselves exclusively to the duties of their situation, and not associate with them those of any other function as before. We hope that this rule will be strictly enforced. But will the measure be practicable? Will the instructor be able to subsist on the miserable pittance which the law assigns him ? The discussion which this clause underwent in the chamber, and since that time in the provincial journals, seems to show the contrary.
We here terminate our observations on the reforms proposed by M. Guizot, and adopted by the Chamber on the 25th June. And in thanking that minister, in the name of all true friends of France, for the zeal and good intention which he has shown during the short period of his administration, we give utterance to a feeling which will not bear the suspicion of partiality. But it is not sufficient to proclaim true principles; we must know what will be the political results of them, and of the institutions to which they give birth. We hope the ulterior proceedings of M. Guizot will justify our expectations.
MORAL STATISTICS OF FRANCE.
Essai sur la Statistique Morale de la France, par A. M.
Guerry. If there be one subject which more than any other is calculated to force itself upon public attention ; which, in some shape or other, is constantly interfering with the happiness of society and with the comfort of its individual members, without doubt, it is the state and progress of crime in the community. This is an old remark, which has been made and repeated until it has become a commonplace saying; and yet it appears to us, that in this country at least, and until a very recent period in every other, no rational means have been taken to arrive at that proper understanding of the causes of crime, without which it is vain to expect any efficient means for stopping its progress.
It might be an emphatic warning to legislators of the present and future times if an estimate could be formed of the amount of guilt and wretchedness which might fairly be imputed to the ignorance of the British parliament in regard to this most important branch of its duties. The system of criminal legislation, if indeed it be worthy of the name of a system, which it has pursued, was for a long time only a series of wretched expedients. If by the greater frequency of its occurrence any particular offence became more than usual a public nuisance, the course has been, not as reason would have dictated, to examine into, and, if possible, to remove the causes of the increase, but to multiply the terrors of the law to a degree out of all proportion with the moral guilt of the offenders. By this course, or probably by the progress of circumstances, the tendency to the commission of that particular crime may for a time have been checked, but the feelings of vengeance having passed, it becomes impossible, in a calmer state of mind, to execute laws of such disproportionate severity, which have thus, almost equally with the crimes against which they were enacted, become public nuisances. Much has doubtless been done of late years to free our statutebook from the reproach to which it was justly exposed; and various crimes, which long enjoyed a species of immunity, are in consequence actually diminished in their frequency, although the public documents in which our criminal accusations are registered, may, by reason of the unsparing application of milder laws, be falsely made to exhibit an evidence of their increase.
We have not shown much greater knowledge of the true principles of criminal jurisprudence in this return to a milder system than was exhibited in the departure from it. It had become evident, that, by reason of the undue severity of the laws, some particular crimes might be committed with impunity, and the easiest method of remedying the evil appearing to lie in the mitigation of the penalty attached to them, that course has been adopted rather than enter upon the more difficult task of examining the motives to crime with a view to its prevention.
By the essay now before us, Monsieur Guerry has, in an important degree, prepared the way for a legislative inquiry of the nature just indicated. The reputation which his work has already acquired in the country to which it immediately relates, as well as in other parts of the continent of Europe, will, we trust, effectually call the attention of legislators to the subject, and aid them in their endeavours to substitute for the present too general system of public vengeance, a more rational, more benevolent, and more effectual plan of moral checks and preventives.
Although the subject of crime is strictly and intimately allied to the objects which it has always been proposed to forward in this Journal, yet, in its most extended view, that subject is too comprehensive for the limited space which we can afford to it. There is, however, one branch of the statistics of crime which falls strictly within our plan ; we allude to the connexion that exists between ignorance and depravity.
