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structed departments, the number accused is stated at 232. If these persons had belonged proportionally to both classes in those departments-the ignorant and the instructed-we should find the number of the latter to be 169-36, and of the former only 62-64, whereas it appears that 101 of the accused were wholly ignorant. Fortunately the inquiries of the French Minister of Justice on this interesting subject have not been limited to the bare fact of the ability of the accused to read or to write, but the returns have been made under four different heads, viz.
Persons not knowing how to read or write.
Persons knowing how to read or write imperfectly.
Availing ourselves of this classification, and limiting our inquiry for the moment to the four best instructed departments, we find that, of the 131 persons accused who had received instruction, the very large proportion of 103 came under the description of reading or writing imperfectly; 24 persons, or 1 in each 47,602 inhabitants, could read and write well; and only 4 persons were accused, being in the proportion of 1 to every 285,613 inhabitants, who had received a degree of instruction superior to mere reading and writing.
If we subject to the same examination the whole 86 departments into which France is divided, we shall find that, of 7604 persons accused of crimes before the Courts of Assize during the year,
4600 were wholly ignorant.
2047 had received the lowest degree of instruction, 767 could read and write well, and
190 were educated beyond mere reading and writing. Taking the whole population of France as given in the statements of the Minister of Justice to be 32,561,463, we find that the proportion of persons accused is to this number as 1 to 4282; the number of wholly uninstructed persons, as 1 to 7513; the number who can read or write imperfectly, as 1 to 15,907; the number who can read and write well as 1 to 42,453; and the number who have received a greater amount of instruction, as 1 to 171,376 inhabitants.
It will be observed that these numbers and proportions apply to the number accused. We have not the means of thus analysing the convictions in each department separately,
but in the whole 86 departments taken together, we find that the numbers and proportions convicted in the four classes are:
Of the wholly unin
structed. .. 2652 or 1 for each 12,277 inhabitants. Of those who read or
write imperfectly 1047
Of those who read
A comparison of these two statements will prove the truth of the position we have advanced respecting the greater vigilance in regard to crime exercised among the instructed classes. If we attend to the proportionate number of convictions compared with accusations in each of the four classes, the moral advantages of education will become strikingly apparent. For the sake of more easy reference, we here repeat them in a tabular form.
Reading or writing imperfectly
4600 1948 2652
7604 3506 4098 mean⚫539
The returns already mentioned as having been made to the Minister of War, and of which Mons. Guerry has availed himself for the construction of his maps and tables, show that, throughout the departments of France, the average number of persons who have received some amount of instruction is 38 out of every hundred. If the foregoing table is examined by this test, the result may at first appear unfavourable to the view which we have taken, since the number of wholly uninstructed persons accused is not so great relatively to their entire number in the population, as the number of the instructed classes. If, however, the calculation be made upon the number of convictions, the case will be found altogether different. If the proportions between the classes had been preserved, the first or uninstructed portion of the popu
lation should have afforded 4714 persons accused instead of 4600, the actual number; but, on the other hand, out of the 4098 convicts, the proportion should have been only 2540, whereas it amounted to 2652. It is much to be regretted that the classification adopted in the criminal returns was not also used in the inquiries made by order of the Minister of War, and that we are not enabled to know the proportion of the inhabitants of the departments who can read and write well, as well as of those to whom a superior education has been given. We might in that case have pursued the subject more satisfactorily as regards the settlement of the question of the moral advantages of education, and we doubt not also, more in accordance with the sanguine view we take of the subject. We should be sorry, if anything we have said were construed into satisfaction with that meagre amount of instruction which gives the ability to read or write imperfectly;' and although, when used in this sense, we by no means assent to the so often quoted remark, that a little learning is a dangerous thing,' considering, that entire ignorance is far more dangerous to the moral state of the community, yet would we point to the results which we have here brought forward, as to a powerful incentive to the friends of public education, not to stop short in their labours, but to follow up their plans for the improvement of their fellowcreatures, by providing, beyond the mere imperfect rudiments of knowledge, instruction of a solid and moral quality, which shall enlighten the minds of the learners upon all points connected with their social duties.
