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Title: Crime and Its Causes
Author: Morrison, William Douglas, 1853-1943
Language: English
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"The science of criminology is pursued vigorously among the Italians,
but this is one of the first English books to make the phenomena of
crime the subject of a strictly scientific investigation."--_Daily

"The book is an important addition to the Social Science Series.
It throws light upon some of the most complex problems with which
society has to deal, and incidentally affords much interesting
reading."--_Manchester Examiner_.

"This is a work which, considering its limits and modest pretensions,
it is difficult to over praise. It is a calm and thoughtful study by a
writer in whom the deliberate determination to look on things as they
are has not extinguished a reasoned faith in the possibility of their
amelioration. The work is conceived throughout in a genuinely
philosophical spirit."--_International Journal of Ethics_.

"A thoughtful and thought suggesting book--well worthy of consideration
by penologists, whether specialists or amateurs."--_Annals of the
American Academy_.

"Mr. Morrison's book is especially valuable, because, without attempting
to enforce this or that conclusion, it furnishes the authentic _data_
on which all sound conclusions must be based."--_Times_.

"Cramful of suggestive facts and solid arguments on the great questions
how criminals are made, and how crime is best to be dealt with. Many
cherished superstitions and fallacies are exploded in Mr. Morrison's

First Edition, _February 1891_.

Second Edition, _February 1902_.













This volume, as its title indicates, is occupied with an examination
of some of the principal causes of crime, and is designed as an
introduction to the study of criminal questions in general. In spite
of all the attention these questions have hitherto received and are
now receiving, crime still remains one of the most perplexing and
obstinate of social problems. It is much more formidable than
pauperism, and almost as costly. A social system which has to try
hundreds of thousands of offenders annually before the criminal courts
is in a very imperfect condition; the causes which lead to this state
of things deserve careful consideration from all who take an interest
in social welfare.

In the following pages I have endeavoured to show that crime is a more
complicated phenomenon than is generally supposed. When society will
be able to stamp it out is a question it would be extremely hard to
answer. If it ever does so, it will not be the work of one generation
but of many, and it will not be effected by the application of any
single specific.

Punishment alone will never succeed in putting an end to crime.
Punishment will and does hold crime to a certain extent in check, but
it will never transform the delinquent population into honest
citizens, for the simple reason that it can only strike at the
full-fledged criminal and not at the causes which have made him so.
Economic prosperity, however widely diffused, will not extinguish
crime. Many people imagine that all the evils afflicting society
spring from want, but this is only partially true. A small number of
crimes are probably due to sheer lack of food, but it has to be borne
in mind that crime would still remain an evil of enormous magnitude
even if there were no such calamities as destitution and distress. As
a matter of fact easy circumstances have less influence on conduct
than is generally believed; prosperity generates criminal inclinations
as well as adversity, and on the whole the rich are just as much
addicted to crime as the poor. The progress of civilisation will not
destroy crime. Many savage tribes living under the most primitive
forms of social life present a far more edifying spectacle of respect
for person and property than the most cultivated classes in Europe and
America. All that civilisation has hitherto done is to change the form
in which crime is perpetrated; in substance it remains the same.
Primary Schools will not accomplish much in eliminating crime. The
merely intellectual training received in these institutions has little
salutary influence upon conduct. Nothing can be mope deplorable than
that sectarian bickerings, respecting infinitesimal points in the
sanctions of morality, should result in the children of England
receiving hardly any moral instruction whatever. Conduct, as the late
Mr. Matthew Arnold has so often told us, is three fourths of life.
What are we to think of an educational system which officially ignores
this; what have we to hope in the way of improvement from a people
which consents to its being ignored?

But even a course of systematic instruction in the principles of
conduct, no matter by what sanctions these principles are inculcated,
will not avail much unless they are to some extent practised in the
home. And this will never be the case so long as women are demoralised
by the hard conditions of industrial life, and unfitted for the duties
of motherhood before beginning to undertake them.

In addition to this, no State will ever get rid of the criminal
problem unless its population is composed of healthy and vigorous
citizens. Very often crime is but the offspring of degeneracy and
disease. A diseased and degenerate population, no matter how
favourably circumstanced in other respects, will always produce a
plentiful crop of criminals. Stunted and decrepit faculties, whether
physical or mental, either vitiate the character, or unfit the
combatant for the battle of life. In both cases the result is in
general the same, namely, a career of crime.

As to the best method of dealing with the actual criminal, the first
thing to be done is to know what sort of a person you are dealing
with. He must be carefully studied at first hand. At present too much
attention is bestowed on theoretical discussions respecting the
various kinds of crime and punishment, while hardly any account is
taken of the persons who commit the crime and require the punishment.
Yet this is the most important point of all; the other is trivial in
comparison with it. If crime is to be dealt with in a rational manner
and not on mere _a priori_ grounds, our minds must be enlightened on
such questions as the following: What is the Criminal? What are the
chief causes which have made him such? How are these causes to be got
rid of or neutralised? What is the effect of this or that kind of
punishment? These are the momentous problems; in comparison with
these, all fine-spun definitions respecting the difference between one
crime and another are mere dust in the balance. There can be little
doubt that a neglect of those considerations on the part of many
magistrates and judges, is at the root of the capricious sentences so
often passed upon criminals. The effects of this neglect result in the
passing of sentences of too great severity on first offenders and the
young; and of too much leniency on hardened and habitual criminals.
Leniency, says Grotius, should be exercised with discernment,
otherwise it is not a virtue, but a weakness and a scandal.

When imprisonment has to be resorted to, it must be made a genuine
punishment if it is to exercise any effect as a deterrent. The moment
a prison is made a comfortable place to live in, it becomes useless as
a safeguard against the criminal classes. This is a fundamental
principle. But punishment, although an essential part of imprisonment,
is not its only purpose. Imprisonment should also be a preparation for
liberty. If a convicted man is as unfit for social life at the
expiration of his sentence as he was at the commencement of it, the
prison has only accomplished half its work; it has satisfied the
feeling of public vengeance, but it has failed to transform the
offender into a useful citizen. How to prepare the offender for
liberty is, I admit, a task of supreme difficulty; in some oases,
probably, an impossible task. For work of this character what is
wanted above all is an enlightened staff. Mere machines are useless;
men unacquainted with civil life and its conditions are useless. It is
from civil life the prisoner is taken; it is to civil life he has to
return, and unless he is under the care of men who have an intimate
knowledge of civil life, he will not have the same prospect of being
fitted into it when he has once more to face the world.

In the preparation of this volume I have carefully examined the most
recent ideas of English and Continental writers (especially the
Italians) on the subject of crime. The opinions it contains are based
on an experience of fourteen years in Orders most of which have been
spent in prison work. In revising the proofs I have received valuable
assistance from Mr. J. Morrison.





It is only within the present century, and in some countries it is
only within the present generation, that the possibility has arisen of
conducting the study of criminal problems on anything approaching an
exact and scientific basis. Before the introduction of a system of
criminal statistics--a step taken by most peoples within the memory of
men still living--it was impossible for civilised communities to
ascertain with absolute accuracy whether crime was increasing or
decreasing, or what transformation it was passing through in
consequence of the social, political, and economic changes constantly
taking place in all highly organised societies. It was also equally
impossible to appreciate the effect of punishment for good or evil on
the criminal population. Justice had little or no data to go upon;
prisoners were sentenced in batches to the gallows, to transportation,
to the hulks, or to the county gaol, but no inquiry was made as to the
result of these punishments on the criminal classes or on the progress
of crime. It was deemed sufficient to catch and punish the offender;
the more offences seemed to increase--there was no sure method of
knowing whether they did increase or not--the more severe the
punishment became. Justice worked in the dark, and was surrounded by
the terrors of darkness. What followed is easy to imagine; the
criminal law of England reached a pitch of unparalleled barbarity, and
within living memory laws were on the statute book by which a man
might be hanged for stealing property above the value of a shilling.

Had a fairly accurate system of criminal statistics existed, it is
very likely that the data contained in them would have reassured the
nation and tempered the severity of the law.

Of Criminal Statistics it may be said in the first place, that they
act as an annual register for tabulating the amount of danger to which
society is exposed by the nefarious operations of lawless persons. By
these statistics we are informed of the number of crimes committed
during the course of the year so far as they are reported to the
police. We are informed of the number of persons brought to trial for
the perpetration of these crimes; of the nature of the offences with
which incriminated persons are charged, and of the length of sentence
imposed on those who are sent to prison. The age, the degree of
instruction, and the occupations of prisoners are also tabulated. A
record is also kept of the number of times a man has been committed to
prison, and of the manner in which he has conducted himself while in

One important point must be mentioned on which criminal statistics are
almost entirely silent. The great sources of crime are the personal,
the social, and the economic conditions of the individuals who commit
it. Criminal statistics, to be exhaustive, ought to include not only
the amount of crime and the degrees of punishment awarded to
offenders; these statistics should also, as far as practicable, take
cognisance of the sources from which crime undoubtedly springs. In
this respect, our information, so far as it comes to us through
ordinary channels, is lamentably deficient. It is confined to data
respecting the age, sex, and occupation of the offender. These data
are very interesting, and very useful, as affording a glimpse of the
sources from which the dark river of delinquency takes its rise. But
they are too meagre and fragmentary. They require to be completed by
the personal and social history of the criminal. Crime is not
necessarily a disease, but it resembles disease in this respect, that
it will be impossible to wipe it out till an accurate diagnosis has
been made of the causes which produce it. To punish crime is all very
well; but punishment is not an absolute remedy; its deterrent action
is limited, and other methods besides punishment must be adopted if
society wishes to gain the mastery over the criminal population. What
those methods should be can only be ascertained after the most
searching preliminary inquiries into the main factors of crime. It
ought, therefore, to be a weighty part of the business of criminal
statistics to offer as full information as possible, not only
respecting crimes and punishments, but much more respecting criminals.
Every criminal has a life history; that history is very frequently the
explanation of his sinister career; it ought, therefore, to be
tabulated, so that it may be seen how far his descent and his
surroundings have contributed to make him what he is. In the case of
children sent to Reformatory Schools, the previous history of the
child is always tabulated. Enquiries are made and registered
respecting the parents of the child; what country they belong to, what
sort of character they bear, whether they are honest and sober,
whether they have ever been in prison, what wages they earn, and
whether the child is legitimate or not. A similar method to the one
adopted with Reformatory children ought to be instituted, with
suitable modifications, in European prisons and convict
establishments. It is, at the present time, being advocated by almost
all the most eminent criminal authorities,[1] and more than one scheme
has been drawn up to show the scope of its operation.

    [1] See Appendix I.

In addition to the service which a complete personal and family record
of convicted prisoners would render as to the causes of crime, such a
record would be of immense advantage to the judges. At the present
time a judge is only made acquainted with the previous convictions of
a prisoner; he knows nothing more about him except through the
evidence which is sometimes adduced as to character. An accurate
record of the prisoner's past would enable the judge to see at once
with what sort of offender he was dealing, and might, perhaps, help to
put a stop to the unequal and capricious sentences which, not
infrequently, disgrace the name of justice.[2]

    [2] In his interesting work, "Die Beziehungen zwischen
    Geistesstörung und Verbrechen," Dr. Sander shows that out of a
    hundred insane persons brought up for trial, the judges only
    discovered the mental state of from twenty-six to twenty-eight
    per cent. of them.

Passing from this point, we shall now inquire into the possibility of
establishing some system of International Statistics, whereby the
volume of crime in one country may be compared with the volume of
crime in another. At the present time it is extremely difficult to
institute any such comparison, and it is questionable if it can ever
be properly done. In no two countries is the criminal law the same,
and an act which is perfectly harmless when committed in one part of
Europe, is considered in another as a contravention of the law. Each
country has also a nomenclature of crime and methods of criminal
procedure peculiar to itself. In each country the police are organised
on a different principle, and act in the execution of their duty on a
different code of rules. In all cases, for instance, of mendicancy,
drunkenness, brawling, and disorder, the initiative rests practically
with the police, and it depends almost entirely on the instructions
issued to the police whether such offences shall figure largely or not
in the statistics of crime. A proof of this fact may be seen in the
Report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, for the year
1888. In the year 1886, the number of persons convicted in the
Metropolis of "Annoying male persons for the purpose of prostitution"
was 3,233; in 1888, the number was only 1,475. This enormous decrease
in the course of two years is not due to a diminution of the offence,
but to a change in the attitude of the police. Again, in the year
1887, the Metropolitan police arrested 4,556 persons under the
provisions of the Vagrant and Poor Law Acts; but in the year 1888, the
number arrested by the same body under the same acts amounted to
7,052. It is perfectly obvious that this vast increase of apprehensions
was not owing to a corresponding increase in the number of rogues,
beggars, and vagrants; it was principally owing to the increased
stringency with which the Metropolitan police carried out the
provisions of the Vagrant and Poor Law Acts. An absolute proof of the
correctness of this statement is the fact that throughout the whole of
England there was a decrease in the number of persons proceeded
against in accordance with these acts. These examples will suffice to
show what an immense power the police have in regulating the volume of
certain classes of offences. In some countries they are called upon to
exercise this power in the direction of stringency; in other countries
it is exercised in the direction of leniency; and in the same country
its exercise, as we have just seen, varies according to the views of
whoever, for the time being, happens to have a voice in controlling
the action of the police. In these circumstances it is obviously
impossible to draw any accurate comparison between the lighter kinds
of offences in one country and the same class of offences in another.

In the case of the more serious offences against person and property,
the initiative of putting the law in motion rests chiefly with the
injured individual. The action of the individual in this respect
depends to a large extent on the customs of the country. In some
countries the injured person, instead of putting the law in motion
against an offender, takes the matter in his own hands, and
administers the wild justice of revenge. Great differences of opinion
also exist among different nations as to the gravity of certain
offences. Among some peoples there is a far greater reluctance than
there is among others to appeal to the law. Murder is perhaps the only
crime on which there exists a fair consensus of opinion among
civilised communities; and even with regard to this offence it is
impossible to overcome all the judicial and statistical difficulties
which stand in the way of an international comparison.

In spite, however, of the fact that the amount of crime committed in
civilised countries cannot be subjected to exact comparison, there are
various points on which the international statistics of crime are able
to render valuable service. It is important, for instance, to see in
what relation crime in different communities stands to age, sex,
climate, temperature, race, education, religion, occupation, home and
social surroundings. If we find, for example, an abnormal development
of crime taking place in a given country at a certain period of life,
or in certain social circumstances, and if we do not discover the same
abnormal development taking place in other countries at a similar
period of life, or in a similar social stratum, we ought at once to
come to the conclusion that there is some extraordinary cause at work
peculiar to the country which is producing an unusually high total of
crime. If, on the other hand, we find that certain kinds of crime are
increasing or decreasing in all countries at the same time, we may be
perfectly sure that the increase or decrease is brought about by the
same set of causes. And whether those causes are war, political
movements, commercial prosperity, or depression, the community which
first escapes from them will also be the first to show it in the
annual statistics of crime. In these and many other ways international
statistics are of the greatest utility.

From what has already been said as to the immense difficulty of
comparing the criminal statistics of various countries, it follows as
a matter of course that the figures contained in them cannot be used
as a means of ascertaining the position which belongs to each nation
respectively in the scale of morality. Nor is the moral progress of a
nation to be measured solely by an apparent decay of crime. On the
contrary, an increase in the amount of crime may be the direct result
of a moral advance in the average sentiments of the community. The
passing of the Elementary Education Act of 1870 and of the Criminal
Law Amendment Act of 1885 have added considerably to the number of
persons brought before the criminal courts and eventually committed to
prison. But an increase of the prison population due to these causes
is no proof that the country is deteriorating morally. It will be
regarded by many persons as a proof that the country has improved, for
it is now demanding a higher standard of conduct from the ordinary
citizen than it demanded twenty years ago.[3]

    [3] Before the passing of the Elementary Education Act, no one
    was tried for not sending his child to school; it was not a legal
    offence; in 1888-9 no less than 80,519 persons were tried under
    this Act, in England and Wales.

On the other hand, a decrease in the official statistics of crime may
be a proof that the moral sentiments of a nation are degenerating. It
may be a proof that the laws are ceasing to be an effective protection
to the citizen, and that society is falling a victim to the forces of
anarchy and crime. It is, therefore, impossible by looking only at the
bare figures contained in criminal statistics, to say whether a
community is growing better or worse. Before any conclusions can be
formed on these matters, either one way or the other, we must go
behind the figures, and look at them in the light of the social,
political and industrial developments taking place in the society to
which these figures refer.

In this connection, it may not be amiss to point out that the present
tendency of legislation is bound to produce more crime. All law is by
its nature coercive, but so long as the coercion is confined within a
limited area, or can only come into operation at rare intervals, it
produces comparatively little effect on the whole volume of crime.
When, however, a law is passed affecting every member of the community
every day of his life, such a law is certain to increase the
population of our gaols. A marked characteristic of the present time
is that legislative assemblies are becoming more and more inclined to
pass such laws; so long as this is the case it is vain to hope for a
decrease in the annual amount of crime. Whether these new coercive
laws are beneficial or the reverse is a matter which it does not at
this moment concern me to discuss; what I am anxious to point out is,
that the more they are multiplied, the greater will be the number of
persons annually committed to prison. In initiating legislation of a
far-reaching coercive character, politicians should remember far more
than they do at present that the effect of these Acts of Parliament
will be to fill the gaols, and to put the prison taint upon a greater
number of the population. This is a responsibility which no body of
men ought lightly to incur, and in considering the advantages to be
derived from some new legislative enactment, an equal amount of
consideration should be bestowed upon the fact that the new enactment
will also be the means of providing a fresh recruiting ground for the
permanent army of crime.

A man, for instance, goes to prison for contravening some municipal
bye-law; he comes out of it the friend and associate of habitual
criminals; and the ultimate result of the bye-law is to transform a
comparatively harmless member of society into a dangerous thief or
house-breaker. One person of this character is a greater menace to
society than a hundred offenders against municipal regulations, and
the present system of law-making undoubtedly helps to multiply this
class of men. One of the leading principles of all wise legislation
should be to keep the population out of gaol; but the direct result of
many recent enactments, both in this country and abroad, is to drive
them into it; and it may be taken as an axiom that the more the
functions of Government are extended, the greater will be the amount
of crime.

These remarks lead me to approach the question of what is called "the
movement" of crime. Is its total volume increasing or decreasing in
the principal civilised countries of the world? On this point there is
some diversity of view, but most of the principal authorities in
Europe and America are emphatically of opinion that crime is on the
increase. In the United States, we are told by Mr. D.A. Wells,[4] and
by Mr. Howard Wines, an eminent specialist in criminal matters, that
crime is steadily increasing, and it is increasing faster than the
growth of the population.

    [4] _Recent Economic Changes_, p. 345.

Nearly all the chief statisticians abroad tell the same tale with
respect to the growth of crime on the Continent. Dr. Mischler of
Vienna, and Professor von Liszt of Marburg draw a deplorable picture
of the increase of crime in Germany. Professor von Liszt, in a recent
article,[5] says, that fifteen million persons have been convicted by
the German criminal courts within the last ten years; and, according
to him, the outlook for the future is sombre in the last degree. In
France, the criminal problem is just as formidable and perplexing as
it is in Germany; M. Henri Joly estimates that crime has increased in
the former country 133 per cent. within the last half century, and is
still steadily rising. Taking Victoria as a typical Australasian
colony, we find that even in the Antipodes, which are not vexed to the
same extent as Europe with social and economic difficulties, crime is
persistently raising its head, and although it does not increase quite
as rapidly as the population, it is nevertheless a more menacing
danger among the Victorian colonists than it is at home.[6]

    [5] _Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft_ ix.
    472, sg.

    [6] See _Statistical Register for Victoria_, Part viii.

Is England an exception to the rest of the world with respect to
crime? Many people are of opinion that it is, and the idea is at
present diligently fostered on the platform and in the press that we
have at last found out the secret of dealing successfully with the
criminal population. As far as I can ascertain, this belief is based
upon the statement that the daily average of persons in prison is
constantly going down. Inasmuch, as there was a daily average of over
20,000 persons in prison in 1878, and a daily average of about 15,000
in 1888, many people immediately jump at the conclusion that crime is
diminishing. But the daily average is no criterion whatever of the
rise and fall of crime. Calculated on the principle of daily average,
twelve men sentenced to prison for one month each, will not figure so
largely in criminal statistics as one man sentenced to a term of
eighteen months. The daily average, in other words, depends upon the
length of sentence prisoners receive, and not upon the number of
persons committed to prison, or upon the number of crimes committed
during the year. Let us look then at the number of persons committed
to Local Prisons, and we shall be in a position to judge if crime is
decreasing in England or not. We shall go back twenty years and take
the quinquennial totals as they are recorded in the judicial

  Total of the 5 years, 1868 to 1872,    774,667.
  Total of the 5 years, 1873 to 1877,    866,041.
  Total of the 5 years, 1884 to 1888,    898,486.

If statistics are to be allowed any weight at all, these figures
incontestably mean that the total volume of crime is on the increase
in England as well as everywhere else. It is fallacious to suppose
that the authorities here are gaining the mastery over the delinquent
population. Such a supposition is at once refuted by the statistics
which have just been tabulated, and these are the only statistics
which can be implicitly relied upon for testing the position of the
country with regard to crime.

Seeing, then, that the total amount of crime is regularly growing,
how is the decrease in the daily average of persons in prison to be
accounted for?

This decrease may be accounted for in two ways. It may be shown that
although the number of people committed to prison is on the increase,
the nature of the offences for which these people are convicted is not
so grave. Or, in the second place, it may be shown that, although the
crimes committed now are equally serious with those committed twenty
years ago, the magistrates and judges are adopting a more lenient line
of action, and are inflicting shorter sentences after a conviction.
Let us for a moment consider the proposition that crime is not so
grave now as it was twenty years ago. In order to arrive at a fairly
accurate conclusion on this matter, we have only to look at the number
of offences of a serious nature reported to the police. Comparing the
number of cases of murder, attempts to murder, manslaughter, shooting
at, stabbing and wounding, and adding to these offences the crimes of
burglary, housebreaking, robbery, and arson--comparing all these cases
reported to the police for the five years 1870-1874, with offences of
a like character reported in the five years 1884-1888, we find that
the proportion of grave offences to the population was, in many cases,
as great in the latter period as in the former.[7] This shows clearly
that crime, while it is increasing in extent, is not materially
decreasing in seriousness; and the chief reason the prison population
exhibits a smaller daily average is to be found in the fact that
judges are now pronouncing shorter sentences than was the custom
twenty years ago. We are not left in the dark upon this point; the
judges themselves frequently inform the public that they have taken to
shortening the terms of imprisonment. The extent to which sentences
have been shortened within the last twenty years can easily be
ascertained by comparing the committals to prison and the daily
average of the quinquenniad 1868-72 with the committals and the daily
average of the quinquenniad 1884-88. A comparison between these two
periods shows that the length of imprisonment has decreased twenty-six
per cent. In other words, whereas a man used to receive a sentence of
twelve months' imprisonment, he now receives a sentence of nine
months; and whereas he used to get a sentence of one month, he now
gets twenty-one days. If it he a serious offence, or if the criminal
be a habitual offender, he now receives eighteen months' imprisonment,
whereas he used to receive five years' penal servitude. As far as most
judges and stipendiary magistrates are concerned, sentences of
imprisonment have decreased in recent years more than twenty-six per
cent.; and if there was a corresponding movement on the part of
Chairmen of Quarter Sessions, the average decrease in the length of
sentences would amount to fifty per cent. But it is a notorious fact
that amateur judges are, with few exceptions, more inclined to
pronounce heavy sentences than professional men.


                 Murder.      Attempts to Murder.   Manslaughter
    1870-74   1 to 196,946       1 to 441,158       1 to 92,756
    1884-88   1 to 168,897       1 to 418,923       1 to 116,463

              Shooting, Stabbing, &c.    Burglary.    Housebreaking.
    1870-74      1 to 35,033           1 to 10,188     1 to 17,538
    1884-88      1 to 38,007           1 to  7,892     1 to 11,911

                   Robbery.               Arson.
    1870-74      1 to 43,247           1 to 54,075
    1884-88      1 to 70,767           1 to 77,018

    This table shows that since 1870-74 there has been an increase in
    murder, attempts to murder, burglary, and housebreaking, and a
    decrease in manslaughter, robbery, and arson. The decrease in
    shooting, stabbing, wounding, &c., is very small. (Cf. _Judicial
    Statistics_ for 1874 and 1888, p. xvi.)

We have now arrived at the conclusion that crime is just as serious in
its character as it was twenty years ago, and that it is growing in
dimensions year by year; the next point to be considered is, the
relation in which crime stands to the population. Crime may be
increasing, but the population may be multiplying faster than the
growth of crime. Is this the condition of things in England at the
present day? We have seen that the criminal classes are increasing
much faster than the growth of population in France and the United
States. Is England in a better position in this respect than these two
countries? At the present time there is one conviction to about every
fifty inhabitants, and the proportion of convictions to the population
was very much the same twenty years ago. If we remember the immense
development that has taken place in the industrial school system
within the last twenty years--a development that has undoubtedly had a
great deal to do with keeping down crime--we arrive at the conclusion
that, notwithstanding the beneficent effects of Industrial Schools,
the criminal classes in this country still keep pace with the annual
growth of population. If we had no Industrial and Reformatory
institutions for the detention of criminal and quasi-criminal
offenders among the young, there can be no doubt that England, as well
as other countries, would have to make the lamentable admission that
crime was not only increasing in her midst, but that it was increasing
faster than the growth of population. The number of juveniles in these
institutions has more than trebled since 1868,[8] and it is
unquestionable that if these youthful offenders were not confined
there, a large proportion of them would immediately begin to swell the
ranks of crime. That crime in England is not making more rapid strides
than the growth of population, is almost entirely to be attributed to
the action of these schools.

    [8] See Appendix II.

We shall now look at another aspect of the criminal question, and that
is its cost. Crime is not merely a danger to the community; it is
likewise a vast expense; and there is no country in Europe where it
does not constitute a tremendous drain upon the national resources.
Owing to the federal system of government in America, it is almost
impossible to estimate how much is spent in the prevention and
punishment of crime in the United States, but Mr. Wines calculates
that the police force alone costs the country fifteen million dollars
annually.[9] In the United Kingdom the cost of criminal justice and
administration is continually on the increase, and it has never been
so high as it is at the present time. In the Estimates for the year
1891 the cost of Prisons and of the Asylum for criminal lunatics falls
little short of a million sterling. Reformatory and Industrial Schools
for juvenile offenders cost considerably over half-a-million, and the
expenditure on the Police force is over five and a half millions
annually. Add to these figures the cost of criminal prosecutions, the
salaries of stipendiary and other paid magistrates, a portion of the
salaries of judges, and all other expenses connected with the trial
and prosecution of delinquents, and an annual total of expenditure is
reached for the United Kingdom of more than seven and a half millions
sterling. In addition to this enormous sum, it has also to he
remembered that a great loss of property is annually entailed on the
inhabitants of the three kingdoms by the depredations of the criminal
classes. The exact amount of this loss it is impossible to estimate,
but, according to the figures in the police reports, it cannot fall
short of a million sterling per annum.

    [9] _American Prisons_, 1888.

These formidable figures afford ample food for reflection. Apart from
its danger to the community, the annual loss of money which the
existence of crime entails is a most serious consideration. It is
equal to a tenth of the national expenditure, and every few years
amounts to as much as the cost of a big European war. It is tempting
to speculate on the admirable uses to which the capital consumed by
crime might be devoted, if it were free for beneficent purposes. How
easy it would be for many a scheme, which is now in the region of
dreamland, to be immediately realised. Unhappily, it is almost as vain
to look forward to the abolition of crime as it is to look forward to
the cessation of war. At the present moment the latter event, however
improbable, is more likely to happen than the former. War has ceased
to be a normal condition of things in the comity of nations; it has
become a transitory incident; but crime, which means war within the
nation, is still far from being a passing incident; on the contrary, a
conflict between the forces of moral order and social anarchy is going
on continually; and, at present, there is not the faintest prospect of
its coming to an end.

What is the cause of this state of warfare within society? Which of the
combatants is to blame? Or is the blame to be laid equally on the
shoulders of both? In other words, are the conditions in which men live
together in society of such a nature that crime is certain to flow from
them; and is crime simply a reaction against the iniquity of existing
social arrangements? Or, on the other hand, does crime spring from the
individual and his cosmical surroundings; and is it the product of
forces over which society has little or no control? These are questions
which cannot be answered off-hand, they involve considerations of a
most complicated character, and it is only after a careful examination
of all the factors responsible for crime that a true solution can
possibly be arrived at. These factors are divisible into three great
categories--cosmical, social, and individual.[10] The cosmical factors
of crime are climate and the variations of temperature; the social
factors are the political, economic and moral conditions in the midst
of which man lives as a member of society; the individual factors are a
class of attributes inherent in the individual, such as descent, sex,
age, bodily and mental characteristics. These factors, it will be seen,
can easily be reduced to two, the organism and its environment; but it
will be more convenient to consider them under the three-fold division
which has just been mentioned. Before proceeding to do so, it may be as
well to remark that in each case the several factors operate with
different degrees of intensity. It is often extremely difficult to
disentangle them; and the more complex the society is in which a crime
takes place, the greater is the combination and intricacy of the causes
leading up to it.

    [10] Cf. E. Ferri. I _Nuovi Orizzonti del Diritto e della Procedura



Man's existence depends upon physical surroundings; these surroundings
have exercised an immense influence in modifying his organism, in
shaping his social development, in moulding his character. To enumerate
all the external factors operating upon individual and social life is
outside our present purpose, but they may be briefly summed up as
climate, moisture, soil, the configuration of the earth's surface, and
the nature of its products. These natural phenomena, either singly or
in varying degrees of combination, have unquestionably played a most
prominent part in making the different races of mankind what they at
present are. We have only to look at the low type of life exhibited by
the primitive inhabitants of certain inhospitable regions of the globe
to see how profoundly the physical structure of man is affected by his
natural surroundings. Even a comparatively slight difference of
environment is not without effect upon the population subjected to its
influence. According to M. de Quatrefages, the bodily structure of the
English race has been distinctly modified by residence in the United
States of America. It is not more than two and a half centuries since
Englishmen began to emigrate in any considerable numbers to the
American Continent, but in that comparatively short period the
Anglo-American has ceased to resemble his ancestors in physical
appearance. Alterations have taken place in the skin, the hair, the
neck, and the head; the lower jaw has become bigger; the bones of the
arms and legs have lengthened, and the American of to-day requires a
different kind of glove from the Englishman. Structural changes of a
similar character have taken place in the negroes transplanted to
America. M. Elisée Reclus considers that in a century and a half they
have traversed a good quarter of the distance which separates them from
the whites. Another important point, as showing the influence of
habitat upon race, is the fact that the modifications of human
structure resulting from residence in America are in the direction of
assimilating the European type to that of the red man.[11] In short, it
may be taken as a well-established principle that external nature
destroys all organisms that cannot adapt themselves to its action, and
physiologically modifies all organisms that can.

    [11] The various types of Jews also afford a striking instance of
    the effect of natural surroundings on bodily structure.

