« AnteriorContinuar »
ready to fall into evil courses as those good order and economy, children are not around him.
admitted into the factories until the age of M. Frégier prefaces his remarks on the twelve; and at Nantes and Mulhouse there effects of religion as a preservative from are schools especially established for apvice, by a long exposition of the present prentices, in which instruction is carried to a state of Christianity in France. This ac- considerable extent, and the master's claim count goes to the startling length of assert- upon the time of the young people coming that religious faith has in effect ceased mences only after the breakfast-hour. to exist throughout the nation, and that There are no such specific institutions in Christianity has no longer any hold on the Paris; but the more respectable operatives public mind, as a revelation from Heaven. are in the habit, when they bind a child to France was the well-spring from which a trade, to stipulate that he shall be allowed nearly a century ago bold infidelity, nay, a portion of each day for completing his avowed atheism, flowed far and wide over education, and in return for this indulgence many of the continental nations. Our own they either pay the master an equivalent happy country, strong in its pure and form in money for the time which he gives up, Protestantism, was one of the few which, or the period of apprenticeship is lengthafter a brief period of agitation, withstood ened. It is evident that in France educathe shock unharmed. We had believed tion is carried further among the lower that of late years this pernicious tide had classes, both in the extent of time devoted been flowing back upon France in waves to it and in the range of the things taught, of fearful and still augmenting violence ; than it is with us; and we are compelled but if M. Frégier be correct, she has no to say that on this most important subject cause to fear the contagious impiety of any there is much which we might learn from other country:
The greatest danger to which school• The religious crisis,' he says, 'which is now children are exposed is that of contaminain progress in Germany, was
brought to a con- tion by intercourse with the worthless clusion in France half a century ago.'
vagabonds who crowd the streets. Το We most firmly believe that our author check this as much as possible, M. Fréspeaks too broadly-even if, as we suppose, gier strongly urges that each school should he speaks of Paris rather than of France; have its own separate and enclosed playbut if we were to take him literally, we ground, and that the holidays should be as could not be surprised when he goes on to few as possible. In poor families, where telt us that in France, even among the the parents are constantly employed at a highest orders of the church, what we in distance from home, and are unable to England should call gross infidelity is coun- watch their children, these intervals of idletenanced; or to find that, in treating of ness are periods of great danger. To su: religion as one of the pillars of order, he persede them, and introduce in their stead looks at it only as a system of moral disci. a system of daily school recreation under pline, and gravely places singing classes' in the eye of the master or his assistant, the very foremost rank of the means which would, he says, be an improvement, the the Roman Catholic Church possesses for importance of which can scarcely be calrecovering its hold on the minds of the
culated. Our anthor is also of opinion that ple. Even this division of religious duty the abundant diffusion among the labouris to be indulged in, it appears, only by ing classes of well selected books, moral, children or adult males, being too exciting scientific, and entertaining, might be renfor grown-up females !
dered a powerful instrument of social imA large portion of our author's second provement. He warmly advocates the volume is devoted to the subject of educa- establishment of public libraries for the tion. Among the points of difference be- poor, which at present are unknown in tween the two countries, those which Paris ; and alludes in terms of high praise chiefly strike us as offering matter worthy to the plan, at once ingenious and econoof our consideration, and if possiblo of our
mical, on which such libraries are conductadoption, are the anxiety shown in France ed in some parts of Scotland. * to postpone to as late an age as possible the period at which children are permitted to enter the factories, and the system of number of dependent libraries attached to it. Sup.