It may be interesting to our readers, and useful also, to give the following little table, which we have constructed from the returns of the Minister of Justice in France, showing the number among the persons accused and convicted within the year before the Courts of Assize, who had previously been the objects of punishment (récidives); and discriminating also between the ignorant and the instructed among them. This statement will be found to furnish a powerful argument in favour of public instruction, as a preservative from those habits of criminal indulgence, which lead men to follow unlawful courses as a profession.
*Of these 14 criminals 3 were convicted of assassination.
Appendix to the Report of the Poor Law Commissioners. THE subject of Education is one of daily increasing interest. Notwithstanding the clamours that have been raised against it, the importance, nay, the necessity of national education begins to be widely acknowledged. The subject, however, has been involved in considerable difficulty by the circumstances in which England has been placed. It has been said, and, it must be allowed, with some plausibility, that where any degree of education has been tried in many parts of England, the result has not been of that beneficial character which was looked for; that those on whom the experiment has been made, have not become better workmen, better citizens, or better sons, husbands, or fathers. There is undoubtedly truth in some of these assertions-and if true, they throw some obstacle in the way of a diffusion of education. The present article is devoted to the purpose of showing, from the valuable evidence collected by His Majesty's Poor Law Commissioners, what is the nature of these obstacles, and how they may be removed. It is believed that it can be most satisfactorily shown that these difficulties are not necessarily connected with the subject of education; but, that they mainly spring from the mal-administration of the poor-laws in this country—and with that, but only with that, will vanish.
It would be contrary to the fundamental principles of human nature, that, with such powerful disturbing forces in operation as our system of poor-laws under their present administration, any education should be effectual: the result of those laws being, as it were, to turn human nature upside down, to reverse
the order of its most important governing principles, rendering utterly useless to man all those desires or impulses which were given for his preservation, and bestowing upon indolence, improvidence, and profligacy what is denied to industry, temperance, and fore-thought. No wonder that, in such a state of things, we are told in the southern counties that industry is declining; that the present race of labourers are worse workmen than their fathers; and that reading and writing only make them dissatisfied with their condition, and worse instead of better workmen. It is well observed by a witness examined by the Commissioners, that, reading and writing are not of themselves knowledge, and will not of themselves make a man moral.' It is not to be expected that the teaching a child to read and write will make him a useful member of society, will render him prudent, temperate, industrious, when the constant precepts, and still more the daily and hourly example of his parents and those about him, are dragging him in the opposite direction. Wherever such forces act, such a state of things may be expected as is shown in the following answer to the question of the Commissioners, as to whether the industry of the labourer is increasing or diminishing.
'Very much diminished, and very few good workmen, comparatively speaking, to what they were from 20 to 30 years past; they take no pains when they are young to learn to work well, and the parents do not put them to work as they used to do; they seem to have lost that pride they formerly had of keeping themselves and families from parochial relief; they seem to prefer keeping their children to school, instead of teaching them the employment which would be most useful to them in their situation in life, and the country at large.‡'—(Stafford.) Great Barr. J. Brindley, Chapelwarden.
'Diminishing. They are too highly educated for manual exertion, and, to use an expressive phrase, are above their work.'§-(Bucks.) Langley Marish. Maurice Swaby, Barrister at Law and J. P.
'Worse workmen than formerly. The masters do not look after them so much, nor while they are children do their parents pay them the same attention in teaching them their work, but think they have done all their duty by making scholars of them, i. e. sending them to school.'-(Warwick.) Lapworth. Donald Cameron, Curate.
In the foregoing objections there is no doubt much plausibility; and, were it not known that causes are at work amply sufficient to account for the effects produced, without the necessity of attributing any of those effects to education * See App. B. to the Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, question 37. + Parliamentary Paper, 190, August, 1833, p. 5. § App. (B) quest. 37, p. 39 c.
App. (B) p. 439, c. qu.
|| App. (B) quest. 37.