The social condition of mankind is also profoundly affected by climatic
and other external circumstances. The intense cold of the Arctic and
Antarctic regions is fatal to anything approaching a developed form of
civilisation. Intense heat, on the other hand, although not
incompatible with a certain degree of progress, is unfavourable to its
permanence;[12] the extinct societies of the tropics, such as Cambodia,
Mexico and Peru, affording instances of the operation of this law. It
is impossible for man to get beyond the nomad state in the vast deserts
of Northern Africa; and the extreme moisture of the atmosphere in other
portions of the same continent puts an effectual check on anything like
social advance. In some parts of the world social development has been
hindered by external circumstances of another character, such as the
want of wood, the scarcity of animals, the absence of edible fruits. In
fact, it is only within a comparatively temperate zone that human
society has been able permanently to assume highly complex forms and to
build itself up on an extensive scale. In this zone, climate, while
favouring man up to a certain point, has at the same time compelled him
to eat bread in the sweat of his brow. It has compelled him to enter
into conflict with natural obstacles, the result of which has been to
call forth his powers of industry, of energy, of self-reliance, and to
sharpen his intellectual faculties generally. In addition to exercising
and strengthening these personal attributes, the climatic influences of
what has been called the zone of civilisation have brought man's social
characteristics more fully and elaborately into play. The nature of
these influences has forced him to cooperate more or less closely with
his fellows; while each step in the path of cooperation has involved
him in another of a more complex kind. The growth of social cooperation
is not necessarily accompanied by a corresponding development of the
moral sentiments; increased cooperation in some cases involving a
distinct ethical loss. In many directions, however, highly organised
societies tend to evolve loftier types of morality; and it is in
harmony with the facts to say that the highest moral types are not to
be found where nature does most or where it does least in the way of
providing food and shelter for man.

    [12] Ratzel. _Völkerkunde_, i. 20.

It is also interesting to observe the effect which climate, through the
agency of religion, has had upon human conduct. One of the main factors
in the origin of religion is the feeling of dependence upon nature so
strongly manifested in all primitive forms of faith. The outcome of
this feeling of dependence was to exalt the forces of nature into
divinities, and man's conception of these divinities, shaped as it was
by the attitude of nature around him, had an incalculable influence on
his life and actions. The remains of this influence are still visible
in the aesthetic effects which the forces and operations of nature
produce on civilised man; in all other respects it has to a large
extent passed away.[13]

    [13] Darwin says that in elaborating his theory of Natural
    Selection he attributed too little to external surroundings.
    _Life and Letters_.

We have now touched upon most of the ways in which external
surroundings have had a hand in shaping the course of human life in the
past; it will be our next business to inquire whether these
surroundings have any effect upon human conduct at the present day, and
especially upon those manifestations of conduct which are known as
crimes. That they still have an effect is an opinion which has long
been entertained.

Going back to the ancient Greeks, we find Hippocrates holding that all
regions liable to violent changes of climate produced men of fierce,
impetuous and stubborn disposition. "In approaching southern
countries," says Montesquieu, "one would believe that morality was
being left behind; more ardent passions multiply crimes; each tries to
gain from others all the advantages which can minister to these
passions." Buckle believes that the interruption of work caused by
instability of climate leads to instability of character. In analysing
the contents of French statistics, Quetelet,[14] while admitting that
other causes may neutralise the action of climate, proceeds to say that
the "number of crimes against property relatively to the number of
crimes against the person increases considerably as we advance towards
the north." Another eminent student of French criminal statistics, M.
Tarde, comes to very much the same conclusions as Quetelet; he admits
that a high temperature does exercise an indirect influence on the
criminal passions. But the most exhaustive investigations in this
problem have been undertaken in Italy, by Signor Enrico Ferri. After a
thorough examination of French judicial statistics for a series of
years, Ferri arrives at the conclusion that a maximum of crimes against
the person is reached in the hot months, while, on the other hand,
crimes against property come to a climax in the winter.[15]

    [14] _Physique Sociale_, ii. 282.

    [15] _Zeitschrift für Strafrechtswissenschaft_, ii., 486.

In testing these opinions respecting the influence of climate upon
crime, we are obliged, to some extent, to have recourse to
international statistics. But these statistics, as has already been
pointed out, owing to the diversity of customs, laws, criminal
procedure, and so on, do not easily admit of comparison. So much is
this the case that we shall not make the attempt as far as these
statistics have reference to crimes against property. In this field no
satisfactory result can, at present be obtained. The same remark holds
good in relation to all offences against the person, with the exception
of homicide. This, undoubtedly, in an important exception; and it
arises from the fact that there is a greater consensus of opinion among
civilised communities respecting the gravity of homicide than exists
with regard to any other form of crime. Murder in all its degrees is a
crime which immediately causes a profound commotion; it is easy to
recognise; it is more likely than any other offence to come to the ears
of the authorities. For these reasons this crime lends itself most
readily to international comparison; nevertheless, differences of
judicial procedure, legal nomenclature, and different methods of
classification stand in the way of making the comparison absolutely
accurate. These differences, however, are not so great as to render
comparison impossible or worthless; on the contrary, the results of
such a comparison are of exceptional value, and go a long way to
determine the question of the effect of climate upon crimes of blood.

Assuming, then, with these reservations, that such a comparison can be
instituted, let us see to what extent murder, in the widest sense of
the word, including wilful murder, manslaughter, and infanticide,
prevails in the various countries of Europe. In ordinary circumstances
this task would be a laborious one, entailing a minute and careful
examination of the criminal statistics and procedure of many nations.
Fortunately, it has recently been accomplished by Dr. Bosco in an
admirable monograph communicated in the first instance to the Journal
of the International Statistical Institute, but now published in a
separate form. Bosco's figures have all been taken from official
sources, and may, therefore, be accepted as accurate; but, before
tabulating-them, it may be useful to make an extract from the
explanatory note by which they are accompanied. "As the composition of
the population, with respect to age, varies in different countries, and
as it has to be remembered that all the population under ten years of
age has no share, at least under normal conditions, in the crime of
murder, it has seemed to me a more exact method to calculate the
proportion of murders to the inhabitants who are over ten years of age,
than to include the total population. For those States where a census
has been recently taken, such, for instance, as France and Germany, the
results of that census have been used; that is to say, the French
census of May, 1886, and the German census of December, 1885. For the
other States the population has been calculated (adding the excess of
births over deaths to the results of the last census) to the end of the
intermediate year for each period of years to which the information
relates; that is to say, to the end of 1883 for Belgium, and to the end
of 1884 for Austria, Hungary, Spain, England, Scotland and Ireland. As
the information respecting Italy refers to 1887 only, the population
has been estimated up to the end of that year. The division of the
population according to age (above and below ten) has been obtained by
means of proportional calculations based on the results of the census
for each State. In the case of France and Germany, however, it has been
taken directly from the census returns."[16]

Homicides of all kinds in the following European States:--

                                   Tried.            Convicted.
            Population        Annual    Per         Annual    Per
  Countries. over ten. Years. average 100,000       average 100,000
                                    inhabitants.          inhabitants.
  Italy    23,408,277   1887    3,606   15.40       2,805   11.98
  Austria  17,199,237   1883-6    689    4.01         499    2.90
  France   31,044,370   1882-6    847    2.73         580    1.87
  Belgium   4,377,813   1881-5    132    3.02         101    2.31
  England  19,898,053   1882-6    318    1.60         151    0.76
  Ireland   3,854,588   1882-6    129    3.35          54    1.40
  Scotland  2,841,941   1882-6     60    2.11          21    0.74
  Spain    13,300,839   1883-6  1,584   11.91       1,085    8.18
  Hungary  10,821,558   1882-6                        625    5.78
  Holland   3,172,464   1882-6     35    1.10          28    0.88
  Germany  35,278,742   1882-6    567    1.61         476    1.35

    [16] _Gli omicidii in alcuni stati d'Europa. Appunti di statistica
    comparata del Dr A. Bosco_, 1889.

What is the import of these statistics? We perceive at once that
Italy, Spain and Hungary head the list in the proportion of murders to
the population. In Italy, out of every 100,000 persons over ten years
of age, eleven in round numbers are annually convicted of murder in
one or other of its forms; in Spain eight are convicted of the same
offence, and in Hungary five are convicted. These three countries are
conspicuously ahead of all the others to which our table refers.
Austria and Belgium follow at a long distance with two convictions in
round numbers to every 100,000 inhabitants over ten. France, Ireland
and Germany come next with one conviction and a considerable fraction
to every 100,000 persons over ten; England, Scotland and Holland stand
at the bottom of the list with between seven and eight persons
convicted of murder to every one million of inhabitants over ten.

In order to understand the full meaning of these figures we must take
one more stop and compare the numbers convicted with the numbers
tried. In some countries very few convictions may take place in
proportion to the number accused, while in other countries the
proportion may be very considerable. In other words, in order to
arrive at an approximate estimate of the amount of murders perpetrated
in a country, we must consider how many cases of murder have been
tried in the course of the year. It very seldom happens that a person
is tried for this offence when no murder has been committed; and it
may, therefore, be assumed that the crime has taken place when a man
haw to stand his trial for it. Estimating then the prevalence of
murder in the various countries by trials, rather than convictions,
it will be found that Germany, with a much larger percentage of
convictions than England, has just as few cases of murder for trial.
And the reason the number of convictions, as between the two nations,
differs, arises from the fact that a prisoner's chance of acquittal in
England is a hundred per cent. greater than it is in Germany. It is
not, therefore, accurate to assume that a greater number of murders
are committed in Germany than in England because a greater number
of persons are annually convicted of this crime; all that these
convictions absolutely prove is, that the machinery of the criminal
law is more effective in the one country than in the other. To take
another instance, more persons are annually tried for murder in
Ireland than in France; but more cases of conviction are recorded in
France than in Ireland. These contrasts show that, while the French
are less addicted to this grave offence than the Irish, they are more
anxious to secure its detection, and that a greater body of public
opinion is on the side of law in France than in Ireland. All these
instances (and more could easily be added to them) are intended to
call attention to the importance of looking at the number of persons
tried, as well as the percentage of persons convicted, if we desire to
form an accurate estimate of the comparative prevalence of crime.

While thus showing that the number of trials for murder is the best
test of the prevalence of this offence, it is not meant that the test
is in all respects indisputable. At most it is merely approximate. One
obstacle in the way of its entire accuracy consists in the circumstance
that the proportion of persons tried, as compared with the amount of
crime committed, is in no two countries precisely the same. In France,
for instance, more murders are perpetrated, for which no one is
ultimately tried, than in Italy or in England; that is to say, a
murderer runs more risk of being placed in the dock in this country
than in France. But the difference between the two countries is again
to a great extent adjusted by the fact that once a man is placed in
the dock in France he has far less chance of being acquitted than if
he were tried according to English law. On the whole, therefore, it
may be assumed that the international statistics of trials, corrected
when necessary by the international statistics of convictions, present
a tolerably accurate idea of the extent to which the crime of murder
prevails among the nationalities of Europe. In any case these figures
will go some way towards helping us to see whether climatic conditions
have any influence upon the amount of crime. This we shall now inquire

On looking at the isotherms for the year it will be observed that the
average temperature of Italy and Spain is ten degrees higher than
the average temperature of England. On the other hand, the average
temperature of Hungary is very much the same as the average temperature
of this country; but Hungary is at the same time exposed to much
greater extremes of climate than England. In winter it is nearly ten
degrees colder than England, while in summer it is as hot as Spain.
The advocates of the direct effect of climate upon crime contend that
account must be taken not merely of the degree of temperature, but
also of the variations of temperature to which a region is exposed.
According to this theory one of the principal reasons the crime of
murder is, at least, fourfold higher in Hungary than in England, is to
be found in the violent oscillations of temperature in Hungary as
compared with England. In Italy murders are, at least, ten times as
numerous as in England; in Spain they are seven times as numerous; the
chief cause of this condition of things is said to be the serious
difference of temperature. In the United States of America there are
more crimes of blood in the South than in the North; the main
explanation of this difference is said to be that the climate of the
South is much hotter than the climate of the North.

In opposition to this theory of the intimate relation between
temperature and crime, it may be urged that the greater prevalence of
crimes of blood in hot latitudes is a mere coincidence and not a
causal connection. This is the view taken by Dr. Mischler in Baron von
Holtzendorff's "Handbuch des Gefängnisswesens." He says the real
reason crimes of blood are more common in the South of Europe than in
the North is to be attributed to the more backward state of
civilisation in the South, and to the wild and mountainous character
of the country. To the latter part of this argument it is easy to
reply that Scotland is quite as mountainous as Italy, and yet its
inhabitants are far less addicted to crimes against the person. But it
is more civilised, for, as M. Tarde ingeniously contends, the bent of
civilisation at present is to travel northward. Admitting for a moment
that Scotland is more civilised than Spain or Italy, all savage
tribes, on the other hand, are confessedly less advanced in the arts
of life than these two peninsulas. But, for all that, many of these
savage peoples are much less criminal. "I have lived," says Mr.
Russell Wallace, "with communities of savages in South America and in
the East who have no laws or law courts, but the public opinion of the
village freely expressed. Each man scrupulously respects the rights of
his fellows, and any infraction of these rights rarely or never takes
place." Mr. Herbert Spencer also quotes innumerable instances of the
kindness, mildness, honesty, and respect for person and property of
uncivilised peoples. M. de Quatrefages, in summing up the ethical
characteristics of the various races of mankind, comes to the
conclusion that from a moral point of view the white man is hardly any
better than the black. Civilisation so far has unfortunately generated
almost as many vices as it has virtues, and he is a bold man who will
say that its growth has diminished the amount of crime. It is very
difficult then to accept the view that the frequency of murder in
Spain and Italy is entirely due to a lack of civilisation.

Nor can it be said to be entirely due to economic distress. A
condition of social misery has undoubtedly something to do with the
production of crime. In countries where there is much wealth side by
side with much misery, as in France and England, adverse social
circumstances drive a certain portion of the community into criminal
courses. But where this great inequality of social conditions does not
exist--where all are poor as in Ireland or Italy--poverty alone is not
a weighty factor in ordinary crime. In Ireland, for example, there in
almost as much poverty as exists in Italy, and if the amount of crime
were determined by economic circumstances alone, Ireland ought to have
as black a record as her southern sister. Instead of that she is on
the whole as free from crime as the most prosperous countries of
Europe. In the face of these facts it is impossible to say that the
high rate of crime in Italy and Spain is to be wholly accounted for by
the pressure of economic adversity.

Will not difference of race suffice to account for it? Is it not the
case that some races are inherently more prone to crime than others?
In India, for instance, where the great mass of the population is
singularly law-abiding, a portion of the aboriginal inhabitants have
from time immemorial lived by plunder and crime. "When a man tells
you," says an official report, quoted by Sir John Strachey, "that he
is a Badhak, or a Kanjar, or a Sonoria, he tells you what few
Europeans ever thoroughly realise, that he, an offender against the
law, has been so from the beginning and will be so to the end; that
reform is impossible, for it is his trade, his caste--I may almost say
his religion--to commit crime." It is not poverty which makes many of
these predatory races criminals. Speaking of the Mina tribe inhabiting
one of the frontier districts of the Punjab, Sir John Strachey says:
"Their sole occupation is, and always has been, plunder in the native
States and in distant parts of British India; they give no trouble at
home, and, judging from criminal statistics, it would be supposed that
they were an honest community. They live amid abundance, in
substantial houses with numerous cattle, fine clothes and jewels, and
fleet camels to carry off their plunder." Special laws have been made
for dealing with these tribes; a register of their numbers is kept;
they can be compelled to live within certain local limits, but in
spite of these coercive measures crime is not suppressed, and "a long
time must elapse before we see the end of the criminal tribes of

Coming back to European peoples, it is worthy of note that both
Hungary and Finland are inhabited by the same race. These two
countries are separated by about fifteen degrees of latitude, but in
the matter of murder the people of Finland are much more nearly allied
to the Hungarians than to their immediate neighbours, the Swedes and
Norwegians. The Finns commit about twice as many murders in proportion
to the population as the Teutons of Scandinavia, but only about half
as many as the Hungarians; and it is not improbable to suppose that
while the effect of race makes them more murderous than the
Scandinavians, the effect of climate makes them less murderous than
the inhabitants of Hungary.

Before bringing forward any additional material on one side or the
other, let us pause for a moment to consider the results which have
just been obtained as to the effect of race as compared with climate
upon crime. In India we have found an Aryan and a non-Aryan population
living together under the same climatic influences, and very much the
same social conditions, and we have seen that the Aborigines are more
criminally disposed than the Aryan invaders. Again we have a Mongolian
race living in the far North of Europe, and we find that they show a
larger percentage of homicidal crime than the Teutonic inhabitants
who live in the same latitudes. In Hungary, where the Mongoloid type
is once more met with, the same facts are substantially reproduced;
this type is more homicidal than the Austrian Teutons living under a
similar climate. While these facts point to the conclusion that race
has apparently some influence on the amount of crime, they fail to
show that race characteristics alone are sufficient to explain the
differences in criminality between the same peoples when settled in
different quarters of the globe. The Mongoloid type in Finland is
less criminal than the same type in Hungary, and the Teutonic type
in Scandinavia is less murderously disposed than the same type in
the empire of Austria. It has also been pointed out that the
Anglo-American of the Northern States is more law abiding than his
brother by race in the South, while both are more murderous than the
inhabitants of the United Kingdom; where extremes of climate are not
so great.

With these facts before us we shall now institute another comparison
between two widely separated branches of the Anglo-Saxon race, namely,
the colonists of Australia and the people of the motherland. Of the
Australian colonists it is not incorrect to say that they are, on the
whole, the pick of the home population. It is perfectly true that a
certain proportion of the ne'er-do-wells have emigrated to Australia,
and some of them, no doubt, help to swell the normal criminal
population of the colonies. But, on the other hand, Australia has this
advantage, that the average colonist who seeks a home beyond our
shores is generally a superior man to the average citizen who remains
at home; he is more steady, more enterprising, more industrious. In
this way the balance is adjusted in favour of the colonies. It is a
great deal more than redressed if the superior, social, and economic
conditions, under which the colonists live, are also placed in the
scale. In his "Problems of Greater Britain," Sir Charles Dilke has
shown, with admirable clearness, what immense advantages are enjoyed
by the working population of Australia as compared with the same class
at home; so much is this the case that the Australian colonies have
been not inaptly called the paradise of the working man. Here then is
an excellent opportunity for comparing the effects of climate upon
crime. In Australia we have a people of the same race as ourselves,
better off economically, living under essentially the same laws and
governed in practically the same spirit. Almost the only difference
between the inhabitants of the United Kingdom and the communities of
Australia is a difference of climate. Does this difference manifest
itself in the statistics of crime? In order to test the matter we
shall exclude the colony of New South Wales from our calculations. For
its size New South Wales is the richest community in the world, and
its riches are well distributed among all classes of the population.
But it was at one time a penal settlement, and it is possible that the
criminal statistics of the colony are still inflated by that remote
cause. The sister colony of Victoria stands upon a different footing
and is free from that disturbing factor; we shall therefore select
that colony as a normal type of the Australian group. In Part V.I.I.
of the Statistical Register of the colony of Victoria for 1887, there
is an excellent summary of the position of the colony with respect to
crime. The admirable manner in which these judicial statistics are
arranged, reflects the highest credit on the colonial authorities; for
fulness of information and clearness of arrangement they are not
surpassed by any similar statistics in the world. As homicide is the
crime on which we have hitherto based our international comparisons,
we shall, for the present, confine our attention to the Victorian
statistics of this offence.

  Countries|Population|Years.|       Tried        |   Convicted
           | over Ten.|      | Annual     Per     | Annual     Per
           |          |      |Average 100,000     |Average   100,000
           |          |      |        Inhabitants.|        Inhabitants.
  Victoria |   581,838|1882-6|   22       3.2     |   14       2.5
  Kingdom  |26,594,582|1882-6|  505       2.35    |  226       .96

Before proceeding to analysis the contents of this table, it will be
as well to explain the method on which it has been constructed, and
the sources from which it is derived. The population of Victoria, over
ten years of age, has been calculated according to the Victorian
census for 1881, as contained in Part II. of the Victorian Statistical
Register. In order to make the Victorian table harmonise in all
particulars with Dr. Bosco's table for England, Scotland, and Ireland,
the excess of births over deaths has been calculated up to the end of
1884. The United Kingdom, it will be seen, has been selected as the
measure of comparison with the colony of Victoria. This selection has
been made on the ground that the colony of Victoria is not composed of
the inhabitants of any one of the three kingdoms, but contains a
mixture of them all. It will also be observed that the homicidal crime
of each of the three kingdoms differs from the other, but this is a
consideration which we shall not further comment upon at present.

After these preliminary explanations we are now in a position to
examine the contents of our statistical table in its bearing upon
crimes of blood. It will now be possible to see what light the criminal
statistics of Victoria, as compared with the criminal statistics of the
United Kingdom, throw upon these crimes; and the disturbing factor of
race being eliminated, what is the influence of climate pure and simple
upon them. According to the isotherms for the year the Victorians live
in an atmosphere between eight and ten degrees hotter than our own.
Side by side with this additional heat, there is, as compared with
the United Kingdom, an additional amount of crime. In the colony of
Victoria, in proportion to every 100,000 inhabitants over ten years of
age, there are nearly one-third more murders annually than in the
United Kingdom. On what ground is this considerable increase of
homicide to be accounted for, except on the ground of climate? The
higher percentage is not caused by difference of race; it is not
caused by worse economic conditions--these conditions are much
superior to our own--the meaning of the figures is not obscured by any
material differences of legal procedure or legal nomenclature. It
cannot be urged that the Victorian population are the dregs of the
home population; the very opposite is the fact. The bad characters who
emigrate are the only disturbing element; but, after all, these men
are not so numerous, and the evil effects of their presence is
counterbalanced by the superiority of the average colonist to the
average citizen who remains at home. It may be said that there is
greater difficulty in detecting crime in a new colony than in an old
and settled country. As applied to some colonies it is possible this
objection may be sound, but, as applied to Victoria, it will not hold
good. In Victoria the police are much more effective than they are at
home, and a criminal has much less chance of going unpunished there
than he has in England. In Victoria in the year 1887, out of a total
of 40,693 cases reported to the police, 34,473 were brought up for
trial. In England, on the other hand, out of a total of 42,391
indictable offences reported to the police in 1886-7, only 19,045
persons were apprehended. The Victorian figures include offences of
all kinds, petty as well as indictable, whereas the English figures
deal with indictable offences only. But admitting this, and admitting
that it is more difficult to arrest indictable offenders, this
difficulty is not so great as to explain away the vast difference in
the numbers apprehended in Victoria as compared with the numbers
apprehended in England. Only one conclusion can be drawn from these
figures, and it is that the Victorian constabulary are more efficient
than our own, and that it is a more dangerous thing for a person to
break the law in the young colony of Victoria than in the old
community at home.

It seems to me that the points of comparison between the United
Kingdom and Victoria, in so far as they have any bearing upon crime,
have now been exhausted; on almost every one of these points Victoria
stands in a more favourable position than ourselves. The colony has,
on the whole, a better kind of citizen; it has superior social and
economic conditions; it has a far more effective system of police. On
what possible ground, then, is it, except the ground of climate, that
the Victorians are more addicted to homicide than the people of the
United Kingdom? I admit it would be rash to assert that climate is the
cause if our own and the Victorian statistics were the only documents
to which we could appeal; it would be rash to draw such a sweeping
conclusion from so isolated a basis. But when we know that the
Victorian statistics are only one set of documents among many, and
that all these sets of documents point to the operation of the same
law, the case assumes an entirely different complexion. The results of
the Victorian statistics harmonise with the conclusions already
reached from a comparison of the criminal statistics of Europe and
America. These conclusions in turn are powerfully reinforced by the
experience of Australia. In fact, the whole body of evidence, from
whatever quarter it is collected, points with remarkable unanimity to
the conviction that, as far as European peoples and their offshoots
are concerned, climate alone is no inconsiderable factor in
determining the course of human conduct.

Yet the evil influence of climate, mischievous as it is at present, is
not to be looked upon and acquiesced in as an irrevocable fatality. At
first sight it would seem as if the human race could not possibly
escape the malevolent action of cosmical influences over which it has
little or no control. The rise and fall of temperature, its rage and
intensity, is one of these influences, and yet its pernicious offsets
are capable of being held to a large extent in check. As far as bodily
comfort is concerned, it is marvellous to consider the innumerable
methods and devices the progressive races of mankind have invented to
protect themselves against the hostility of the elements by which they
are surrounded. In fact, an important part of the history of the race
consists in the ceaseless efforts it has been making to improve upon
and perfect these methods and devices. We have only to compare the
rude hut of the savage with the modern dwelling of the civilised man
in order to see to what extent we can shield ourselves from the
elemental forces in the midst of which we have to live. We have only
to mark the difference between the miserable and scanty garments of
the natives of Terra del Fuego and the attire of the Englishman of
to-day to see what can be done by man in the way of rescuing himself
from the inclemencies of Nature. If these conquests can be achieved
where our physical existence is in peril, there can be little reason
to doubt that advances of a similar nature can be made in the moral
order as soon as man comes to feel equally conscious of their
necessity. As a matter of fact, in some quarters of the world these
advances have already in some measure been made. In the vast peninsula
of India the structure of society is so constituted that the evil
effect of climate in producing crimes of blood has been marvellously
neutralised. It hardly admits of dispute that the caste system on
which Indian society is based is, on the whole, one of the most
wonderful instruments for the prevention of crimes of violence the
world has ever seen. The average temperature of the Indian peninsula
is about thirty degrees higher than the average temperature of the
British Isles, and if there were no counteracting forces at work,
crimes of violence in India should be much more numerous than they are
with us. But the counteracting forces acting upon Indian society are
of such immense potency that the malign influences of climate are very
nearly annihilated as far as the crimes we are now discussing are
concerned; and India stands to-day in the proud position of being more
free from crimes against the person than the most highly civilised
countries of Europe. In proof of this fact we have only to look at the
official documents annually issued respecting the condition of British
India. According to the returns contained in the Statistical Abstract
relating to British India and the Parliamentary paper exhibiting its
moral and material progress, the number of murders reported to the
police of India is smaller than the number reported in any European
State. The Indian Government issue no statistics, so far as I am
aware, of the numbers tried; it is, therefore, impossible to institute
any comparison between Europe and India upon this important point. But
when we come to the number convicted it is again found that India
presents a lower percentage of convictions for murder than is to be
met with among any other people. It may, however, be urged that the
statistical records respecting Indian crime are not so carefully kept
as the statistics of a like character relating to England and the
Continent. Sir John Strachey assures us that this is not the case; he
says that these statistics are as carefully collected and tabulated in
India as they are at home, and we may accept them as worthy of the
utmost confidence. The following table, which I have prepared from the
official documents already mentioned, may, therefore, be taken as
giving an accurate account of the condition of India between 1882-6,
as far as the most serious of all crimes is concerned. In order to
facilitate comparison I have drawn it up as far as possible on the
same lines as the other tables in this chapter.

     |Population |Years.|          Cases of Homicide.
     | over Ten. |      |    Reported.            Convicted.
     |                      -----------------------------------------
     |           |      |Annual  |Per         |Annual  |Per
     |           |      |Average.|100,000     |Average.|100,000
     |           |      |        |Inhabitants.|        |Inhabitants.
India|148,543,223|1882-6| 1,930  |   1.31     |  690   |   .46

According to this table, the remarkable fact is established that the
number of cases of homicide in India committed by persons over ten
years of age and reported to the police is smaller per 100,000
inhabitants than the number of cases of the same nature brought up for
trial in England. In order to appreciate the full importance of this
difference it has to be remembered that in England a great number of
cases of homicide are reported to the police, for which no one is
apprehended or brought to trial. In the case of the notorious
Whitechapel murders which horrified the country a year or two ago no
one was ever brought to trial, hardly any one was arrested or
seriously suspected. These crimes and many others like them materially
augment the number of homicides reported to the police, but they never
figure among the cases annually brought for trial before assizes. As a
matter of fact, no one is ever tried in more than one half of the
cases of homicide reported to the police in the course of the year. In
the year 1888, for instance, 403 cases of homicide were reported to
the police in England and Wales; but in connection with all these
cases only 196 persons were committed for trial. In short, double the
number of homicides are committed as compared with the number of
persons tried; and if a comparison is established between India and
England on the basis of homicides reported to the police, the outcome
of such a comparison will be to show that there are annually more than
twice as many murders committed per one hundred thousand inhabitants
over the age of ten in England than there are in India.

An objection may be taken to these figures on the ground that the
crime of infanticide is much more prevalent to India than it is in
England, and that the perpetrators of this crime are much less
frequently brought to justice in the former country than with us. That
objection is to some extent valid; at the same time it is well to
remember that infanticide in India is an offence of a very special and
peculiar character; the motives from which it springs are not what is
usually understood as criminal; these motives arise from religious
usage and immemorial custom; in short, it is English law and not the
Indian conscience which makes infanticide a crime. Of course, the
practice of infanticide is a proof that the Hindu mind has not the
same high conception of the value of infant life as one finds in the
western world, and in that respect India stands on an inferior moral
level to ourselves. But with the exception of infanticide (and it is
necessary to except it for the reasons I have just alleged) India has
not half as many homicides annually as England.[17]

    [17] For the high percentage of infanticide in England see the
    evidence given before the House of Lords last July (1890) by
    Judges Day and Wills.

To what cause is this vast difference in favour of India to be
attributed? It is hardly probable that the difference is produced to
any appreciable extent, if at all, by the nature of the food used by
the people of India. If it were correct that a vegetable diet, such as
is almost exclusively used by the inhabitants of India, had a salutary
effect on the conduct of the population, we should witness the results
of it, not only in the Indian peninsula, but also in other quarters of
the world. The nature of the food consumed by the Italians bears a
very close resemblance in its essential constituents to the dietary of
the inhabitants of India; in both cases it is almost entirely composed
of vegetable products. If vegetable, as contrasted with animal food,
exercised a beneficial influence on human conduct; if it tended, for
example, to restrain the passions, to minimise the brute instincts,
some indisputable proof of this would be certain to show itself in the
criminal statistics of Italy. As a matter of fact, no such proof
exists. On the contrary, Italy is, of all countries within the pale of
civilisation, the one most notorious for crimes of blood. In the face
of this truth, it is impossible to believe that a vegetable diet has
anything to do either with producing or preventing crime, and the
contention that the wonderful immunity of India from offences against
the person is owing to the food used by the inhabitants must be looked
upon as without foundation.

The peculiar structure of society is unquestionably the most satisfactory
explanation of the high position occupied by the inhabitants of India
with respect to crime. The social edifice which a people builds for
itself is among all civilised communities a highly complex product, and
consists of a great agglomeration of diverse materials. These materials
are partly drawn from the primitive characteristics of the race; they
are partly borrowings from other and contiguous races; they are to a
considerable extent derived from natural surroundings of all kinds;
and in all circumstances they are supplemented by the genius of
individuals. In short, all social structures, when looked at minutely,
are found to be composed of two main ingredients--race and environment;
but these two ingredients are so indissolubly interfused that it is
impossible to say how much is to be attributed to the one, and how much
to the other, in the building up of a society. But if, it is impossible
to estimate the value of the several elements composing the fabric
of society, it is easy to ascertain the dominating idea on which all
forms of society are based. That dominating idea, if it may for the
moment be called such, is the instinct of self-preservation, and it
exercises just as great a power in determining the formation and play
of the social organism as it exercises in determining the attitude of
the individual to the world around him. In working out the idea of
self-preservation into practical forms, the social system of most
peoples has hitherto been built up with a view to protection against
external enemies in the shape of hostile tribes and nations; the
internal enemies of the commonwealth--the thieves, the housebreakers,
the disturbers of public order, the shedders of blood, the perpetrators
of violence--have been treated as only worthy of secondary consideration.
Such are the lines on which social structure has, in most cases,
proceeded, with the result that while external security was for long
periods assured, internal security remained as imperfect and defective
as ever.

The structure of society in India is, however, an exception to the
general rule. External security, or, in other words, the desire for
political freedom has, to a great extent, become extinct wherever the
principles of Brahmanism have succeeded in taking root.