* A central library is established, with a certain continuing their education after their work-posing the number of these to be five, each of them ing life has commenced. At Sedan, where is furnished with a sixth part of the entire collection tho operative classes are remarkable for transfers them to the next station; and so they are
of books; retains them during half a year; and then
In discussing the important subject of measure of reformation on this head is, we the residences of the poor, M. Frégier, conceive, a matter of urgent duty, nay of whilst he admits the extreme difficulty necessity. As our population becomes which must attend their improvement on a more and more dense, the present state of general scale, urges in the strongest terms things leads to deeper and deeper shades the duty of making the attempt. It is the of depravity; and each year the danger to government only, he says, that can do it the health of the metropolis becomes more with any prospect of success, as the ex- imminent. Each year also, as the lower penses attendant on the erection of build-orders become more intelligent and more ings of the nature required are so great in sensibly alive to the advantages of social comparison with the rents to be obtained order, the discomfort of such abodes is from them, that it never could become a more acutely felt by them. We are aware profitable investment of capital ; and he that the subject has of late been much uninstances some speculations of this kind der discussion; and we sincerely hope that which were made in 1823-4-5, and which the difficulties, great as they are, which for that reason failed entirely. The ac- surround it, will not dishearten the patriotic count which he gives of the inferior classes members of parliament who have directed of lodging-houses, and more especially of their attention towards it. the lodgings that are let out for the night, The number of persons living together are shocking; l'imagination, malgré sa in illicit connexion would appear to be fecondité et sa hardiesse, ne saurait attein- proportionately much greater in Paris than dre, en cette matière, à la hauteur de la in London. One especial cause of the exréalité;' yet we fear that still more fright- tent of this evil is stated by M. Frégier to ful pictures might be drawn by any indivi- be the great expense of the formal instrudual who, with energy and courage equal ments which the law requires prior to marto his, should penetrate into the lowest riage. It true that in Pai itself these abysses of London. Some widely extended are delivered gratuitously, but only to
those persons who are inscribed as indi.
gent; and when it is necessary to obtain moved on, half yearly, from station to station, until the documents from a distant part of the they return to the central depôt. Thus every division of the library completes its circuit in three years, country, the expense becomes so great, and each locality has the use of six times as many and the process so difficult, as frequently books as its own separate outlay could con:mand. among the poorer classes to render marliberal scale throughout England. Under judicious riage almost impossible. The disadvantage management, and with a careful but not too severe of this state of things became so apparent, selection of books, it might at the present time, when that a society was established under the the intellectual activity of the lower orders is rapidly title of · La Sociéte charitable de Saint augmenting, do the State incalculable good.
Ďuring the last three years barrack libraries have François Régis, for the express purpose of been established for the use of our army, both at remedying it. The members meet every home and abroad, and liberal funds to maintain Sunday evening to aid and assist all the them have been voted by parliament. These libra- well-disposed and poverty-stricken lovers ries are open from two o'clock to eight, and the sol. in Paris, as well as those who have already diers who wish to avail themselves of the arrangement pay a subscription of one penny a month. illicitly united themselves. The applicants Strict regulations are established for the due pre-on each day amount to nearly 300; and servation of the books, which, under certain condi- from the institution of the Society in 1826, tions, are allowed to be taken by the men to their quarters. The system has worked admirably; the to the 1st January, 1837, it had, with an number of subscribers rapidly increases; and the annual
not exceeding 10,000 library and the benches at its entrance are crowded | francs, afforded assistance to the celebrawith attentive readers. Very many are the instances tion of the marriages, civil and religious, time was formerly spent in the alehouse, have shaken of nearly 8000 indigent persons, and to off their habits of intemperance and become zealous the legitimating of many thousands of and regular students." Great judgment has been natural children, of whom the greater part shown by our military authorities in the selection had been removed by their parents from of the books. Some are of a grave and religious nature, many are historical, many scientific; ihose the Hospice des Enfans Trouvés. The sorelating to travels and voyages are numerous, and ciety has had the great satisfaction of a large proportion are works of imagination, both knowing that in nearly all the marriages of and theological treatises are or are not the best of this nature the first object of solicitude on works is not the question : books such as these will the part of the parents was to reunite their but rarely be read by young soldiers. We believe children to themselves ; and that they have that in another department of government, where subsequently brought them up carefully the system of libraries was adopted, and where the and well. A similar society on a small book's were almost exclusively of a religious nature, the result has been far less satisfactory.
