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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844

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98 Pages
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 343, May 1844 Author: Various Release Date: April 11, 2008 [EBook #25047] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE, MAY 1844 *** Produced by Brendan OConnor, Patricia Bennett, Jonathan Ingram and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Library of Early Journals.) BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. No. CCCXLIII. MAY, 1844. VOL. LV. Transcriber's notes: Minor typos have been corrected. Table of contents has been generated for HTML version. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the articles. Contents IMPRISONMENT AND TRANSPORTATION, NO. 1. THE INCREASE OF CRIME RHINE AND RHINELANDERS THE MONSTER-MISERY OF LITERATURE. BY A MOUSE BORN OF THE MOUNTAIN MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART XI. INDIAN AFFAIRS--GWALIOR THE FREETHINKER THE SNOW. BY DELTA LOVE IN THE WILDERNESS IRELAND--THE LANDLORD AND TENANT QUESTION 533 546 556 561 579 593 617 620 638 MAP OF AFRICA IMPRISONMENT AND TRANSPORTATION. NO. 1. THE INCREASE OF CRIME. [Pg 533] Among the many causes of anxiety which the present state of society in the British empire must occasion to every thoughtful or reflecting mind—one of the most extraordinary and alarming is, the constant and uninterrupted increase of crime. The Liberals shut their eyes to this, because it affords a sad illustration of the effect of their favourite theories, which for a quarter of a century have been, under the direction of his Majesty's Ministry or his Majesty's Opposition, in almost ceaseless operation. The selfish and inconsiderate (and they form the vast majority of men) give themselves no sort of trouble about the matter: they care not though their neighbours are murdered or robbed, plundered or swindled, so as they escape unscathed themselves; and without either thinking on the subject, or suggesting one remedy for its evils, interfere only, with stentorian lungs, to resist any project to arrest them having the remotest tendency to terminate in an assessment. Their principle is to take of civilisation only its fruits, and steadily to withstand the concomitant evils; and the simple way by which they think this is to be effected—is quietly, and without saying a word, to reap the benefit of manufacturing industry in the doubling or tripling of their incomes; but to roar out like madmen if the smallest per centage is proposed to be laid on them, to arrest or mitigate the evils which that industry brings in its train. Government meanwhile, albeit fully aware of the danger, is not sufficiently strong to do any thing to avert it; its own majority is paralysed by the inherent selfishness of mankind; and nothing but some great and stunning public calamity can, it is universally felt, awaken the country to a sense of the evils growing out of its greatness, but threatening in the end to endanger its existence. Thus nothing is done, or at least nothing effectual is done, to avert the dangers: every one shuts his eyes to them, or opens them only to take measures to avert an assessment; and meanwhile crime advances with the steps of a giant, sweeping whole classes of society into its vortex, and threatening to spread corruption and vice, in an incredible manner, through the densest and most dangerous classes of the community. Authentic and irrefragable evidence of the magnitude of this danger exists in the statistical tables of committals which have now, for a very considerable time, been prepared in all parts of the British empire. Since the year 1805, when regular tables of commitments first began to be kept in England, commitments have increased sixfold: they have swelled from five to thirty-one thousand. During the same period [Pg 534] population has advanced about sixty per cent: in other words, detected crime has advanced FOUR TIMES AS FAST AS THE NUMBERS OF THE PEOPLE. Unwilling as we are to load our pages with statistical tables—which, attractive to the thinking few, are repulsive to the unthinking many—we must yet request our readers to cast their eyes to the bottom of the pages, where these appalling truths are demonstrated by the parliamentary returns. In Scotland and Ireland the returns of commitments have not been kept, until within the last twenty years, with such accuracy as can be relied on; but they exhibit an increase still more alarming. Ireland, as might be expected, exhibits a growth of crime which has fully kept pace with that of England during the same period: but Scotland exhibits a change which fairly outstrips all the others in the race of iniquity. In 1803, Lord Advocate Hope said in Parliament, that more crime was tried at one Quarter Sessions at Manchester than over all Scotland in a whole year; and the proceedings of the criminal courts to the north of the Tweed, at that period, amply demonstrated the truth of his assertion. In the year 1805, eighty-nine criminals were brought before the whole tribunals, supreme and inferior, in Scotland; but in the year 1842, the committals for serious offences were nearly four thousand—in other words, serious crime, in less than forty years, had augmented in Scotland above THIRTY-SIX FOLD. During the same period population has advanced about fifty per cent, viz. from 1,800,000 to 2,660,000; so that in moral, staid, and religious Scotland, serious crime, during the last forty years, has risen TWENTY-FIVE TIMES as fast as the number of the people.[1] Overlooked as this prodigious change has been, as all things are which arise gradually in this country, it has yet attracted, as well it might, the astonishment of writers on the Continent. Nine yeas ago, M. Moreau observed, speaking of the increase of crime in Scotland—"In the year 1805, the criminal commitments in Scotland were eighty-nine: they are now 2864—that is, they have increased in thirty years thirty-fold. It would appear that Scotland, in becoming a manufacturing state, has in a great degree lost the virtue and simplicity of character by which she was formerly distinguished."[2] What renders this prodigious increase of crime in so short a period, in all parts of the British Empire, in a [Pg 535] peculiar manner extraordinary and alarming, is, that it has taken place at the very time when unheard-of efforts were made, in every part