These principles have been operating upon the Indian mind for thousands
of years; their effect in the sphere of politics excited the wonder of
the ancient Greeks, who tell us that the Indian peasant might be seen
tilling his field in peace between hostile armies preparing for battle.
A similar spectacle has been seen on the plains of India in modern
times. But Brahmanism, while extinguishing the principle of liberty in
all its branches, and exposing its adherents to the mercy of every
conqueror, has succeeded, through the caste system, in bringing
internal order, security, and peace to a high pitch of excellence. This
end, the caste system, like most other religious institutions, did not
and does not have directly in view; but the human race often takes
circuitous routes to attain its ends, and while apparently aiming at
one object, is in reality securing another. The permanent forces
operating in society often possess a very different character from
those on the surface, and when the complicated network in which they
are always wrapped up is stripped from off them, we find that they are
some fundamental human instincts at work in disguise.

These observations are applicable to the caste system. This system,
when divested of its externals, besides being an attempt to satisfy
the mystic and emotional elements in the Indian heart, also represents
the genius of the race engaged in the task of self-preservation. The
manner in which caste exercises this function in thus described by Sir
William Hunter in His volume on the Indian Empire. "Caste or guild,"
he says, "exercises a surveillance over each of its members from the
close of childhood until death. If a man behaves well, he will rise to
an honoured place in his caste; and the desire for such local
distinctions exercises an important influence in the life of a Hindu.
But the caste has its punishments as well as its rewards. Those
punishments consist of fine and excommunication. The fine usually
takes the form of a compulsory feast to the male members of the caste.
This is the ordinary means of purification, or of making amends for
breaches of the caste code. Excommunication inflicts three penalties:
First, an interdict against eating with the fellow members of the
caste; second, an interdict against marriage within the caste. This
practically amounts to debarring the delinquent and his family from
respectable marriages of any sort; third, cutting off the delinquent
from the general community by forbidding him the use of the village
barber and washerman, and of the priestly adviser. Except in very
serious cases, excommunication is withdrawn upon the submission of the
offender, and his payment of a fine. Anglo-Indian law does not enforce
caste decrees. But caste punishments exercise an efficacious restraint
upon unworthy members of the community, precisely as caste rewards
supply a powerful motive of action to good ones. A member who cannot
be controlled by this mixed discipline of punishment and reward is
eventually expelled; and, as a rule, 'an out-caste' is really a bad
man. Imprisonment in jail carries with it that penalty, but may be
condoned after release by heavy expiations."

Those remarks of Sir William Hunter afford an insight into the
coercive power exercised by the caste system on the Indian population.
Without that system it is probable that the criminal statistics of
India would present as high a proportion of crimes of violence and
blood as now exists among the peoples of Southern Europe. But with
that system in active operation, the evil influence of climate is
completely neutralised and India at the present moment enjoys a
remarkable immunity from violent crime. With the example of India
before us we are justified in coming to the conclusion that homicide
and crimes of a kindred nature need not necessarily be the malign
products of climate. Whatever climate has to do with fostering these
offences may be obviated by a better form of social organisation. It
would be ridiculous to dream of basing western society upon Indian
models; but at the same time India teaches us a lesson on the
construction of the social fabric which it would be well to learn. The
tendency of western civilisation at the present time is to herd vast
masses of men into huge industrial centres. It is useless discussing
the abstract question whether this is a good thing or a bad; we must
reconcile ourselves to the fact that it is a process forced upon
communities by the necessities of modern industrialism; and we must
accordingly make the best of it. In our efforts to make the best of
present tendencies, and to render them as innocuous as possible to
social welfare, there is one point at least where India is able to
teach us an instructive lesson. In India a man seldom becomes, what he
too often is, in all our large cities, a mere lonely, isolated unit,
left entirely to the mercy of his own impulses, constrained by no
social circle of any description, and unsustained by the pressure of
any public opinion for which he has the least regard. In India he is
always a member of some fraternity within the community; in that
fraternity or caste he feels at home; he is never isolated; he belongs
to a circle which is not too big for his individuality to be lost; he
is known; he has a reputation and a status to maintain; his life
within the caste is shaped for him by caste usages and traditions, and
for these he is taught to entertain the deepest reverence. Caste is in
many of its aspects a state in miniature within the state; in this
capacity it performs a variety of admirable functions of which the
state itself is and must always remain incapable.

Before the era of great cities the township in the West used to
exorcise some of the functions at present discharged in India by the
system of caste. But the township in the old sense of the word, with
its settled population and the common eye upon all its members, has
to a large extent disappeared. The influence of the family is at the
same time being constantly weakened by the migratory habits modern
industrialism entails on the population; in a word, the old
constraining force, which used to hold society together, are almost
gone, and nothing effective has sprung up to replace them.

In these circumstances what is to be done? It is useless attempting to
restore the past. That never has been accomplished successfully; all
attempts in that direction look as if they were opposed to the nature
of things. It is among the living and vigorous forces of the present
that we must look for help. I shall content myself by mentioning one
of these forces, namely Trade Societies. It seems a pity that these
societies should confine their operations merely to the limited object
of forcing up wages. That object is, of course, a perfectly laudable
and legitimate one, but it is surely not the supreme and only end for
which a Trade Society should exist. A Trade Society would do well to
teach its members how to spend as well as how to earn. What, indeed,
is the use of higher wages to a certain section of the members of
Trades-Unions? The increased pay, instead of being a blessing, becomes
a curse; it leads to drunkenness, to wife-beating, to disorder in the
public streets, to assaults on the police, to crimes of violence and
blood. It is a melancholy fact that the moment wages begin to rise,
the statistics of crime almost immediately follow suit, and at no
period are there more offences of all kinds against the person than
when material prosperity is at its height.

It lies well within the functions of such Trades-Unions as possess an
enlightened regard for the welfare of their members, to introduce a
code of regulations which would tend to minimise some of the evils
which have just been mentioned. It would immeasurably raise the status
of the Union, if certain disciplinary measures could be adopted
against members convicted of offences against the law. In the
professions of law and medicine it is the custom at the present time
to expel members who are proved guilty of serious offences of this
description, and unquestionably the dread of expulsion exercises a
most salutary influence on the conduct of all persons belonging to
these professions. It would be possible for Trade organisations to
accomplish much without resorting to this rigorous treatment; and the
real object for which such societies exist--the well-being of the
members--would be attained much more effectively than is the case at
present. Wages are but the means to an end; the end is individual,
domestic and social welfare, and it is only a half measure to supply
the means unless something is also done to secure the end.



Let us now approach the question of temperature and crime from another
point of view. International statistics indicate pretty clearly that
warm regions exercise an injurious effect on the conduct of European
peoples. Does the information furnished by these statistics stand
alone, or is it supported by the result of investigations conducted in
a different field? To this vital question it will be our endeavour to
supply an answer. In the annual reports of the Prison Commissioners
there is an instructive diagram showing the mean number of prisoners
in the local prisons of England and Wales on the first Tuesday of each
month. This diagram has been published for a considerable number of
years, and if we take any period of six years it is remarkable to
observe the unfailing regularity with which crime begins to decrease
as soon as the summer is over and the temperature begins to fall. From
the month of October till the month of February in the following year,
the prison population continues almost steadily to diminish; from the
month of February till the month of October, the same population,
allowing for pauses in its progress and occasional deflections in its
course, mounts upwards with the rising temperature. According to the
last sextennial diagram of the Prison Commissioners, which embraces
the six years ended March, 1884, the mean number of prisoners in the
local prisons of England and Wales was, on the first Tuesday in
February, 17,600; on the first Tuesday in April it had risen to
18,400; on the first Tuesday in July it had reached nearly 19,000; on
the first Tuesday in October it culminated in 19,200. From this date
onwards the numbers decreased just as steadily as they had previously
risen, reaching their lowest point in February, when the upward
movement again commenced. The steadiness and regularity of this rise
and fall of the prison population, according to the season of the
year, goes on with such wonderful precision that it must proceed from
the operation of some permanent cause. What is this permanent cause?
Is it economic, social, or climatic?

Is it economic? It is sometimes asserted that the increase of crime in
the summer months is due to the large number of tramps who leave the
workhouses after the winter is over and roam the country in search of
employment. Many of these wanderers, it is said, are arrested for
vagrancy; in summer they swell the prison population just as they
swell the workhouse population in winter. This explanation of the
increase of crime in summer contains so many elements of probability,
that it has come to be rather widely accepted by students of criminal
phenomena. It has not, however, been my good fortune to meet with any
facts or statistics of sufficient weight to establish the validity of
this explanation. As far as I can ascertain it is an explanation which
has obtained currency almost entirely through its own intrinsic
probability; it is believed, but it has not been proved. Let us
proceed to put it to the test. For this purpose we shall select the
county of Surrey--a fairly typical English county, composed partly of
town and partly of country. In the county of Surrey during the month
of July, 1888, sixty per cent. fewer persons were imprisoned for
vagrancy than in the following month of January, 1889. As far as
Surrey is concerned, these figures effectually dispose of the idea
that vagrancy is more common in summer than in winter; as a matter of
fact they demonstrate that the very opposite is the case. Surrey is
the only county for which I have been able to obtain trustworthy
statistics, but there is every reason to believe that the statistics
of Surrey reveal on a limited scale what the whole of England, if
figures were procurable, would reveal on a large scale. Assuming,
then, that what holds good for Surrey is equally valid for the rest of
England, the conclusion is forced upon us that the augmentation of
crime in summer does not arise from an increase of vagrants and others
arrested and convicted under the Vagrancy Acts while in search of work
or pretending to be in search of it. The assumption that such is the
case is quite unwarranted by the facts so far as they are obtainable,
and another explanation must be sought of the greater prevalence of
crime in summer as compared with winter.

An economic cause of an opposite character to vagrancy has by some
been considered as accounting for the facts now under consideration.
In the summer months, work as a rule is more easily procured; people
in consequence have more money to spend; drunkenness becomes more
common, and the high prison population of summer is to be attributed
to drink. That there is a greater consumption of drink when work
becomes more plentiful is a perfectly correct statement which has been
verified over and over again, and it is also equally correct to say
that drinking leads its victims to the police court. But it has to be
remembered that in almost all cases of drunkenness the magistrate
allows the alternative of a fine. A much larger percentage of fines
is paid in summer than in winter, the result being that the increase
of drunkenness in summer does not disproportionally increase the size
of the prison population. In July, 1888, as compared with January,
1889, cases of felony and assault, followed by imprisonment, increased
in the county of Surrey 20 and 28 per cent. respectively, while
drunkenness on the other hand only increased 18 per cent. The reason
of this relatively small increase of imprisonment for drunkenness does
not arise from the fact that there is less drunkenness in proportion
to the other forms of crime; it is owing to the greater facility with
which this offence can be purged by the payment of a fine. It is
more easily purged in this fashion in summer than in winter, because
people have more money in their pockets. Money, in short, acts in two
capacities which neutralise each other; on the one hand it brings more
persons before the magistrates on charges of drunkenness; on the other
hand, it enables more persons to escape with the simple penalty of a
fine. The prison population is, therefore, not unduly swollen in
summer by the undoubted increase in drinking during that season of the
year; drinking has, in fact, less to do with that increase than any
other cause.

The preceding observations on vagrancy and drinking will suffice to
show that as far as these two factors are concerned, the rise of the
prison population in the warm weather cannot be explained on economic
grounds. Are there any social habits which will account for it? Change
of seasons has a notable effect on social habits. In the cold days of
winter, the great mass of the population live as much as possible
within the shelter of their own home; as long as the short days and
the cheerless and dismal weather continue, there is little to tempt
them out of doors and to bring them into contact with each other. But
with the advance of spring this condition of things is changed; the
lengthening days, the milder atmosphere, the more abundant sunshine
offer increased facilities for social intercourse. Crowds of people
are thrown together, quarrelling and disorders arise, which call for
the interference of the police to be followed shortly after by a
sentence of imprisonment. The growth of international intercourse is
said to make for peace; the growth of social intercourse, admirable as
it is in many respects, has the unfortunate drawback of mating for
black eyes and broken heads. Admitting the truth of this serious
indictment against our social instincts, and no one can deny that it
does contain a considerable amount of truth, the fact still remains
that weather is indirectly if not directly the source from which the
increase of crime in summer proceeds. It is the good weather that
multiplies occasions for human intercourse; the multiplication of
these facilities augments the volume of crime; and thus it comes to
pass, that the conduct of society is, at least, indirectly affected by
changes of season and the oscillations of temperature.

But it is also directly affected by these causes, as I shall now
proceed to show. In one of the principal London prisons the average
prison population during the months of June, July and August for the
five years ended August, 1889 was 1,061, and the daily average number
of punishments amounted to 9 and a fraction per thousand. The average
population during the winter months of December, January, February,
for the five years ended February, 1890, was 1009, and the daily
average number of punishments amounted to 7 and a fraction per
thousand. According to these statistics, we have an increase of 2
punishments per day, or 12 per week (omitting Sundays) to every
thousand prisoners in the three summer months as compared with the
three winter months. In other words, there is a greater tendency among
the inmates of prisons to commit offences against prison regulations
in summer than in winter. In what way is this manifest tendency to be
accounted for? If prisoners were free men living under a variety of
conditions, and subject to a host of complex influences, it would be
possible to adduce all sorts of causes for the existence of such a
phenomenon, and it would be by no means a difficult matter to find
plausible arguments in support of each and all of them. But the almost
absolute similarity of conditions under which imprisoned men live
excludes at one stroke an enormous mass of complicating factors, and
reduces the question to its simplest elements. Here are a thousand men
living in the same place under the same rules of discipline, occupied
in the same way, fed on the same materials, with the same amount of
exercise, the same hours of sleep; in fact, with similarity of life
brought almost to the point of absolute identity; no alteration takes
place in these conditions in summer as compared with winter, yet we
find that there are more offences committed by them in the hotter
season than in the colder. In what way, except on the ground of
temperature, is this difference to be explained. The economic and
social factors discussed by us in connection with the increase of
crime do not here come into play. All persons in prison are living
under the same social and economic conditions in hot weather as well
as in cold. The only changes to which they are subjected are cosmical;
cosmical causes are accordingly the only ones which will account
adequately for the facts. Of these cosmical causes, temperature is by
far the most conspicuous, and it may therefore be concluded that the
increase of prison offences in summer is attributable to the greater

Seeing, then, that temperature produces these effects inside prison
walls, it is only reasonable to infer that it produces similar effects
on the outside world. The larger number of offences against prison
discipline which take place in the hot weather have their counterpart
in the larger number of offences committed against the criminal law
during the same season of the year. The conclusions arrived at with
respect to the action of season are supported by the conclusions
already reached with respect to the action of climate. In fact, both
sets of conclusions support each other; both of them point to the
operation of the same cause.

To any one who may still feel reluctant to admit the intimate relation
between cosmical conditions and crime I would point out that
suicide--a somewhat similar disorder in the social organism--likewise
increases and diminishes under the influences of temperature. "We
cannot help acknowledging," says Dr. Morselli, in his work on
"Suicide," "that through the whole of Europe the greater number of
suicides happen in the two warm seasons. This regularity in the annual
distribution of suicide is too great to be attributed to chance or to
the human will. As the number of violent deaths can be predicted from
year to year with extreme probability in any particular country, so
can the average of every season also be foreseen; in fact, these
averages are so constant from one period to another as to have almost
the specific character of a given statistical series." Professor von
Oettingen in his valuable work, "Die Moralstatistik," comes to the
very same conclusions as Morselli, although his point of view is
entirely different. After mentioning several of the principal States
of Europe, the statistics of which he had examined, Von Oettingen goes
on to say that it may be accepted as a general law that the prevalence
of suicide in the different months of the year rises and falls with
the sun--in June and July it is most rampant; in November, December
and January it descends to a minimum. In London there are many more
suicides in the sunny month of June than in the gloomy month of
November, and throughout the whole of England the cold months do not
demand nearly so many victims as the hot. In the face of these
indisputable facts Von Oettingen, while rejecting the idea that there
is any inexorable fatality, as Buckle believed, connected with their
recurrence, is obliged to admit that the hot weather exercises a
propelling influence on suicidal tendencies, and that the cold weather
on the other hand acts in an opposite direction[18].

    LENGTH PER 10,000, 1865-84:--

    January,   732.              July,      905.
    February,  714.              August,    891.
    March,     840.              September, 705.
    April,     933.              October,   772.
    May,      1003.              November,  726.
    June,     1022.              December,  697.

    Dr. Ogle, vol. xlix., 117. _Statistical Society's Journal_.

The influence of temperature is, however, much less powerful on crime
than it is on suicide. It has the effect of raising by one third the
number of persons to whom life becomes an intolerable burden, but
according to the diagram in the Prison Commissioners' Reports the
highest increase in crime between summer and winter does not amount to
more than one twelfth. In other words, between six and eight per cent.
of the crime committed in this country in summer may with reasonable
certainty be attributed to the direct action of temperature. This is
a most important result and I should almost hesitate to state it if
it were supported by my investigations only. But this is far from
being the case. In an important paper contributed to the Revista di
Discipline Carcerarie for 1886, Dr. Marro, one of the most
distinguished students of crime in Italy, has arrived at similar
conclusions. He has shown that in the Italian prisons in the four
hottest months of the Italian summer--May, June, July and
August--there are also the greatest number of offences against prison
discipline. This is a result which coincides in every particular with
what has already been pointed out as holding good in English prisons,
and the attempts of Dr. Colajanni in the second volume of his work,
"La Sociologia Criminale," to explain it away are not by any means
successful. It is hardly possible to conceive a more suitable form of
test for estimating the effect of temperature on human action than the
one afforded by a comparison of the offences committed against prison
regulations at the different seasons of the year. Such a comparison
amply bears out the contention that the seasons are a factor which
must not be overlooked in all enquiries respecting the origin of
crime, and the best methods of dealing with it.

In what way does a rise in temperature act on the individual so as
to make him less capable of resisting the criminal impulse? This is
a question of some difficulty, deserving more attention from
physiologists than it has yet received. It is a satisfactorily
established conclusion that the higher temperature of the summer
months has a debilitating effect on the digestive functions; it is
also believed that these months have an enervating effect on the
system generally. In so far as the heat of summer produces disease, it
at the same time tends to produce crime. Persons suffering from any
kind of ailment or infirmity are far more liable to become criminals
than are healthy members of the community. The intimate connection
between disease and crime is a matter which must never be forgotten.
In the present instance, however, the closeness of this connection is
not sufficient to account for the growth of crime in summer. According
to the Registrar General's report for 1889 the death rate in the
twenty-eight large towns is less in the six months from June to
November than in the six months which follow. There is, therefore,
less disease at the very time when there is most crime. In the face of
this fact it cannot be contended that disease, generally, pushes the
population into criminal courses in summer.

But while this is so, it may yet be true that some special enfeeblement
(generated by the rise of temperature) which does not assume the acute
form usually implied in the name, disease has the effect of
stimulating impulses of a criminal character, or of weakening the
barrier which prevents these impulses from breaking out and carrying
all before them. It is a perfectly well-established fact that a high
temperature not only produces physical enfeeblement, but that it also
impairs the usual activity and energy of the brain. In other words,
a high temperature is invariably accompanied by a certain loss of
mental power. In most persons this loss is comparatively trifling, and
has hardly any perceptible effect on their mode of life and conduct;
in others, it assumes more serious proportions. In some who are
susceptible to cosmical influences, and for one reason or another are
already on the borderland of crime, the decrease of mental function
involved in a rise of temperature becomes a determining factor, and a
criminal act is the result. Through the agency of climate the mental
forces which are normally capable of holding the criminal instincts in
check, lose for a time their accustomed power, and it is whilst this
temporary loss endures that the person subject to it becomes most
liable to be plunged into disaster. It is in this manner, in my
belief, that temperature deleteriously operates upon human conduct.

The results of my investigations do not, however, bear out the
commonly accepted view that crimes against property increase in the
depth of winter. As far as this law relates to crime in France it may
be correct; the statistical inquiries of Guerry, Ferri, and Corre
point to that conclusion. On the other hand, as far as the law relates
to England, I have serious doubts as to its validity. In the county of
Surrey, in the year 1888-89, not only more crimes against the person,
but also more crimes against property were committed in July than in
January. In the former month, as compared with the latter, cases of
felony increased 20 per cent.; and if Surrey is to be taken as a fairly
typical English county--which there is every reason to believe it
is--we have before us the remarkable fact that there are more offences
against property in summer than in winter. The current opinion that
winter is the most criminal period of the year is entirely fallacious,
and it is extremely probable that it is equally fallacious to imagine
that property is less sate when the days are short and the nights

But while property, on the whole, in more safe in winter than in
summer, the offences committed against it in winter are, as a rule, of
a more serious character. This, at least, is the conclusion which I
should be inclined to draw, from the fact that there are more
indictable offences--that is to say, offences not tried by a
magistrate, but by a judge and jury--in the six months between October
and March than in the summer six months. For the year ended September,
1888, which is an average year, there were fully 2000 more indictable
offences in the winter six months than in the summer six months. As a
considerable proportion of indictable offences consist in crimes
against property of the nature of housebreaking and burglary, it is
very probable that these crimes are most prevalent in winter. But if
all kinds of offences against property, petty as well as grave, are
thrown together, and calculated under one head, it comes out that
these offences are most numerous in summer.

The only kind of crime that increases in Surrey in winter is vagrancy;
the growth of this offence for the years I have mentioned in January,
as contrasted with July was 60 per cent. The development of vagrancy
in the cold months is partly owing to the fact that work is not so
easily procured in the cold weather; and a certain percentage of the
population, mainly dependent for subsistence on casual and irregular
out-door jobs, will rather resort to begging than the workhouse, when
this kind of occupation is temporarily at a standstill. This class,
however, is a comparatively small one, and constitutes a very feeble
proportion of the offenders against the Vagrancy Acts which swell the
prison statistics in winter. Most of the offenders against these acts
are people who seize the opportunity afforded by the bitter weather of
appealing to the sympathies of the public. In summer the occupation of
such persons is to some extent gone; in the hot sunshine their rags
and piteous looks do not so strongly affect our feelings of
commiseration; we know they are not suffering from cold; their
petitions and entreaties accordingly fall upon deaf ears; in short,
begging is not a paying trade in the hot months. In winter, all these
conditions are reversed; with the first fall of snow off go the
vagrant's boots, and out he runs looking the picture of misery and
destitution. In an hour or two, if he escapes the attentions of the
police, he has made as much as will keep him comfortably for a few
days; but like many better men his success often brings about his
fall; the alms of a generous public are consumed in the nearest
beer-shop; sallying forth in quest of fresh booty, and made bold and
insolent with drink, the beggar soon finds himself in the hands of the
authorities. Anyone who cares to verify this statement can easily do
so by following the reports of the police courts, and taking note of
the number of convictions for _drunkenness and begging_--a somewhat
significant combination of offences, and one which ought to make the
inconsiderate giver pause.

What are the practical conclusions to be deduced from this study of
the relations between temperature and crime? The first and most
obvious conclusion is, that any considerable rise of temperature has a
tendency, as far as Europeans and their descendants are concerned, to
diminish human responsibility. Whether there are any palliatives
against this tendency in the way of regimen, and what they are, is a
matter for the consideration of physiologists; and a most important
matter it is, for a high temperature does not merely lead to offences
against the law, it also injuriously affects the conduct of children
in schools, of soldiers in the army, of workmen in factories, and of
the public generally in their relations with one another. While it is
the task of physiologists to examine the physical aspects of the
anti-social tendencies developed by variations of temperature, it is
the duty of all persons placed in positions of authority to recognise
their existence; and to recognise their existence not merely in
others, but also in themselves. It is, unfortunately, not seldom true
that justice is not administered so wisely and patiently in the
burning summer heat as it is at other times. In adjudicating on
criminal cases in the sultry weather, magistrates and judges would do
well to remember that cosmical influences are not without their effect
on human judgments, and that precipitate decisions, or decisions based
upon momentary irritation, or decisions, the severity of which they
may afterwards regret, are to some extent the result of those
influences. The same caution is applicable to those who have to deal
with convicted men; it should be remembered by them that in summer
their tempers are more easily tried, while they have at the same time
more to try them; and the knowledge of these facts should keep them on
the alert against themselves.

While increased temperature undoubtedly decreases personal
responsibility, it is a most difficult matter to decide whether this
factor ought to be taken into consideration when passing sentence on
criminal offenders. It is much more truly an extenuating circumstance
than the majority of pleas which receive the name. In a variety of
cases, such, for instance, as threats, assaults, manslaughter, murder,
a high temperature unquestionably sometimes enters as a determining
factor into the complex set of influences which produce these crimes.
But the first difficulty confronting a judge, who endeavours to take
such a factor into account, will he the difficulty of discovering
whether it was present or not in the individual case he has before
him. In reply to this objection it may be urged, and urged too with
considerable truth, that this hindrance is not insuperable. It is
possible to overcome it by noting whether the case in question stands
alone, or whether it is only one among a group of others taking place
about the same period. Should it turn out to be a case that stands
alone, it would be fair to assume that temperature is not a cause
requiring to be taken into consideration in dealing with the offender.
Should it, on the contrary, turn out to be one in a group of cases, it
would be equally fair to assume that temperature was not without its
effect in determining the action of the offender.

Having got thus far, having isolated temperature from among the other
causes, and having fixed upon it as the most potent of them all, what
would immediately and imperatively follow? As a matter of course it
would ensue that a person whose deeds are powerfully influenced by
the action of temperature is to that extent irresponsible for them.
To arrive at such a conclusion is equivalent to saying that such a
person, if his offences are at all serious, constitutes a grave
peril to society. In a sense, he may be less criminal, but he is
certainty more dangerous; and as the supreme duty of society is
self-preservation, such a person must be dealt with solely from that
point of view. It would be ridiculous to let him off because he is
largely irresponsible; his irresponsibility is just what constitutes
his danger, and is the very reason he should be subjected to prolonged

In all offences of a trivial character presumably springing to a large
extent from the action of temperature, it might be wise if the
offender were only punished in such a way as would keep alive in his
memory a vivid recollection of the offence. This method of punishment
is better effected by a short and sharp term of imprisonment than by
inflicting a longer sentence and making the prison treatment
comparatively mild. A short, sharp sentence of this character has also
another advantage which is well worth attention. In many cases the
offender is the bread-winner of the home. The misery which follows his
prolonged imprisonment is often heartrending; the home has to be sold
up bit by bit; the mother has to strip off most of her scanty garments
and becomes, a piteous spectacle of starvation and rags, the
childrens' things have to go to the pawnshop; and it is fortunate if
one or two of the family does not die before the husband is released.
The misery which crime brings upon the innocent is the saddest of its
features, and whatever society can do consistently with its own
welfare to shorten or mitigate that misery, ought, in the interests of
our common humanity, to be done.

One word with reference to offences which do not come within the
cognisance of the criminal law. I do not know if there are any
statistics to show that, in schools, in workshops, in the army, or,
indeed, in any industry or institution where bodies of people are
massed together under one common head--there are more cases of
insubordination and more offences against discipline when the
temperature is high than in ordinary circumstances. But, whether such
a statistical record exists or not, there can be little doubt that
cases of refractory conduct prevail most largely in the warm season.
It would therefore be well if this fact were borne in mind by all
persons whose duty it is to enforce discipline and require obedience.
Considering that there are certain cosmical influences at work, which
make it note difficult for the ordinary human being to submit to
discipline, it might not be inexpedient, in certain cases, to take
these unusual conditions into account and not to enforce in their full
rigour all the penalties involved in a breach of rules. It is a
universal experience that many things which can ordinarily be done
without fatigue or trouble, become, at times, a burden and a source of
irritation. Some physical disturbance is at the root of this change,
and a similar disturbance is also at the root of the defective
standard of conduct which a high temperature almost invariably
succeeds in producing among some sections of the community.



Under this heading I shall discuss some of the more important social
factors which either directly or indirectly tend to produce crime. It
will be impossible to discuss them all. The action of society upon the
individual is so complex, its effects are so varied, in many instances
so impalpable, that we must content ourselves with a survey of those
social phenomena which are most generally credited with leading up to
acts of delinquency.

It is very commonly believed that destitution is a powerful factor in
the production of crime; we shall therefore start upon this inquiry by
considering the extent to which destitution is responsible for
offences against person and property. A definition of what is meant by
destitution will assist in clearing the ground. It is a definition
which is not at all difficult to formulate; one destitute person is
remarkably like another, and what applies to one applies with a
considerable degree of accuracy to all. We shall, therefore, define a
destitute person as a person who is without house or home, who has no
work, who is able and willing to work but can get none, and has
nothing but starvation staring him in the face. Is any serious amount
of crime due to the desperation of people in a position such as this?
In order to answer this question it is necessary, in the first place,
to ask what kind of crime such persons will be most likely to commit.
It is most improbable that they will be crimes against the person,
such as homicide or assault; it will not be drunkenness, because, on
the assumption of their destitution, they will possess no money to
spend. In short, the offences a person in a state of destitution is
most likely to commit are begging and theft. What proportion of the
total volume of crime is due to these two offense? This is the first
question we shall have to answer. The second is, to what extent are
begging and theft the results of destitution? An adequate elucidation
of these two points will supply a satisfactory explanation of the part
played by destitution in the production of crime.

The total number of cases tried in England and Wales either summarily
or on indictment during the year 1887-88 amounted to 726,698. Out of
this total eight per cent. were cases of offences against property
excluding cases of malicious damage, and seven per cent. consisted of
offences against the Vagrancy Acts. Putting these two classes of
offences together we arrive at the result that out of a total number
of crimes of all kinds committed in England and Wales, 15 per cent.
may conceivably be due to destitution. This is a very serious
percentage, and if it actually represented the number of persons who
commit crime from sheer want of the elementary necessaries of life,
the confession would have to be made that the economic condition of
the country was deplorable. But is it a fact that destitution in the
sense we have been using the word is the cause of all these offences?
This is the next question we have to solve, and the answer springing
from it will reveal the true position of the case.