scale, but with equally beneficial results,
has been established among the Protest- | lute wonderment. Were their vulgarity ants at Paris. They exist also in many of and vice redeemed by any talent, any devel. the provincial cities.
opment of character, any graces of lanWe have no space to follow our author guage, our surprise would be less: but through his disquisition on the principles of nothing can be conceived more entirely detaxation, as affecting the lower classes of void of any portion of literary merit than society. The gist of his argument is to the mass of these works. They are writprove that indirect taxation is not only just ten in a clumsy, matter-of fact, jog-trot towards them, but that it tends to their style, with about as much life and fire as moral and social amelioration.*
would suit an engineer's report on a railM. Frégier denounces loudly the mis- way; and in their mode of dealing with chievous tendency of the French drama— their staple commodities, they are immeathe malefactor, as well as the romantic divi- surably inferior to the Newgate Calendar sion of it; for our neighbours at the present or the Police Reports; for they have none moment are, like ourselves, great admirers of that truth of detail which gives interest of the Newgate style of literature. As to
evated productions. The play-going amounts to a passion with all the writers of this class have one, and oneonly, lower classes of the French, but with device for obtaining popular favour—that children and young apprentices especially, of conglomerating crimes. Every page our author is convinced that, were the the- must have its two or three catastrophes; tre strictly and judiciously controlled, in- and they dibble in their atrocities, one to stead of being, as at present, most injurious every twenty lines, as regularly as if they to society, it might be rendered the means were planting cauliflowers. With them of great moral good. We must decline everything depends on the abundance of going into this question at present; the blood and brains-not their own certainly; abominable immorality of the French dra- and provided the murders, robberies, rapes
, mas and novels of the day has been of treasons, trials, and executions are sufficilate sufficiently exposed in our pages-and ently numerous—and they can get some we see M. Frégier quotes parts of our arti- poor artist to prostitute his pencil for their cles on these subjects without being aware illustration—the sale is sure to be extenof their source.
Our disgust at the bad sive, and the minor theatres lose no time in taste which can eagerly accept such pro- dramatizing the new masterpiece. ductions as overwhelm ourselves at present, The suggestions of our author for the is, we confess, stronger than our alarm at prevention of crime among the middle their demoralizing effects. Our ephemeral class are limited to the establishment of dramas, which by the bye are vastly infe- boarding-houses and circles of reunion for rior to the similar productions of the French the students at the university, and evening stage, are many of them mere remodel. lecture rooms for the young men employed lings of the mass of periodical trash which in commercial pursuits. Great benefit is now poured out upon us in a still increas- would, he conceives, result to the students ing flood-each monthly issue more worth- from the establishment of boarding houses less than the last. How such works can be under judicious management ; but the systolerated by the public is matter of abso- tem to be enforced in them must be mode
rate, or it will disgust and drive away the * In June, 1793, a motion was brought forward young men. It should not exceed in strictin the Convention that the poorer classes should be ness that to which they would be subject exonerated from all taxation. Cambon, the great if residing with their own families. He is financial authority of the time, strenuously resisted the proposition. Robespierre opposed it also ; and not aware that more than two of these esM. Frégier gives, as a legislative curiosi!y, the fol. tablishments exist at present in Paris. lowing passage from his speech :— J'ai partagé un moment l'erreur qu'on vient d'émettre, je crois même l'avoir écrite quelque part; mais j'en reviens aux
•The shopmen and commercial clerks are in principes, et je suis éclairé par le bon sens du peuple, general little educated; the establishment of qui sent que l'espèce de faveur qu'on lui présente est evening lecture rooms for these young men une injure. En effet, si vous décrétez constitution would be attended with important advantages nellement que la misère excepte de l'honorable both to themselves and to their employers: these obligation de contribuer aux besoins de la patrie, latter should defray all the expenses attending vous décrétez l'avilissement de la partie la plus pure them. One lecture room in each of the fortyde la nation ; vous décrétez l'aristocratie des eight Arrondissements would be sufficient to ac et l'égalité, la liberté périraient pour jamais. Noteż complish this object; and they should be placed point aux citoyens ce qui leur est le plus nécessaire, under the immediate control of the municipal ja satisfaction de présenter à la république le denier
authorities.' de la veuve.' The motion was thrown out by the Convention.
