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THE

NORTH BRITISH

BRITISH REVIEW.

NOVEMBER, 1848.

ART. I.-1. Correspondence on the subject of Convict Discipline

and Transportation, presented to both Houses of Parliament, by

command of Her Majesty, February 16, 1847. 2. Second Report of the Surreyor-General of Prisons, 1847. 3. First Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords

appointed to enquire into the Execution of the Criminal Law, especially respecting Juvenile Offenders and Transportation, together with the Minutes of Evidence taken before the said Committee.

1847. 4. Appendix to Minutes of Evidence in the Execution of the Cri

minal Law, especially respecting Juvenile Offenders and Trans

portation. 1847. 5. Twelfth Report of the Inspectors of Prisons (Scotland, Northum

berlund, and Durham). * 1847. 6. Ninth Report of the General Board of Directors of Prisons in

Scotland. 1848. 7. Thirteenth Report of the Inspectors of Prisons (Scotland).

1848. 8. Prison Discipline, and the Advantages of the Separate System

of Imprisonment, with a detailed Account of the Discipline now pursued in the New County Jail at Reading. By the Rev. J. FIELD, M.A., Chaplain. 2 vols. London: Longman & Co.

1848. 9. Fourth Annual Report of the Ragged School Union. Lon

don : 1848. 10. Reports of the Ragged Schools in Manchester, Aberdeen, and

Edinburgh. 1848. 11. Juvenile Delinquency. By a Country Magistrate. Edinburgh :

1848. 12. Speech of Lord Ashley in the House of Commons, on Tuesday, June 6, 1848. London.

NO. XIX.

VOL. X.

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13. First Report of the Commissioners appointed to enquire as to

the best means of establishing an Efficient Constabulary Force in the Counties of England and Wales. Published by direction of Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department. 1839.

Until a recent day there lived a population in the great cities of our empire, of whom the general world knew little, and cared less. In walking along the streets of these proud cities, there comes ever and anon between us and the evidence of abounding wealth, some miserable specimen of juvenile humanity, doling out in a whining tone his tale of sorrow. Clothed in rags, which are simply a parcel of holes sewed together, or in garments never made for him, limping along, with pale emaciated face, he often extorts by importunity what would have been denied to his real or apparent woes. The benefaction given to abate a nuisance, or at best from feelings of general humanity, is received with a passing lip-gratitude, and the boy returns to commence whining at the heels of the succeeding straggler.

Such creatures were not until a recent day regarded as any other than a few miseral strays from the herd of mankind, destined through inscrutable providential arrangements, to wander here in misery. They were unfortunate and forlorn, and must bear the. sharpness of their misfortunes, of which it was clear their birth was the first

. Thus the people in purple and fine linen passed by, and left them with a general benediction in the hands of God. A few of the benevolent of this world, struck with cases of individual sorrow, dived beneath the surface, into mysterious haunts where civilisation had scarce penetrated, and where were discovered an innumerable hive of beings similarly wretched, over whom the summer of life had passed, and who had become prematurely old under the agony of a winter which appeared to be ever theirs. Uncared for, unknown, they had grown up to a wretchedness of which there was little parallel even in the pages of Eastern story. Children of the State, inheritors of its privileges in name, they found that it had neither a parent's nor a child's affection ; that, like the eagle, it had dismissed its young, and known them no more. When living they were disregarded, and were unmourned when covered by some frail memorial under which they had crept to sleep.

They have recently been the subject of an animated practical philanthropy. Howards, actuated with the humanity of the great prison-reformer, have excavated from the obscure depths of London poverty, hordes who were growing up to prey upon a society that heeded them not. In those narrow streets off the Strand, the courts and alleys in the back settlements of West

London Misery- Street Begging.

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minster, the regions of Saffron Hill, you will find a people of whom the elders are pale, languid, unhappy even when sober ; the juniors equally wretched, crouching into corners, or at distant intervals emitting a yell as some object excites their curiosity or their apprehensions, and rendering you happy for a moment by the evidence, that the sad depressions of the scene are unavailing to destroy entirely the buoyancy of young existence.

From such haunts it is that our juvenile criminal population is replenished. The circumstances and the place should be noted, that we may the more effectually trace the pollution which is threatening to submerge society.

In Westminster, where sits the legislative assembly that gives law to a great empire—the residence of royalty—the home of nobles-within the sound of the abbey chimes—there exists a portion of humanity who have no higher ideas than those connected with their animal desires, or their servile occupations. Extend the range to Field Lane or Saffron Hill, and a more deplorable scene awaits you. A wilderness of brick fatigues the eye with its look of monotonous desolation. The pure air of heaven itself is made heavy and offensive by putrid exhalations. Lounging about in the wildness of savage freedom, bareheaded, and without coats, are the male inhabitants. Generally smoking, often drunk, always ragged, rough, and filthy, their wan faces are in accordance with the general misery, and the languor of their movements bespeaks the potency of the atmosphere. But the filth without is as nothing to that within ; the general desolation of the place cedes to the particular horrors of each abode.

The pestiferous atmosphere which produces even on the temporary visitor the depression of mind under which his energy sinks, has done its work with the inhabitants. The buoyancy of feeling, the delicious sensation of healthy action is never there,

“ sed crudelis ubique Luctus ; ubique pavor et plurima mortis imago.” If too young to be of service to themselves, the children in these alleys are made availing to older beggars. How interesting it is to see the meek look of resigned poverty in that gentle mother's face, and how touching is the reference to her sorrows and those of the sleeping infant at her back! It is all a sham and a delusion. The woman is the fiercest blasphemer of the alley; the babe is hired at so much a day, and drugged to sleep to create an interest in its helplessness. As it grows up, it crouches beside its protector, and emits the usual beggar's whine, to excite at once our notice and compassion. More especially in the evenings, as persons emerge from the comforts of a dinner party, with blood warm, and feelings of charity strong, their steps are

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