Let us deal first with offences against property. As has just been
pointed out these constitute eight per cent. of the annual amount of
crime. But according to inquiries which I have made, one half of the
annual number of offenders against property, so far from being in a
state of destitution, were actually at work, and earning wages at the
time of their arrest. Nor in this surprising. The daily newspapers
have only to be consulted to confirm it. In a very great number of
instances the records of criminal proceedings testify to the fact that
the person charged is in some way or other defrauding his employer,
and when these cases are deducted from the total of offences against
property, it considerably lessons the percentage of persons driven by
destitution into the ranks of crime. Add to these the great bulk of
juvenile offenders convicted of theft, and that peculiar class of
people who steal, not because they are in distress, but merely from a
thievish disposition, and it will he manifest that half the cases of
theft in England and Wales are not due to the pressure of absolute

But what shall be said of the other half which still represents four
per cent. of the annual amount of crime. According to the calculations
just referred to, the offenders constituting this percentage were not
in work when the crimes charged against them were committed. Was it
destitution arising from want of employment which led them to break
the law? At first sight one may easily be inclined to say that it is.
These people, it will be argued, have no work and no money. What are
they to do but beg or steal? Before jumping at this conclusion it must
not be forgotten that there is such a person as the habitual criminal.
The habitual criminal, as he will very soon tell you if you possess
his confidence absolutely, declines to work. He never has worked, he
does not want work; he prefers living by his wits. With the
recollection of imprisonment fresh upon him an offender of this
description may in rare instances take employment for a short period,
but the regularity of life which work entails is more than he can
bear, and the old occupation of thieving is again resorted to. To live
by plundering the community is the trade of the habitual criminal; it
is the only business he truly cares for, and it is wonderful how long
and how often he will succeed in eluding the suspicion and vigilance
of the police. Of course, offenders of this class, when arrested, say
they are out of work, and will very readily make an unwary person
believe that it is destitution which drives them to desperation. But
as was truly remarked a short time ago by a judge in one of the London
courts, nearly all of these very men are able to pay high fees to
experienced counsel to defend them. After these observations, it will
be seen that the habitual criminal, the man who lives by burglary,
housebreaking, shoplifting, and theft of every description, is not to
be classed among the destitute. Criminals of this character constitute
at least two per cent. of the delinquents annually brought before the

Respecting the two per cent. of offenders which remain to be accounted
for, it will not be far from the mark to say that destitution is the
immediate cause of their wrong-doing. These offenders are composed of
homeless boys, of old men unable to work, of habitual drunkards who
cannot got a steady job, or keep it when they get it, of vagrants who
divide their time between begging and petty theft, and of workmen on
the tramp, who have become terribly reduced, and will rather steal
than enter a workhouse. The percentage of these offenders varies in
different parts of the country. In the north of England, for instance,
there are comparatively few homeless boys who find their way before
the magistrates on charges of theft; in London, on the other hand, the
number is considerable, and ranges according to the season of the
year, or the state of trade, to between 1 and 3 per cent. of the
criminal population. Why does London enjoy such an evil pre-eminence
in this matter? In my opinion it often arises from the fact that
house-accommodation is so expensive in the metropolis. In London, it
is a habit with many parents, owing to the want of room at home, to
make growing lads shift for themselves at a very early age. These boys
earn just enough to enable them to secure a bare existence; out of
their scanty wages it is impossible to hire a room for themselves;
they have to be contented with the common lodging-house. In such
places these boys have to associate with all sorts of broken-down,
worthless characters, and in numbers of instances they come by degrees
to adopt the habits and modes of life of the class among which their
lot is cast. At the very time parental control is most required it is
almost entirely withdrawn; the lad is left to his own devices; and, in
too many cases, descends into the ranks of crime. The first step in
his downward career begins with the loss of employment; this sometimes
happens through no fault of his own, and is simply the result of a
temporary slackness of trade; but in most instances a job is lost for
want of punctuality or some other boyish irregularity which can only
be properly corrected at home. To lose work is to be deprived of the
means of subsistence; the only openings left are the workhouse or
crime. It is the latter alternative which is generally chosen, and
thus, the lad is launched on the troubled sea of crime.

It must not be understood that all London boys drift into crime after
the manner I have just described. In some instances these unfortunates
have lived all their life in criminal neighbourhoods, and merely
follow the footsteps of the people around them. What, for instance, is
to be expected from children living in streets such as Mr. Charles
Booth describes in his work on "Life and Labour in East London?" One
of these streets, which he calls St. Hubert Street, swarms with
children, and in hardly any case does the family occupy more than one
room. The general character of the street is thus depicted. "An awful
place; the worst street in the district. The inhabitants are mostly of
the lowest class, and seem to lack all idea of cleanliness or decency
.... The children are rarely brought up to any kind of work, but loaf
about, and, no doubt, form the nucleus for future generations of
thieves and other bad characters." In this street alone there are
between 160 and 170 children; these children do not require to go to
lodging-houses to be contaminated; they breathe a polluted moral
atmosphere from birth upwards, and it is more than probable that a
considerable proportion of them will help to recruit the army of
crime. It is not destitution which will force them into this course,
but their up-bringing and surroundings.

In addition to homeless boys who steal from destitution, there are, as
I have said, a number of decrepit old men who do the same. There is a
period in a workman's life when he becomes too feeble to do an average
day's work. When this period arrives employers of labour often
discharge him in order to make way for younger and more vigorous men.
If his home, as sometimes happens, is broken up by the death of his
wife, his existence becomes a very lonely and precarious one. An odd
job now and again is all he can get to do, and even these jobs are
often hard to find. His sons and daughters are too heavily encumbered
with large families to be capable of rendering any effective
assistance, and the Union looms gloomily in the distance as the only
prospect before the worn-out worker. But it sometimes happens that he
will not face that prospect. He will rather steal and run the risk of
imprisonment. And so it comes to pass that for a year or two before
finally reconciling himself to the Union, the aged workman will lead a
wandering, criminal life on a petty scale; he becomes an item in the
statistics of offenders against property.

Habitual drunkards form another class who sometimes steal from
destitution. The well-known irregularity of these men's habits
prevents them, in a multitude of cases, from getting work, and
unfortunately, they cannot keep it when they do get it. Employers
cannot depend on them; as soon as they earn a few shillings they
disappear from the workshop till the money is spent on drink. It is at
such times that they are arrested for being drunk and disorderly. As
they can never pay a fine they have to go to prison, but long before
their sentence has expired they have lost their job, and must look out
for something else. If such men do not find work many of them are not
ashamed to steal, and it is only when trade is at flood-tide that they
can be sure of employment, no matter how irregular their habits may
be. At other times they are the first to be discharged and the last to
be engaged. It is not really destitution, but intemperance which turns
them into thieves. That they are destitute when arrested is perfectly
true, but we must go behind the immediate fact of their destitution in
order to arrive at the true causes of their crimes. When this is done
it is found that the stress of economic conditions has very little to
do with making these unhappy beings what they are; on the contrary, it
is in periods of prosperity that they sink to the lowest depths.

Summing up the results of this inquiry into the relations between
destitution and offences against property, we arrive as nearly as
possible at the following figures, so far as England and Wales are

  Proportion of offences against property to total
     offences:                                            8. p. cent.
    Thus divided:
  Proportion of offenders in work when arrested:          4. p. cent.
  Proportion of offenders, habitual thieves:              2. p. cent.
  Proportion of offenders, homeless lads and old men:     1. p. cent.
  Proportion of offenders, drunkards, tramps:             1. p. cent.
                                                          8. p. cent.

We shall now proceed to an examination of offences against the
Vagrancy Acts presumably arising from destitution. It has already
been pointed out that seven per cent. of the annual amount of crime
committed in England and Wales consists of offences against the
Vagrancy Acts, and it now remains for us to inquire whether these
offences are the result of destitution, or what part destitution plays
in producing them.

Out of the 52,136 offenders against the Vagrancy Acts in the year
1888, less than one half (45 per cent.) were charged with begging; the
other offences consisted principally in prostitution, in having
implements of housebreaking, in frequenting places of public resort to
commit felony, in being found on enclosed premises for unlawful
purposes. In all these cases, with the exception of prostitution, it
is not probable that destitution had much, if anything, to do with
inducing the offenders to violate the law. Men who live the life of
incorrigible rogues, who prowl about enclosed premises, who lead a
mysterious existence, without doing any work, are not to be classed
among the destitute; as a general rule, such persons are habitual
thieves and vagabonds, who persist in the life they have adopted
merely because it suits them best. One of the great difficulties in
dealing with persons of this stamp is their hatred of a well-ordered
existence; in a vast number of cases the life they live is the only
kind of life they thoroughly enjoy; it is a profound mistake to
imagine that they are pining for what are usually regarded as the
decencies and comforts of human beings. Nothing is further from their
thoughts. Let us alone and mind your own business is the secret
sentiment and often the open avowal of most of these people. "We
should be miserable living according to your ideas; let us live
according to our own." It is very common for benevolent people to
assume that the objects of their compassion and solicitude are, in
reality, as wretched as they imagine them to be. Living themselves in
ease, and it may be affluence, and surrounded by all the amenities of
existence, it is difficult for them to realise that multitudes can
enjoy a rude kind of happiness in the absence of all this. Such,
however, is the fact. The vagabond class is not more miserable than
any other; it is, of course, not without its sorrows, vicissitudes,
and troubles, but what section of the community is free from these
ills? This class has even a philosophy adapted to its circumstances,
the fundamental articles of which have been once for all summed up in
the lines of Burns:--

  "Life is all a variorum;
    We regard not how it goes,
  Let them cant about decorum
    Who have characters to lose."

What has just been said respecting the loafing, thieving vagabond
applies in a very great measure to the ordinary beggar. The habitual
beggar is a person who will not work. He hates anything in the shape
of regular occupation, and will rather put up with severe hardships
than settle down to the ordinary life of a working-man. It would be
easy to adduce instances to demonstrate the accuracy of what is here
stated. It would be easy to mention cases by the hundred, in which men
addicted to begging have been thoroughly fitted out and started in
life, but all to no purpose. Once a man fairly takes to begging, as a
means of livelihood, it is almost hopeless attempting to cure him.
After a time he loses the capacity for labour; his faculties, for want
of exercise, become blunted and powerless, and he remains a beggar to
the end of his days. It sometimes happens that the beggar who has
taken to mendicancy as a profession is obliged to go to the workhouse
as a kind of temporary refuge. This is not so frequent considering the
sort of life a vagrant has to lead; but when it does occur, the
labour-master of the Union very often finds it next to impossible to
got him to perform the task every able-bodied person is expected to
complete when taking shelter in a Casual Ward. As a result the
habitual beggar has sometimes to appear before the magistrates as a
refractory pauper, but a short sentence of imprisonment, which usually
follows, has lost all its terrors for him; he prefers enduring it to
doing the task allotted to him at the workhouse.

From this it will be seen that habits of indolence, and not the stress
of destitution, are responsible for a great deal of the begging which
goes on in England; but these habits are not answerable for the whole
of it. When times are bad begging has a decided tendency to increase,
and this arises from the fact that a considerable proportion of the
community possess wonderfully few resources within themselves. Even in
depressed times it is astonishing how well men who can turn their
hand, as it is called, can manage to live. Men of this stamp are not
beaten and rendered helpless by the misfortune of losing their usual
employment; they are capable of devising fresh methods of earning a
livelihood; they are persistent, persevering, energetic; they are not
content to stand by with their hands in their pockets and their back
at the wall; at times they even create an occupation, and devise new
wants for the community. Such men exist in large numbers among the
working population, and are able to tide over periods of slackness and
depression in a truly admirable way. But there are others who are
utterly lost the moment trade ceases to flourish. As soon as they lose
the job they have been accustomed to work at they at once sink into a
condition of complete helplessness; knowing not which way to move or
what steps to take; in a very short time they are to be found
soliciting alms in the streets. It is a very serious matter when such
persons are reduced to these straits. With the advent of better times
it is often very difficult to enrol them once again in the ranks of
industry. Bad habits have been acquired, self-respect has broken down,
the mind has become accustomed to a lower plane of existence; the
danger has arisen that persons who were to begin with only beggars by
accident may end by becoming beggars from choice. This is what
actually does happen in some instances, and especially where the level
of life and comfort has at all times been low. The transition from the
one state to the other is not a very pronounced one, and the step into
the position of a habitual beggar is not hard to take after a certain
number of lessons in the mendicant's art have once been learnt. In one
sense it is the pressure of want which has made these people beggars,
in another sense it is their own apathy and feebleness of resource.

It is not easy to estimate the number of persons who become habitual
mendicants in consequence of slackness of work and the temporary loss
of employment. As a matter of fact the whole body of statistical
information bearing upon vagrancy is rather unreliable in character,
and it is difficult to see how it can be anything else. In almost all
cases of begging the initiative is taken by the police; it very seldom
happens that a private citizen gives a beggar in charge. The regular
and systematic enforcement of the Vagrancy Acts by the public
authorities is impeded by a variety of causes, each of which makes it
difficult to grasp accurately the proportions of the begging
population. In the first place no two policemen enforce the law with
the same stringency; one is inclined to be lax and lenient, while
another will not allow a single case to escape. In some districts
chief constables do not care to bring too many begging cases before
the local magistrates; in other districts chief constables are zealous
for the rooting out of vagrancy. In some counties the magistrates
themselves are not so anxious to convict for vagrancy as they are in
others; where the latter tendency prevails, the police take their cue
from the magistrates and comparatively few offences against the
Vagrancy Acts are brought up for trial. Again, there are times when
the public have fits of indulgence towards beggars, which are
counterbalanced at other periods by a corresponding access of
severity; these oscillations of public sentiment are immediately felt
by the executive authorities. The conduct of policemen and magistrates
towards the begging fraternity is largely shaped by the dominant
public mood, and the statistics of vagrancy move up and down in
sympathy with it. Thus it comes to pass that the variations which take
place in the annual statistics of vagrancy do not necessarily
correspond with the growth or diminution of the number of persons
following this mode of life; the actual number of such persons in the
population may in reality be varying very little or, perhaps,
remaining stationary, whilst official statistics are pointing to the
conclusion that important changes are going on. In short, the
statistics of vagrancy are more useful as affording a clue to the
state of public sentiment with respect to this offence than as
offering an accurate test of the extent to which vagrancy prevails.

After this explanation it will be seen how difficult it is, in the
first place, to estimate the exact numbers of the vagrant population;
and, in the next place, the exact proportion of beggars who have been
driven into the ranks of vagrancy, as a result of bad trade and
inability to obtain work. My own impression is, that the number of
persons who are forced to beg for want of work is not large, and they
consist, for the most part, of men beyond middle life or verging upon
old age. There are two causes at present in operation in England which
often press hard upon such men. The first of these causes is one which
was felt more severely twenty or thirty years ago than at the present
moment--I moan the introduction of machinery into industries formerly
carried on to a large extent by hand. One of the most conspicuous
characteristics of the present century is the ever-increasing extent
to which inventions of all kinds have invaded almost every department
of industry. As far as the young are concerned, those inventions have
been on the whole a benefit, and what used to be hard work has become,
as Professor Alfred Marshall recently said, merely looking on. But the
case stands differently with workmen who are surprised by some new
invention at a period of life when the power of adaptability to a
fresh set of industrial circumstances is almost entirely gone. One of
the first consequences of a new invention may be, and often is, that
work which had hitherto been performed by men can now be done by women
and boys; or an occupation which had formerly taken years to learn can
now be mastered in a few weeks. In other cases the new machine is able
to do the work of twenty, fifty, or a hundred men; the article
produced is so immensely cheapened that the old handicraftsman is
driven out of the field; if he is a man entering into years, and
therefore unable to turn his hand to something else, the bread is
practically taken out of his mouth, and the machine, which is
undoubtedly a benefit to the community as a whole, means starvation to
him as an individual. When such circumstances occur, and positive
proof in abundance can be adduced to show that they do take place, the
position of the aged worker becomes a very hard and embarrassing one.
He finds it a very uphill task to change the whole course of his
industrial activities at a period of life when nature has lost much of
her elasticity; the new means he has had to adopt in order to earn a
livelihood are irksome to him; the diminished sum he is now able to
earn per week depresses his spirits and deprives him of certain little
comforts he had long been accustomed to enjoy; but in spite of these
unforeseen and unexpected hardships it is marvellous to see how nobly
working-men, as a rule, struggle on to the end, like a bird with a
broken wing. There are, however, cases in which the struggle is given
up. It would be impossible to enumerate all the causes which lead to
such a deplorable result; sometimes these causes are personal,
sometimes they are social, while in many instances they are a
combination of both. But, whatever such circumstances may be in
origin, the effects of them are generally the same; the worker who is
incapable of adjusting himself to his new industrial surroundings has
few alternatives before him. These alternatives, unless he is
supported by his family or relations, resolve themselves into the
Union, beggary, or theft. Many choose the Union and, with all its
drawbacks, it is undoubtedly the wisest choice; but others have such a
horror of the restraints imposed upon the inmates of a workhouse that
they enter upon the perilous and precarious career of the beggar or
petty thief. The men who make such a choice as this are not, as may
easily be surmised, the pick of their class. They consist, to a good
extent, of persons who have been somewhat unsteady in their habits;
they are not downright drunkards, and they have never allowed drink to
interfere with their regular occupation; but it has been their
immemorial custom to go in for a good deal of drinking on Saturday
nights; on Bank holidays, and other festive occasions. Sensible
workmen do not care to amuse themselves after this fashion; it is
rather too like a savage orgie for most tastes; at the same time it is
the only form of amusement which certain sections of the populace
truly and heartily enjoy, and, on the whole, it is perhaps better that
this rude form of merry-making should remain, than that the multitude
should be deprived of every outlet for the pent-up exuberance of their
spirits. My own impression is, that the rough and boisterous element
which shows itself so conspicuously when the labouring population is
at play will never be eradicated so long as men and women have to
spend so much of their time within the four walls of workshops and
factories, where so much restraint and suppression of the individual
is imperative, if the industrial machine is to go on. It is not at all
unnatural that the severe regularity and monotony of an existence
chiefly spent in this manner should be occasionally interspersed with
outbursts of somewhat boisterous revelry, and the persons who indulge
in it are not to be set down off-hand as worthless characters, because
they sometimes step beyond due and proper bounds. At the same time it
must be admitted that it is generally from the ranks of this class
that the supreme aversion to the workhouse proceeds, and that the
disposition to live by begging, rather than enter it, most largely
prevails. If it happens, therefore, that a man who has lived the life
we have just described is thrown out of employment, by the
introduction of machinery, at a period when he is too old to turn his
hand to something else, he not unfrequently ends by becoming a beggar,
and this continues to be his occupation to the last.

The second cause which leads a certain number of elderly men to adopt
a life of vagrancy is to be attributed to the action of Trades-Unions.
After a workman reaches a certain period of life he is no longer able
to do a full day's work. As soon as this period of life arrives, and
sometimes even before it does arrive, the artisan finds it becoming
increasingly difficult to obtain employment. The rate of wages in his
trade is fixed by Trades-Union rules; every man, no matter what his
qualifications may be, has to receive so much an hour, or the full
Trade-Union wage for the district; no one is allowed to take a job at
a lower figure. No doubt Trades-Unionists find that this regulation
works well an far as it relates to the young and the able-bodied, and
as these always compose the great majority in every trade society, it
is a regulation which is not likely to be rescinded or modified.
Nevertheless, it is a rule which often operates very unjustly in the
case of men who are getting old. These men may have been steady and
industrious workmen all their lives, they may still be able to do a
fair amount of honest work; but, as soon as that amount of work falls
below the daily average of the trade, such men have to go; they are
henceforth practically debarred from earning an honest livelihood at
what has hitherto been the occupation of their working life. Work may
be abundant in the district, but it is useless for grey-haired men to
apply; they cannot do the amount required, and as they are not
permitted to work at a lower rate of wages than their fellows, the
means of getting a living are arbitrarily taken out of their hands. As
a consequence of these Trades-Union enactments, cases are not
infrequent in which workmen who have just passed middle life, or have
sustained injuries, drift insensibly into vagrant habits. These habits
are acquired almost without their knowing it. In the vague hope of
perhaps finding something to do a man will wander from town to town
existing as best he can; after the hope of employment has died away he
still continues to wander, and thus forms an additional unit in the
permanent army of beggars and vagrants. Trade-Unionists would
undoubtedly remedy a great wrong if some effective means were devised
by them to meet cases of this character. It should be remembered by
those most opposed to any modifications of the present system that
they may one day be its victims. The hindrances in the way of putting
an end to the injustice inherent in the present arrangements are not
incapable of being overcome. It is surely possible to devise a rule
which, while leaving intact the essential features of the present
system, will render it more flexible--a rule to enable the maimed and
the aged who cannot do a full day's work to make, through the Union if
need be, some special arrangement with the employers. Such a rule, if
properly safe-guarded to prevent abuse, would be of inestimable
benefit to many a working man.

If the step here suggested were adopted by the Trade Societies, it
would, according to calculations which I have made, reduce the begging
population by about two per cent. This percentage, in my opinion,
represents the number of vagrants who are able and willing to do a
certain amount of work, but cannot get it to do. It is a percentage
which at any rate does not err on the side of being too low; when
trade is at its ordinary level it is perhaps a little too high. In any
case this proportion may be taken as a tolerably accurate estimate of
the numbers of the vagrant class which will not enter the Unions when
out of employment, and are consequently forced by the pressure of want
to resort to a life of beggary.

The proportion here indicated of the number of vagrants who are
willing to work coincides in a remarkable manner with certain
statistics recently collected by H. Monod of the Ministry of the
Interior in France.[19] According to M. Monod a benevolently disposed
French citizen wished to know the amount of truth contained in the
complaints of sturdy beggars, that they were willing to work if they
could get anything to do or anyone to employ them. This gentleman
entered into negotiations with some merchants and manufacturers, and
induced them to offer work at the rate of four francs a day to every
person presenting himself furnished with a letter of recommendation
from him. In eight months 727 sturdy beggars came under his notice,
all complaining that they had no work. Each of them was asked to come
the following day to receive a letter which would enable him to get
employment at four francs a day in an industrial establishment. More
than one half (415) never came for the letter; a good many others
(138) returned for the letter but never presented it. Others who did
present their letter worked half a day, demanded two francs and were
seen no more. A few worked a whole day and then disappeared. In short,
out of the whole 727 only 18 were found at work at the end of the
third day. As a result of this experiment M. Monod concludes that not
more than one able-bodied beggar in 40 is inclined to work even if he
is offered a fair remuneration for his services.

    [19] Cf. _L'Etat Moderne et ses Functions par Paul Leroy Beaulieu_,
    p. 300. See also Mr. J.C. Sherrard's letter to the _Times_ of
    January 8th, 1891, on "Tramps."

If further proof were wanted that vagrancy, as far, at least, as
England and Wales are concerned, is very seldom produced by
destitution, it will be found in the following facts. A comparison
between the number of male and female vagrants arrested in 1888 under
the provisions of the Vagrancy Acts shows that there were nearly four
times more male vagrants proceeded against before the magistrates than
female. The exact numbers are males, 40,672; females, 11,464. Although
the numbers charged vary from year to year, the proportion between
males and females always remains very much the same, and it may
therefore be considered as established that men are from three to four
times more addicted to vagrancy than women. If the charges of
prostitution were excluded (they amounted to 6,486 in 1888), it will
be found that the proportion of male vagrants to female is as eight to
one. Looking at this matter _à priori_, we should expect these figures
to be reversed. In the first place women form a considerably larger
proportion of the community than men, and in the second place there
are not nearly so many openings for females in our present industrial
system. Forming a judgment upon these two sets of facts alone, one
would almost inevitably come to the conclusion that women would be
found in much larger numbers among the vagrant class than men. There
are fewer careers open to them in the industrial world; they are less
fitted to move about from place to place in search of work; the pay
they receive in manufacturing and other establishments is, as a rule,
very poor; but in spite of all these economic disadvantages only one
woman becomes a beggar to every four men, or, if we exclude fallen
women, to every eight men. What does this condition of things serve to
show? It is an incontestable proof that at least three-fourths or,
perhaps, seven-eighths of the begging carried on by men is without
economic excuse. If women who are so heavily handicapped in the race
of life can run it to such a large extent without resorting to
vagrancy, so can men. That men fall so far behind women in this
respect is to be attributed, as we have seen, not to their want of
power, but to their want of will. They possess far more opportunities
of earning a livelihood than their sisters, but, notwithstanding this
advantage, they figure far more prominently in the vagrant list. The
only possible explanation of this state of things is that vagrancy is,
to a very large extent, entirely unconnected with economic conditions;
the position of trade either for good or evil is a very secondary
factor in producing this disease in the body politic; its extirpation
would not he effected by the advent of an economic millennium; its
roots are, as a rule, in the disposition of the individual, and not to
any serious degree in the industrial constitution of society; hence,
the only way to stamp it out is by adopting vigorous and effective
methods of repression.

The British Isles are in a position to adopt these measures with
boldness and confidence, for the Poor Law system provides for all
genuine cases of destitution, and in striking at begging with a heavy
hand, the authorities are at the same time doing much to suppress
other kinds of crime. It has to be remembered that the vagrant is a
dangerous person in more ways that one. The life he leads, his habit
of going from house to house, affords him ample opportunities of
noticing where a robbery may he successfully committed. If he does not
make use of the opportunities himself, he is not at all unwilling to
let others who will into his secret for a small consideration. In low
lodging-houses and public-houses of a similar type beggars and thieves
are accustomed to meet, to fraternise, to exchange notes; the beggar
is able to give the burglar a hint, and many a case of house-breaking
is the outcome of these sinister confabulations. Little do many people
imagine when they are doing a good deed, as they believe, to some
worthless, wandering reprobate, that he is at the same moment looking
around, so as to be able to tell a companion how best the house may be
robbed. It is very seldom thieves break into houses without having
received information beforehand respecting them, and the source of
that information is in many instances the vagrant, who has been
knocking at the door for alms a short time before.

One of the principal reasons which makes beggary such a profitable
occupation, and renders it so hard to repress, is the persistent
belief among great numbers of people that beggars are working men in
distress. That, of course, is the beggar's tale, but it is a baseless
fabrication. It is no more the practice of working-men to go about
begging than it is the practice of the middle-class, but until this
elementary fact can be laid hold of by the public all statutory
enactments for the suppression of mendicity will be but partial in
their operation. Speaking from considerable personal experience, as
well as from statistical facts, one is able to affirm that the great
mass of the working population of these islands have nothing whatever
in common with the indolent vagrant; and it is a libel on the
working-classes to assume that a man is a workman to-day and a beggar
to-morrow. As a matter of fact, beggars are recruited from all ranks
of the community, when they are not actually born to the trade. Of
course, the greatest number is drawn from the working population; it
is they who form the immense bulk of the nation, and it is only
reasonable to suppose that they will contribute to the begging
fraternity in proportion to their numbers. But, just as the proportion
of thieves drawn from the working-classes is not greater than the
proportion drawn from the well-to-do classes, so is it likewise with
beggars. The other classes, in proportion to their numbers, contribute
just about as many beggars to the community as the working population,
and such beggars are generally the most hardened and villainous
specimens of their tribe. With the beggar sprung from the working
population one is sometimes able to do something, but a beggar who has
descended from the higher walks of life is one of the most hopeless,
as well as one of the most corrupt creatures it is possible to
conceive. If the public would only allow themselves to realise that
these are the facts respecting vagrancy, and if they would exercise
their knowledge in consistently refusing help to professional
wanderers, the plague of beggars would soon disappear, to the immense
relief and benefit of everybody, not excluding the beggars themselves.

A persistent refusal to assist beggars, while perfectly justifiable in
these islands, is a method which can hardly be adopted in countries
where there is no efficient and comprehensive Poor Law. In such
countries, for instance, an Austria and Germany, where there is no
proper provision on the part of the State for the feeble, the
helpless, the aged, the maimed, begging, on the part of these
unfortunates, becomes, in many cases, an absolute necessity. Recent
statistics,[20] respecting the working of additions to the Austrian
vagrancy laws passed in 1885, would seem to show that numbers of the
genuine labouring population have been in the habit of resorting to
begging when going from place to place in search of employment. To
meet these cases the Austrian Government, in the year just mentioned,
secured the passing of a law for the establishment of what are called
Naturalverpflegstationen, or refuges for workmen on the tramp. These
shelters or refuges are strictly confined to the use of genuine
labourers; the poor of the surrounding neighbourhood are not allowed
to enter them; nor is any one afforded shelter who cannot show that he
has been at work within the previous three months, or who applies
twice for admission in the course of that time. A man must also
produce his papers and be willing to perform a certain amount of work;
in return for this he is allowed to remain at the shelter for eighteen
hours, but not more, and is informed on his departure where the next
station is situated. He is also told if there is any probability of
getting employment in the district and is given the names of employers
in want of men. These institutions are a combination, of the casual
ward and the labour bureau, differing, however, from the casual ward
in rejecting all mere wanderers and accepting genuine workmen alone.

    [20] Cf. Conrad's _Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften_,
    i. 928.

It in only in some parts of the Austrian Empire that this system has
as yet been put into operation, for the act is of a permissive
character and is mainly worked by the local authorities. In those
districts of lower Austria where it has been tried, it has so far
produced most satisfactory results; begging has decreased according to
the statistics for 1888, more than 60 per cent. in the course of three
years, while in other parts of Austria, where these institutions are
not yet adopted, it has only decreased 25 per cent. The system has as
yet been in operation for too short a period to enable an opinion to
be formed of its eventual success, but so far it promises well and is
an interesting experiment which deserves to be watched. In any case
the experience derived from the working of this law shows that in
Austria, at least, the workman in search of employment has up till
recently been too often confounded with the habitual beggar, a
confusion highly detrimental to the real interests of the State. One
of the main objects of every well ordered Poor Law system should be to
create as wide a gulf as possible between the begging class and the
working-class; it should do everything possible to prevent anything
like a solidarity of interests between these two sections of the
community; it should dissociate the worker from the vagrant in every
conceivable manner, so that the working population cannot possibly
fail to see that the State draws a sharp line of distinction between
them and the refuse of the land. It was a wise remark of Goethe's
that, if you want to improve men you must begin by assuming that they
are a little better than what they seem; and it is a principle which
is applicable to communities and classes as well as to individuals.

Before dismissing the question of the relations between vagrancy and
destitution there is one more point which still requires to be
considered. According to English law, prostitution is set down as a
form of vagrancy, and the number of persons convicted of this offence
is to be found included in the statistics of vagrancy. We shall,
therefore, consider prostitution in this connection as a form of
vagrancy, and proceed to examine the extent to which it is produced by
destitution. If this grave social disorder were entirely due to a want
of the elementary needs of life on the part of the unhappy creatures
who practice it, we should find an utter absence of it in America and
Australia. In these two important portions of the globe, woman's work
is at a premium; it is one of the easiest things imaginable for
females to get employment; no one willing to work need remain idle a
single day, and the bitter cry of householders, in those quarters of
the world, is that domestic servants are not to be had. But, in spite
of the favourable position in which women stand, as far as work is
concerned in America and Australia, what do we find? Do we find that
there is no such thing as a fallen class in Melbourne and New York? On
the contrary, it is often a subject of bitter complaint by American
and Australian citizens that their large towns are just as bad, as far
as sexual morality goes, as the cities of the old world. The higher
economic position of women does not seem to touch the evil either in
the Antipodes or beyond the Atlantic. It exists among communities
where destitution is an almost unmeaning word; it exists in lands
where no woman need be idle, and where she is highly paid for her
services. In the face of such facts it is impossible to believe that
destitution is the only motive which impels a certain class of women
to wander the streets.

What is true with respect to destitution is that it compels women to
remain in the deplorable life they have adopted, but it seldom or
never drives them to take to it. Almost all the best authorities are
agreed upon this point. No one has examined this social sin in all its
bearings with such patience and exhaustiveness as Parent Duchatelet,
and his deliberate opinion, after years of investigation, is that its
origin lies in the character of the individual, in vanity, in
slothfulness, in sex. It does not, however, follow that a person
possessing these characteristics in an abnormal degree is bound to
fall. If such a person is protected by parental care, no evil results
need necessarily ensue. It is when low instincts are combined with a
bad home that the worst is to be feared. This fact was clearly and
emphatically brought to light by the parliamentary inquiry which took
place in France a few years ago. M. Th. Roussel, one of the highest
authorities on the committee, the man, in fact, from whom the inquiry
derived its name, thus sums up some of its results: "However large a
part in the production of prostitution must be allowed to the love of
pleasure and of finery, to a dislike of work and to debased instincts,
the cause which, according to the facts cited, appears everywhere as
the most powerful and the most general, is the want of a home, the
want of maternal care." Here are some of the facts on which M. Roussel
bases his general statement. "At Bordeaux, out of 600 'filles
inscrites' 98 were minors. Of the latter, 44 appear to have fallen
through their own fault alone. The remaining 54 grew up under
abnormal, domestic conditions; 14 were orphans, without father or
mother, 7 had only one parent, 32 had been abandoned or perverted by
their parents."