These suggestions are well meant; but
here, as in all similar cases, the misfortune | his conviction that this singular impulse on is, that the persons who would avail them- the public mind will be of short duration. selves of these advantages would be the Tolerated gambling-houses no longer exmoral and well-conducted ; the vicious and ist in France; and the plan adopted by the ill-regulated would reject them altogether. government, of first suppressing them in the
From the preventive M. Frégier proceeds provincial towns, and then attacking the to the remedial means—that is, the means grand establishments in Paris, was politic by which existing vice and crime can best and wise. It would appear, however, that be controlled and diminished ; and he the evil, if abated, is very far from being chiefly directs his attention to the three vi- conquered. The vigilance of the police has ces most widely extended and most preg- indeed, successfully put down the houses nant with crime-drunkenness, gambling, established for the specific purpose of clanand prostitution.
destine gambling; but it has hitherto been
foiled by the augmented numbers and ac• It is,' he says, “an easy task for any political tivity of the maisons à partics. In these, economist to point out a variety of plans which, high and unfair play is carried on, under the the více of drunkenness : but, unfortunately, all specious exterior of ordinary visiting, to a these are good only in theory, and are means of far greater extent than formerly; and our prevention rather than cure.—That all factory- author is of opinion that alterations in the children, whose parents are notorious drunk- penal code are imperatively called for to ards, should be boarded and lodged by the ma- meet these subtle evasions of the law. nufacturer who employs them, and thus screen Two diametrically opposite systems have ed from the contagion of bad example at home, been proposed for the reformation of the is one of these :- hat all the children of moral unhappy victims of prostitution. The advoand well conducted parents should perform their work at home, and by so doing, avoid the de- cates of the one, filled with the benevolent moralising effects of the vice-crowded factory, is desire of reinstating these women in the another:-that societies under royal patronage honest ranks of society, assert that it is the should be established to procure for the entire duty of the civil authorities to facilitate this mass of the working classes amusement, com- object by assiduously labouring to introduce bined with instruction, during the Sundays and among them habits of order, forethought, the other periods of idleness, is a third. All and economy. The advocates of the other these plans would be excellent were they not impracticable. To subject every drunkard to system reprobrate, as vitally detrimental to punishment has been tried in Germany without public morals, any measures which would success. To increase the duties on wine and tend to blend these degraded beings with spirits has been recommended; but in a vine- the respectable portion of the community, growing country like France this would be a or to lessen the ignominy which attaches to check to industry, and it would be unjust to them, and which forms one of the strongest wards the sober portion of the community. safeguards, perhaps the strongest of all, to Another plan is uniformly to publish in the news, female virtue: they fear, also, that any impapers an account of all the accidents, fatal quarrels, and crimes resulting from drunkenness. provements in the habits of these women As from the extension of education, every one
would, in proportion as it lessened prostiwill in a few years be able to read, this public tution, augment illicit connexions more exposure would tend powerfully to check the irreparably detrimental to the happiness of vice.'
families. Far from promoting any objects
of this nature, they are anxious to make the We greatly doubt it; and, indeed, of all line of demarcation more clearly apparent the suggestions brought forward in this sec- than it is at present; and would willingly tion, there appears to us to be only one bring back the ancient laws which restrictfrom which any important practical good ed women of this class to certain parts of might result. It is, that systematically, and each city, and obliged them to wear a peby a mutual compact among all the man-culiar dress. Our author inclines evidently ufacturers and master artificers, every habit to the milder of these systems, and so did ual drunkard should be expelled from their also his great authority, Parent-Duchâtelet : establishments, however able a workman he in England this controversy is not likely to may be. No doubt, if this system were gen- be agitated. erally and rigidly adopted, there would re It is quite evident that the science of sult from it, after a time, an important prison discipline is, of all others, the one improvement in the habits of the working nearest our author's heart; and his ardent classes. M. Frégier does not advert to the partisanship in favour of the system of soli. temperance movement in Ireland and Eng- tary confinement, leads him, as we have land. As he cannot be ignorant of it, his already stated, to devote a very undue porsilence may, we presume, be attributed to tion of his volumes to this especial subject.
