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The next expedient was Penitentiary Reform. It was proposed that gaols should become adult schools; turnkeys, moral lecturers; fetters, Lockes on the Human Understanding; and the tread-mill itself a new Gradus ad Parnassum. They seem, however, to have forgotten that it is not so easy to keep the pupils of a gaol as the pupils of the eyes perpetually under the lash : and, moreover, the students were not detained for a sufficient length of time to complete their education. It requires, according to the testimony of physiologists, at least nine months for the delivery of a good boy ;-—now at least nine-tenths of the committals in England are for periods under six months, and hence most of our gaol deliveries must necessarily be mere abortions.
Penal imprisonment for short periods has utterly failed as a means of diminishing crime or reforming criminals. The best test of its efficiency is the proportion of re.committals; and taking the most accurate returns, those of the Glasgow Bridewell, we find that the re-committals vary inversely as the period of imprisonment for the first offence.
Out of every hundred condemned to imprisonment for a first offence :
Imprisonment may be expected to repress crime in two ways, either by intimidation or by reformation. Committals for a short period have failed in both ways : they have not intimidated, and it was from the outset impossible that they could reform. Indeed, it may be doubted whether intimidation, as the word is usually understood, has anything like the efficacy which has been attributed to it. M. Lucas, the en. lightened inspector of prisons in France, has shown, from a close analy. sis of the prison returns in that country, that the prisons which, from want of cleanliness and ventilation, seemed the most noisome, and those which, from the cruelty of the keepers, might be deemed the most de. testable, were precisely those to which criminals came back in the greatest number, and with the least reluctance. Nor is this fact such an anomaly as it seems. The love of excitement, common to all human beings, is generally excessive in criminals; they prefer even intense suffering to total inaction; and when they cannot apply to the tap, desire that the tap should be applied to them. Ailing is sought as a substitute for ale; and when no other stimulus can be had, they will welcome that of the whipping.post. Physical suffering tends also to gratify another passion, the desire of sympathy. A criminal loves to be pitied ;—it is the passion which still links him to general hunianity; and the more severe punishment is preferred to the milder, simply be. cause it excites more compassion. In the same way, most people would prefer a dangerous disease to the toothache, because the pain of the latter is frequently made a jest.
Viewed in reference to age, we find that the proportion of re.com. mittals is excessive among juvenile delinquents. Out of every hundred below the age of fifteen committed for petty thefts, not less than eightyeight are found to be re-committals. Magistrates generally deem it a mercy to commit young offenders for short periods only; and when we consider what all our gaols were, and what many of them still are, we cannot deny that such leniency was a mercy. But if prison discipline be directed to effecting moral reformation, the shorter the time to which the offender is subjected to such discipline, the worse it must be both for himself and for society.
The notion that justice is only legalized revenge, and that every crime must be atoned for by a certain amount of physical suffering, prevails so universally, that it may almost be said to have passed into an article of faith. Never was there a greater or more mischievous delusion. It includes the absurdiiy, that pain should be produced merely for its own sake; and it has led to the waste of a vast amount of power and machinery in punishing crime, which might have been beneficially applied to its prevention. It has induced people to devise horrible severities and barbarous tortures, which, after inflicting in. calculable suffering, increased crime rather than checked it. We have traced the evils of this error in the three principal systems of punishment, death, exile, and painful imprisonment, and we have found that morals are not, like bacon, lo be cured by hanging; nor like wine, to be improved by sea-voyages; nor like honey, ið be preserved in cells.
Not less pernicious is the identification of punishment with correction-terms which have long passed as synonymous, though they have no mutual connection whatever. Correction means a setting right; and, as every schoolboy painfully knows, the orthodox mode of setting the mind right is to set the body wrong. The external application of birch is supposed to facilitate the internal reception of learning; and all the difficulties of master and teacher are deemed to be summarily re. moved by the rod. The means are not adapted to the end; indeed they are only suited to the reverse end in every sense. Experience is just beginning to expose this inveterate blunder in education; fogging is going out of fashion ; and people are beginning to suspect that the rod in most, if not in all cases, was merely a barbarous expedient to hide the incapacity of the teacher. It would be well if this beneficial lesson were generalized—if the world could be taught that punishment is so far from being an essential element of correction, that it very often hardens in guilt
, and destroys all chances of amendment. A penal administration and a correctional administration are two very different things. Whether society has yet advanced sufficiently to do without the former may be doubted; but it is indisputable that there is an urgent necessity for taking the latter into immediate consideration. Unless an efficient penitentiary system be devised for the guilty, circumstances will soon create a very unpleasant penitentiary system for the innocent. There is a greater connection between Milibank and the Bank of England than is usually supposed.
A correctional system, of course, presupposes that there is some. thing to be corrected. It is therefore a legitimate inference that, while we are examining how wrong may be set right, we might bene. ficially extend our researches, and inquire how far the wrong might be prevented from the beginning. If crime be as necessary a result of
the workings of society as friction of the operations of machinery, it may still be possible to diminish the wear and tear of the engine by a better adaptation of its parts. No mechanist hopes that he can ever wholly get rid of friction; his aim is to abate its intensity, and not its extent. In the same way the moral economist does not speculate on the utter extirpation of crime,-scarcely, perhaps, on a numerical dimi. nution of offences; but he believes that the intensity of criminality may be greatly abated ; that offences may be gradually stripped of their aggravating circumstances; and that the same number of crimes shall not give the same amount of guilt.