In England it would be impossible to conduct a parliamentary inquiry
on the lines of the "Enquête Roussel," but it is very probable if such
an inquiry were instituted it would reveal a condition of things very
similar to what exists in France. The scattered and fragmentary
information we do possess points to that conclusion, and the
conclusion, it must be admitted, is not at all a hopeful or comforting
one. Supposing that all the homeless and deserted female children we
have now in our midst were immediately placed under the protection of
the State (as a matter of fact, most of them are), it does not follow
that they will grow up to lead regular lives. According to the
thirty-second report of the Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial
Schools, the authorities are unable to account satisfactorily for the
character of more than four fifths of the inmates of girls' industrial
schools who have left these institutions on an average for two or
three years. That is to say, it is probable that about twenty out of
every hundred girls go to the bad within two or three years of leaving
an industrial school. The proportion of girls discharged from
reformatory schools, whose character is bad within two years of their
discharge, is still larger than in the case of industrial schools.
This is only what might be expected, for it is the worst cases that
are now sent to reformatory schools. "Since the passing of the
Elementary Education Act," said Miss Nicoll of the Girls' Reformatory,
Hampstead, at the Fourth Conference of the National Association of
certified Reformatory and Industrial Schools, "a great change has
gradually been made in the character and age of the inmates of our
reformatories on admission. The School Boards in the country, and more
especially the School Board of London, by enforcing compulsory
attendance of all the children of the poor between the ages of five
and thirteen, have swept into what are termed Truant Schools all the
neglected and uncontrollable children who were formerly sent to
certified industrial schools--these latter being now retained in a
great measure for children who, besides being neglected and beyond the
control of their parents, have either taken their first steps in a
course of crime, or have, by association with vicious companions,
become familiar with it. The industrial schools have thus intercepted
the very class from which our numbers were usually drawn, leaving, as
a rule, for reformatories, girls about fifteen, who, though nominally
under fifteen, are sometimes a good deal older when admitted. Young
persons, as these are termed in the Summary Jurisdiction Acts of 1879,
are of a much more hardened character than before, and in addition to
having been guilty of acts of petty larceny, have frequently been
prostitutes for some time anterior to their admission. This being so,
it can hardly be wondered at if the success of reformatories is not so
marked as it was when they were first instituted."

Seeing that reformatories for girls, on account of the more hardened
character of their inmates on admission, are not so successful as
industrial schools, it is certainly within the mark to say that at
least one-fourth of the cases discharged from these institutions
become failures in the space of two years. If the proportion is so
high at the end of two years, what will it amount to at the end of
five? It is then that the young person enters upon what is _par
excellence_ the criminal age, and when that age is reached, I fear
that the proportion of failures increases considerably. In any case we
have sufficient data to show that the protection of the State, when
extended, as it is in the United Kingdom, to helpless and homeless
girls, does not in many instances suffice to keep them on the road of
virtue. Deep-seated instincts manage to assert themselves in spite of
the most careful training, the most vigilant precautions, and until
the moral development of the population, as a whole, reaches a higher
level, it will be vain to hope too much from the labours of State
institutions, however excellent these institutions may be.

It has, however, to be remembered that the fallen class is not by any
means recruited exclusively from the ranks of the helpless and the
homeless. On the contrary, according to the evidence of the Roussel
commission, nearly one half of the minors (44 out of 98) found in the
"maisons de tolerance" of Bordeaux had no domestic or economic
impediments to encounter. External circumstances, as far as could be
seen, had nothing to do with the unhappy position in which they stood,
and the life they adopted appears to have been entirely of their own
choosing. It is true the Bordeaux statistics only cover a small area,
and are not to be looked upon as in themselves exhaustive, but when
these statistics confirm, as they do, the careful observations of all
unbiassed investigators, we cannot be far wrong in coming to the
conclusion that in France, at least, fifty per cent. of the cases of
prostitution are not originally due to the pressure of want. Since the
introduction of Truant and Industrial Schools in this country for
homeless and neglected girls, it is certain that the proportion of
those who fall from sheer destitution must be extremely small. On the
Continent, where such institutions do not exist on such an extensive
scale, the proportion may be somewhat larger, but in the United
Kingdom it cannot, according to the most liberal computation, exceed
ten per cent. of the cases brought before the magistrates. Many
experienced observers will not allow that it reaches such a high

We are now in a position to tabulate the results of our inquiries as
to the part played by destitution in producing prostitution and
vagrancy. The following table represents the proportion of persons
charged under the provisions of the Vagrancy Acts in the year 1888:--

Percentage of beggars,                              45 per cent.
Percentage of prostitutes,                          12    "
Percentage of other offenders,                      43    "
                                                   100 per cent.

Percentage of beggars destitute from misadventure,   2 per cent.
Percentage of prostitutes,       do.     do.        10    "
Percentage of other offenders,   do.     do.         2    "
                                                    14 per cent.

It has already been pointed out that persons charged with offences
against the Vagrancy Acts constitute on an average 7 per cent. of the
total annual criminal population. According to the statistics we have
just tabulated, 5 per cent. of these offences are not due to the
pressure of destitution, and only 2 per cent. are to be attributed
to that cause.

Let us now collect the whole of the figures set forth in this chapter,
so that we may be in a position to give an answer to the question with
which we set out, namely, to what extent are theft and vagrancy the
product of destitution?

Proportion of offences against Property and the Vagrancy Acts
  to total number of offences tried in 1888,            15 per cent.
Proportion of offenders against property destitute,      2    "
Proportion of offenders against Vagrancy Acts destitute, 2    "

Adding together the two classes of offenders against Property and the
Vagrancy Acts who, according to our calculations, are destitute when
arrested, we arrive at the fact that they form four per cent. of the
total criminal population. As has already been pointed out, beggars
and thieves are almost the only two sections of the criminal community
likely to be driven to the commission of lawless acts by the pressure
of absolute want. It very seldom happens that murders, for instance,
are perpetrated from this cause; in fact, not one murder in ten is
even committed for the purpose of theft. The vast majority of the
remaining offences against the criminal law are only connected in a
remote degree with the economic condition of the population, and in
hardly any instance can it be said of them, that they are the outcome
of destitution. In order, however, to err on the safe side, let us
assume that one per cent. of offenders, other than vagrants and
thieves, are to be ranked among the destitute. What is the final
result at which we then arrive with respect to the percentage of
persons forced by the action of destitution into the army of crime? In
the case of vagrants and thieves it has just been seen that the
proportion amounted to four per cent.; adding one per cent. to this
proportion, brings up the total of offenders who probably fall into
crime through the pressure of absolute want to five per cent. of the
annual criminal population tried before the courts.

These figures are important; they demonstrate the fact that although
there was not a single destitute person in the whole of England and
Wales, the annual amount of crime would not be thereby appreciably
diminished. At the present day it is a very common practice to pick
out a case of undoubted hardship here and there, and to assume that
such a case is typical of the whole criminal population. It is, of
course, well to point out such cases, and to emphasise them as much as
possible till we reach such a pitch of excellence in our administration
of the law as will render all unmerited hardship exceedingly rare. As
it is, such cases are becoming less frequent year by year, and it is
an entire mistake to suppose, as is too often done, that a serious
amount of the crime perpetrated in England is committed by men and
women who are willing to work but cannot get it to do. An opinion of
that kind has an alarming tendency to encourage crime; it creates a
false sentiment of compassion for the utterly worthless; it prevents
them from being dealt with according to their deserts, and worst of
all, it is apt to make the working population imagine that there is a
community of interest between them and the criminal classes which does
not in reality exist. From the point of view of public policy nothing
can be more pernicious than to propagate such an idea; and no artisan
who values his own dignity should ever allow any man, whether on
platforms or in newspapers, to identify him in any way whatever with
the common criminal.

Before finally leaving the question of the relations between
destitution and crime, we shall now briefly inquire whether anything
further can be accomplished in the matter of raising our legal and
poor law administration to such a pitch of excellence, that not even
five per cent. of our incriminated population can, with justice, bring
forward any economic pretext whatever for violating the law. As far as
legal administration is concerned, it must be remembered that mistakes
will sometimes occur, no matter how numerous the precautions may be
with which justice is surrounded.

To be certain of justice in all circumstances you must have not only
an infallible law, but also an infallible judge and an infallible
method of criminal administration. It is a truism to say that this is
an impossibility, and every now and again society will have to submit
to be shocked by the revelation of a palpable miscarriage of justice.
At the same time it is important to take every possible precaution
against the occurrence of such distressing accidents. This can only
be effected by placing the administration of the law in all its
departments, from the policeman to the Home Secretary, in the hands of
thoroughly competent officials who have not only their heart, but what
is equally important, their head in the work. When this is done, and
if these officials are not embarrassed by public clamour in the
performance of their duties (honest criticism will do them good), all
will have been accomplished which it is possible to get in the way of
effective and enlightened administration of the law.

In the next place it may be possible to mitigate the operation of our
present poor law system in all cases of destitution through
misadventure. Some prominent politicians--and I believe among them Mr.
Morley--appear to be in favour of this course; and at a recent meeting
of the British Association, Professor Alfred Marshall was inclined to
the belief that a much larger discrimination might be allowed than now
exists in the administration of out-door relief in cases of actual
want; and also that separate and graduated workhouses might be
established for the deserving poor. It will be admitted on all hands
that proposals of this character land us on very delicate ground, and
require the most mature consideration. Even now the inmate of a
workhouse is often better supplied with food, clothing, and shelter
than the poor labourer, who has to pay taxes to support him. If the
condition of that inmate is made still more comfortable, will it be
possible to prevent hundreds and thousands of the very poor, who now
keep outside these institutions, from immediately crowding into them
as soon as the slightest economic difficulties arise? Almost all
philanthropic schemes, and especially all such schemes when supported
by the public purse, have a tendency to be administered with more and
more laxity as time goes on; and a scheme of this kind, if carried
into law, would require to be managed with the utmost circumspection
in order to avoid pauperising great masses of the community.

A scheme of this character will, however, have to be tried if the
manifesto of the Executive Council of the Dockers' Union, issued in
September last, is to be acted upon by Trade-Unionists in general.
According to the doctrine laid down in this manifesto, the idea of a
Trade-Union, as a free and open combination, which every workman may
enter, provided he pays his subscription and conforms to the rules, is
an idea which must for the future be abandoned. Henceforth, a
Trade-Union is to be a close corporation to be worked for the benefit
of persons who have succeeded in getting inside it. The Dockers'
Union, to do them justice, see that this policy is bound to increase
the numbers of the destitute, but they propose to remedy this
condition of things by establishing "in each municipality factories
and workshops where all those who cannot get work under ordinary
conditions shall have an opportunity afforded them by the community."
If these State establishments are to be started for the unemployed,
the workers in them must work at something, and it will have to be
something which the unskilled labourer will not require a great deal
of time to learn. What would the dockers say if one of these
establishments was instituted by the municipality for the loading and
unloading of ships? Hardly a Trade-Union Congress meets in which the
complaint is not made that prison labour interferes with free labour;
but what sort of outcry would there be if State labour, on an
extensive scale, were to enter into serious competition with the
individual workman?

These schemes for the establishment of State institutions offering
work to the indigent will never solve the problem of want, and all
attempts that have hitherto been made in that direction have either
ended in failure or met with small success.

The latest of these schemes is a village settlement, which the
authorities in New Zealand started some time ago to meet the case of
the unemployed. The Government, in the first place, spent £16,000 in
making roads and other conveniences for the settlers, and afterwards
advanced £21,000 for building houses, buying implements, and so on.
According to recent advices from New Zealand, only £2000 of this
advance has been paid back, and it is the general feeling of the
colony that the project has proved a failure. These, and other
experiments of a similar character, compel us to recognise the
disagreeable fact that a certain proportion of people who are in the
habit of falling out of work are, as a class, extremely difficult to
put properly on their legs. Failure, for some reason or another,
always dogs their steps, and the more Society does for them, the less
they will be disposed to do anything for themselves.

When such persons are sent to prison on charges of begging, or petty
theft, it very often happens that they are assisted on their release
by a Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society. Tools are given them, work is
found for them, yet they do not thrive. Not infrequently the job is
given up on some frivolous pretext; or if it is a temporary one,
little or no effort is made till it actually comes to an end to look
out for another. It is little wonder that men who live in such a
fashion should occasionally be destitute; the only wonder is that they
manage to pass through life at all. Those men hang upon the skirts of
labour and seek shelter under its banner, but it is only for short and
irregular intervals that they march in the ranks of the actual
workers. The real working man knows such people well, and heartily
despises them.

Would it be a right thing to increase the burdens of the taxpayer by
opening State workshops, even if such a plan were feasible, for men of
the stamp we have just been describing? Decidedly it would not. Yet
these men form a fair proportion of the persons whom we have classed
as driven to crime by economic distress. As far, then, as the criminal
population is concerned, no necessity exists for the organisation of
State factories; and so far as destitution is a factor in the
production of crime, it can be grappled with by other agencies. In
fact, if a graduated system of Unions, with a kind of casual ward,
somewhat after the German Naturalverpflegstationen, could be worked
and if Trade Societies adopted, under proper precautions, the
principle of allowing debilitated members of their trade the
opportunity of doing something at a somewhat reduced rate, it would be
impossible for any well-intentioned man to say that he was driven to
crime from sheer want. It is worth while, on the part of the nation,
to make some small sacrifice to attain an object so supremely
important as this. It is very probable that hardly any sacrifice will
be needed. In any case it would get rid of the uncomfortable feeling
entertained by many that there are occasions when human beings are
punished who ought to be fed. It would completely alienate all
sympathy from crime; it would then be known that criminal offenders
deserved the punishment they received, and justice would be able to
deal with them with a firm and even hand.



Having analysed the part played by destitution in the production of
crime, the cognate question of the extent to which poverty is
responsible for it will now be considered. If actual destitution does
not count for very much in producing criminals, it may be that poverty
makes up the difference, and that the great bulk of delinquency, if
not the whole of it, arises from the combined operation of these two
economic factors. We have examined one of them, let us now go on to
the other. As this examination will have to be conducted from several
different points of view which, for the sake of clearness, it will be
expedient to consider one by one, I shall begin by inquiring what
light international statistics are capable of throwing on the
relations between poverty and crime. At the outset of this inquiry we
are at once met by the old difficulty respecting the value of
international criminal statistics. The imperfection of those
statistics is a matter it is always important to bear in mind, but in
spite of this circumstance the light which they shed on the problem of
poverty and crime is not to be rejected as worthless.

It has been pointed out in the preceding chapter that the offences
people, in a state of destitution, are most likely to commit are
beggary and theft. In the case of persons who are in a state of
poverty, but not destitute, it may be said that the offence they are
most likely to commit is theft in one or other of its forms. What then
are the international statistics of theft, and what is the relative
wealth of the several countries from which these statistics are drawn?
An answer to these two questions will throw a flood of light upon the
nature of the relations between poverty and crime. If these statistics
show that in those countries where there is most poverty there is also
most theft, the elucidation of such a fact will at once raise a strong
presumption that the connection between poverty and offences against
property is one of cause and effect. If, on the other hand,
international statistics are not at all conclusive upon this important
point, it will show that there are other factors at work besides
poverty in the production of offences against property. With these
preliminary remarks I shall now append a table of the number of
persons tried for theft of all kinds in some of the most important
countries of Europe within the last few years. In no two of these
countries is theft classified in the same manner, but in all of them
it is equally recognised as a crime; if, therefore, all offences
against property, of whatever kind, are put together under the common
heading of "theft," and if the number of cases of thefts (as thus
understood) tried in the various countries of Europe are carefully
tabulated, we possess, in such a table, a criterion wherewith to
judge, in a rough way, the respective position of those countries in
the matter of offences against property.

The appended table is extracted from a larger one, the work of Sig. L.
Bodio, Director-General of Statistics for the kingdom of Italy. The
calculations for every country, except Spain, are based on the census
of 1880 or 1881; the calculations for Spain are based on the census of
1877. In all the countries except Germany and Spain the calculations
are based on an average of five years; for Germany and Spain the
average is only two years.

Italy,    1880-84  Annual trials for theft per 100,000 inhabitants 221
France,   1879-83              do.                do.              121
Belgium,  1876-80              do.                do.              143
Germany,  1882-83              do.                do.              262
England,  1880-84              do.                do.              228
Scotland, 1880-84              do.                do.              289
Ireland,  1880-84              do.                do.              101
Hungary,  1876-80              do.                do.               82
Spain,    1883-84              do.                do.               74

To what conclusions do the statistics contained in this table point?
It is useless burdening this chapter with additional figures to prove
that England and France are the two wealthiest countries in Europe.
The wealth of England, for instance, is perhaps six times the wealth
of Italy; but, notwithstanding this fact, more thefts are annually
committed in England than in Italy. The wealth of France is enormously
superior to the wealth of Ireland, both in quantity and distribution,
but the population of France commits more offences against property
than the Irish. Spain is one of the poorest countries in Europe,
Scotland is one of the richest, but side by side with this inequality
of wealth we see that the Scotch commit, per hundred thousand of the
population, almost four times as many thefts as the Spaniards. With
the exception of Italy it is the poorest countries of Europe that are
the least dishonest, and, according to our table, even the Italians
are not so much addicted to offences against property as the
inhabitants of England.

Perhaps the most instructive figures in these international statistics
are those relating to England and Ireland. The criminal statistics of
the two countries are drawn up on very much the same principles; the
ordinary criminal law is very much the same, and there is very much
the same feeling among the population with respect to ordinary crime;
in fact, with the exception of agrarian offences, the administration
of the law in Ireland is as effective as it is in England. On almost
every point the similarity of the criminal law and its administration
in the two countries almost amounts to identity, and a comparison of
their criminal statistics, in so far as they relate to ordinary
offences against property, reaches a high level of exactitude. What
does such a comparison reveal? It shows that the Irish, with all their
poverty, are not half so much addicted to offences against property as
the English with all their wealth, and it serves to confirm the idea
that the connection between poverty and theft is not so close as is
generally imagined.

International statistics then, as far as they go, point to the
conclusion that it is the growth of wealth, rather than the reverse,
which has a tendency to augment the number of offences against
property, and national statistics, as far as England is concerned,
exhibit a similar result. It is perfectly certain, for instance, that
the mass of the population possessed a greater amount of money, and
were earning on the whole higher wages between 1870-74 than between
1884-88. According to the evidence given before the late Lord
Iddesleigh's Commission on the depression of trade, the prosperity of
the country in the five years ended 1874 was something phenomenal.
This was the opinion of almost every class in the community. Chambers
of commerce, leading manufactures, workmen in the various departments
of industry, all told the same tale of exceptional commercial
prosperity. During this period it was easy for any person with a pair
of hands to get as much as he could do; workmen were at a premium and
wages had risen all round.

But, notwithstanding this state of unwonted prosperity, we shall find
on turning to the statistics of offences against property that a
larger number of persons were convicted of such offences in the five
years ended 1874 than in the five years ended 1888. It hardly needs to
be stated that the five years ended 1888 were years of considerable
depression, some of them were years in which there was a good deal of
distress, and in none of them was the bulk of the population as well
off as in the preceding period. It is, therefore, plain that an
increase in the wealth of a country is not necessarily followed by a
decrease in the amount of crimes against property; that, in fact, the
growth of national and individual wealth, unless it is accompanied by
a corresponding development of ethical ideals, is apt to foster
criminal instincts instead of repressing them.

If we look at crime in general, instead of that particular form of it
which consists in offences against property, it will likewise become
apparent that it is not so closely connected with poverty as is
generally believed. The accuracy of Indian criminal statistics is a
matter that has already been pointed out. When these statistics are
placed side by side with our own what do we find? According to the
returns for the two countries in the year 1888, it comes out that in
England one person was proceeded against criminally to every forty-two
of the population, while in India only one person was proceeded
against to every 195. In other words, official statistics show that
the people of England are between four and five times more addicted to
crime than the people of India. On the supposition that poverty is the
parent of crime, the population of India should be one of the most
lawless in the world, for it is undoubtedly one of the very poorest.
The reverse, however, is the case, and India is justly celebrated for
the singularly law-abiding character of its inhabitants. In reply to
this it may be said that India differs so widely from England in race,
manners, religion and social organisation, that all these divergencies
must be taken into account when comparing the position of the two
countries with respect to crime. A contention of this kind is in
perfect harmony with what is here advanced. It is, in fact, a part of
our case that crime is either produced or checked by a great many
causes besides economic conditions. The comparison we are now making
between the criminal statistics of England and India is intended to
show that economic conditions alone will not satisfactorily explain
the genesis of crime. If such were the case India would have a blacker
criminal record than England, for it has a lower material standard of
life; but as India is able to exhibit a fairer record, in spite of its
economic disadvantages, we are compelled to come to the conclusion
that poverty is not the only factor in the production of crime.

A further illustration of the same fact will be found on examining the
Prison Statistics of the United States. According to an instructive
paper recently read by Mr. Roland P. Falkner before the American
Statistical Association, the foreign born population in America is, on
the whole, less inclined to commit crime than the native born
American. In some of the States--Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and
California--"the foreign born," says Mr. Falkner, "make a worse
showing than the native. In a great number of cases, notably
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, we notice hardly any
difference. Elsewhere, the showing is decidedly in favour of the
foreign born, and nowhere more strongly than in Wisconsin and
Minnesota." It is perfectly certain that the foreign born population
of the United States is not, as a rule, so well-off economically as
the native born citizen. The vast proportion of the emigrant
population is composed of poor people seeking to better their
condition, and it is well known that a largo percentage of the hard,
manual work done in America is performed by those men. The economic
condition of the average native born American is superior to the
economic condition of the average emigrant; but the native American,
notwithstanding his economic superiority, cuts a worse figure in the
statistics of crime. This is a state of things the Americans
themselves are just beginning to perceive, and it cannot fail to make
them uneasy as to the efficacy of some of their erratic methods of
punishing crime. It has, until recently, been the habit of American
statisticians to compare the foreign born population with the whole of
the native population with respect to crime. The outcome of this
method of comparison was taken all round favourable to the born
Americans, and for many years people satisfied themselves with the
belief that a high percentage of crime in the United States was due to
the foreign element in the community. It is now seen that this method
of calculation is defective and false. A comparatively small number of
foreigners emigrate to the United States under eighteen years of age;
in order, therefore, to make the comparison between natives and
foreigners accurate, it must be made with foreigners over eighteen and
Americans over eighteen, for it is after persons pass that age that
they are most prone to commit crime. The result of this new and more
correct method of comparison has been to show that the native American
element, that is to say, the element best situated economically, is
also the element which perpetrates most crimes. Such a result is only
another illustration of the truth that an advanced state of economic
well-being is not necessarily accompanied by greater immunity from

A further illustration of this significant truth is to be witnessed in
the Antipodes. In no quarter of the world is there such wide-spread
prosperity as exists in the colony of Victoria. All writers and
travellers are unanimous upon this point. Nowhere in the world is
there less economic excuse for the perpetration of crime. Work of one
kind or another can almost always be had in that favoured portion of
the globe.

Even in the worst of times, if men are willing to go "up country," as
it is called, occupation of some sort is certain to be found, and
trade depression never reaches the acute point which it sometimes does
at home.

Nevertheless, on examining the criminal statistics of the colony of
Victoria, what do we find? According to the returns for 1887, one
arrest on a charge of crime was made in every 30 of the population,
and on looking down the list of offences for which these arrests were
made, it will be seen that Victoria, notwithstanding her
widely-diffused material well-being, is just as much addicted to
crimes against person and property as some of the poor and squalid
States of Europe. It may be said in extenuation of this condition of
things, that Victoria contains a larger grown-up population, and
therefore a larger percentage of persons in a position to commit crime
than is to be found in older countries. This is, to a certain extent,
true, but the difference is not so great as might at first sight be
supposed. Assuming that the criminal age lies between 15 and 60, we
find that in the seven Australasian colonies 563 persons out of every
1,000 are alive between these two ages. In Great Britain and Ireland
559 persons per 1,000 are alive between 15 and 60. According to these
figures the difference between the population within the criminal age
in the colony, as compared with the mother country, is very small, and
is quite insufficient to account for the relatively high percentage of
crime exhibited by the Victorian criminal statistics.

All these considerations force us back to the conclusion that an
abundant measure of material well-being has a much smaller influence
in diminishing crime than is usually supposed, and compels us to admit
that much crime would still exist even if the world were turned into a
paradise of material prosperity tomorrow.

In further confirmation of this conclusion let us glance for a moment
at another aspect of the relations between poverty and crime. It is
generally calculated that the working class population of England and
Wales form from 90 to 95 per cent. of the total population of the
country. According to the investigations of Mr. Charles Booth, as
contained in his work on East London, the working classes constitute
about 92 per cent. in the districts be had under examination, the
remaining 8 per cent. being made up of the lower and upper middle
classes. Let us therefore assume that 10 per cent. of the population
consists of the middle and upper classes, and that the other 90 per
cent. of the community is composed of working people. Many
statisticians will not admit that the middle and upper classes form 10
per cent. of the nation, and assert that 5 per cent. is nearer the
mark. This is also my own view, but for the purposes of this inquiry
we shall assume that it is 10 per cent.

How large a proportion of the criminal population is made up of the
middle and upper classes? An answer to this question would at once
show the exact relation between poverty and crime. If it could be
shown that the well-to-do classes, in proportion to their numbers, are
just as much addicted to the commission of criminal acts as the poorer
people, it would demonstrate that crime prevailed to an equal extent
among all sections of the community, and was not the work of one class
alone. Unfortunately, such statistics are not to be had. But, as the
facts are not to be got at directly, this does not mean to say that it
is impossible to catch a glimpse of what they are. This may be done in
the following manner:--According to the report of the Prison
Commissioners, between 5 and 6 per cent. of the persons committed to
gaol during the year ended March, 1890 (omitting court-martial cases),
were debtors and civil process cases. Now, it may be taken as certain
that in a very small proportion of these cases were the prisoners
working people. Nearly all these offenders are to be considered as
belonging to the well-to-do classes. Yet we see that they form 5 per
cent. of the criminal population, and it has to be remembered that the
fraudulent debtor is just as much a criminal, nay, even a worse
criminal in many instances than the thief who snatches a purse. In
addition to this 5 per cent. there is at least 3 per cent. of the
ordinary criminal population belonging to the higher ranks of life. At
the lowest estimate we have 6 per cent. of the criminal population
springing from the midst of the well-to-do, and if all cases of
drunkenness and assault were punished with imprisonment instead of a
fine, it would be found that the well-to-do showed just as badly in
the statistics of crime as their poorer neighbours.

In making this statement with respect to fines, I do not wish it to be
understood that all cases of drunkenness and assault should be
followed by imprisonment. On the contrary, it is a great mistake to
send anyone to gaol if it can possibly be avoided, and imprisonment
should never be resorted to so long as any other form of punishment
will serve the purpose. What is here stated is merely meant to bring
out the fact that the proportion of well-to-do among the prison
population does not accurately represent the proportion of offences
committed by that class; and it does not represent it for the simple
reason that the well-to-do have facilities for escaping imprisonment
which the ill-to-do have not. When a man with a certain command of
means is involved in criminal proceedings, he has always the
assistance of experienced counsel to defend him, he is always able to
secure the attendance of witnesses,[21] if he has any, and should the
offence be of a nature that a fine will condone, he is always able to
escape imprisonment by paying it. It very often happens that poor
people are unable to secure these advantages in a court of justice,
and prison statistics of the different classes, even if we had them,
would, for the reasons we have just mentioned, always give the working
classes more than their fair share of offenders.

    [21] A case was tried in London a short time ago which illustrates
    the difficulties in the way of poor people, so far as the
    attendance of witnesses is concerned. In this case the witness
    appeared five successive days in court waiting for the trial to
    come on. Not being paid by the defendant, this witness was
    unable to appear the sixth day. On that day the case was at
    last called, the prisoner had now no witness and was, of course,

It has always to be borne in mind in making calculations respecting
the proportion of criminal offenders among the various sections of the
community that there is a population of habitual criminals which forms
a class by itself. Habitual criminals are not to be confounded with
the working or any other class; they are a set of persons who make
crime the object and business of their lives; to commit crime is their
trade; they deliberately scoff at honest ways of earning a living, and
must accordingly be looked upon as a class of a separate and distinct
character from the rest of the community. According to police
estimates this class consists of between 50,000 and 60,000 persons in
England and Wales. Notwithstanding the smallness of its numbers, this
criminal population contributes a proportion amounting to fully 12 per
cent. to the local and convict prisons of England. As this percentage
of the prison population is recruited from wholly criminal ground, it
is important to place it in a distinct and separate category when
forming an estimate of the criminal tendencies of the several branches
of the population. This is what has been done in the subjoined table.
This table will accordingly show, first the proportion of the poorer
class to the total population, and next their proportion to the prison
population. It will do the same for the well-to-do class, and will
finally give the percentage of the criminal class in the local and
convict prisons:--

Proportion of working class to total population  90 p. ct.
Proportion, of prisoners from this class         82 p. ct.
Proportion of well-to-do to population           10 p. ct.
Proportion of prisoners from this class           6 p. ct.
Numbers of criminal class, say 60,000
Proportion of prisoners from this class          12 p. ct.

According to these figures, the well-to-do contribute less than their
proper proportion to the prison population. This arises, as has
already been stated, from the fact that this class has so many more
facilities for escaping the penalty of imprisonment; the difference
would be adjusted if the cases tried before the criminal courts were
taken as a standard. An examination of these cases would undoubtedly
show that each class was represented in proportion to its numbers.

According to Garofalo, one of the most learned of Italian jurists, the
poor people in Italy commit fewer offences against property, in
proportion to their numbers, than the well-to-do, while in Prussia
persons engaged in the liberal professions contribute twice their
proper share to the criminal population. A somewhat similar state of
things exists in France; there the number of persons engaged in the
liberal professions forms four per cent. of the population; but,
according to the investigations of Ferri, in his striking little book,
"Socialismo e Criminalita," the liberal professions were responsible
for no less than seven per cent. of the murders perpetrated in France
in 1879.

What is the period of the year we should expect most crime to be
committed if poverty is at the root of it? In this country, at least,
it is very well known that the labouring classes are apt to suffer
most in the depth of winter, and the depth of winter may be said to
correspond with the months of December, January, and February. It is
in these months that all outdoor occupations come to a comparative
standstill; it is then that the poorest section of the population--the
men without a trade, the men who live by mere manual labour--are
reduced to the greatest straits. In the winter months some of these
men have to pass through a period of real hardship; the state of the
weather often puts an absolute stop to all outdoor occupations, and
when this is the case, it takes an outdoor labourer all his might to
provide the barest necessaries for his home. In addition to this
difficulty, which lies in the nature of his calling, a labourer finds
the expense of living a good deal higher in the depth of winter. He
has to burn more fuel, he has to supply his children with warmer
clothing, in a variety of ways his expenses increase, notwithstanding
the most rigid economy. Winter is not only a harder season for the
outdoor labourer, it is a time of greater economic trial for the whole
working-class population. This, I think, is a statement which will be
universally admitted.

On the assumption that poverty is the principal source of crime we
ought to have a much larger prison population in the depth of winter
than at any other period of the year. The prison statistics for
December, January, and February--the three most inclement months, the
three months when expenses are greatest and work scarcest--should be
the highest in the whole year. As a matter of fact, it is during these
three months that there are fewest people in prison. According to an
excellent return, issued for the first time by the Prison Commissioners
in their thirteenth report, it appears that there was a considerably
smaller number of prisoners in the local prisons of England and Wales
in the winter months--December, January and February, 1889-90--than at
any other season of the year.[22] And this is not an isolated fact. A
glance at the criminal returns for a series of years will at once show
that crime is highest in summer and autumn--a time when occupation of
all kinds, and especially occupation for the poorest members of the
community, is most easily obtained--and lowest in winter and spring,
when economic conditions are most adverse.[23]

    [22] See Appendix, iii.

