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1 Durham - ..
. 3 Cumberland , 4 Northumberland 5 Cornwall - - 6 Westmoreland 7 York - - 8 Lincoln - - 9 Nottingham 10 Dorset . 11 Salop - 12 Rutland - 13 Suffolk 14 Monmouth 15 Stafford - 16 Devon - . 17 Sussex 18 Bedford 19 Cambridge 20 Wilts . 21 Kent 22 Hunts . . 23 Northampton 24 Leicester 25 Hertford 26 Surrey - 27 Norfolk - 28 Berks - 29 Essex 30 Lancaster 31 Chester 32 Bucks . . 33 Warwick. 34 Oxford - - 35 Somerset. 36 Hereford 37 Southampton 38 Gloucester 39 Worcester - .. 40 Middlesex -
10.2 11.9 13.8 13.9 14:1
8.7 14.5 12.9
7.9 12.8 4.4
13.2 14.8 6.7 6.7 14
12.9 102 14.6 10
7.2 10:1 1:1
This table appears to us perfectly decisive, as respects the educational test of the marriage register mark, and the alleged superiority, as to moral condition, of the agricultural counties. Middlesex, with 12 marriage marks, presents a ratio of 1 criminal to 376 persons; whilst Durham, with 25 marks, has a ratio of only 1 in 1766! Derby, with 30 marks, has a ratio of 1 in 1563; and Cornwall, with 36 marks, has 1 in 1319! The ir. relevance of this test is indeed quite demonstrable, independent of the proofs now offered. It is undeniable, that it is the poorer classes who furnish the criminal calendar with its melancholy numbers. It is obvious, then, that the marriage test can only be of value, as it shows the relative amount of education in that particular section of the population of each county. But if a particular county has a larger number of the propertied and educated classes, in proportion to the poorer and uneducated classes, than another county, the former will show fewer marks ; though it may be quite true, that, class for class, the education of the latter is equal to it. No one doubts that Middlesex has a far larger proportion of educated and wealthy persons in its population, than Durham, and yet Middlesex shows l criminal to 376 of its population, against in 1766 in Durham. Take another instance. Gloucester has a more educated population than Lincoln ; but Gloucester has I criminal for 482 of its population, and Lincoin only 1 for 990!
The supposed moral tendency of agricultural, over manufacturing employment, is equally disproved by the table. Worcester has a proportion of 10.1 agriculturalists, and Nottingham only 8.2; but the ratio of crime in the former is 431, and in the latter, 978. Nay, worse. Hereford, with 14:6 proportion of agriculture, has a criminal ratio of 509; whilst Kent, with 8.7, has only 1 in 702. The table furnishes many other proofs of our position in these two points. It will be asked, and we do not shrink from the question, 'how then do you account for the vast discrepancies in crime, betwixt counties agreeing in the ratio of marriage marks, and of agricultural population ? or for the fact that counties, differing in these particulars, agree in the ratio of crime?' We think the table suggests the explanation; not an exact one, we freely acknowledge, but harmonizing more anomalies than any we have yet seen.
We are inclined, then, to give the first place, in the order of circumstances or conditions of society, tending to crime, to the density of a town or city population. Let us see how this condition or circumstance is borne out by the table. Setting aside Yorkshire, which is a case per se, as we shall show in the sequel, -the first county in the list, which has a large city population, is Surrey, and that stands No. 26, with a ratio of crime within 6 of the average of England. Then come the following:
Lancaster,-Crime. 637............ No. 30
Middlesex “ 376.. ......... " 40 The City population of these counties, pro rata to the rest of the population, is greater than that of any other counties in England. The influence of a city population on the ratio of crime is easily shown in the case of Gloucestershire. That county includes the sea-port of Bristol, and it so happens, that up to 1831, the criminal returns for that city are given separately from the rest of the county. Now, the average of the county for 1821 and 1831, respectively, was—713 and 574; but the average of Bristol city was—550 and 507! Our position may be illustrated by contrast. Leaving out York, the first 14 counties on the list, having the smallest ratio of crime, have either a scattered population, or an isolated position. They have no great cities, if we except Northumberland (and Newcastle is neutralized by a low ratio of inhabitants to the acre throughout the county), and they have a very limited intercourse with the rest of England. The exceptions from the rule, Hertford, Essex, and Kent, with small city populations, are vitiated by their proximity to the Metropolis ; and not only is the total ratio of crime high in these counties, but the ratio of the more serious offences is high also. For a similar reason, Sussex, Cambridge, and Oxford, show a high ratio of crime. They each contain rich, voluptuous, and we fear, somewhat profligate cities.