However excellent a social system may be, it is impossible, in the progressive development of social wealth and enjoyments, that laws, which necessarily multiply the conditions and circumstances of the use, can wholly prevent the abuse. Legislation, in fact, recognises a pro. gressive increase in the numerical amount of crimes resulting from the development of civilisation ; for every time that industry creates a new species of property, its possession is secured to the proprietor by a new guarantee of penal prohibition. This leads us to a consideration of great importance, usually neglected in criminal statistics. We have seen that law recognises as a fact the increase of abuses, whenever there is an increase of uses. The moral result of civilisation is, that the abuses do not increase in anything like the same ratio as the uses ; that is to say, the amount of offences, though numerically increased, is actually diminished, proportionally to the progressive increase of occasions to offend. Now this moral result of civilisation cannot be shown from statistical tables ; there are no returns by which we can compare the amount of crime with the temptations and opportunities to crimes in different ages and countries; we cannot compare the number of transgressions against property with the actual amount and circumstances of social wealth ; or, in other words, with the amount of occasions to transgress. The same consideration, though to a less extent, applies to offences against the person, a large proportion of which notoriously arises from passions connected with property.
That crime has thus proportionally decreased is undeniable. There never was a period, when persons and properties were more secure in England. Who now sleeps with pistols beneath his pillow, or hangs a blunderbuss within reach of his bolster? How many Londoners deem it necessary to spend a mortal half hour every night, in bolting, barring, and chaining doors and windows? And this security has not been the consequence of increased severity of punishment; it has, on the contrary, been accompanied with a coatinuous relaxation of the penal code not only in the letter, but still more in the spirit of its administration. Criminality has assumed a milder form, as the punishment of criminality has become less severe ; and crimes have dimin. ished doubly, that is in intensity, and in their proportion to amount of property, so as more than to counterbalance their numerical multiplicity. To determine how far the last element is capable of reduction, it will be necessary to investigate the sources of crime separately and cau. tiously; and the way for this inquiry is cleared by removing all the nonsense based on the belief that crime was to be cured by punish. ment.
We have already said that the institutions of society determine the conditions of social existence; but we must add, that the action of the institutions is complex, even when the condition is most simple. In
pursuing our investigations, we must therefore examine the conditions as they actually exist. Such a course will, of necessity, often lead us into strange cumpany; but vice must be fearlessly cracked to iis most secret haunis, it we desire to establish the security of virtue ; just as it is necessary to study disease in order to discover the art of preserving health.
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
BY HENRY WORDSWORTH LONG FELLOW.
THERE is a reaper, whose name is Death,
And with his sickle keen
And the flowers that grow between.
Have naught but the bearded grain ?
I will give them all back again.”
And kiss'd their tremulous leaves ;
He bound them in his sheaves.
The Reaper said, and smiled ;
Where He was once a child.
THE PATRON KING.
BY MRS. TROLLOPE.
A GREAT many years ago, so many, indeed, as to render the exact date somewhat uncertain, there reigned a King in Spain, whose name was Alphonso. He was in his day renowned for a variety of excellent and kingly qualities, and few princes ever reigned with more righteous intentions. Yet he was accounted proud, and not without reason ; but his pride being rather of the kind to make him approved by the nobles than disapproved by the plebeians, it did in no wise detract from his general popularity. As to the paltry feeling, indeed, that leads one poor mortal to turn with disdain from another because the accidents of situation might vary belween them, he was altogether incapable of it. The pride which he felt, and shrunk not from avowing, was purely pride of race. He was descended from a line of kings whose origin was lost in the clouds, and so blamelessly did this feeling work in him, that the noblest actions of his life derived their source, as well as their reward, from it. He gloried in believing that what he did would have been approved, had the whole host of his sainted ancestors sat in judg. ment on him. Nevertheless, as nothing is ever perfect in this lower world, King Alphonso sometimes suffered this reverence for ancestry to betray him into over anxiety respecting the purity of descent of those admitted to personal familiarity with himself and his family, and this led him unwillingly, good King, to the very verge of that contemptible little vice, called gossiping, by inducing him not unfrequently to ransack every possible source of intelligence in order to discover all that humán observation could bring to light respecting the maternal ances. tors of his courtiers; and sometimes, it must be confessed, to the dismissing very estimable men from his councils, because the voice of ru. mour had scattered doubts respecting the discretion of their mothers. Nor was this the only instance in which the virtues of King Alphonso leaned a thought or so towards weakness. Of this kind was his enthu. siasm for every species of new invention, which, while it unquestionably tended to the encouragement of ingenuity, led him occasionally to bestow an upreasonable degree of favour and protection on mere projectors.
It was during a violent gale of wind, from which not even the fra. grance-laden summers of Grenada are exempt, that three French ma. riners had the good fortune to escape from a wreck that had cost the lives of all their comrades. The poor fellows, after witnessing the destruction of their vessel and all it contained, bent their steps inland, as if to turn their backs upon the treacherous old friend who had used them so scurvily. They had not proceeded in this direction above a mile or two, before they reached a well-shaded stone bench by the way-side, on which were seated an old man and his young daughter. They were regaling themselves from a loaf of rye-bread, and a basket filled with delicious grapes. The weary sailors looked at them wistfully, while the boldest among them stepped forward, and having briefly stated their misadventure, concluded by confessing that they were perishing from thirst and hunger. Their tale was listened to with kindness; they were invited to sit down and share the refreshing