    [23] Scotch statistics are in harmony with English. For the year
    ended March, 1890, the number of ordinary prisoners in custody in
    Scotland was lowest in December, January and February. It was
    highest in July, August, September. Crime was also highest when
    pauperism was lowest. See 12th Report of Scottish Prison

All these facts, instead of pointing to poverty as the main cause of
crime, point the other way. It is a curious sign of the times that
this statement should meet with so much incredulity. It has been
reserved for this generation to propagate the absurdity that the want
of money is the root of all evil; all the wisest teachers of mankind
have hitherto been disposed to think differently, and criminal
statistics are far from demonstrating that they are wrong. In the
laudable efforts which are now being made, and which ought to be made
to heighten the material well-being of the community, it is a mistake
to assume, as is too often done, that mere material prosperity, even
if spread over the whole population, will ever succeed in banishing
crime. A mere increase of material prosperity generates as many evils
as it destroys; it may diminish offences against property, but it
augments offences against the person, and multiplies drunkenness to an
alarming extent. While it is an undoubted fact that material
wretchedness has a debasing effect both morally and physically, it is
also equally true that the same results are sometimes found to flow
from an increase of economic well-being. An interesting proof of this
is to be found in the recent investigations of M. Chopinet, a French
military surgeon, respecting the stature of the population in the
central Pyrenees. M. Chopinet, after a careful examination of the
conscript registers from 1873 to 1888, arrives at the following
conclusions as to what determines the physical condition of the
population. After discussing the cosmical influences and the evil
effects of poverty and bad hygienic arrangements on the people, he
proceeds to point out that moral corruption arising from material
prosperity is also a powerful factor in producing physical degeneracy.
He singles out one canton--the canton of Luchon--as being the victim
of its own prosperity. In this canton, he says, that the old
simplicity of life has departed, in consequence of its prodigious
prosperity. "Vices formerly unknown have penetrated into the country;
the frequenting of public houses and the habit of keeping late hours
have taken the place of the open air sports which used to be the
favoured method of enjoyment. Illegitimate births, formerly very rare,
have multiplied, syphilis even has spread among the young. Food of a
less substantial character has superseded the diet of former times,
and, in short, alcoholism, precocious debauchery, and syphilis have
come like so many plagues to arrest the development of the youth and
seriously debilitate the population."[24]

    [24] _Revue Scientifique_, September 13, 1890.

Facts such as these should serve to remind us that the growth of
wealth may be accompanied, and is accompanied, by degeneracy of the
worst character unless there is a corresponding growth of the moral
sentiments of the community. "The perfection of man," says M. de
Laveleye, "consists in the full development of all his forces,
physical as well as intellectual, and of all his sentiments; in the
feeling of affection for the family and humanity; in a feeling for the
beautiful in nature and art." It is in proportion as men strive after
this ideal that crime will decay, and material prosperity only becomes
a good when it is used as a means to this supreme end. Otherwise, the
mere growth of wealth, be it ever so widely diffused, will deprave the
world instead of elevating it. The mere possession of wealth is not a
moralising agent; as Professor Marshall[25] truly tells us, "Money is
general purchasing power, and is sought as a means to all kinds of
ends, high as well as low, spiritual as well as material." According
to this definition, money may as readily become a source of mischief
as an instrument for good; its wider diffusion among the community
has, therefore, a mixed effect, and it works for evil or for good,
according to the character of the individual. It is only when the
character is disciplined by the habitual exercise of self-restraint,
and ennobled by a generous devotion to the higher aims of life, that
money becomes a real blessing to its possessor. If, on the other hand,
money has merely the effect of making the well-to-do rich, and the
poor well-to-do, it will never diminish crime; it will merely cause
crime to modify its present forms. Such, at least, is the conclusion
to which a consideration of the contents of this chapter would seem to

    [25] _Principles of Economics_, p. 81.



In the present chapter we shall proceed to discuss the effect exercised
by two characteristics of a distinctly personal nature in the production
of crime, namely, age and sex.

As sex is the most fundamental of all human distinctions we shall
begin by considering the part it plays among criminal phenomena.
According to the judicial statistics of all civilised peoples, women
are less addicted to crime than men, and boys are more addicted to
crime than girls. Among most European peoples between five and six
males are tried for offences against the law to every one female. In
the southern countries of Europe, females form a smaller proportion of
the criminal population than in the northern. This circumstance may be
accounted for in several ways. In the first place, it may be the case
that women in the south of Europe are better morally than in the
north; it may be that the social conditions of their existence shield
them from crime; or it may be that the crimes men are most prone to
commit in the south are of such a nature that women are more or less
incapable of perpetrating them. It is perfectly well known that in the
south of Europe women lead more secluded lives than is the case in the
north; they are much less immersed in the whirl and movement of life;
it is not surprising, therefore, to find that they are less addicted
to crime. Nor is this all. The crimes committed in the South consist
to a large extent of offences against the person; physical weakness in
a multitude of cases prevents women from committing such crimes. In
the North, on the other hand, a large proportion of crimes are in the
nature of thefts and offences against property. Most of these crimes
women can commit with comparative ease; the result is that they form a
larger proportion of the criminal population. Assaults are offences
women are less capable of committing than men; hence, if we find that
the crime of a country consists largely of personal violence, we shall
also find that the percentage of female criminals will be relatively
small. In Italy, where offences against the person are so prevalent,
females only form about nine per cent. of the criminal population; in
England, where personal violence is seldom resorted to, females form
between 17 and 18 per cent. of the persons proceeded against, and
about 15 per cent. of the numbers convicted.

A consideration of these circumstances tends to show that although
southern women commit fewer crimes in proportion to men than northern
women, this fact is partly owing to the character of the crime. But it
is also owing to more secluded habits of life, and to the freedom from
moral contamination of a criminal nature which these habits secure.

Proceeding from quantity to quality we find that although females
commit much fewer crimes in proportion than males, the offences they
do commit are frequently of a more serious nature than the crimes to
which men are addicted. According to the investigations of Guerry and
Quetelet, women in France commit more crimes of infanticide, abortion,
poisoning, and domestic theft than men. They are addicted equally with
men to the perpetration of parricide, and are more frequently
convicted than men for the ill-treatment of children. English criminal
statistics also show that the proportion of women to men rises with
the seriousness of the offence. The proportion of women to men
summarily proceeded against is 17 per cent., the proportion proceeded
against for murder and attempts to murder is as high as 36 per cent.
Women are also more hardened criminals than men. According to the
statistics of English prisons, women who have been once convicted are
much more likely to be reconvicted than men,[26] and the prison
returns of Continental countries tell the same tale.

    [26] In 1889-90 the recommitted males were 44.3 per cent. of the
    total number of males committed (exclusive of debtors and naval
    and military offenders); the recommitted females 65.8 per cent.
    of the total number of females committed exclusive of debtors.

The facts relating to female crime having been stated, it will now be
our business to inquire why women, on the whole, commit fewer crimes
than men. The most obvious answer is that they are better morally. The
care and nurture of children has been their lot in life for untold
centuries; the duties of maternity have perpetually kept alive a
certain number of unselfish instincts; those instincts have become
part and parcel of woman's natural inheritance, and, as a result of
possessing them to a larger extent than man, she is less disposed to
crime. It is very probable that there is an element of truth in the
idea that the care of offspring has had a moralising effect upon
women, and that this effect has acquired the power of a hereditary
characteristic; at the same time, it must be remembered that other
causes are also in operation which prevent women figuring as largely
in criminal returns as men.

Among the most prominent of these causes is the want of physical
power. In all crimes requiring a certain amount of brute strength,
such as burglary, robbery with violence, and so on, the proportion of
women to men is small. A woman very rarely possesses the animal force
requisite for the perpetration of crimes accompanied with much
personal violence. But where the element of personal violence does not
come conspicuously to the front the proportion of female criminals to
male immediately rises, and in such crimes as poisoning, child murder,
abortion, domestic theft, women are more criminally disposed than men.
Undoubtedly the lack of power has as much to do with keeping down
female crime as the want of will. This is especially manifest in the
crime of infanticide. For the perpetration of this crime women possess
the power, and the vast number of women convicted of this offence in
proportion to men is ample proof that they often possess the will. Of
course the temptation to women to commit this kind of crime is often
extreme; it is the product, in many instances, of an overwhelming
sense of shame; and the perpetrators of infanticide are often far from
being the most debased of their sex. Still, the prevalence of
infanticide among women is an evidence that, where the temptation is
strong and the power sufficient, women are just as criminally inclined
as men.

It has also to be borne in mind that women are very frequently the
instigators of crime and escape punishment because they are not
actually engaged in its commission. In almost all cases where
robberies are committed by a pack of thieves, a part of the
preparatory arrangements is entrusted to women, and women lend a
helping hand in disposing of the spoil. It is the men, as a rule, who
receive all the punishment, but the guilt of both sexes is very much
the same. In many cases of forgery and fraudulent bankruptcy among the
well-to-do classes, for which men only are punished, the guilt of
women is equally great. Household extravagance, extravagance in dress,
the mad ambition of many English women to live in what they call
"better style" than their neighbours sends not a few men to penal
servitude. The proportion of female crime in a community is also to a
very considerable extent determined by the social condition of women.
In all countries where social habits and customs constrain women to
lead retiring and secluded lives the number of female criminals
descends to a minimum. The small amount of female crime in Greece[27]
is an instance of this law. On the other hand, in all countries where
women are accustomed to share largely the active work of life with
men, female crime has a distinct tendency to reach its maximum. An
instance of this is the high percentage of female crime in Scotland.
According to the Judicial Statistics for the year 1888 no less than 37
per cent. of the cases tried before the Scotch courts consisted of
offences committed by women. It is true only 11 per cent. of these
offences were of a serious nature--the remainder being more or less
trivial, but, even after taking this circumstance into consideration,
the unwelcome fact remains that Scotch women commit a higher
percentage of crimes in proportion to men than the female population
of any other country in Europe. The proportion of English female
offenders to male is not half so high; it was only 17 per cent. in
1888, and is showing a tendency to decrease, being as high as 20 per
cent. for the twenty years ended 1876. The proportion of female
offenders in Scotland to the total criminal population is moving in an
opposite direction. The late Professor Leone Levi, in a paper read
before the Statistical Society in 1880, stated that Scotch women
formed 27 per cent. of the persons tried before the criminal courts;
they now form 37 per cent., a most alarming rate of increase.

    [27] According to prison statistics of the Greek Government for
    1889, out of a total prison population of 5,023 only 50 were
    women. See _Revista de Discipline Carcerarie_, Nov. 30th, 1890,
    page 667.

It hardly admits of doubt that the high ratio of female crime in
Scotland is to be attributed to the social status of women. In no
other country of Europe do women perform so much heavy manual work;
working in the fields and factories along with men; depending little
upon men for their subsistence; in all economic matters leading what
is called a more emancipated life than women do elsewhere; in short,
resembling man in their social activities, they also resemble him in
criminal proclivities. Scotch criminal statistics are thus a striking
confirmation of the general law revealed by the study of criminal
statistics as a whole; namely, that the more women are driven to enter
upon the economic struggle for life the more criminal they will
become. This is not a very consoling outlook for the future of
society. It is not consoling, for the simple reason that the whole
drift of opinion at the present time is in the direction of opening
out industrial and public life to women to the utmost extent possible.
In so far as public opinion is favouring the growth of female
political leagues and other female organisations of a distinctly
militant character, it is undoubtedly tending on the whole to lower
the moral nature of women. The combative attitude required to be
maintained by all members of such organisations is injurious to the
higher instincts of women, and in numbers of cases must affect their
moral tone. The amount of mischief done by these public organisations
for purposes of political combat is not confined to women alone. The
overwhelming influence exercised by mothers on the minds of children
is notorious; and that influence is not so likely to be for good where
the mother's mind is contaminated by a knowledge of, and sometimes by
practising, the shady tricks of electioneering.

The present tendency to create a greater number of openings in trade
and industry for women is not to be dismissed as pernicious because of
its evil effect in multiplying female crime. After all, an enlarged
industrial career for women may be the lesser of two evils. According
to the present industrial constitution of society a very large number
of females must earn a living in the sweat of their brow, and until
some higher social development supersedes the existing order of things
it is only right that as wide a career as possible should be opened
out for the activities of women who must work to live. At the same
time it would be an infinitely superior state of things if society did
not require women's work beyond the confines of the home and the
primary school. In these two spheres there is ample occupation of the
very highest character for the energies of women; in them their work
is immeasurably superior to men's; and it is because the work required
in the home and the school is at the present moment so improperly
performed that our existing civilisation is such a hot-bed of physical
degeneracy, pauperism, and crime. One thing at least is certain, that
crime will never permanently decrease till the material conditions of
existence are such that women will not be called upon to fight the
battle of life as men are, but will be able to concentrate their
influence on the nurture and education of the young, after having
themselves been educated mainly with a view to that great end.
European society at the present moment is moving away from this ideal
of woman's functions in the world; she is getting to be regarded in
the light of a mere intellectual or industrial unit; and the flower of
womankind is being more and more drafted into commercial and other
enterprises. Some affect to look upon this condition, of things as
being in the line of progress; it may be, and to all appearance is, in
the line of material necessity, but it is unquestionably opposed to
the moral interests of the community. These interests demand that
women should not be debased, as criminal statistics prove that they
are by active participation in modern industrialism; they demand that
the all-important duties of motherhood should be in the hands of
persons capable of fulfilling them worthily, and not in the hands of
persons whose previous occupations have often rendered them unfit for
being a centre of grace and purity in the home. It cannot be too
emphatically insisted on that the home is the great school for the
formation of character among the young, and it is on character that
conduct depends. In proportion as this school of character is
improved, in the same proportion will crime decrease. But how is it to
be improved when the tendencies of industrialism are to degrade the
women who stand by nature at the head of it? Indifferent mothers
cannot make children good citizens; and the present course of things
industrial is slowly but surely tending to debase the fountain head of
the race. At the International Conference concerning the regulation of
labour held recently at Berlin, M. Jules Simon, at the close of an
excellent speech to the delegates, pointed out the remedy for the
present condition of things. "You will pardon me," he said, "for
concluding my observations with a personal remark, which is perhaps
authorised by a past entirely consecrated to a defence of the cause
which brings us here. The object we are aiming at is moral as well as
material; it is not only in the physical interests of the human race
that we are endeavouring to rescue children, youths, and women from
excessive toil; we are also labouring to restore woman to the home,
the child to its mother, for it is from her only that those lessons of
affection and respect which make the good citizen can be learned. We
wish to call a halt in the path of demoralisation down which the
loosening of the family tie is leading the human mind."

Passing from the question of sex and crime we shall now consider the
proportions which crime bears to age. According to the calculations of
the late Mr. Clay, chaplain of Preston prison, the practice of
dishonesty among persons, who afterwards find their way into prisons,
begins at a very early age. In a communication addressed to Lord
Shaftesbury, in 1853, he said that 58 per cent. of criminals were
dishonest under 15 years of age; 14 per cent. became dishonest between
15 and 16; 8 per cent. became dishonest between 17 and 19; 20 per
cent. became dishonest under 20.

I have little doubt that these proportions are still in the main
correct, and that the criminal instinct begins to show itself at a
very early period in life. In Staffordshire "it is an ascertained
fact, that there is scarcely an habitual criminal in the county who
has not been imprisoned as a child."[28] But it is after the age of
twenty has been reached that the criminality of a people attains its
highest point. A glance at the subjoined table will make this clear:--

Population of England and    |   Prisoners in Local Gaols
    Wales in 1871--          |         in 1888--

Under 5              13.52   |   Under 12                 0.1
5 and under 15       22.58   |   12 and under 16          2.8
15   "      20        9.59   |   16    "      21         16.1
20   "      30       16.66   |   21    "      30         30.2
30   "      40       12.80   |   30    "      40         24.3
40   "      50       10.05   |   40    "      50         14.7
50   "      60        7.32   |   50    "      60          6.4
60 and upwards        7.48   |   60 and upwards           5.4

    [28] _Reformatory and Refuge Journal_, July, 1890.

These figures show that in proportion to the population, crime is, as
we should expect, at its lowest level from infancy till the age of
sixteen. From that age it goes on steadily increasing in volume till
it reaches a maximum between thirty and forty. After forty has been
passed the criminal population begins rapidly to descend, but never
touches the same low point in old age as in early youth.

Females do not enter upon a criminal career so early in life as
males;[29] in the year 1888, while 20 per cent. of the _male_
population of our local prisons in England and Wales were under 21,
only 12 per cent. of the _female_ prison population were under that
age. On the other hand, women between 21 and 50, form a larger
proportion of the female prison population, than men between the same
ages do of the male prison population. The criminal age among women is
later in its commencement, and earlier in coming to a close than in
the case of men. It is later in commencing because of the greater care
and watchfulness exercised over girls than boys; but it is more
persistent while it lasts, because a plunge into crime is a more
irreparable thing in a woman than in a man. A woman's past has a far
worse effect on her future than a man's. She incurs a far graver
degree of odium from her own sex; it is much more difficult for her to
get into the way of earning an honest livelihood, and a woman who has
once been shut up within bolts and bars is much more likely to be
irretrievably lost than a man. If it is important to keep men as much
as possible out of prison, it is doubly necessary to keep out women;
but it is, at the same time, a much harder thing to accomplish. This
arises from the fact that the great bulk of female offenders enter the
criminal arena after the age of twenty-one, and can only be dealt with
by a sentence of imprisonment. If females began crime at an earlier
period of life, it would be possible to send them to Reformatories or
Industrial Schools, and a fair hope of ultimately saving them would
still remain; but as this is impossible with grown-up persons, prison
is the only alternative, and it is after imprisonment is over that a
woman begins to recognise the terrible social penalties it has

    [29] Ages and proportion per cent. of males and females committed
    in 1889-90.

         Ages                       Males        Females

    Under 12 years                    0.2            0.0
    12 years and under 16             3.1            1.1
    16 years and under 21            17.5           10.7
    21 years and under 30            28.4           31.4
    30 years and under 40            23.9           28.6
    40 years and under 50            14.2           17.5
    50 years and under 60             6.4            6.8
    60 years and above                6.2            3.8
    Age not ascertained               0.1            0.1

The proportion of offenders under sixteen years of age to the total
local prison population of England and Wales, has decreased in a
remarkable way within the last twenty or thirty years. The proportion
of offenders under sixteen committed to prison between 1857-66,
amounted to six and three-quarters per cent. of the prison population,
and if we go back behind that period it was higher still. In fact,
during the first quarter of the present century, the extent and
ramifications of juvenile crime had almost reduced statesmen to
despair. But the spread of the Reformatory system and the introduction
more recently of Industrial and Truant Schools for children who have
just drifted, or are fast drifting, into criminal courses, has had a
remarkable effect in diminishing the juvenile population of our
prisons. At the present time the proportion of juveniles under sixteen
to the rest of the local prison population is only a little over two
per cent. and it is not likely that it will ever reach a higher
figure. It might easily be reduced almost to zero if children destined
for Reformatories were sent off to these institutions at once, instead
of being detained for a month or so in prison till a suitable school
is found for them. Some persons object to the idea of sending children
to Reformatories at once, on the ground that to abolish the terror of
imprisonment from the youthful mind would embolden the juvenile
inclined to crime and lead him more readily to commit it. Others
object on the ground that it is only right the child should be
punished for his offence. In answer to the last objection, it may
pertinently be said that a sentence of three or four years to a
Reformatory is surely sufficient punishment for offences usually
committed by small boys. With regard to the first objection, our own
experience is that the ordinary juvenile is much more afraid of the
policeman than of the prison, and that the fear of being caught would
operate just as strongly upon him if he were sent straight to the
Reformatory as it does now. The evils connected with the present
system of sending children destined for Reformatories to prison are of
two kinds. At the present time many magistrates will not send children
to Reformatories who sorely need the restraints of such an
institution, because they know it involves a period of preliminary
imprisonment before they can get there. Secondly, it enables a lad to
know what the inside of a prison really is. On these two points let me
quote the words of an experienced magistrate. "I have many times,"
said Mr. Whitwell, at the fourth Reformatory Conference, "when having
to deal with young people, felt it very desirable to send them to a
Reformatory, but have shrunk from it because we are obliged to send
them to prison first. I think it should be left to the discretion of
the magistrates and not made compulsory. I feel very strongly indeed
that it is most desirable to keep the child from knowing what the
inside of a prison is. Let them think it something awful to look
forward to. _When they have been in the prison they are of opinion
that it is not such a very bad place after all, and they are not
afraid of going there again_; but if they are sent to a Reformatory
and told that they will be sent to a prison if they do not reform,
they will think it an awful place." These are wise words. It is
impossible to make imprisonment such a severe discipline for children
as it is for grown-up men and women, and as it is not so severe,
children leave our gaols with a false impression on their minds. The
terror of being imprisoned has, to a large extent, departed; they
think they know the worst and cease to be much afraid of what the law
can do. Hence the fact that society has less chance of reclaiming a
child who has been imprisoned than it has of reclaiming one who has
not undergone that form of punishment although he has committed
precisely the same offence. In England, many authorities on
Reformatory Schools are strongly in favour of retaining preliminary
imprisonment for Reformatory children; in Scotland, experienced
opinion is decisively on the other side. On this point, the Scotch are
undoubtedly in the right. The working of prison systems, whether at
home or abroad, teaches us that any person, be he child or man, who
has once been in prison, is much more likely to come back than a
person who, for a similar offence, has received punishment in a
different form. The application of this principle to the case of
Reformatory children decisively settles the matter in favour of
sending such children to Reformatories at once. If this simple reform
were effected, the child population of our prisons would almost cease
to exist. In the year 1888, this population amounted to 239 for
England and Wales under the age of twelve, and 4,826 under the age of
sixteen, thus making a total of 5,065 or 2.9 per cent. of the whole
local prison population.

In the preceding remarks on juvenile offenders under 16, it has been
pointed out that the great decrease in the numbers of such offenders
among the prison population is mainly owing to the development of
Industrial and Reformatory Schools. In order, therefore, to form an
accurate estimate of juvenile delinquency, we must look not merely at
the number of juveniles in prison; attention must also be directed to
the number of juveniles in Reformatory and Industrial Institutions.
Although these institutions are not places of imprisonment, yet they
are places of compulsory detention, and contain a very considerable
proportion of juvenile delinquents. All juveniles sent to
Reformatories have, indeed, been actually convicted of criminal
offences, and in 1888 the number of young people in the Reformatory
Schools of Great Britain (excluding Ireland) was in round numbers six
thousand (5,984). These must be added to the total juvenile prison
population in order to form a true conception of the extent of
juvenile crime. It is almost certain that if these young people were
not in Reformatories they would be in prisons, for, in almost the same
proportion as the Reformatory and Industrial School inmates have
increased, the juvenile prison population has decreased.

To the population of the Reformatory Schools must also be added a
large percentage of the Industrial School population. Since the year
1864, the number of boys and girls in Industrial and Truant Schools
has gone on steadily increasing. In that year the inmates amounted to
1,608; twenty-four years afterwards, that is to say, in 1888, the
number of children in Great Britain in Industrial and Truant Schools
amounted to 21,426.[30] It is true that a considerable proportion of
these children were not sent to the schools on account of having
committed crime; at the same time it has to be remembered that nearly
all of them were on the way to it, and would in all probability have
become criminals had the State left them alone for a year or two
longer. At the time of their committal the children we are now dealing
with were either children who had been found begging, or who were
wandering about without a settled home, or who were found destitute,
or who had a parent in gaol, or who lived in the company of female
criminals, prostitutes, and thieves. Such children may not actually
have come within the clutches of the criminal law, but it is
sufficient to look for a moment at the surroundings they had lived in
to see that this was only a question of time. We must, therefore, add
those children, along with the Reformatory population, to the number
of juveniles in gaol if we wish to form a proper estimate of the
extent of juvenile delinquency. If this is done we arrive at the
conclusion that the criminal and semi-criminal juvenile population is
at the present time more than 25,000 strong in England and Wales
alone; if Scotland be included it is more than 30,000 strong. These
figures are enough to show that it is only compulsory detention in
State establishments which keeps down the numbers of juvenile
offenders; and there can be little doubt, if the inmates of these
institutions were let loose upon the country, juveniles would very
soon constitute seven, eight, or, perhaps, ten per cent. of the prison

    [30] In 1889 there is a slight decrease.

Let us now consider the case of young offenders between the ages of 16
and 21. This is the most momentous for weal or woe of all periods of
life. During this stage, the transition from youth to manhood is
taking place; the habits then formed acquire a more enduring
character, and, in the majority of cases, determine the whole future
of the individual. If youths between the ages just mentioned could by
any possibility be prevented from embarking on a criminal career, the
drop in the criminal population would be far-reaching in its effects.
It is from the ranks of young people just entering early manhood that
a large proportion of the habitual criminal population is recruited;
and if this critical period of life can be tided over without repeated
acts of crime, there is much less likelihood of a young man
degenerating afterwards into a criminal of the professional class. It
is most important that the professional criminal class should be
diminished at a quicker rate than is the case at present; and, in
spite of police statistics to the contrary, it is a class which has
not become perceptibly smaller within the last twenty or five and
twenty years. A proof of this statement is to be seen in the fact that
offences against property with violence display a tendency to
increase, and it is offences of this nature which are pre-eminently
the work of the habitual criminal. It is a comparatively rare thing to
find a habitual criminal stop mid-way in his sinister career; the
accumulated impressions resulting from a life of crime have too
effectively succeeded in shaping his character and conduct, and he
persists, as a rule, in leading an anti-social life so long as he has
physical strength to do it.

The only hope, therefore, of diminishing the habitual criminal
population, is to lessen the number of recruits; and as most of these
recruits are to be found among lads of between sixteen and twenty-one,
it is to these lads that serious attention must be directed. Every year
a certain proportion of youths ranging between these two ages shows a
pronounced disposition to enter permanently upon a criminal life by
repeatedly returning to prison. The deterrent effect of short sentences
has ceased to operate upon them, and all the symptoms are present that
a downright career of crime has begun. In such circumstances what is to
be done? A plan has been proposed by Mr. Lloyd Baker for dealing with
refractory and unmanageable Reformatory children, the substance of
which is to send them to another institution of a stricter character
than the ordinary Reformatory School, and which for want of a better
name he calls a Penal Reformatory. It is very probable that something
in the nature of a Penal Reformatory is just what is wanted to prevent
a youth on the downward road from finally swelling the proportions of
the professional criminal population. If Great Britain ever established
such institutions, she would then possess a graded set of organisations
for dealing with the young, which would cover the whole period of
youthful life. The Truant School would catch the child on the first
symptoms of waywardness, the Industrial School would arrest him
standing on the verge of crime, the Reformatory School would dual with
actual offenders against the law, and the Penal Reformatory would
grapple with habitual offenders under the age of manhood.[31]

    [31] Ages at which 507 offenders first began to commit crime--

    Under 10         1.5        41 to 45      2.1
    11 to 15        17.0        46 to 50      2.3
    16 to 20        36.1        51 to 55      2.1
    21 to 25        20.1        56 to 60       .8
    26 to 30         7.1        61 to 65       .8
    31 to 35         5.1        66 to 70       .2
    36 to 40         3.6

    Marro. _I Caratteri dei delinquente. Studio antropologico-sociologico_,
    p. 356.

After the age of manhood has been reached, and the main lines of
character are formed, punitive methods of dealing with criminal
offenders must assume a more prominent position, and the prison should
then take the place of the Reformatory. In youth the deterrent effects
of punishment are small, and the beneficial effects of reformative
measures are at their maximum. In manhood, on the other hand, this
condition of things is reversed, and the deterrent effects of
punishment exceed the beneficial effects of reformative influences. An
interesting example of the value of punishment for adults, as compared
with other methods, is given by Sir John Strachey in his account of
infanticide in certain parts of India. "For many years past," he says,
"measures have been taken in the North-West Provinces for the
prevention of this crime. For a long time, when our civilisation was
less belligerent than it has since become, it was thought that the best
hope of success lay in the removal of the causes which appeared to lead
to its commission, and especially in the prevention of extravagant
expenditure on marriages; but although these benevolent efforts were
undoubtedly useful, their practical results were not great, and it
gradually became clear that it was only by a stringent and organised
system of coercion that these practices would ever be eradicated. In
1870 an act of the legislature was passed which enabled the Government
to deal with the subject. A system of registration of births and deaths
among the suspected classes was established, with constant inspection
and enumeration of children; special police-officers were entertained
at the cost of the guilty communities, and no efforts were spared to
convince them that the Government had firmly resolved that it would put
down these practices, and would treat the people who followed them as
murderers. Although the time is, I fear, distant when preventive
measures will cease to be necessary, much progress has been made, and
there are now thousands of girls where formerly there were none. In the
Mainpuri district, where, as I have said, there was not many years ago
hardly a single Chauhán girl, nearly half of the Chauhán children at
the present time are girls; and it is hoped that three-fourths of the
villages have abandoned the practice."[32]

    [32] _India_ by Sir John Strachey, pp. 292-3.

These facts speak for themselves and afford an incontestable proof of
the value of punishment as a remedial measure when other remedies have
failed.[33] In the re-action which is now in full force, and rightly
so, against the excessive punishments of past times, there is a marked
tendency among some minds to go to the opposite extreme, and an
attempt is being made to show that imprisonment has hardly any
curative effect at all. Its evils, and from the very nature of things
they are not a few, are almost exclusively elaborated and dwelt upon,
little attention being paid to the vast amount of good which
imprisonment alone is able to effect. It is possible that imprisonment
sends a few to utter perdition at a quicker pace than they would have
gone of their own accord, but on the other hand, it rescues many a man
before he has irrevocably committed himself to a life of crime. If it
fails the first time, it very often succeeds after the second or the
third, and no one is justified in saying imprisonment is worthless as
a reformative agency till it has failed at least three times. According
to the judicial statistics for England and Wales, imprisonment is
successful after the third time in about 80 per cent. of the cases
annually submitted to the criminal courts, and although it is a pity
that the percentage is not higher, yet it cannot fairly be said that
such results are an evidence of failure. The prison is unquestionably
a much less effective weapon for dealing with crime among Continental
peoples, and in the United States, than it has shown itself to be in
Great Britain; but this failure arises in the main from the laxity and
indulgence with which criminals are treated in foreign prisons. A
prison to possess any reformative value must always be made an
uncomfortable place to live in; Continental peoples and the people of
America have to a large extent lost sight of this fact; hence the
failure of their penal systems to stop the growth of the delinquent
population. If, however, imprisonment is not allowed to degenerate
into mere detention, it is bound to act as a powerful deterrent upon
grown-up offenders, and it is the only menace which will effectually
keep many of them within the law. The hope of reward and the fear of
punishment, or, in other words, love of pleasure, and dread of pain,
are the two most deeply seated instincts in the human breast; if Mr.
Darwin's theory be correct, it is through the operation of these
fundamental instincts that such a being as man has come into existence
at all. In any case these instincts have hitherto been the chief
ingredients of all human progress, the most effective spur to energy
of all kinds, and when properly utilised they are the most potent of
all deterrents to crime. Were it possible for the hand of social
justice to descend on every criminal with infallible certainty; were
it universally true that no crime could possibly escape punishment,
that every offence against society would inevitably and immediately be
visited on the offender, the tendency to commit crime would probably
become as rare as the tendency of an ordinary human being to thrust
his hand into the fire. The uncertainty of punishment is the great
bulwark of crime, and crime has a marvellous knack of diminishing in
proportion as this uncertainty decreases. No amelioration of the
material circumstances of the community can destroy all the causes of
crime, and till moral progress has reached a height hitherto attained
only by the elect of the race, one of the most efficient curbs upon
the criminally disposed will consist in increasing the probability of

    [33] Cf. _Tarde Philosophie Penale_, p. 467.