We shall not attempt to follow him through many counties in England this demand the details; the question being one which upon the local revenues would almost we but recently discussed, and which, if not amount to a prohibition ; in all it would be actually decided in this country, may be severely felt : but the object is one of such considered as on the very eve of being so. vital importance, that, when the superior The balance of evidence, we think, leaves advantages of the separate system shall no little doubt that the bodily health does not longer be a matter of dispute, the legislasuffer by even the most strict system of soli- ture will, we have no doubt, lend a willing tary confinement :. but the case is by no aid to extend it throughout the kingdom. means so clear with regard to the mind. The first expense is the only real difficulty ; Here, although the evidence is far from for although the charges of superintendence conclusive, there is strong ground for be will be increased, this is a trivial consideralieving that long-protracted confinement, in tion, and will be compensated for a huna state of constant and absolute solitude, dred-fold by the gradual diminution of willinjure the functions of the brain, and crime. induce insanity, or permanent mental im M. Frégier claims for his country the becility. The matter is one of such import- merit of extending a much greater degree ance, that the only safe thing to do is at of paternal solicitude towards a convict on once to assume the fact to be so, and to act his dismissal from prison than is usual in on that assumption. Confine a prisoner in England. In France, a liberal portion of a separate cell, interdict him absolutely and the profits of his work is paid to him when entirely from all communication whatever, he is discharged, and he is thus not comeither by eye or mouth, with his fellow- pelled by actual want, as is too frequently prisoners; but give him employment and the case in England, at once to resume his instruction-let him, in the course of each career of crime. This is wise and worthy day, be visited by carefully selected gaolers, of imitation : but the system established in by the master artisan who has lo superin- France for the surveillance of liberated tend his work, by the schoolmaster, the phy- prisoners, the convict-passports given them, sician, and the chaplain—and experience and the societies of patronage,' as they bas proved that there will not be the slight- are called, the object of which is to faciliest cause to fear any injury to the mind, tate their re-introduction into society, are however long such a course of solitary con- considered by our author as failures; and finement shall continue, be it for years, or he is of opinion, that, except as relates to even for the whole of life. There is also the younger classes of criminals, they the strongest evidence to prove, that ameli- should be abolished altogether. He is deoration of character, radical and permanent cided in his condemnation of our penal reformation, is the cheering and encouraging settlements ; the formation of agricultural result in very numerous instances. Under colonies in the mother country for the emthese modifications—and they may now be ployment of liberated prisoners he demonconsidered as points the necessity of which strates to be attended with insurmountable is generally conceded—the insulation of objections; and the result at which he arprisoners may be pronounced to be the best rives is, that the best chance to render the and most successful system which has yet liberated criminal an inoffensive and useful been devised to punish crime and amend member of society is to give him moral the criminal.
instruction, and the knowledge of some The great additional outlay necessary in useful trade, during the period of his dethe construction of a building where seve- tention; and that, when he is again thrown ral hundred convicts are to be completely upon society, such funds shall be supplied separated from each other, is a weightier as shall give him the time and means of objection than it may appear to be at first fixing himself in some honest course of sight. Every portion of the establishment life. must be more elaborately fitted up than at
With this subject M. Frégier concludes present; the exercise-grounds must be his treatise. Differing from him on many multiplied, the passages and corridors must points, compelled to smile at some passages, be peculiarly constructed, and the entire and to express our reprobation of others
, structure must be more extensive and more the final impression which his pages have complicated. In some instances, the exist- produced upon us is one of respect and ing prisons might, by a considerable out- gratitude. lay, be rendered applicable to this new mode of confinement, but in the majority of cases it would be necessary that entirely new buildings should be erected. In