It surely needs no formal proof, that education and morals being alike, there will be the most offences where the greatest wealth and luxury are in juxtaposition with the greatest density of population. The invitations to crime, their number, power, and seductiveness, to say nothing of the greater opportunity for its concealment, are in the direct ratio of the density and wealth of the population. Nay, more. Great cities invite all the scum and off-scourings of society to nestle within them. These find hiding-places there, and there they find their prey. The collisions of angry passions are more frequent, too, of very necessity; and the man, who in Cumberland or Durham, may pass from one week or month to another, without an occasion to ruffle his temper, or arouse the lurking devil' within, may find opportunities of quarrel every day, if he be not on his guard, in the bustling intercourse of city life. We need not
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argue so plain a matter. The increased ratio of crime, so much of it as is not due to an improved police, is unquestionably the price we have to pay for our growth in wealth and luxury, and in the splendour and magnitude of the imperial metropolis, and its satellites—Liverpool, Manchester, Birming. ham, Bristol, Portsmouth, and Brighton.
Our position will be strengthened by reference to the county of York. We have said it is a case per se. But we must be understood. - We do not mean that its position in the scale of crime is anomalous, or irreconcileable with our theory. On the contrary, it proves our case, on one admission, that Yorkshire is one of the most intelligent and moral counties of England. The proportion of the population engaged in trade, is only second to Lancashire, which is the highest in England. That would lead us to expect a high ratio of crime. Nor does it affect this fact much, that it contains the East and North Ridings, which are mainly agricultural. The average of agriculturists is still only 6.4- lower than Chester, or Lancashire. But then Yorkshire has no seaport at all corresponding in magnitude to Liverpool, or Bristol, or Portsmouth, and we well know how much the dissoluteness of seaports adds to the proportion of crime. Neither has Yorkshire any overgrown towns. It has many large towns, but no vast cities, and it has been established, on indisputable proof, that the West Riding has greater appliances, religious and educational, than almost any other county in the kingdom. As to its intelligence and public virtue, we need only name the fact, that Yorkshire has ever spoken first, on every great question, save one-The Slave Trade, Slavery itself, Catholic Disabilities, Parliamentary Corruption, received from it the first and heaviest blow; and if Protection was first denounced from Lancashire, Yorkshire answered with the shout of a giant, to the war-cry of the rival rose-Free Trade!
Another fruitful source of crime, we firmly believe, is the immigration of the miserable people of the sister island. Far be it from us to cast a stone in malice at that unhappy race; but it is too consistent with all we know of their physical and moral condition, to judge a priori, that just as they preponderate in any given locality, crime will be proportionately increased. Facts, stubborn facts, confirm the a priori conclusion. The 13th report of the Inspectors of Prisons, gives most convincing evidence on this point. The Governor of Liverpool Prison, states, p. 15, that “In the three months ending Nov. 30, 1846, the number of Irish committed to prison was 818, or 35 per cent. of the whole, and in the three months just ended (Nov. 30, 1847) 1129, or 42 per cent.'
Further he says
· If, to the number of those coming direct from Ireland, be added those born in England, of Irish parents, three-fourths of our prisoners are generally Irish. The proportion of Irish prisoners has been rapidly increasing for the last three vears. Three years ago, the number of prisoners in the year, who were born in Ireland, was 1439, out of 4932, or less than thirty per cent. ; but last year it was 2680, out of 6769, or forty per cent. Thus, out of a total increase of 1837 prisoners in three years, 1241 were Irish. The portion which the Irish form of the whole population of Liverpool, is less than half their share of the criminality of the town, in petty and in serious offences alike. During the last three years, the number of felonies committed in Liverpool, by Lancashire people, was actually diminished, notwithstanding the increase of the population, but the felonies committed by the Irish have more than doubled, having increased from 108, in the year 1843–4, to 222 in the year 1846—7"
The table of county or country of birth, appended to the Report of Kirkdale Prison, gives 364 Irish, against 628 born in Lancashire, and against a total of 1197. Captain Willis, Superintendent of Police at Manchester, states, that one fourth of the offenders in that borough are Irish. In round numbers, the Irish-born inhabitants of Manchester, are as 30,000 to 208,000, little more than one seventh. Captain Willis also states, that 'some of the worst part of the population, and that which con. tributes most to the class of reputed thieves and prostitutes, are of Irish parentage. We may only mention another fact. A barrister, connected with the northern circuit, ascertained that out of 126 prisoners at one assizes in York, twenty-seven were Irish, or twenty-five per cent.; and that out of twenty-nine serious offences, nineteen, or 66 per cent., were committed by Irishmen. Of the serious offences, eight were murder, and six of these, or seventy-five per cent., were committed by Irishmen.
Coupling these statements with the fact that Lancashire, Middlesex, and Cheshire, have by far the largest proportion of native Irish in their population, besides a large proportion descended from Irish parents, we are satisfied that in addition to the cause already named—the preponderance of a city population-these counties stand where they do, high in the scale of crime, very much because of this vitiating element, of a large Irish population.
All explanation of the increase of crime would, however, be imperfect, if reference be not made to the character of crimes, as well as their number, and the influence of violent and extreme fluctuations in the price of food and the employment of the people.
That the more serious offences are far less prevalent than during the last century and the early part of the present, is an unquestioned fact. The number of executions, apart from any