In proportion as the probability of being punished is augmented, the
severity of punishment can be safely diminished. This is one of the
paramount advantages to be derived from a highly efficient police
system. The barbarity of punishments in the Middle Ages is always
attributed by historians to the barbarous ideas of those rude times.
But this is only partially true; one important consideration is
overlooked. In the Middle Ages it was extremely difficult to catch the
criminal; in fact, it is only within the present century that an
organised system for effecting the capture of criminals has come into
existence. The result of the nebulous police system of past times was
that very few offenders were brought to justice at all, and society,
in order to prevent lawlessness from completely getting the upper
hand, was obliged to make a terrible example of all offenders coming
within its grasp. As soon, however, as it became less difficult to
arrest and convict lawless persons, the old severities of the criminal
code immediately began to fall into abeyance. Sentences were
shortened, punishments were mitigated, the death penalty was abolished
for almost all crimes except murder. But even now, the moment society
sees any form of crime showing a tendency to evade the vigilance of
the law, a cry is immediately raised for sterner measures of
repression against the perpetrators of that particular form of crime.
The Flogging Bill recently passed by Parliament is a case in point.
These instances afford a fairly accurate insight into the action of
society with regard to the punishment of crime. It punishes severely
when the criminal is seldom caught; it punishes more lightly when he
is often caught; and its punishments will become more mitigated still,
as soon as the probability of capture is made more complete. A
comparatively light sentence is in most cases a very effective
deterrent, when it is made almost a certainty, and all alterations in
the future in criminal administration should be in the direction of
making punishment more certain rather than more severe. Such efforts
are sure to be rewarded by a decrease in the amount of crime.



Has the criminal any bodily and mental characteristics which
differentiate him from the ordinary man? Does he differ from his
fellows in height and weight? Does he possess a peculiar conformation
of skull and brain? Is he anomalous in face and feature, in intellect,
in will, in feeling? Is he, in short, an individual separated from the
rest of humanity by any set or combination of qualities which clearly
mark him off as an abnormal being? As these matters are at present
exciting considerable attention, let us now look at the criminal from
a purely biological point of view.

A good deal of diversity of opinion exists among competent authorities
respecting the stature of criminals. Lombroso says that Italian
criminals are above the average height; Knecht says German criminals
do not differ in this respect from other men; Marro says the stature
of criminals is variable; Thomson and Wilson say that criminals are
inferior in point of stature to the average man. Whatever may be the
case on the Continent, there can be little doubt that as far as the
United Kingdom is concerned, the height of the criminal class is lower
than that of the ordinary citizen. In Scotland the average height of
the ordinary population is (559) 67.30 inches; the average height of
the criminal population, as given by Dr. Bruce Thomson, is (324) 66.95
inches. According to Dr. Beddoe, the average height of the London
artizan population is (318) 66.72 inches; the average height of the
London criminal (300) 54.70 inches; the average height of Liverpool
criminals, according to Danson, is (1117) 66.39 inches. Danson's
figures point to the fact that there is hardly any difference in
height between the criminal classes of Liverpool and the artizan
population of London It has, however, to be borne in mind that the
population of the North of England, being largely of Scandinavian
descent, is taller than the population of the South of England. The
height of Liverpool criminals should be compared with the average
height of the Scotch, to whom they are more nearly allied by race. If
this is done, it will be seen that they fall considerably short of the
normal stature.

The difference between the height of the criminal population and that
of the most favoured classes is more remarkable still. According to
Dr. Roberts' tables, the average height of the latter is 69.06 inches;
the London criminal is only 64.70 inches. There is thus a difference
of from four to five inches between the most highly favoured classes
and the London criminal class. The difference between the criminal
class and the merely well-to-do is not quite so great. Selecting Mr.
Galton's Health Exhibition measurements as a test of the stature of
the well-to-do classes, the results come out as follows:--Health
Exhibition measurements, 67.9 inches; London criminals, 64.70 inches.
The criminal is thus between two and three inches inferior in height
to the well-to-do portion of the community. In fact, the height of the
London criminal is very nearly the same as that of the East-End Jew.
According to Mr. Jacobs, in a paper communicated to the Journal of the
Anthropological Institute, the average stature of the East-End Jew is
64.3 inches; his co-religionist in the West-End is 67.5 inches. We may
accordingly take it as the outcome of these measurements that the
criminal population of Great Britain is inferior in point of stature
to the ordinary population.

From stature we shall pass to weight. Lombroso and Marro say that the
weight of Italian criminals is superior to the weight of the average
Italian citizen. On the other hand, the weight of London criminals is
almost the same as that of London artizans, but inferior to the weight
of the artizan population in the large English towns taken as a whole.
Average weight of London criminals (300) 136 pounds; average weight of
London artizan (318) 137 pounds; average weight of artizans in large
towns generally, 138 pounds. The London criminal is considerably
inferior in weight to the well-to-do classes, as will be seen from Mr.
Galton's Health Exhibition statistics. Average weight, Health
Exhibition, 143 pounds; average weight, most favoured class (Roberts),
152 pounds. These figures show that the criminal class in London is
seven pounds lighter than the well-to-do, and sixteen pounds lighter
than the most favoured section of the population.

Hardly any investigations have been made in this country respecting
the skulls of criminals, and the inquiries of continental
investigators have so far led to very conflicting results. It is a
contention of Lombroso's that the skulls of criminals exhibit a larger
proportion of asymmetrical peculiarities than the skulls of other men.
On this point Lombroso is supported by Manouvrier. But Topinard, an
anthropologist of great eminence, is of the opposite opinion. He
carefully examined the same series of skulls as been examined by
Manouvrier--the skulls of murders--and he discovered no marked
difference between these and other skulls. Heger, a Belgian
anthropologist says that the skulls of delinquents do not differ from
the skulls of the race to which the delinquent belongs. In fact, till
more exactitude is introduced into the methods of skull measurement,
all deduction based upon an examination of the criminal skull must be
regarded as untrustworthy. A striking instance of this was witnessed
at the proceedings of the Paris Congress of Criminal Anthropology held
in 1889. When the skull of Charlotte Corday, who killed the
revolutionist Marat, was subjected to examination, Lombroso declared
that it was a truly criminal type of skull; Topinard, on the other
hand, gave it as his opinion that it was a typical female skull. On
this point Topinard was supported by Benedict.[34] As long as such
divergencies of view exist among anthropologists it is impossible to
place much stress upon inquiries relative to the conformation of the
criminal skull. Before a beginning can be made with inquiries of this
character, there must be some fundamental basis of agreement among
investigators as to what is to be accounted asymmetrical in skull
measurements and what is not. Even then it will have to be remembered,
before coming to conclusions, that no skull is perfectly
symmetrical--every one showing some variation from the ideal type.
When the extent of this variation has been absolutely demonstrated to
be greater in the case of criminals than among other sections of the
community, we shall then be approaching solid ground. At present we
must wait for further light before anything can be said with certainty
with respect to the criminal skull.

    [34] See _Revista Internacional de Anthropologia Criminal y
    Ciencias Medico-Legales, Marzo e April de 1890_.

Just as little is known at present about the brain of criminals as
about the skull. Some years ago Professor Benedict startled the world
by stating that he had discovered the seat of crime in the
convolutions of the brain. He found a certain number of anomalies in
the convolutions of the frontal lobes, and he came to the conclusion
that crime was connected with the existence of these anomalies. But he
had omitted to examine the frontal convolutions of honest people. When
this was done by other investigators, it was found that the brain
convolutions of normal men presented just as many anomalies, some
investigators (Dr. Giacomini) said even more than the brains of
criminals. According to Dr. Bardeleben, there is no such thing as a
normal type of brain. Weight of brain is a much simpler question than
brain type, but so far it is impossible to say whether the criminal
brain is heavier or lighter than the ordinary brain. The solution of
this comparatively simple point is beset by a certain number of
obstacles. It is not enough, Dr. Binswanger tells us, to weigh the
brains of criminals and the brains of ordinary persons and then strike
an average of the results. The height and weight of the persons whose
brains are averaged are essential to the formation of accurate
conclusions; till these important factors are taken into account, all
deductions based upon weight of brain only rest upon an unsure

But supposing we had a trustworthy body of facts bearing upon the
weight and structure of the criminal brain, we should still require to
know much more of brain functions in general before satisfactory
conclusions could be drawn from these facts. We know something, it is
true, of the physiological functions at certain cerebral regions, but
as yet nothing is known of the localisation of any particular mental
faculty, whether criminal or otherwise. A conclusive proof that the
study of the brain, as an organ of thought, is still in its infancy,
is found in the fact that the fundamental question is still unsolved,
whether the whole brain is to be considered one in all its parts, so
far as the performance of psychic functions is concerned, or whether
these functions are localised in certain definite centres. Till these
fundamental difficulties are cleared away, the presence of anomalies
in certain convolutions of the brain will not prove very much one way
or the other.[35]

    [35] A masterly article on the "Localisation of Brain Functions"
    will be found in Wundt's _Philosophische Studien Sechster Band_,
    1. _Heft Zur Frage der Localisation der Grosshirnfunctionen_,
    Von W. Wundt. Compare also _The Croonian Lectures on Cerebral
    Localisation_, by David Ferrier. London: 1890.

An examination of the criminal face has so far led to no definite and
assured results. In the imagination of artists the criminal is almost
always credited with the possession of a retreating forehead. As a
matter of fact, Dr. Marro, one of the most eminent representatives of
the anthropological school, assures us that this is not the case.
After comparing the foreheads of 539 delinquents with the foreheads of
100 ordinary men, he found that criminals had a smaller percentage of
retreating foreheads than the average man.[36] He also found that
projecting eyebrows, another trait which is supposed to be a criminal
peculiarity, were almost as common among ordinary people as among
offenders against the law. Projecting ears is another peculiarity
which is often associated with the idea of a criminal. But Dr. Lannois
states that after a careful examination of the ears of 43 young
offenders, he found them as free from anomalies as the ears of other

    [36] Marro, _I Caratteri dei Delinquenti_, p. 157.

    [37] _Archives d'anthropologie criminelle Livraison_, 10.

As it is the Italians who have studied these matters most exhaustively,
it is mainly to them we must go for information. In a little book on
the skeleton and the form of the nose, Dr. Salvator Ottolenghi comes to
the somewhat curious result that the bones of the criminal nose offer
many anomalies of a pre-human or bestial character; but the nose itself
is straight and long, or, in other words, just as highly developed as
the noses of ordinary men. Careful inquiries have been undertaken by
criminal anthropologists into the colour of the hair, the length of the
arms, the colour of the skin, tattooing, sensitiveness to pain among
the criminal population, but these laborious investigations have so
far led to few solid conclusions. According to Lombroso, insensibility
to pain is a marked characteristic of the typical criminal.[38]
"Individuals," he says, "who possess this quality consider themselves
as privileged, and they despise delicate and sensitive persons. It is a
pleasure to such hardened men to torment others whom they look upon as
inferior beings." On this point M. Joly is at variance with Lombroso.
"I asked," he says, "at the central hospital, the Santé, where all
persons who become seriously ill in the prisons of the Seine are looked
after, if this disvulnerability had ever been noticed. I was told that
far from that, prisoners were always found very sensitive to pain ...
Honest people, industrious workmen, the fathers of families treated at
the Charité or the Hôtel-Dieu (Paris hospitals), undergo operations
with much more fortitude than the sick prisoners of the Santé."[39] On
this point, therefore, as on so many others, we are still without a
sufficient body of evidence, and must, meanwhile, suspend our judgment.

    [38] _L'Homme Criminel_, 324.

    [39] _Le Crime_, 193.

Let us now consider the criminal's physiognomy. In this connection it
must be borne in mind that a prolonged period of imprisonment will
change the face of any man, whether he is a criminal or not. Political
offenders who have undergone a sentence of penal servitude, and who may
be men of the highest character, acquire the prison look and never
altogether get rid of it. If a man spends a certain number of years
sharing the life, the food, the occupations of five or six hundred
other men, if he mixes with them and with no one else, he will
inevitably come to resemble them in face and feature. A remarkable
illustration of this fact has recently been brought to light by the
Photographic Society of Geneva. "From photographs of seventy-eight old
couples, and of as many adult brothers and sisters, it was found that
twenty-four of the former resembled each other much more strongly than
as many of the latter who were thought most like one another."[40] It
would, therefore, seem that the action of unconscious imitation,
arising from constant contact, is capable of producing a remarkable
change in the features, the acquired expression frequently tending to
obliterate inherited family resemblances. According to Piderit,
physiognomy is to be considered as a mimetic expression which has
become habitual. The criminal type of face, so conspicuous in old
offenders, is in many cases merely a prison type; it is not congenital;
men who do not originally have it almost always acquire it after a
prolonged period of penal servitude.

    [40] _Daily News_, June 12, 1890.

But apart from the prison type of countenance, it is highly probable
that a distinct criminal type also exists. Certain professions
generate distinctive castes of feature, as, for instance, the Army and
the Church. This distinctiveness is not confined to features alone, it
diffuses itself over the whole man; it is observable in manner, in
gesture, in bearing, in demeanour, and is constantly breaking out in a
variety of unexpected ways. In like manner the habitual criminal
acquires the habits of his class. Crime is his profession; it is also
the profession of all his associates. The constant practice of this
profession results in the acquisition of a certain demeanour, a
certain aspect, gait, and general appearance, in many instances too
subtle to define, but, at the same time, plain and palpable to an

The slang of criminals is also explicable on the same principle. Every
trade and calling has its technical terms. The meaning of these terms
is hidden from the rest of the world, but the origin of their
existence is not difficult to explain. The jargon of the criminal
arises from the same causes and is constructed on exactly the same
principles as the technical words and phrases of the man of science.
When a man of science is compelled to make frequent use of a phrase,
he generally gets rid of it by inventing some technical word; it is
precisely the same with criminals. With them technical words are used
instead of phrases, and short words instead of long ones in all
matters where criminal interests are intimately concerned, and on all
topics which are habitually the subjects of conversation among the
criminal classes. The language of the Stock Exchange with its Bulls,
Bears, Contangos, and other short and comprehensive expressions for
various kinds of stocks, is on all fours with the slang of criminals,
and it is not necessary to resort to atavism in order to explain it.
It arises to supply professional needs, and criminal argot springs up
from exactly the same cause.

Summing up our inquiries respecting the criminal type we arrive, in
the first place, at the general conclusion, that so far as it has a
real existence it is not born with a man, but originates either in the
prison, and is then merely a prison type, or in criminal habits of
life, and is then a truly criminal type. As a matter of fact, the two
types are in most cases blended together, the prison type with its
hard, impassive rigidity of feature being superadded to the gait,
gesture and demeanour of the habitual criminal. In combination these
two types form a professional type and constitute what Dr. Bruce
Thomson[41] has called "a physique distinctly characteristic of the
criminal class." It is not, however, a type which admits of accurate
description, and its practical utility is impaired by the fact that
certain of its features are sometimes visible in men who have never
been convicted of crime. The position of the case, with respect to the
criminal type, may be best described by saying that an experienced
detective officer will be sure in nine cases out of ten that he has
got hold of a criminal by profession, but in the tenth case he will
probably make a mistake. In other words, face, manner and demeanor are
no infallible index of character or habits of life.

    [41] _Journal of Mental Science_, vol. xvi.

When crime is not an inherited taint, but merely an acquired habit,
this fact has an important practical bearing upon the proper method of
dealing with it. Acquired habits, we are now being taught by Professor
Weismann, are incapable of being transmitted to posterity, and Mr.
Galton is of the same opinion.[42] This is not the place to elaborate
the theory of inheritance, as understood by those writers; its
essence, however, is that we only inherit the natural faculties of our
forebears, and not those faculties which they have acquired by
practice and experience. The son of a rope-dancer does not inherit his
father's faculties for rope-dancing, nor the son of an orator his
father's ready aptitude for public speech, nor the son of a designer
his father's acquired skill in the making of designs. All that the son
inherits is the natural faculties of the parent, but no more. Hence it
follows that the son of a thief, on the supposition that thieving
comes by habit and practice, does not by natural inheritance acquire
the parent's criminal propensity. As far as his natural faculties are
concerned he starts life free from the vicious habits of his parent,
and should he in turn become a thief, as sometimes happens, it is not
because he has inherited his father's thievish habits, but because he
has himself acquired them. It is imitation, not instinct, which
transforms him into a thief; and if he is removed from the influence
of evil example he will have almost as small a chance of falling into
a criminal life as any other member of the community. It will not be
quite so small, because no public institution, however well conducted,
can ever exercise so moralising an effect as a good home, but it will
be much smaller than if he grew up to maturity under the pernicious
surroundings of a criminal home.

    [42] _Die Continuität des Keimplasma als Grundlage einer Theorie
    der Vererbung_. A. Weismann. Jena, 1885. _Natural Inheritance_.
    F. Galton.

If we do not inherit the acquired faculties and habits of our parents,
it is unfortunately too true that we inherit their diseases and the
connection between disease and crime is a fact which cannot be denied.
In many cases it is perfectly true that persons suffering from disease
or physical degeneracy do not become criminals, in most cases they do
not; at the same time a larger proportion of such persons fall into a
lawless life than is the case with people who are free from inherited
infirmities. The undoubted tendency of physical infirmity is to
disturb the temper, to weaken the will, and generally to disorganise
the mental equilibrium. Such a tendency, when it becomes very
pronounced, leads its unhappy possessor to perpetrate offenses against
his fellow-men, or, in other words, to commit crime. In a recent
communication to a German periodical, Herr Sichart, director of
prisons in the kingdom of Wurtemburg, has shown that a very high
percentage of criminals are the descendants of degenerate parents.
Herr Sichart's inquiries extended over several years and included
1,714 prisoners. Of this number 16 per cent. were descended from
drunken parents; 6 per cent. from families in which there was madness;
4 per cent. from families addicted to suicide; 1 per cent. from
families in which there was epilepsy. In all, 27 per cent. of the
offenders, examined by Herr Sichart were descended from families in
which there was degeneracy. According to these figures more than one
fourth of the German prison population have received a defective
organisation from their ancestry, which manifests itself in a life of

In France and Italy the same state of things prevails. Dr. Corre is of
opinion that a very large proportion of persons convicted of bad
conduct in the French military service are distinctly degenerate
either in body or mind. Dr. Virgilio says that in Italy 32 per cent.
of the criminal population have inherited criminal tendencies from
their parents. In England there is no direct means of testing the
amount of degeneracy among the criminal classes, but, in all
likelihood, it is quite as great as elsewhere. According to the report
of the Medical Inspector of convict prisons for 1888-9, the annual
number of deaths from natural causes, among the convict population, is
from 10 to 12 per 1000. Let us compare those figures with the death
rate of the general population as recorded in the Registrar-General's
report for 1888. The annual death rate from all causes of the general
population, between the ages of 15 and 45, is about 7 per 1000. I have
selected the period of life between 15 and 45 for the reason that it
corresponds most closely with the average age of criminals. If deaths
from accident are excluded from the mortality returns of the general
population, it will be found that the rate of mortality among
criminals, in convict prisons, is from one third to one half higher
than the rate of mortality among the rest of the community of a
similar age. If the rate of mortality of the criminal population is so
high inside convict prisons, where the health of the inmates is so
carefully attended to, what must it be among the criminal classes when
in a state of liberty? Independently of the premature deaths brought
on by irregularity of life, it is certain that a high proportion of
criminals bear within them the seeds of inherited disorders, and it is
these disorders which largely account for the high rate of mortality
amongst them when in prison.

The high percentage of disease and degeneracy among the English
criminal population may be seen in other ways. The population in the
local gaols in 1888-9, between the ages of 21 and 40, constituted 54
per cent. of the total prison population, whilst the same class between
the ages of 40 and CO formed only 20 per cent. of the prison
population. One half of this drop in the percentage of prisoners
between 40 and 60 may be accounted for by the decreased percentage of
persons between these two ages in the general population. The other
half can only be accounted for by the extent to which premature decay
and death rage among criminals who have passed their fortieth year. In
other words, the number of criminals alive after forty is much smaller
than the number of normal men alive after that age.

A direct proof of the extent of degeneracy in the shape of insanity
among persons convicted of murder can be found in the Judicial
Statistics. The number of persons convicted of wilful murder, not
including manslaughter or non-capital homicides, from 1879 to 1888
amounted to 441. Out of this total 143 or 32 per cent. were found
insane. Of the 299 condemned to death, no less than 145, or nearly one
half, had their sentences commuted, many of them on the ground of
mental infirmity. The whole of these figures decisively prove that
between 40 and 50 per cent. of the convictions for wilful murder are
cases in which the murderers were either insane or mentally infirm.
Murder cases are almost the only ones respecting which the antecedents
of the offender are seriously inquired into. But when this inquiry
does take place the vast amount of degeneracy among criminals at once
becomes apparent.

Passing from the mental condition of murderers, let us now take into
consideration the mental state of criminals generally. Beginning with
the senses, it may be said that very little stress can be laid on the
experiments conducted by the Anthropological School as to
peculiarities in the sense of smell, taste, sight, and so on,
discovered among criminals. In all these inquiries it is so easy for
the subject to deceive the investigator, and he has often so direct an
interest in doing it that all results in this department must be
accepted with the utmost caution. Wherever investigations necessitate
the acceptance upon trust of statements made by criminals, their
scientific value descends to the lowest level. As this must be largely
the case with respect to the senses of hearing, taste, smell, etc., it
is almost impossible to reach assured conclusions.

It is different in inquiries respecting the intellect. Here the
investigator is able to judge for himself. According to Dr. Ogle, 86.5
per cent. of the general population were able to read and write in the
years 1881-4, and as this represents an increase of 10 per cent. since
the passing of the Elementary Education Act, it is probably not far
from the mark to say that at the present time almost 90 per cent. of
the English population can read and write. In other words, only 10
per cent. of the population is wholly ignorant. In the local prisons
on the other hand, no less than 25 per cent. of the prisoners can
neither read nor write, and 72 per cent. can only read or read and
write imperfectly. The vast difference in the proportion of
uninstructed among the prison, as compared with the general
population, is not to be explained by the defective early training of
the former. This explanation only covers a portion of the ground: the
other portion is covered by the fact that a certain number of
criminals are almost incapable of acquiring instruction. The memory
and the reasoning powers of such persons are so utterly feeble that
attempts to school them is a waste of time.[43] Deficiencies in
memory, imagination, reason, are three undoubted characteristics of
the ordinary criminal intellect. Of course, there are very many
criminals in which all these qualities are present, and whose defects
lie in another direction, but taken as a whole the criminal is
unquestionably less gifted intellectually than the rest of the

Respecting the emotions of criminals, it is much more difficult to
speak, and much more easy to fall into error. The only thing that can
be said of them for certain, is, that they do not, as a rule, possess
the same keenness of feeling as the ordinary man. Some Italian writers
make much of the religiosity of delinquents; such a sentiment may be
common among offenders in Italy; it is certainly rare among the same
class in Great Britain. The cellular system puts an effective stop to
any thing like active hostility to religion; but it is a mistake to
argue from this that the criminal is addicted to the exercise of
religious sentiments. The family sentiment is also feebly developed;
the exceptions to this rule form a small fraction of the criminal

    [43] In Christiania the number of children who cannot learn
    amounts in the elementary schools to 4 per 1000. See _Reformatory
    and Refuge Journal_ for August, 1890.

The will in criminals, when it is not impaired by disease, is, in the
main, dominated by a boundless egoism. Let us first consider those
whose wills are impaired by disease. Among drunkards and the
degenerate generally the power of sustained volition is often as good
as gone. Nothing can be more pitiful or hopeless than the position of
wretched beings in a condition such as this. Often animated by good
resolutions, often anxious to do what is right, often possessing a
sense of moral responsibility, these unhappy creatures plunge again
and again into vice and crime. In some cases of this description the
will is practically annihilated; in others it is under the dominion of
momentary caprice; in others again it has no power of concentration,
or it is the victim of sudden hurricanes of feeling which drive
everything before them. Persons afflicted in this way, when not
drunkards, are generally convicted for crimes of violence, such as
assault, manslaughter, murder. They experience real sentiments of
remorse, but neither remorse nor penitence enables them to grapple
with their evil star. The will is stricken with disease, and the man
is dashed hither and thither, a helpless wreck on the sea of life.[44]

    [44] Cf. Ribot, _Les Maladies de la Volonté_, 1887.

Let us now consider the class of criminals whose wills are not
diseased, but are, on the other hand, dominated by a boundless egoism.
Of such criminals it may be said that there is no essential difference
between them and immoral men. Egoism, selfishness, a lack of
consideration for the rights and feelings of others, are the dominant
principles in the life of both. The dividing line between the two
types consists in this, that the egoism of the immoral man is bounded
by the criminal law; but the egoism of the criminal is bounded by no
law either without him or within. It does not follow from this that
the criminal is without a sense of duty or a dread of legal
punishment. In most cases he possesses both in a more or less
developed form. But his immense egoism so completely overpowers both
his sense of duty and his fear of punishment that it demands
gratification at whatever cost. He sees what he ought to do; he knows
how he ought to act; he is perfectly alive to the consequences of
transgression, but these motives are not strong enough to induce him
to alter his ways of life.

On summing up the results of this inquiry into criminal biology we
arrive at the following conclusions. In the first place, it cannot be
proved that the criminal has any distinct physical conformation,
whether anatomical or morphological; and, in the second place, it
cannot be proved that there is any inevitable alliance between
anomalies of physical structure and a criminal mode of life. But it
can be shown that criminals, taken as a whole, exhibit a higher
proportion of physical anomalies, and a higher percentage of physical
degeneracy than the rest of the community. With respect to the mental
condition of criminals, it cannot be established that it is, on the
whole, a condition of insanity, or even verging on insanity. But it
can be established that the bulk of the criminal classes are of a
humbly developed mental organisation. Whether we call this low state
of mental development, atavism, or degeneracy is, to a large extent, a
matter of words; the fact of its wide-spread existence among criminals
is the important point.

The results of this inquiry also show that degeneracy among criminals
is sometimes inherited and sometimes acquired. It is inherited when
the criminal is descended from insane, drunken, epileptic, scrofulous
parents; it is often acquired when the criminal adopts and
deliberately persists in a life of crime. The closeness of the
connection between degeneracy and crime is, to a considerable extent,
determined by social conditions. A degenerate person, who has to earn
his own livelihood, is much more likely to become a criminal than
another degenerate person who has not. Almost all forms of degeneracy
render a man more or less unsuited for the common work of life; it is
not easy for such a man to obtain employment; in certain forms of
degeneracy it becomes almost impossible. A person in this unfortunate
position often becomes a criminal, not because he has strong
anti-social instincts, but because he cannot get work. Physically, he
is unfit for work, and he takes to crime as an alternative.

Another important result is the close connection between madness and
crimes of blood. We have seen that almost one third of the cases of
conviction for wilful murder are cases in which the murderer is found
to be insane. And this does not represent the full proportion of
murderers afflicted mentally; a considerable percentage of those
sentenced to death have this sentence commuted on mental grounds. In
Germany, from 26 to 28 per cent. of criminals suffering from mental
weakness escape the observation of the court in this important
particular, and the same state of things unquestionably exists in the
United Kingdom. The actual percentage of criminals who suffer from
mental disorders in the prisons of Europe is probably much greater
than is generally supposed. At the present time a knowledge of
insanity is no part of the ordinary medical curriculum. "With respect
to this malady the great majority of medical men are themselves in the
position of laymen. They have not studied it. It was not included in
their examinations."[45] Till this state of things is altered we shall
never exactly know the intimacy of the connection between nervous
disorders and crime.

    [45] _Sanity and Insanity_. C. Mercier, p. XII.



In a previous chapter the deterrent action of punishment on the
criminal population has been pointed out. It now remains for us to
consider the nature of punishment, and the methods by which punishment
should be carried out. What is punishment as applied to crime?
According to Kant it is an act of retribution; it consists in
inflicting upon the criminal the same injury as he has inflicted on
his victim. It is an application by society of the principle of "jus
talionis." Such a definition of punishment does not harmonise with the
facts. We cannot punish the slanderer by slandering him in turn; and
in punishing the murderer, it is impossible to torture him in the same
way as he has probably tortured his victim. According to the theory of
retribution, punishment becomes an end in itself; it is quite
unrelated to the benefits it may confer on the person who is punished,
or on the community which punishes him.

The difficulties surrounding the theory of retribution have led to
other definitions of punishment. Punishment, it is said, is not
inflicted on the offender as a retribution for his misdeeds, it is
inflicted for the purpose of protecting society against its enemies.
Such a view leaves moral considerations entirely out of account; it
leaves no room for the just indignation of the public at the spectacle
of crime. It is defective in other ways. For instance, a criminal has
a particular animosity against some single individual; it may be he
murders this person, or does him grievous bodily harm. Such an
offender has no similar animosity against any one else; as far as the
rest of the community is concerned he is perfectly harmless. On the
supposition that punishment is only intended to protect society
against the criminal, a man of this description would escape
punishment altogether. Or supposing a man (and this often happens),
after committing some serious crime for which he is sent to penal
servitude, sincerely and bitterly repented of it, and would be, if
released, a perfectly harmless member of the community, such a man,
according to the theory we are now discussing, should be released at
once. The certainty that the public conscience would tolerate no such
step shows that punishment has a wider object than the mere attainment
of social security.

Punishment is only a means say some; its real end is the reformation
of the offender. The practical application of such a principle would
lead to very astonishing results. It is perfectly well known that
there is no more incorrigible set of offenders than habitual vagrants
and drunkards. And on the other hand, the most easily reformed of all
offenders is often some person who has committed a serious crime under
circumstances which could not possibly recur. According to the theory
that reformation is the only end of punishment, petty offenders would
be shut up all their lives, while the perpetrator of a grave crime
would soon be set free. An absurd result of this kind is fatal to the
pretention that punishment is merely a means and not also an end.

Is it the end of punishment to act as a deterrent? We are often told
from the judicial bench that a man receives a certain sentence as a
warning and example to others. If such is the end of punishment it
lamentably fails in its purpose, for in a number of cases it neither
deters the offender nor the class from which the offender springs. It
was under the influence of this idea that criminals used to be hanged
in public, but experience failed to show that these ghastly
exhibitions had much deterrent effect on the community. Besides, it is
rather ridiculous to say, I do not punish you for the crime you have
committed, I punish you as a warning to others. In these circumstances
the effect of punishment is not to be upon the person punished, but
upon a third party who has not fallen into crime. Unless the
punishment is just in itself, society has no right to inflict it in
the hope of scaring others from criminal courses. Justice administered
in this spirit, turns the convicted offender into a whipping boy; the
punishment ceases to be related to the offence, and is merely related
to the effect it will have on a certain circle of spectators.

In our view, punishment ought to be regarded as at once an expiation
and a discipline, or, in other words, an expiatory discipline. This
definition includes all that is valuable in the theories just
reviewed, and excludes all that is imperfect in them. The criminal is
an offender against the fundamental order of society in somewhat the
same way as a disobedient child is an offender against the centre of
authority in the home or the school. The punishment inflicted on the
child may take the form of revenge, or it may take the form of
retribution, or it may take the form of deterrence, but it undoubtedly
takes its highest form when it combines expiation with discipline.
Punishment of this nature still remains punitive as it ought to do,
but it is at the same time a kind of punishment from which something
may be learned. It does not merely consist in inflicting pain,
although the presence of this element is essential to its efficacy; it
consists rather in inflicting pain in such a way as will tend to
discipline and reform the character. Such a conception of punishment
excludes the barbarous element of vengeance; it is based upon the
civilised ideas of justice and humanity, or rather upon the sentiment
of justice alone, for justice is never truly just except when its
tendency is also to humanise.

  "Sine caritate justicia
  Vindicationi similis."

