In the 1st Class-The Offences against the Person-there was a decrease of 38 per cent. last year on the commitments for murder, but when this offence is united with the attempts to murder and maim, the numbers are shown to remain stationary. In rape and assaults to ravish, there was an increase. On the whole class the numbers continue nearly the same, both on a comparison of the two last years, and the two last periods of five years.

In the 2nd Class-The Violent Offences against Propertythere is a decrease of burglary, housebreaking, and the other crimes against the dwelling, and an increase of the robberies from the person. The class showing a decrease of nearly 3 per cent. on the two last years, and of 3.1 per cent. on the two last five years.

In the 3rd Class-The Simple Offences against Property— the chief decrease has fallen upon larceny, and is for that offence 6.4 per cent. There is also a decrease in horse and sheep stealing, stealing fixtures, &c. The chief increase arises in larcenies from the person, larcenies by servants, and embezzlement. The decrease on this class last year was 3.6 per cent., but an increase of 2.3 per cent. appears on a comparison of the two last five


The 4th Class-The Malicious Offences against Propertyshows a considerable decrease, both in arson and maliciously maiming cattle, and a total decrease on the class last year of 19 per cent. On a comparison of the two last five years, however, an increase arises of 4 per cent.

In the 5th Class-Forgery and Offences against the Currency -the commitments remain nearly the same in the last year, but there is an increase of 8 per cent. on extending the comparison to the totals of the two last five years. The art itself has made great progress. We believe this to be the cause.

In the 6th Class-There is a decrease of nearly 15 per cent., arising chiefly on the offences against the game laws, and the indictments for keeping disorderly houses. In the two last five years the decrease has been 36 per cent., and is owing to the absence (with the exception of the year 1848) of seditious offences, and the great decrease of riots and breaches of the peace, by which such offences are attended.

There were only six persons executed last year, and all of them for atrocious murders. We can bear witness to some very felonious acquittals; some in which the evidence was so free from flaw or doubt, that the mob nearly performed the duty which the juries failed in. There is a curious table of executions during

the last half century, given by Mr. Redgrave, which results thus:

1801 to 1810 1811 to 1820 1821 to 1830 1831 to 1840

$10 |


Executions 802

1841 to 1850





A very important feature in these tables, viz. the age of criminal offenders, is no longer given,—we believe owing to some reprehensible desire to effect a paltry economy in the Home Office staff of clerks. If this be so, it is quite unpardonable; for a very essential means of testing the progress of crime is now lost; and whether juvenile offenders are on the increase or not we are no longer enabled to know. The cause of public morals, and the science of mending them, should not be thus frustrated.

The great question respecting the causes of crime is best developed and aided by an analysis of its locality, and its relation to the various conditions of society which are supposed to affect its amount and intensity. Those most frequently advanced are education, class of industry, and density of population. The two former were very fully discussed, and their relation to crime elaborately pointed out, in the articles on the subject contained in this MAGAZINE in 1848.1 The facts and deductions then produced have become standard authorities. They related, however, to the Criminal Statistics ending with 1847, and consequently the last three years afford fresh data. It may suffice to say generally that the conclusions thus established in 1848 are in substance borne out and equally applicable to the subsequent period. The great culminations of crime exist still in the Metropolitan district; and taking the same counties as representatives of each class of industry, they again stand thus:Above the average, 1. Metropolitan, Below the average, 4. Agricultural, 2. Iron districts, 5. Silk. 6. Mining.

To assist rather than to express further conclusions, we have collated the following table of the population of 1851, and its relative density, the crimes classified into grave and minor of the last three years, and the degree of instruction, as far as marriage register marks show it, in each county of England, and

1 Since amplified and republished, with coloured diagrams, under the title of Tactics for the Times, published by Ollivier, Pall Mall.

"The "grave" offences consist of offences against the person, and offences against property committed with violence.

The "minor" offences are mainly offences against property without violence; and also all malicious offences against property, forgery, and all other offences tried at assizes and sessions.

in North and South Wales. show the distribution of crime.