This question, so interesting to all those who desire to further the progress of education, has hitherto received but little light from ascertained facts. In this country, littlewe should rather say nothing-has been done towards its elucidation. We have indeed had abundance of positive assertions on both sides of the question; some sanguine friends to the diffusion of learning have ventured to claim for education, imperfectly even as it is administered in our schools for the poor, a moral influence almost magical, while other persons have stigmatised all the efforts made towards instructing the lower classes, as only furnishing so many weapons, by means of which the criminal propensities of men are rendered more efficient and more hurtful to society. This is a subject of too great importance to be lest in a condition which will allow such contradictory assertions to be made; and if M. Guerry's work contained nothing else of value, the world would be deeply indebted to him for the light which he has thrown
Within the last few years the French government has procured, and systematically arranged, all the statistics of crime in that kingdom. It has been one principal object in the inquiries to ascertain the degree of instruction which has been given to every person brought before the bar of criminal justice. By this means M. Guerry has been furnished with one of the elements of his inquiries, but which of itself could afford no comparative data whereby to judge of the moral efficacy of instruction. The returns made of the number of scholars attending public schools in each department were imperfect; and had they been otherwise, would have afforded no certain measure of the proportion of educated persons within such limits. In providing materials for this comparison, the author has rejected all fanciful and conjectural computations. Since the year 1827, it has been the practice of the public functionaries to ascertain the amount of instruction possessed by every young man who is called by the conscription to fill the ranks of the French army; and as these levies are not confined to any rank or class, but are taken indiscriminately from all classes, it is easy, their numbers being known, to make an accurate computation of the proportion in which instruction has been diffused through the departments. The remaining element necessary for the inquiry having been thus obtained, M. Guerry has proceeded to show the relation which exists between ignorance and crime, contrasting one department with another, both as regards the amount of criminals which it furnishes, relatively to the population, and the degree of instruction that has been enjoyed by its inhabitants.
It appears to us that Monsieur Guerry has drawn his conclusions somewhat too hastily from the premises thus acquired. Finding, in the progress of his inquiry, that the northern and eastern departments of the kingdom are those in which instruction has been most diffused, but that they do not exhibit a corresponding superiority in respect of the number of inhabitants who have been accused of crimes, he is led, with evident unwillingness, but we think without his usual judgment and discrimination, to conclude that instruction, at least such as is now given, cannot be held to be a preservative from criminal actions. Having at hand the same materials that have led Monsieur Guerry to the formation of this opinion, we have proceeded to analyse them, and doubt not that we shall be able to show satisfactorily that he is unwarranted in arriving at so unfavourable a conclusion.
It is a common, but at the same time a very obvious error, APRIL-JULY, 1834.
to conclude that the anount of crime in a community may be fairly estimated by the number of accusations bronght against individuals. In countries where the standard of morals is low, and where crime abounds, a reference to public records might seem to establish a conclusion quite contrary to the fact. Many offences, which could not be tolerated in a better state of society, might then pass unnoticed; and there is no question that this rule continues to hold good through all the moral gradations which communities may experience, so that it is only when we arrive at the more advanced stage of civilization that the vigilance of the magistrate is fully secured, and that the community receives full protection. By the aid of Monsieur Guerry's work, and of the Compte Général de l'Alministration de la Justice Criminelle en France, prepared by the Minister of Justice, we have been enabled fully to examine this point, and trust that we shall succeed in rendering it clear to others.
We have selected more particularly for this examination eight of the departments of France, four of them the most favourably, and the other four the least favourably, circumstanced, as regards the degree in which instruction has been diffused among the people. In the first four, it was found that, on the average, seventy-three young men out of every hundred could read, being very nearly three-fourths of the male population within the conscription age; in the last four, only thirteen in every hundred, or but little more than one-eighth, had received that amount of instruction. The population of the departments thus contrasted happens to be very nearly equal ; that of the more instructed is 1,142,454 ; the other four contain 1,134,280 inhabitants, the whole difference being only 8174, or about 7 in 1000. The number of persons accused of crimes before the Courts of Assize is found to be in the proportion of 21 to 17 against the more instructed districts; but if we follow up these accusations to their result, we find that the numbers convicted of heinous crimes, and subjected to severe punishments, are exactly doubled against the least instructed districts; that is, from among the better educated population, 232 persons are accused, and only seven of them sentenced to death or to imprisonment for life; while, from among the less educated, only 187 persons are accused, but fourteen are sentenced to these extreme punishments.
There is another point of view, however, in which we are enabled to place this subject, which is yet more satisfactory and conclusive. We have seen that, in the four most in