From the theory of punishment let us now turn to its methods. The most
severe of these is the penalty of death. A great deal has been said
and written both for and against the retention of this form of
punishment. To set forth the arguments on both sides in a fair and
adequate manner would require a volume; it must, therefore, suffice to
say that in the field of controversy the contest between the opposing
parties is a fairly even one. In fact, looking at the matter from a
purely polemical point of view, the advocates of the death penalty
have probably the best of it. It has, however, to be remembered that
such questions are not solved by battalions of abstract arguments, but
by the slow, silent, invisible action of public sentiment. The way in
which this impalpable sentiment is moving on the question of the death
penalty may be seen, first, in the manner in which crime after crime
during the present century has been excluded from the supreme sentence
of the law, and secondly, in the steady diminution of capital
executions throughout the civilised world. If the present drift of
feeling continues for another generation or two it is not at all
improbable, in spite of temporary reactions here and there, that the
question of capital punishment will have solved itself.

Another form of punishment is transportation. As far as Great Britain
is concerned, transportation possesses only a historic interest. No
one is now sent out of the country for offences against the law.
Experience showed that penal colonies were a failure, and that the
truly criminal could be more effectively dealt with at home. Within
recent years the French have resorted to the system of transportation;
but, according to several eminent French authorities, the penal
settlement in New Caledonia is hardly justifying the anticipations of
its founders.

Penal servitude has taken the place of transportation in Great
Britain. Every person sentenced to a term of five years and over
undergoes what is called penal servitude. The sentence is divided into
three stages. In the first stage the offender passes nine months of
his sentence in one of the local prisons in solitary confinement. In
the next stage he is allowed to work in association with other
prisoners; and in the last stage he is conditionally released before
his sentence has actually expired. If a prisoner conducts himself
well, if he shows that he is industrious, he will be released at the
expiration of about three fourths of his sentence. If, on the other
hand, he is idle and ill-conducted, he will have to serve the full

During the first nine months of his confinement the convict sentenced
to penal servitude is treated in exactly the same way as a person
sentenced to a month's imprisonment; the only difference being that he
is provided with better food. During the period of detention in a
Public Work's Prison the convict may, if well-conducted, pass through
five progressive stages; each of these stages confers some privileges
which the one below it does not possess. The first stage of all is
called the Probation Class. In this, as well as in every succeeding
class, a man's industry is measured by a process called the Mark
system. This system is somewhat similar to the method adopted for
rewarding industry in our public schools. In those schools a boy's
diligence is recognised by his receiving so many marks per day, and he
would be an ideal pupil who received the maximum number of marks. In
convict prisons, on the other hand, the maximum number of marks, which
is eight per day, can easily be earned by any person willing to do an
average day's work. If a convict earns the maximum number of marks per
day for three months he is promoted at the end of that time out of the
Probation Class into a higher stage called the Third Class. He must
remain in the third class for at least a year; while in this class he
is permitted to receive a visit and to write and receive a letter
every six months. He is also rewarded at the rate of a penny for every
20 marks, which enables him to earn twelve shillings in the course of
the year.

After the expiration of one year in the Third Class the prisoner, if
he has regularly earned eight marks a day, is advanced to the Second
Class. In this stage he can receive a visit and write and receive a
letter every four months. He is allowed a little choice in the
selection of his breakfast; the value attached to his marks is also
increased, and he is able in the Second Class to earn 18 shillings a
year. At the termination of a year, if a prisoner continues his habits
of industry, he is promoted to the First Class. Persons whose
education is defective are not permitted to enter the First Class,
unless they have also made progress in schooling. In the First Class a
man is allowed to receive a visit and to write and receive a letter
every three months. He is also given additional privileges in the
choice of food. In the First Class he can earn 30 shillings a year.

Above the First Class is a Special Class composed of men whose conduct
has been specially exemplary. Men may be admitted into this class 12
months before their liberation; they may also be placed in positions
of trust and responsibility in connection with the prison, and are
able to earn a gratuity amounting to six pounds. Such men are, as a
matter of course, liberated at the expiration of three fourths of
their sentence, which means that a term of five years' penal servitude
is reduced to somewhat under four years.

For female convicts all these rules are modified and mitigated.
Isolation is not so strictly enforced; a female may be liberated at
the expiration of two thirds of her sentence; she may also earn four
pounds instead of three, which is the highest sum men can receive,
except the limited number in the Special Class. Corresponding to the
Special Class of male convicts, there is among the females what is
called a Refuge Class. Well-conducted women undergoing their first
term of penal servitude are placed in this class, and nine months
before the date on which they are due for discharge on ordinary
licence, that is to say, nine months before they have finished two
thirds of their sentence, they are released from prison and placed in
some Home for females. Two Homes which receive prisoners of this class
are the Elizabeth Fry Refuge and the London Preventive and Reformatory
Institution. These Homes receive ten shillings a week for the care of
each inmate confided to them by the State, and the time spent there is
used as a gradual course of preparation for the re-entrance of these
unfortunate people into ordinary life. According to this method
females, after a prolonged period of imprisonment, are not thrown all
of a sudden upon the world; they re-enter it by slow and imperceptible
stages, and are thus enabled to commence life afresh under hopeful and
salutary conditions.

Male convicts on their release from penal servitude are, if they
desire it, assisted to obtain employment by Discharged Prisoners' Aid
Societies. The way in which assistance is rendered by the Royal
Society, Charing Cross, which may be considered as a type of most of
these societies, is as follows:--

"The convicts on their discharge are accompanied to the office of the
Society by a warder in plain clothes. They are there received by the
Secretary and the member of the Committee who, according to a fixed
rota, attends daily for this purpose. The first step is to give them a
plentiful breakfast of white bread, bacon and hot coffee. When this is
finished they are invited to come forward and state their hopes and
intentions as to the future. Full particulars of the nature of the
crime, the sentence, and the antecedents of the convict have been
previously received from the prison, and this information is, of
course, of the greatest value as a guide to dealing with the
particular case. After friendly discussion with the convict at one or
more interviews, and further inquiry, if need be, by the officers of
the Society, the course to be taken in each case is decided upon and
carried out as soon as possible, either by the officers of the Society
or through other agency. In cases of emigration and other cases where
it is advisable, the gratuities received from Government are
supplemented by donations from the funds of the Society; and, if not
already supplied by the prison authorities, a respectable suit of
clothes of a character fitted for the work on which the recipient is
to be employed is provided.

"The cases of men or women who elect to remain in or near the
Metropolis are usually dealt with directly by members of the Committee
and officers of the Society; others prefer to seek work for
themselves; but, meanwhile, respectable lodgings are provided till
work is obtained. Others who prefer a sea life are sent to the care of
agents until ships can be found for them--a few selected cases are
sent abroad." In the case of persons proceeding to seek work at a
distance from London, the Royal Society communicates with Discharged
Prisoners' Aid Societies in the country, and these Societies take such
cases in hand.

Another admirable Society for dealing with discharged convicts is the
St Giles' Mission, Brook St. Holborn. This Society provides a home for
the person whose sentence has expired; it is managed by a man (Mr.
Wheatley) possessed of an unsurpassed knowledge of the work; and it is
year by year rendering effective service to the convict population.
Some idea of the work accomplished by Societies such as those just
mentioned may be gathered from the fact that about two thirds of the
discharged convicts are annually passing through their hands; the
other third declining or not requiring assistance by such methods.
What is wanted to perfect the working of the institutions we are now
describing is increased public support; even now the Royal Society was
able to state in one of its reports, "that no discharged convict, who
is physically capable and willing to work, has any excuse for
relapsing into crime."

This brief sketch of the manner in which a sentence of penal servitude
is carried into effect will afford some idea of the nature of this
method of punishment. We shall now proceed to describe another mode of
dealing with offenders against the fundamental order of society. In
addition to convict establishments there exists throughout the United
Kingdom a large number of places of confinement called Local Prisons.
In England and Wales there are about sixty Local Prisons; in Scotland
there are about twenty; in Ireland there are about eighteen. In
Scotland and Ireland persons sentenced to a few days' imprisonment are
often confined in police cells, in England all convicted offenders
serve their sentence, however short, in a regular Local Prison.

Before 1877 the Local Prisons of England and Scotland were under the
control and administration of the County Magistrates, and almost every
county had then its own prison. One of the chief defects of this
system was the multiplication of prisons; one of its chief virtues was
that local power kept alive local interest in a way which is
impossible with highly centralised machinery. Where prisons are small
and numerous, as was to some extent the case under the old system, it
is difficult to conduct them so economically; on the other hand, the
herding of great masses of criminals together in huge establishments
is not without corresponding evils. It is now being pointed out by
specialists on the Continent and in America that huge prisons destroy
the individuality of the prisoner; his own personality is lost amid
the hundreds who surround him; he sinks into the position of a mere
unit, and is obliged to be treated as such by the officials in charge
of him. Under such a system it becomes almost impossible to
individualise prisoners; there is no time for it; as a result, the
influence of reformative agencies descends to a minimum and only the
punitive side of justice comes home to the offender. At one time the
value of Reformatory Schools was seriously impaired by herding too
many lads together under one roof; it is now seen that the success of
these institutions is marred by making them too large; it is accepted
as an established maxim that the smaller the school the better the
results. The same principle holds true with respect to prisons.

When the County Magistrates were deprived of their powers by the last
government of Lord Beaconsfield, these powers were in England vested
in the Home Secretary; in Scotland they were latterly vested in the
Secretary for Scotland; in Ireland they are vested in the Chief
Secretary. Under each of these Parliamentary heads there is a body
called the Prison Commissioners or Prison Board. These Commissioners
are centred in London for England; in Edinburgh for Scotland; in
Dublin for Ireland. Under them is a body of Prison Inspectors, and
last of all there comes the actual working staff of the Local Prisons,
consisting of warders, schoolmasters, clerks, governors, chaplains,
and doctors.

Wherein does the Local Prison system as worked by this staff differ
from the system in operation in convict prisons? Perhaps the
difference will be best expressed by saying that work in association
is the centre of the convict system, while work in solitude is the
central idea of the Local Prison system. This definition is not
absolutely correct, for convicts, as we have seen, are subjected to
nine months' solitary confinement at the outset of their sentence, and
in some Local Prisons a certain amount of work in common is performed,
but, taken as a whole, work in common is the central principle of the
one; work in solitude the central principle of the other.

Work in solitude means that the prisoner is shut up in an apartment by
himself which is called his cell. Each cell is provided with an
adequate supply of air and light, and is heated in the winter up to a
sufficiently high temperature for health and comfort. The cell
contains a bed and other personal requisites; it also contains a copy
of the prison rules. Before the prisoner is finally allocated to a
certain cell he is seen by all the superior officers of the prison.
His state of health is inquired into, so as to determine the nature of
his work, and if he is not too old to learn, and has received a
sentence of sufficient length to make it worth while instructing him,
his educational capabilities are specially tested. The seclusion of
the cell is varied by a short service in the prison chapel every
morning and an hour's exercise in the forenoon. It is further varied
in the case of young boys by daily attendance at the prison school.

The cellular system is an application of the old monastic system to
the treatment of criminals. The first cellular prison was built in
Rome by Pope Clement XI. at the commencement of the eighteenth
century; its design was taken from a monastery. The idea passed from
Rome to the Puritans of Pennsylvania; and it has now taken root in all
parts of the civilised world. The believers in the cellular system say
that it prevents prisoners from contaminating each other; it prevents
the hardened criminal from getting hold of the comparative novice;
according to this system, although the offender is in a prison, the
only persons he is permitted to speak to are those whose lives are
free from crime. A prison system which has the negative value of
hindering men from becoming worse is worthy of high consideration, and
if the chief object of imprisonment is the punishment of criminals the
cellular system will not be easily surpassed. On the other hand, if
the purpose of imprisonment is not only to punish but also to prepare
the offender for the duties of society, the system of solitary
confinement will not effectually accomplish this task. On this point
let me refer to the words of M. Prins, the eminent Director General of
Belgian prisons: "Can we teach a man sociability," he says, "by giving
him a cell only, that is to say, the opposite of social life, by
taking away from him the very appearance of moral discipline; by
regulating from morning till night the smallest details of his day,
all his movements and all his thoughts? Is not this to place him
outside the conditions of existence, and to unteach him that liberty
for which we pretend he is being prepared?... Assuredly, let us not
forget that prisons contain incorrigible and corrupt recidivists, the
residuum of large towns who must undoubtedly be isolated from other
men; but they also contain offenders resembling in great part men of
their own class living outside.... If it was a question of making
these men good scholars, good workmen, good soldiers, should we accept
the method of prolonged cellular isolation? And how can that which is
condemned by the experience of ordinary life become useful on the day
some tribunal pronounces a sentence of imprisonment? The physiological
and moral inconveniences of prolonged solitude are evident in other
ways; and attempts are made to combat them by great humanity in
external things. So much is this the case, that for fear of being
cruel to the good, the bad are also pampered by an exaggerated
philanthropy which reaches absurd heights."

A compromise between the absolute seclusion of the cellular system,
and the system of free association, is now being advocated by some
students of prison discipline. Prisoners, it is contended, should be
carefully classified according to their previous character and the
nature of their offence, and also according to the disposition they
manifest in prison. Prisoners sentenced to a term of imprisonment
ranging from three months to two years should during the first three
months remain in solitary confinement for purposes of observation as
to diligence and character. At the end of that period a man, if he
showed fitness for it, would be placed in association during his
working hours, and in his cell during the remainder of the day. In
this way his social instincts would not be so completely stifled as
they are at present; he would not be so entirely left to the vacuity
of his own mind; he would not be so readily led to the indulgence of
disgusting vices ruinous to body and mind. In countries where prisons
are on a large scale such a system as this might easily be adopted,
and it would, if properly managed, be productive of beneficial
results. In small prisons it would be applicable on a limited scale,
the smallness of the prison population preventing proper

But all prison systems, however excellent in theory, are comparatively
useless unless conducted in an enlightened spirit by competent and
sagacious officials. The best of systems if worked, as sometimes
happens, by a mere martinet, with no horizon beyond insisting on the
letter of official regulations, will be productive of no good
whatever, and, on the other hand, an indifferent system will achieve
excellent results with a competent person at the head of it. This was
admirably pointed out by the head of the Danish Prison Department at
the Stockholm Prison Congress. "Give me," he said, "the best possible
regulations and a bad director, and you will have no success. But give
me a good director, and, even with mediocre regulations, I will answer
for it that everything will go on marvellously." In a recent handbook
on prison management by Herr Krohne, an eminent prison director in the
German service, the qualifications requisite for successful prison
work are clearly laid down.

The successful management of a prison, he says, "demands special
knowledge and ability. This knowledge should first of all consist in a
comprehensive general education, so that the head of a prison may be
able to form a competent opinion in all those branches of knowledge
which bear upon the punishment of crime. He thus stands on a footing
of equality with his subordinates. If he is deficient in this
knowledge he will not be able to carry out the sentences of the law
efficiently, and the maintenance of his official authority will be
encumbered with difficulties. He must also possess an understanding of
the economic and social causes of crime as well as of its individual
causes. An understanding of its economic and social causes supposes
that he should be acquainted with the principles of sociology and
political economy; an understanding of its individual causes supposes
that he should know something of psychology. The historical,
philosophic, and legal aspects of criminal jurisprudence as well as
its formal contents ought not to be unknown ground. In the domain of
prison science he should be thoroughly at home. He ought to be
acquainted with the historical development of punishment by
imprisonment, as well as with the nature of the various prison systems
in existence among modern civilised communities. He ought to have a
clear understanding of the aim and object of imprisonment, and be
thoroughly cognisant of the legal and administrative arrangements by
which it is effected, more especially those of his own State. He
should possess a competent knowledge of all matters and regulations
bearing upon prison administration, so that his own arrangements may
be based upon a ripened judgment.

"This knowledge in the head of a prison should show itself in his
manner of dealing with prisoners. This task demands a high degree of
pedagogic skill, and a force of character which is able, easily and
quickly, to bend the will of others to his own. He should also possess
the power of setting every branch of the administration to rights
whenever anything happens to have gone wrong. He must have a quick eye
for all that is being done; he must see everything; he must hear
everything; nothing should escape him; and still he ought to leave
independence and initiative to every officer in his own department. He
should respect and bear with the individual characteristics of every
officer, especially the superior officers, so that they may be able to
perform their duties with pleasure. In this way all officers will be
able to do their work in his spirit rather than according to his
orders. In order to succeed in this, the head of a prison should
consult with the other officials on all important matters; a daily
conference is best for this purpose. He should hear and weigh their
opinions even when the ultimate decision rests entirely in his hands.
Above all he must understand how to keep peace among the officials, so
that through their harmonious co-operation the objects of a prison may
be more certainly attained.

"A good prison chief," Herr Krohne continues, "is not matured or
educated, but discovered. On this account, the selection of persons
ought not to be narrowed down to any definite class or profession.
Experience has shown that able prison governors have been drawn from
all callings; from the law, from public offices, from the army, from
medicine, from the Church, from trade, from agriculture, from
merchants and manufacturers. From each of these occupations a man may
bring knowledge and ability which makes him suitable for the position.
His preparatory studies will teach him much, but he will learn most
from actual practice, and he will never finish learning, however
experienced he may become. But the root of the matter which can never
be taught is a heart for the miserable; a determination in spite of
failures and disappointments to despair of no man and nothing."[46]

    [46] _Lehrbuch der Gefängnishunde von K. Krohne
    Strafanstalts-director_, pp. 534-6.

Italy up to the present time is almost the only country in which
prison officers receive any preliminary training for their duties. As
a result of this, it not infrequently happens, as Mr. Clay has shown,
that an inexperienced person suddenly placed in absolute charge of a
number of prisoners will in a few days destroy almost all the
reformative work of months and perhaps years. The late Baron von
Holtzendorff was of a similar opinion, holding that one man can in a
short time undo the work of ten. So much has this been felt, that Dr.
von Jageman and several other eminent prison authorities on the
Continent maintain that no man should be placed in charge of prisoners
till he has had some previous training in the nature of his duties. It
has been truly pointed out that the value of imprisonment depends to
an enormous extent on the qualifications of the person placed in
immediate charge of the convicted men. Others are with them
occasionally, he is with them all day long, and unless he comes to his
task with a full knowledge of the delicate and difficult nature of the
duties he has to perform, he will probably exercise a mischievous and
irritating influence on the prisoners committed to his charge. On the
other hand, a well-instructed officer can work wonders in the way of
good, while insisting with inflexible firmness on the rules of
discipline, he is able at the same time by tact and kindliness to
diffuse a moralising atmosphere around him. Some men can do this by
instinct, but the majority require to be taught; it is therefore most
essential that every person entrusted with the control of prisoners
should have some previous theoretical instruction in his duties. After
all, those who can do most real good to prisoners are the warders
immediately in charge of them. Visits from persons outside who take an
interest in the outcast and fallen, are, according to French
experience, comparatively worthless.[47] These visits are well meant,
but they are not paid by the class of people to which the prisoner as
a rule belongs; the gulf between the visitor and the visited is too
great for the establishment of that inner sympathy on which the
permanent success of moralising efforts so greatly depends, and it is
easy for such a visitor to do more harm than good. On the other hand,
if you have a competent and well-instructed class of warders, if you
have these men trained to regard their duties from an elevated point
of view, you possess in them a body of men who are not separated from
prisoners by impassable barriers; you have comparatively little in the
way of social antecedents to estrange the prisoner from the person in
charge of him: such being the case it is easy for the two men to
understand each other, and is, therefore a relatively simple matter
for the one to influence the other for good.

    [47] _Revue des Deux-Mondes, Avril_, 15, 1887.

What is to be done with offenders when their term of punishment has
expired? This is a question which modern society finds it exceedingly
difficult to solve. What is the use of punishing a delinquent for
offences against the law if, the moment his sentence is completed, he
is sent back again into the surroundings which led to his fall. So
long as his surroundings are the same, his acts will be the same,
unless his mind has passed through a revolution during detention in
gaol. The latter event, it must be admitted, sometimes does happen,
although it is not easy in these days to get the world to believe it.
And when it does happen it is marvellous to see how men, through their
own unaided efforts, will redeem their character and wipe out the blot
upon their life. But many offenders pass through little or no change
of mind, and unless delivered from their surroundings they will
continue to fall. Here, however, comes in the difficulty. Many of
these people love their surroundings; they have no desire to change; a
life of squalor among squalid companions is not distasteful to them;
on the contrary, they will refuse to leave old haunts no matter what
inducements are offered them elsewhere. It is hardly possible to do
anything with these offenders, and they unfortunately constitute at
least one fourth of the criminal population. Such persons return again
and again to prisons; and the manager of an important Prisoners' Aid
Society in a great northern city, says, that to aid them "is a mere
waste of money, if not an encouragement to vice."[48] How to deal with
persons of this description is a most tantalising problem. More
vigorous methods of punishment are sometimes advocated as the proper
manner of deterring these habitual and incorrigible offenders, but if
we consider the constitution and antecedents of most of them, it
becomes perfectly certain that such means will not effect the end in
view. As a matter of fact, most of them are not adapted to the
conditions of existence which prevail in a free society. Some of them
might have passed through life fairly well in a more primitive stage
of social development, as, for example, in the days of slavery or
serfdom, but they are manifestly out of place in an age of
unrestricted freedom, when a man may work or remain idle just as he
chooses. A society based upon the principle of individual liberty is a
society of which the members are supposed to be gifted with the
virtues of prudence, industry, and self-control; virtues of this
nature are indeed essential to the existence of such a form of
society. Unfortunately, a certain portion of its members do not
possess them even in an elementary degree, and no amount of seclusion
in prison will ever confer these qualities upon them. Imprisonment, to
be followed by liberty, however rigorous it is made, is accordingly no
solution of the difficulty; the only effective way of dealing with the
incorrigible vagrant, drunkard, and thief, is by some system of
permanent seclusion in a penal colony. All men are not fitted for
freedom, and so long as society acts on the supposition that they are,
it will never get rid of the incorrigible criminal.

    [48] At a recent meeting of the Statistical Society, Mr. Murray
    Browne gave some interesting information respecting the work of
    Prisoners' Aid Societies among habitual offenders. "A question,"
    he said, "had been addressed to all Discharged Prisoners' Aid
    Societies asking what was their experience with regard to
    prisoners who had been four times arrested but not sentenced to
    penal servitude, and had been arrested during a given period, say
    a year. How many of them has turned out (a) satisfactory, (b)
    unsatisfactory, (c) re-convicted? Detailed replies were received
    from fifteen different societies, not all working in the same way,
    or with the same machinery, giving a total of 253 such cases. Of
    these only 95 were reported as satisfactory, 55 were reported as
    unsatisfactory, 66 were re-convicted, 37 being unknown or
    unaccounted for."

It has also to be remembered that a considerable proportion of
incorrigible offenders are not only mentally but also physically
unfitted to earn their living in a free community. Almost always
without a trade, and very often the children of diseased and
degenerate parents, the only kind of work which they can turn to is
rude manual labour, and this is exactly the kind of work they have not
the requisite physical strength to perform. It is only in skilled
trades that the physically weak have a chance at all, and if a feeble
person is not a skilled artisan he will, unless possessed of superior
mental gifts, find it rather a hard matter to earn a comfortable
livelihood. Should it be the case that such a person is below the
average in body and mind, to earn a livelihood becomes almost an
impossibility. Now, this is exactly the position of many habitual
criminals, and more especially of that large class of them which is
being continually convicted and reconvicted of petty offences. What
can be said of them, except to repeat that they are unfit to take a
part in working the modern industrial machine; what can be done with
them except to seclude them in such a way that they will be no longer
able to injure those who can work it.

Outside the ranks of the incorrigible and incapable there exists a
large class of offenders who are perfectly able to earn a honest
living in the world. In many cases it happens that such men require no
assistance on their liberation from prison; they can resume work
immediately their sentence has expired. All that is needed is to send
them back to the district they were tried in, and this is what is
always done if a man cannot reach his destination by mid-day on the
morning of his liberation. But in a certain number of cases discharged
prisoners require more than this; they require tools, or clothes, or
property redeemed from pledge, or a lodging, or to be sent a long
distance home, or to be emigrated. In each and all of these cases,
persons who are not incorrigible criminals are assisted to the best of
their ability and the extent of their funds by Discharged Prisoners'
Aid Societies. One or more of these admirable institutions is attached
to every Local Prison, and every year a vast amount of quiet,
conscientious work is performed. These societies are voluntary
agencies formed for the relief of discharged prisoners. Their funds
are derived partly from private subscriptions and donations, partly
from ancient bequests, and partly from a small sum annually voted by
Parliament. They are conducted on the most economic principles, the
gentlemen who form the committee or who act as secretaries and
treasurers being mostly magistrates and men of substance, who gladly
give their time and services for nothing. The only person who has to
be paid is an agent whose duty it is to see that the recommendations
of the committee with respect to assisting the discharged prisoners
are carried into effect.

A glance at the work of one of these societies will be the best way of
forming a conception of their usefulness as a whole. For this purpose
let us select the Surrey and South London Discharged Prisoners' Aid
Society. In the prison in which the work of this excellent society is
conducted, 17 per cent. of the prison population applied for aid in
1887, and 10 per cent. were assisted, the 7 per cent. refused
assistance were habitual offenders, and had often been previously
helped. Of the number assisted, consisting of 969 persons, 54 were
sent to sea, 2 were assisted to emigrate, 913 were assisted in the way
of redemption of tools, purchase of stock, purchase of clothing, and
so on. In 1888, 929 persons were assisted, 54 were sent to sea, 4 were
helped to emigrate, and 871 aided in other ways. In 1889, assistance
was rendered in 1009 cases of these 36 were sent to sea, and 973
otherwise aided. The average cost per head of sending cases to sea is
three pounds, fourteen shillings; the average cost in other cases is
half a guinea.

What is being done by the Surrey Society is only a sample of the
assistance rendered to discharged prisoners all over England. It ought
also to be stated that some of these Aid Societies undertake to look
after the destitute families of persons committed to prison, and cases
innumerable might be mentioned in which prisoners' wives and children
have been assisted and kept out of the workhouse until the release of
the bread-winner. Other societies again provide permanent homes for
destitute offenders on their discharge from prison. All that is
required of persons making use of those homes is, that they shall earn
as much as will cover a portion of the expense of providing them with
food and shelter. For this purpose work is always provided for them,
or if they prefer it, they may find occupation outside and make the
home a sort of temporary resting-place. It is hardly necessary to add
that Prisoners' Aid Societies could effect much more if they were
better supported by the public. The organisation is there; the men to
work it are there; the only impediment to their labours is a lack of
funds. If the possession of adequate funds enabled all the Prisoners'
Aid Societies to establish Homes for discharged prisoners, those
institutions might be made of the greatest service to the cause of
justice generally. It would then be easy to get a return from them of
the number of persons whose criminal life was due to sheer indolence,
and magistrates would have far less hesitation in dealing with them
than they do now. At the present time, it is sometimes difficult to
know whether an offender is willing to work if he had the opportunity,
but the existence of prisoners' homes would soon solve the question.
Reference to a man's record in one of these institutions would at once
place the magistrate in full possession of the facts, and he would be
able to give judgment with a knowledge of the offender he does not now
possess. In this way many cruel mistakes might be avoided; and, on the
other hand, many hardened offenders dealt with in a more effective

The difficulty sometimes encountered by discharged prisoners in
finding employment, as well as many other evils inseparable from
imprisonment, has, in recent years, led an increasing number of
jurists to the conclusion that every other method of punishment
should, when the case at all admits of it, be exhausted before the
gaol is resorted to. "The very first principle of enlightened
penology," says Mayhew, "is to endeavour to keep people out of prison
as long as possible, rather than thrust them into it for the most
trivial offences." In many instances it is quite sufficient punishment
for a first offender in a petty case to be publicly rebuked in the
police court. Such a rebuke preceded, as it generally is, by a night's
confinement in the police cells, is just as effective as a deterrent
and far less likely to do permanent harm than a sentence of
imprisonment. It was something of this kind which Bacon had in view,
when he says, respecting criminal courts: "Let there be power also to
inflict a note or mark; such, I mean, as shall not extend to actual
punishment, but may end either in admonition only, or in a light
disgrace; punishing the offender as it were with a blush."[49] A
certain amount of progress has been made of late in this direction,
but there is still ample room for more. On the other hand, experience
has shown that light punishments are of no avail against habitual
offenders. For the last few years this system has been in operation in
the borough of Liverpool, with the result that the number of known
thieves apprehended for indictable crimes has almost doubled within a
comparatively short period. According to the Chief Constable's Report,
the numbers were, in--

1885    1886    1887    1888    1889
 377     470     533     596     731

These figures show that habitual criminals will not be deterred by
light sentences, but rather emboldened in their sinister career.

    [49] _De Augmentis_ VIII. _Aphorism_ 40.




Form suggested by Herr Krohne to be filled up by the police or other
agency respecting prisoners for trial.

 1. BIRTH.
      Place? County? Country?
      Legitimate? or illegitimate?

      By parents?
      By others?
      In a public institution?

      School attendance, regular or not?
      Knowledge, Extent of?
      Confirmed, or not?
      Religious belief?

      What trade?
      Served Apprenticeship, or not?

      Whether served? and where?

      How many?
      In Local Prisons?
      In Penal Servitude?
      Other Punishments?

      Name? Abode? Occupation?
      Alive or Dead?
      Cause of death? Suicide?
      Temperate, or not?
      Imprisoned, or not?
      Were Parents related?

      Name? Age? Abode?
      How many dead? and of what diseases? Suicide?
      Imprisoned, or not?
      Temperate, or not?

      With or Without?
      A Pauper?
      A Beggar?

      Character? Temperament?
      Mental Capacity?
      Habits? Drunken or other?

      (_a_) Fits or Convulsions in Childhood, Epilepsy, St. Vitus
        Dance, or other nervous diseases?
      Insanity? Scrofula? Tuberculosis?
      (_b_) Mental and bodily state of near relations same as above?

      Maiden name of wife?
      If Children; How many?
      Age, and state of Health?
      How many dead?
      Of what Disease?
      Any imprisoned?
      The Home good, or bad?


Growth of Reformatory and Industrial School Population in England and

                     Industrial Schools       Day
Year   Reformatory   (Including Truant     Industrial
         Schools.         Schools).         Schools.

1859      3,276
1860      3,702
1861      4,133
1862      4,283
1863      4,302
1864      4,286             1,668
1865      4,508             1,952
1866      4,798             2,462
1867      5,110             3,802
1868      5,320             5,562
1869      5,480             6,974
1870      5,433             8,280
1871      5,419             9,421
1872      5,575            10,185
1873      5,621            11,012
1874      5,688            11,409
1875      5,615            11,776
1876      5,634            12,555
1877      5,935            13,494
1878      5,963            14,106
1879      5,975            14,847              287
1880      5,927            15,136            1,005
1881      6,738            16,955            1,493
1882      6,601            17,614            1,692
1883      6,557            18,780            2,083
1884      6,360            19,483            1,876
1885      6,241            20,250            2,324
1886      6,272            20,668            2,444
1887      6,127            20,940            2,622
1888      5,984            21,426            2,783
1889      5,940            21,059            3,197


Return showing the number of Prisoners committed to the Local Prisons
of England and Wales in each Month of the Year ended 31st March, 1890.

|    Month.     | Males. |Females.| Total. |

|1889. April    | 10,701 |  3,401 | 14,102 |
|      May      | 11,777 |  4,123 | 15,900 |
|      June     |  9,977 |  3,717 | 13,694 |
|      July     | 11,499 |  4,171 | 15,670 |
|      August   | 10,894 |  3,965 | 14,859 |
|      September| 11,113 |  4,088 | 15,201 |
|      October  | 11,670 |  4,245 | 15,915 |
|      November | 10,615 |  3,777 | 14,392 |
|      December |  9,154 |  3,157 | 12,311 |
|1890. January  |  9,993 |  3,154 | 13,147 |
|      February |  8,990 |  3,037 | 12,027 |
|      March    | 10,052 |  3,196 | 13,248 |
                  ------    -----   ------
|        Total  |126,435 | 44,031 |170,466 |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Crime and Its Causes" ***

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