This table will at least serve to

As regards education, or even the possession of its rudiments, we beg to disclaim placing the slightest reliance on the marriage mark index. It is no index at all; and not only valueless as such, but, we fear, positively fallacious and misleading. We have only given it because we know that some eminent statistical inquirers, Mr. Fletcher and Mr. Farr among the number, think otherwise; and though they do not, we believe, regard it as a perfect test, yet think it affords a fair and reliable approximation to it. Our grounds for thinking otherwise are these:

It is notorious to all persons practically acquainted with the' working of the registration, that numbers of persons when married, both males and females, will not, and do not, sign their names, though they can do so.

In the next place, the total number of persons married in any year, ex. gr. 1848, being 276,460 in England and Wales, forms but 13 per cent. of the population; and how is it possible that the instruction possessed by such a minute fraction can afford any reasonable ground for deducing from it the education of the remaining 98 per cent.? But it affords scarcely any test of the education of the 11⁄2 themselves; for is it not obvious, that the mere faculty of writing a name may, and often does, co-exist with extreme ignorance in nearly every element of education, properly so called? nevertheless, if it be worth anything, it must be as an indication of the possession of such elements of education. Is it advanced, that, though worth little in itself, it is fortified by other concurring tests, such as the predominance or the reverse of prosperity, pauperism, &c.? The short answer is, that no such concurrence exists as can afford any substantial or availing support to the marriage mark test. Nor can mere amount of property or independent means be safely taken to indicate the education of a district, or, therefore, to support any other indication of it. If this is not enough, a glance at the following table will, we trust, suffice to dispel any kind of reliance on a test which places the education of Devonshire far above the average, and superior to Middlesex, Surrey and Kent; whilst it ranks Herefordshire, the most criminal and perhaps the most Boeotian in the kingdom, as little below the average, and superior to Yorkshire, Norfolk, Herts, Essex and Cambridgeshire!!


See the speech of the Dean of Hereford (Mr. Dawes, late of Somborne) at the Diocesan Meeting at Hereford, on October 1st, 1851, wherein he stated it to be the worst educated county.

CRIMINAL OFFENCES during 1848, 1849 and 1850, compared with

Population, &c.


Mr. Fletcher, in his able pamphlet, falls into the common error of assuming that the amount of miscalled and abortive education now existing among the adult and marriageable population, has a tendency to check crime. That education,such as it ought to be, and such as it will, we trust and believe, soon become, will have that end, there can be no rational doubt. That it has not yet existed widely or long enough to do so we believe to be equally certain. Mr. Fletcher finds that the gross amount of crimes from 1842 to 1847, compared with the instruction in each county (as evidenced by marriage marks), results in a balance against the most instructed counties, which are in the aggregate, as we stated in 1848, the most criminal. This being opposed to his favourite hypothesis, Mr. Fletcher has resort to the following more ingenious than sound method of making the figures "declare decisively either in favour of, or against, popular instruction." Now, bearing in mind that we ourselves maintain that efficient popular instruction is not in the least impugned by the state of crime, inasmuch as efficient instruction has no prevalent existence, let us see how Mr. Fletcher establishes his conclusions from the data before him :

"It has been endeavoured to apply one (a mode of analyzing and correcting the statistics of crime) for the migration of the dishonest into the more wealthy, populous, and instructed localities, by drawing a distinction between those classes of offences which arise from general depravity and those which will obviously be in excess in certain localities, because generally associated with the professional vice or vagabondage which seeks its home in them; and, by proving statistically the existence of such a distinction, likewise the influence of the denser populations rather to assemble the demoralized than to breed an excess of demoralization."

This distinction requires proof. It is by no means evident that the grave class of offences are not committed by vagrants, or that the minor ones, such as larceny, are more generally committed by them. Nevertheless, Mr. Fletcher proceeds to say that:

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"The great class of the more serious offences against the person, and malicious offences against property, is obviously that least affected by migrations of the depraved, and affords strong testimony, by its universal excess wherever ignorance is in excess, that many of the offences against property which are in such excess in the more instructed and populous localities, are also committed by delinquents bred in the places indicated by the excess of the former offences."

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